October 24th, 2010

Naval captains and spaceship launches

I'm writing a space opera set a couple of centuries from now. The main character is a starship captain, and the story opens on the morning his ship sets of on a long exploratory voyage. The ship is docked at a space station orbiting earth, and you'd get up there by teleportation from the base on the ground.

I'm fleshing these scenes out with details drawn from the Navy and/or NASA, but there are a few things I haven't been able to find out, so I would be incredibly grateful for any help you can offer.

1) What does the captain of a ship do on the day it's set to depart?
- If this was the Navy in modern times, would he already be on the ship, or would he have slept at home if he lives nearby?
- If he's not already aboard, how long before they leave would he go aboard? Does he need to talk to anyone before he goes aboard? Security? Senior officers?
- What happens when he boards? Who would he meet first? Where would he go next?
- What are his responsibilities on this day? Does he have to make sure that everything is ready, or would he have done that the night before, or would that be the executive officer's job?

2) Would there be any sort of pomp and circumstance at the start of this sort of mission? Well wishes? Involvement of admiralty/polticians via video link, etc.? Or would they just get underway without too much fuss, except for the swarms of media crews covering the event from a safe vantage point?

Search terms: First I looked up as many different ways of saying 'ship leaving port', 'captain's duties' and 'what a captain does on the day his ship is leaving port' as I could think of. Then I started browsing through military sites and clicking links. I found plenty of info about what enlisted crew would do, but nothing that would really help me with this. I've also looked for information on media coverage of the Apollo missions, Apollo 11, Space Shutttle etc. Then in despair I googled Captain Cook to try and come at it from a completely different angle. I've literally been looking for weeks before I found this wonderful community.

Thank you in advance!

Edit: Thanks everyone! You're awesome. I now have exactly what I needed.

Another Regionalism-Specific Question for California

Hi again everybody,

This comm's been a big help in assisting me, so I thought I'd ask another question about regional dialects. I have a character, formerly of Los Angeles and I'm wondering what she'd call athletic shoes. So far, I've been having her call them 'sneakers,' but this link:


says that referring to them as 'tennis shoes' is more common with 'sneakers' being second percentage-wise. I was wondering how accurate the sampling is to those of you from the area. With this being a character for a roleplay and editing for the format of said roleplay being next to impossible, I may have some retconning or 'splaining to do when it comes to her choice of words. Her family is originally from the northeast, where, from my experience, they're called 'sneakers' almost exclusively. She was a young child when she moved from there, however, and I've had her mention before that she's gotten some odd looks from some people when she called them that.

So my question is, are they 'sneakers', 'tennis shoes' or is it an individual preference thing? If anyone has any links or personal stories to share, please do.

Research and questioned used for Googling:

'What are athletic shoes called in Los Angeles?'
'Are they sneakers or tennis shoes in California?'

Edit: Got what I need, thanks!

Thanks much for the help!

Girls' boarding schools in the 1900's-30's

I'm writing a story set at a girl's school in a made-up country that shares similarities with both England and Canada. The time period is similar to the early 1900's to 1930's, although info from as late as the 50's would still be helpful.
What I'm looking for specifically is what sort of living arrangements these girls would have. It's a private boarding school with students ranging from 12-17, all either upper-middle-class or wealthy, and it's a religious school. I'm looking for real-life examples of room setups, how often the girls would be allowed to leave school grounds, whether they'd have roomates or separate rooms, etc. Hopefully this post makes some kind of sense?

Keywords used:
1900's boarding school
1920's boarding school
1930's boarding school
1930's boarding school room layouts
1930's girl's boarding school

Thanks for any help!
naughty nice

Recovery from thigh injury and a second 'sun'

I attempted to work my way through all of the relevant past posts that might have answered my questions, but may well have missed something in my search, so forgive me if I have! 

Setting: Earth, post apocalypse, so all modern technology etc is gone and has been for generations.

First question!
One male character is stabbed through the thigh by a yari (type of spear), which he survives (no major blood vessels are punctured and the bone is missed), but as the medicine is pretty basic stuff (herbal etc) he isn't going to fully recover all mobility.  The person caring for him knows what he's doing though.  The character is mid-20s, fit and active.
-- My question is how long it would take for him to be mobile enough to walk, with the aid of crutches, and not be in too much pain to do so.  I researched 'thigh stab injuries recovery time' on google but was basically presented with information on thigh muscle strain injuries, the most serious of which, Grade 3, takes several months to recover from.

Second question!
Is is possible to have a second orbiting body around the Earth, far enough away that it doesn't risk colliding with the moon or do too much to make the earth geographically unstable, but big enough to reflect the sun's light during the day?  During winter months we can see the moon in the day, but is it possible to have this all year round with another 'moon' without it being a star in its own right?  My knowledge of physics is pretty basic.  I don't need to know the ins and outs of the actual science, just whether it is possible or not.

English to Latin Phrase Translation

I have a group of people who call themselves 'Dragon Ticklers' ... only I need it in Latin because that's much more cool, and because this is actually for a Harry Potter fanfic and the group based their name on the Hogwarts school motto, which is also in Latin.

I know 'draco' for dragon and 'titillare' for tickle. Unfortunately my Latin, which I was never much good at anyway, is rusty and I'm not sure what ending I need to use on 'titillare' so that it translates right. I'm fairly certain that 'draco' is fine as it is but correct me if I'm wrong. I pretty sure that the literal translation from the finished Latin should be "the ones who tickle dragons". Will all that be clear with just 'draco' and 'titillare' or will I need to stick some form of 'who' in there somewhere?

I'd be very grateful to anyone who can give me some help with this.