April 10th, 2012


Horsey help please?

EDIT: Whoa. let's try that again shall we? Now with proper character aliases. I lost track, sorry. Some writer I'm gonna be!

Character A lifts character B onto a horse who has a bridle and reins but no saddle.
THEN Character A wants to get onto the the horse in front of Character B, who would be hugging Character A from behind.

How does A get on the horse without kicking B in the face?

Corrected. Sorry again for the massive confusion.

Things to do with magnetic magic

So, I have a steam/electropunk story, taking place in an alternate universe but based on 1890's America culture- and technology-wise. In this world, a character is given the magical power to create and alter a magnetic field around him. A friend (or a sidekick, I guess) of his is an electrician and can construct various devices to utilize his magnetic powers. In the beginning, he's not very well-versed in using his powers, and for instance keeps getting ferromagnetic items stuck to himself by accident. Eventually, once he has practiced more, he'll be capable of making the magnetic field around himself anything from so weak it almost disappears to 0,5-1 Tesla strong, but both extremes require considerable exertion and exhaust him after a while.

What I'm trying to find out is a list of different things he could and couldn't do. Things I've googled include: magnets, electromagnets, electromagnetism, alternating current, alternating magnetic field, AC generators, frequency of AC power, Tesla coils (and also both Tesla and Edison to look at the stuff they invented and that would logically exist in my world)... probably a few others I can't recall. I've read most of all the Wikipedia articles that have anything to do with any of those search terms and a bunch of others about the technology of late 1800's, both in English and in Finnish.

All I keep finding is, well, a little too scientific for me to figure out in any kind of reasonable way. So far I have figured out that he can, at the very least, attract ferromagnetic items to himself, induce a current in conducting materials, and work as some manner of railgun. He can't, as far as I can tell, float like a Maglev train or anything like that.

More specifically, what I'd like to know are the answers to the following questions: Can he reasonably create a big enough voltage to run a tesla coil? Can he induce enough current to heat/melt metal? Can he induce enough current to be a danger to other people/potentially himself? Is it reasonable to have him work as a railgun of sorts (of the smaller end, of course, because his body is only so long)? Would there be a conceivable way for him to float? Are there any other things he would probably be able to do that I haven't thought of, with the help of various gadgets or without them? 
Classy Watanuki

Life of a daimyo's children in Edo Period Japan

A story I'm drafting concerns an old daimyo and his three daughters--the youngest of which is the main protagonist of the story--living in late 1700s Japan, around 1795 to be exact.

What might growing up as one of these daughters be like?  What would be expected of them when they reached adulthood?  What kind of relationship would they have with their father?

As I'm still in the very early stages of putting this story together, my research has been a bit low key; mainly Wikipedia articles on daimyo and Edo Period society...and if it counts, many long hours spent playing Nobunaga's Ambition on the SNES. :P

Alzheimer's patient care in 1980s

I'd like to know what kind of daily care a wealthy American man from a socially prominent family, aged about 86 and living with moderate to severe Alzheimer's, would have received in the late 1980s.  I'm specifically interested in how caretakers would have spoken to him, how qualified they might be, and whether or not he would be sedated if he became violently agitated.

This concerns a character who was not close to his family before his onset of AD.  He always had an unpredictable temper and was difficult to be around.  He has been a widower for years.  His grown children, who are also well-off, are not really malicious, but they do not want to be involved in his daily life.  They want to "do the best they can," and then put it out of mind. 

At that time, nursing homes were horror stories, and I don't know if there was another dignified option besides home care.  It seems most likely to me that this man would be kept in an in-law apartment, restricted to a small area of the property, so that is what I have been going with. 

I have used the Google terms "history of Alzheimer's," "Alzheimer's care 1980s," and others, and reviewed the WP article, together with "The Experience and Management of Temporality in Five Cases of Dementia" (Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy 2001:8:85) (look, it came up).  Personally, I did have a great-grandmother with AD during the 1980s, and she was well looked after, but we weren't wealthy and there was not a lot to observe about it.  All I remember is that she sat in her chair in the den all day, and nodded, and rocked.