March 9th, 2011

ixchel-spiral goddess

Medieval Islam

I'm researching for a story set in 1045 Al-Andalus (Moorish medieval Spain) and I'm trying to discover whether historically Muslims would be prohibited by religion from working (as in commerce) on Fridays, comparable to the way Christians were prohibited from working on Sundays and Jews on Saturday.

I've Googled just about every combination of Muslim, Islam, historical, holy day, work, commerce, prohibition etc. and I still haven't found an answer.

Anyone out there have a clue?

EDIT: Answer found. Thank you very much for the help.
Vulcan Prejudice

Average age of child birth etc. in the Victorian Era

So I have a character that was displaced from time when he was 25 in 1873 which means he was born in 1848. He is a scholarly character that is a second generation (subject to change) Canadian (United Providence of Canada). I am currently trying to fine tune his ancestry. He has a very English name but his surname in Moraeu so I wanted his British Grandmother to have either married a French Canadian or a French man and then move to Canada. So he would have relatives in England and France that it would be feasible for him to be in touch with/able to visit. I wanted him to be the fourth child out of five, since I read that in 1800 the birth rate was 7 children and by 1900 it was 3.5 children (I realise that not all the children would have survived, but they wouldn't neccessarily all have died either). So I am trying to figure out how old his parents would have been when his mom gave birth to him and then the ages of his paternal grandparents were when they gave birth (roughly) I’m trying to figure out if I’d be talking New France, Providence of Quebec or Upper or Lower Canada. That way, I can decide whether the paternal relative was already in Canada or not. It will also help me fine tune his character. Since even though the story is set in 2011 he was time displaced and would still have this Victorian air and connections to family history fresh in his mind as if it happened yesterday and not 138 years ago. I had found titles of many useful books but I live in a small town and cannot find them online for free or at the library. And I cannot get google to give me and dates, ages, etc.

So does anyone have any ideas?

Also any ideas on the French vs French man living in Canada ancester which one would be more likely to occur?


Comatose dreaming.

Is it possible to dream while in a comatose state?

Combinations I've Googled ("comatose dreaming" "dreaming while in coma") have given me mixed answers and not much definite factual info, mostly just messageboards that are pretty open-ended. As far as I understand, there are different levels of coma, and coma patients can sometimes have spikes in brain activity while still in the comatose state... But REM sleep is a different state one can't achieve while in a coma, right? One source (LiveScience) says: "Patients in vegetative states pass daily through normal sleep cycles. Their eyes can open, and they have some reflective movement." Does this mean that in some cases they can also dream? If not, disregard the rest of my questions, I guess...

If yes—and this is probably a tough one to answer, but—would the dreams more likely be in color or greyscale? What kind of content could they potentially dream about (shapes, people, etc.)?

Thanks in advance! :)

Checking made-up Japanese place names for a desert region.

UPDATE: This question was submitted over a week ago  and I no longer need answers -- I have handed in the final draft of the novel! For whom it might interest, the  linguaphiles thread  is here.

In the alternative world of my trilogy, Romanitas, North America is divided between the Roman Empire and the Japanese (Nionians.)

I’m editing the third book and I need to check some of my made up place names for plausibility/ludicrousness. These are for places in Nevada and Southern California, so deserts and salt flats as geographical features.

I used language websites and sites on the etymology of actual Japanese place names to construct these, but clearly “do these sound okay” isn’t something you can really Google.

I once came perilously close to naming a place “The Lake of Respiratory Infections” when I was going for “Cold Lake”. So I won’t say  ‘don’t laugh’!


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Posted at both linguaphiles andlittle_details.