November 11th, 2010

Mercury waves
  • ami_ven

Double-Checking Translations: Welsh & French

Setting/Background: 300 years in the future (united-Earth-type science-fiction, if that helps). The main character in my novel can speak many languages and tends to mutter random phrases/sentences under her breath.

Research: Several language phrase books and online translators

Question: Are the following translations (under cut, below) correct? They don't need to be exactly correct, as the translation is not given in the book (the reader only needs to know that she is speaking another language- what she says is irrelevent) but I would like to avoid insulting anyone's mother.

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Thanks in advance!

Train from Oxford to London 1895

I'm trying to get information about traveling by train from London to Oxford in 1895 or thereabouts. 

I've been able to determine that the route would be from Paddington Station to Verney Junction, (metropolitan railway) and then Verney Junction to Oxford (oxford-bletchley line). 

What I want to know, though, is how often would this route be available each day, and, more importantly, how long would it take?

I've searched "railway timetables late 19th century London," "bradshaw railway timetables," "Bradshaw railway timetables 1895," "Bradshaw railway timetables nineteenth century," "1895 train from paddington to Verney junction," and several other permutations on those phrases that I can't remember.  I'm getting a lot of interesting information about the history of the railway, but no timetables, or even approximate times.
I only need an approximation--accuracy within about half an hour would be sufficient, to be quite honest, though I'd appreciate as much detail as someone can come up with.

Thank you!

Illinois Custody Case, 1987

Setting is Chicago (specifically Cabrini-Green) in 1987.

I have two parents divorcing in my story. There are three children involved in the custody case - for practicality's sake, A (12 years old), B (10 years old), and C (7 years old). Both parents are substance abusers, although I know by Illinois law that this doesn't automatically disqualify a parent from custody. However, in this case, the father does not want custody. The mother is rather ambivalent on the subject, but as she is sent to jail during the middle of their divorce, this becomes irrelevent. Both parents have very little money, and only the mother has a steady job.

One grandparent is living but in a nursing home, and an aunt and uncle refuse to take custody unless there is no other option. A legal guardian isn't viable at this point. Therefore, the only person left is the mother's uncle, who is willing to take the children in. I have the children going to live with this uncle, who lives in rural Minnesota.

So what I'm wondering is: how plausible is this? How would the judge react? I'm assuming there would be a guardian ad litem for the kids, and what would his/her stance be? I'm looking for details here of how everything would work. My parents are divorced, so I know some of the other details, but it never quite ended up going to court.

Thank you!

Searched terms: all sorts of combination of 'parents', 'custody', 'Illinois', and all other terms that would indicate a parent doesn't want custody.

ETA: For clarification - I'm not wondering if this can be allowed so much as how it can be allowed as it is a pretty central plot point.

  • kchasm

What Scientific Principle is This?

 Setting: Present day.

I'm in a bit of an odd situation here. I did some searching, actually found the information I was looking for...and failed to understand it at all, because I am not good at science. So here I am.

Question: Water is traveling through a tube. When the tube is narrowed, the water travels faster. What principle/effect/et cetera is exhibited here?


Detecting accents in one's second language

Setting: Present day U.S.

Googled: Accents, second language accents, received pronunciation

The scenario: One of my characters leads a double life. In one of his roles, he speaks with a British accent, in the other, with an American accent. (I haven't figured out the particular regional dialects—the character is American, and affecting a British accent is one of the ways he disguises his identity.)

One of my protagonists has encountered both personae and has no reason to suspect that they're the same individual. This character is Russian. He's been living in the U.S. for two decades and speaks English fluently, but occasionally trips up on idioms and has a very noticeable accent.

My question: Would he notice the difference between British and American accents? I know I can't tell the difference in regional French or Spanish accents, but I don't speak either fluently.

ETA: That was fast! I love this comm.
Evil Manifest
  • kdorian

Sniper Rifle Airline Luggage

Quick question on checking and then claiming a gun case containing a sniper rifle and ammo when traveling by air.

Setting is 2003-2004, America, and the man checking and claiming the rifle case is a fully accredited FBI sniper (Ian Edgerton from Numb3rs). I am assuming he does not have a Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed certificate or equivalent, so he could not take it as a carry-on even if he wanted to.

The case will meet all standards set by the TSA  for transporting guns as luggage; hard-sided case, securely locked, he has a key to give to TSA while the case is checked (after which he reclaims the key), only a small amount of ammo packed securely and completely enclosed, rifle is unloaded, will in no way be marked to indicate it contains firearms, etc.

What I need is a quick walk-through. Starting at the check-in counter, he would declare the gun, and...? Would TSA be called to the counter? Would he have to take the case to a special area for inspection? Would the ticket agent take the case and then he would meet TSA agents (who would have the case) elsewhere? What paperwork would he need to fill out (titles or general descriptions)?

On the other end, what steps would he need to take when picking up the case? Somehow I can't quite believe that it would come down with all the other checked baggage - does he need to go provide ID to claim it, and where/from who would he receive it?

ETA: This is a domestic flight, from LA to DC, so there are no international issues.

ETA 2: Walk-through verification and additional sub-question posted to ask_a_cop here.