May 30th, 2011


College degree program for proficiency in foreign languages

I need my female American character to be fluent in about five languages (Spanish, Latin, Swahili, and two alien languages [one is the native language of an allied planet, the other is the common-language used for trading between planets]), as well as fairly proficient in two other alien languages. The story is set in America in the future, when travel between planets is common and Earth is allied with several alien races.

My character has completed her Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degrees. She got her PhD from Northwestern in Chicago, but her other two degrees could have come from anywhere (not specified in my story). She completed her undergrad in only three years.

Basically my question is, what sort of degree program would she have done? Major in Foreign Languages? From my understanding of the research I did, "Linguistics" is more the study of language and how it works (semantics, syntax, phonetics, etc), and not really about acquiring multiple languages.

Attempted research: the wiki page for "Linguistics", as well as several google searches such as "degrees in foreign languages" and "majoring in foreign languages".

Questions about US Marine court martials, prisoner clothing and height and weight of $3,000,000

I'm writing an NCIS LA fanfic, and I have to place an undercover agent posing as a member of the Marines into a prisoner transport. Her intended target has been found guilty of a number of crimes and is being incarcerated, and the agent has to extract vital information from her before she gets to the detention centre. The easiest way to do that is pretend to be a prisoner on the same transport.

I have googled variations on the searches "US Marine prisoner", "US military prison", "Uniform Code of Military Justice" and read the official web pages for the Marines.

I have several questions.

1) I need a crime that would mean that the guilty person would be locked up rather than punished and kept in the service. Would physically assaulting a superior result in a Marine being imprisoned? If necessary I can say that it was a serious asault requiring hospitalisation.

2) I know that serving US military personnel are subject to the UCMJ and are tried by court-martial. When appearing for this, what uniform would the defendent wear?

3) Once found guilty and transported, would the Marine still wear a standard uniform, or would they wear the orange jumpsuit style prison uniform used in non-military prisons?

And finally, perhaps the strangest of all,

4) Another character in the fic pulls off a heist, stealing millions of dollars. Given that I am a average every-day poor person, I have never seen that amount of money in person before. The heist requires another two people to help get the money into a stolen truck - how much space would three to five million dollars take up, when the notes are in standard bundles? Is that even enough to warrant three people being needed to move it all?

Thank you very much to anybody who can help. I know that this is only a fanfic and that nothing I'm planning would happen anyway, but I'd like make it sound faintly plausible.

Prisoner transport - stun belts/cuffs

 Sorry to post again so soon... but I have spent hours upon hours researching present-day prisoner transport and such in the US, lately, and I am about reaching the end of my rope on one little detail as regards stun belts/cuffs. 

There are many, many places that say that such cuffs (particularly referring to the Band-It variety) can have two settings: to be triggered via a remote, or to be triggered by motion on the wearer's part. I can find all kinds of information on its use in a courtroom setting, and related to its trigger via remote... but nothing at all about the motion-activated setting, except to know that it exists. 

I'd really like to have at least some idea of how it functions - Is it just triggered by fast movements? Does it go off if the person so much as twitches? Is it if the move more than X distance from a certain spot? Are there different ways for it to be triggered? What? 

I have tried dozens of different variations of search terms - from the obvious "how does the motion trigger on X work" to tracking down specific companies and their promotional materials, to searching for manuals under the specific product names, to reading through Amnesty International reports connected with the products. There just seems to be nothing out there related to that function. 

Can anyone give me some details about how the mechanics of this work, or point me toward other search terms I might use?