November 2nd, 2010

prisma awesomeness, doodle, characters

Surfboard size help needed

So, I'm going to start with search terms so I can't forget. Searched how to pick the right surfboard, surfboard size calculators, size guides and charts.

The thing is though is my character is 6"7' and about 250lb. And while the size of his board isn't a huge plot point it makes for great jokes considering the fact he just went pro and is something of a giant. I can't find anything on what size would be best or even which board type, as there aren't many people that size, at least not outside of pro basketball that I've heard of.

He's not a big wave surfer, he does the kind of thing you see on YouTube, and things like the Dew Tour. He does surf at the expert level, and is kind of takingt he entire surfing community by surprise as no one's heard of him and this is his rookie season and he's killing the competition.

So my questions are as follows:

Would he need to ride a longboard out of necessity? Which type of board would be best suited for him, preference aside? Would he have to get his boards custom made, and if so, how much would that cost him? How do you size boards? Is it by height, weight, or both?

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated, and many thanks are given in advance.

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music, serious face

ANON POST: do mental health institutions still exist?

Were they all closed down in the 1980s? If not, where do any exist? And is there/were there institutions that housed male and female patients together (at least in common areas) or were they always same sex?
I wanted to set a story in an institution, but if there are no modern day ones, then whenever they were in use.
Googled mental health institutions, current mental health institutions, history of
I can't seem to find any sites that point to current institutions or about m/f populations, most results deal with the past of such institutions and the abandoned sites, etc.

[Note for you, anon: Googling "mental health institutions" does give you an answer to your first questions immediately, but I'm letting this through since you might want more detail.]
music, serious face

ANON POST: Baby's identity documents in 1980, UK

Setting/Era: Oldham/greater Manchester area, July 1980
Search terms: "[personal] child health record", "red book", 1980 (I've found similar such as this one in Nottingham), NHS Oldham, "1980 child documents", NHS history.

Question: What identity documents would a child born in Oldham or the greater Manchester area have from birth/babyhood? There would be a birth certificate, but I don't know about an insurance card, resident's identity card, or child health record. I know modern children have a Red Book for health and immunisation records, but did the local Health Authority issue such a record book in 1980?
sf, scifi, science fiction
  • caraig

Nicknames for Military Cadets

Hi, folks. I did a search through Google for 'nicknames for first-year military cadets' and various permutations, as well as the nicknames that I do know, and came up empty. I hope that someone can help.

I am looking for some sort of list of nicknames given to first-year cadets at military academies, colleges, and schools, primarily the federal service academies but other examples would be most welcome. These are the derogatory nicknames that are used to reference first-year, fourth-class, freshmen cadets. For example, SUNY Maritime College calls fourth-class cadets 'mugs,' VMA uses the term 'rats,' USAFA calls new cadets 'doolies,' USNA calls them 'swabs.' I'm looking for other examples from other military institutions.

Thanks very much for your help and your time!

Lots of German Culture Questions!

Setting: The story takes place in the northeast USA, but the character in question is German, and the questions pertain to modern Germany.

I know a little bit of the information I need from my German classes, but I want to make sure that I don't include any kerfuffles, so:

I have a German character who is studying abroad in America (college, not high school). I know quite a bit about German programs for American students, but very little about what a German student might experience in America. My google-fu is only telling me things about American exchange students in Germany or German high school students in America. -_- Can anyone give me an idea of:

1) How long he would be in the States (I'm hoping two semesters -- possible?) and what sorts of classes would he be taking? (I.e. the study abroad officers at my school tend to dissuade us from taking classes pertaining to our major if we go abroad -- would this be similar?)

2) Culture shock type things? What would a German come into the U.S. be expecting, and what would he be surprised about? What sorts of products do we have here that aren't found in Germany? (I read somewhere that you can't get Oreos in Germany, and I know my friends in Norway stock up on M&Ms when they visit here because they can't get them at home. One of my teachers in high school liked to tell a story about an exchange student whose friends back home kept asking him if all Americans were fat and carried guns. What else?)


3) If a German character who is religious (Christian) was put in a scary situation (he's afraid of heights) is there any particular prayer that he would be most likely to say, or is this just a personal preference?

4) I hear LGBT rights are pretty good over there. :) Obviously this depends on the person, but is a Christian mother liable to freak out upon learning her son is gay?

5) Last one! The hardest part of writing about another culture: picking a name that isn't out of date! You can never tell with internet name sites, so I wanted to run these by someone. Would I get laughed at for naming the character one of these: Emery, Alvin, or Miles/Milo? If those don't work, any suggestions for sites with modern names?


Search terms: "german exchange students in america," "german exchange students," "german perceptions of america," "american products in germany," "religion in germany," "german prayers," "german homosexuality," "gays in germany," "common german names," "german names for boys," a bajillion variations thereof

Randomization of facts for new information

There's a word that describes this:

Randomizing facts (or pictures) in order to draw new information from the same details that you've been staring at for a long time. It's often used by detectives, when they've come up against a wall of some sort.

The BBC's Luther used this at one point, and named the practice, but I am having no luck finding that point in an episode as yet. Google isn't much help either; searching with any form of "random facts" in the search phrase ends up giving me pages full of just that.

(I'm sorry, I have no idea what to tag this as, since I couldn't find a tag for just words.)

did wwii planes have radios?

I know they had radar, or the allies did at least, but I'm wondering since the cockpits were still open, and that's the way I have my planes in my story, if the noise of the engine would have defeated the purpose of a radio on board a fighter plane of that level of technology, or if headphones would be required to make it plausible for these planes to have radios in them.

setting: steampunk, wwii level tech, secondary world, so everything's made up, but trying to keep it real.

Googled: WWII, dogfights, fighter planes, radio, combinations


Ages for military boarding schooling and haircuts, 19th century Austria?

My MCs are young cadets at an Austrian military boarding school some time in the late 19th century, and I have some ridiculously basic and probably embarrassingly obvious questions to ask:

1.) Guessing from the author's own timeline (as much as Wikipedia can tell me) he in particular seems to have attended boarding school from the age of about 12 to 17 (changing between schools when he was about 14, but this seems to have been a family choice). Is it safe to assume the same time window for my MCs? Or would there be a slightly staggered age range?

2.) All I have to go on for this assumption is some of the photographs I've seen ( as well as my own school experience, thankfully less strict) and a modern conception of what "military school" connotes: short hair would be the norm for going into school, but how short? The intent with all regulated haircuts to go with uniforms seems to be obviously uniformity, but for younger boys would that be just short, sober male hair (without the worry that someone's going to run off and come back with a mohawk) or an actual buzz cut?

Terms Googled: Lots of permutations of "boarding school"/"military school"/"cadet"/"austria"/"hungary"/'19th century" and a few fandom-specific ones, which helped me out some. Any attempts to add haircut-related keywords ended up with a lot of modern accounts and fetish stuff, which was interesting but not particularly helpful.