May 2nd, 2012


tracking/uses for smuggled diamonds in the US

time/place: USA, present day

Well, thanks to the answers to my earlier question, I've decided to have the smuggling ring running uncut diamonds instead of ID fraud (hey, it works with the pirate past of my location!)

1) Do all uncut diamonds look like clear rocks, or can they be dark/black rocks as well? I've seen a photo or two, but I think they were all the same source. Also, am I right in thinking that uncut diamonds can't really be tracked or identified?

2) most of my knowledge about the illegal uses of diamonds comes from TV shows. I remember hearing somewhere that diamonds are now tracked and listed on some kind of federal register, because under the Patriot act diamonds now qualify as 'terror funding' or something? Could someone confirm this for me, and possibly give me the correct wording, or even a website to look up the actual law?

3)I've looked up the Kimberley process, as part of gradually weeding 'blood diamonds' out of the world market. This is more of a retail question; if fake papers were produced when the uncut diamonds were sold to a member of The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (in this case, in NYC's diamond district), pronouncing them conflict-free, could they be worth more money?

looked up: diamonds+US+terror, blood diamonds, diamonds+patriot, Kimberley Process

Modern British autopsy report format

I'm looking for some detailed information about modern civilian British post-mortem reports. The story involves a 'John Doe' who fell, jumped, or was pushed to his death, and the pathologist is working in morgue in a major London hospital.

Everything from typical number of pages, paper size, if they would be held in a manilla folder, headings, numbers of photos and X-rays, printed off a computer form or hand-typed, etc.

I've tried using Google and searching the NHS website with a variety of search terms such as autopsy post-mortem report format standards, which gave me a lot of interesting but irrelevant info about celebrity autopsies, the consent guidelines for post-mortem investigations, and some controversy around former policies that led to a huge stockpile of human remains in a certain British hospital that shall remain nameless.

Thanks so much for the help!

Would mandatory gayness shrink Earth's population?

My story's set around 2080, about 60 years after scientists discovered the gay gene and 50 years after they worked out how to turn it on (and off). In an effort to start shrinking the human population, the world's governments have signed laws that mean families can only have more than one child if they switch on the gay gene in that second child. The idea is that the worldwide population will slowly shrink, so there are more resources/jobs/etc to go around.

I've tried googling how many children the average family in the US has (for the moment I'm going off the US statistics with regards all this), but that doesn't really tell me enough, because plenty of anti-gay people won't have that second child, while plenty of gay couples will have children of their own. I've also been researching China's one-child policy, looking at the social and economic benefits it's resulted in (i.e., better and more available contraception, etc).

So my questions are: would this work to reduce the birth-rate/overall population, and what would the economic knock-on effects of it be? (As in, would less people actually mean a better life for those remaining?)

I have been convinced that this is a terrible idea and would not work in practical terms, probably not ever. So thank you for all the comments! But I won't be writing this story XD
Gustav Klimt

Medical help: diagnosing coma + haemorrhage symptoms

USA modern day

Hello everyone. Very glad one of my readers pointed me here and I hope someone knowledgeable can help. I wish I'd known about this comm sooner. :)

I'm writing a story in which a character is shot by a poisoned dart containing a man-made poison and falls off a low building. After he is admitted to hospital, apparently just suffering from broken limbs, he falls into a coma, and once the doctors have revived him, he starts to bleed profusely. So much for my made-up symptoms.

I don't really want to steer the conversation in the direction of things that I have already looked up because I am hoping for a rethink, but as it is a requirement, here we go: I started off with researching the causes of the coma, mainly on Wikipedia and

I thought the doctors might try to initially treat it as an infection since the coma occurred in hospital. However, as a dramatic device, one of my betas suggested a hemorrhage, therefore leading me to investigate whether the doctors might think the drugs used for infections (eg: vancomycin) might cause this. Since "thrombocytopenia" is listed as a side-effect under blood disorders in the British National Formulary for most antibacterials, I went and researched that (for example here) and other possible causes of clotting disorders on Wikipedia (particularly how blood Factors work, Vitamin K's involvement and whether the doctors might assume he was taking Warfarin or other Coumarins). One possible cause of thrombocytopenia and a coma is ALF, so I looked up Acute Liver Failure (mainly on Wikipedia) and I'm wondering if the poison could for instance be producing benign tumours that have started to affect his liver function.

The thing is, the doctors don't know about the poison, so what are the most likely conclusions they might draw from the symptoms above? And what would they do to try and treat the symptoms and whatever condition they think it is?

Suggestions for poisons with interesting effects welcome, though since I need the guy to ultimately make a full recovery, I might have to make that bit up and have some magic antidote...

However, my medical knowledge being limited, I'd prefer some informed discussion, particularly of the dead ends the doctors might investigate in the course of normal diagnosing.

Thanks in advance!