July 9th, 2011

Plausibility check on and scholar's tools for Renaissance-ish culture

I'm writing a relatively low-magic setting, with about early-Renaissance-ish technology, and a European-ish culture (if I had to pin it down, it's probably ~ Celtic). I wanted a brain-check on whether anything I have planned breaks anyone's disbelief suspenders, or is otherwise Wrong, and I wanted tips on day-to-day things I might not have thought of for my character, who is a scholar.

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And, if anyone else has any ideas of day-to-day stuff that I wouldn't have thought of, please feel free to throw those in, too.

edit: I was using "keep" in the sort of vague sense of "fortified place where everyone can live".
And the feud started because of a demon, and has since been a revenge cycle...

Falling into the water

I'm trying to find out what happens when someone falls into the water. Do they stay near/on the surface? Go down and come back up? Go down and stay down?

From a jetty into (sheltered) sea, so about a metre or so. Adolescent boy. Can't swim. Fully clothed.

I thought this would be easy to find, but there's too much noise (falling into the water is one of the most common causes of drowning... also dream interpretations, gaming pages). I've lots of useful stuff on actual drowning but not the prelude.

ETA: I think I replied to everyone. If I missed someone, thank you! Now I have to go and rethink what I've written.

Resource: Primary Surgery

I didn't find any references to this in the archive, but I just stumbled upon a (possibly) great medical resource: Primary Surgery, the online edition of a medical textbook aimed at doctors working with limited resources in developing countries. It's got plenty of illustrations (drawings, not photos) and fairly straightforward descriptions, and while it's certainly not an omnipedia of surgical practice I find it a lot more readable than some of of the other resources I've stumbled into.
  • peefy

Mistaking Heroin for a Baking Ingredient

Hello, all!

I'm writing a play in which a bakery is being used as a front to smuggle heroin, unbeknownst to the women running the bakery. I need to have one of my characters (who is NOT an experienced baker) accidentally use the heroin in place of another ingredient while baking.

Setting/time period: Unsure, just yet, but sometime within the last few decades.

Google-fu'd: Erowid, "heroin," "heroin consistency and texture," multiple pictures of heroin.

Prior knowledge: I've baked a decent amount from scratch, so am relatively familiar with the primary ingredients used in baking, but if there are any less-conventional ingredients or spices any bakers use that could work, that would be helpful too!

Looking at pictures gives me a general idea of what ingredients heroin (more specifically white powder heroin) may be similar enough to to make the mistake, but having never seen the stuff in person, I thought I may see if anyone has a little more knowledge or experience that could help me.

The specific baked good is more up to what works best; it could be cookies, cakes, pastries, breads, whatever.

I need an ingredient that heroin could be conceivably substituted for with no visible effects; it doesn't matter if the taste is off.

So, I've already preliminarily ruled out baking powder/soda (and therefore, cream of tartar), due to how the absence of either of those ingredients could affect how the goods turn out after baking (unless there is a recipe where only the taste/texture of a baked good is affected by a lack of baking powder/soda).

Would powdered sugar be too much of a stretch?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!