August 11th, 2012

music, serious face

[ANON POST] Telegrams and 19th-century espionage

The short version of my question is, how would one intercept and/or obtain a copy of a telegram addressed to someone else? My story deals partially with the espionage going on in pre-WWI Europe, and one of my characters is trying to get hold of a telegram delivered to someone he knows is a spy. In my research I've been able to turn up all sorts of interesting ways that people used the telegraph system to commit fraud, but no stories of an individual simply stealing someone else's mail. I googled "19th century espionage," "victorian era espionage," "intercepting telegrams," "mail theft," "telegram theft," "espionage and the telegraph," and various combinations of those things, but couldn't seem to find what I was looking for. I looked into the Zimmermann telegram, but that was way more large-scale than what I'm hoping for - in my case it's an individual trying to sneak a look, not an entire government operation. I also looked here (, but couldn't find any mention of someone stealing a telegram. Help?

Opinions wanted: Is this racially offensive to an anglophone audience?


This time, I don't have a research question but a thorny issue that I would like some second opinions on, preferably by people of colour. I know this is probably going to cause a big argument, so my apologies go in advance to the mods (and a potential racism trigger warning for this entire thread to everyone who might need it). But I'm a white, privileged person living in a mainly white, non-anglosaxon first world country with only some fairly recent, voluntary immigration by non-caucasian minorities. So I fear that I can't really judge the potential offensiveness in my writing that could be painfully obvious for my American and British audience.

What I want to do is write a Doctor Who fanfic based on the Silurans and their conflict with humanity. Now, as far as I know, the Silurans were supposed to be an allegory for the Israel/Palestine conflict, when they were originally introduced to the Old School show. Even though this was subsequently largely ignored as the species was developed further, I fear that my use of them will be interpreted as a similar political metaphor, no matter if I intend it to be read that way or not. And that might cause some really unfortunate implications.

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I'm not trying to write this as a metaphor for anything. I know how wrong it is to use aliens and other non-human species to make any kind of point about racism. It's just that I have to work from some point of real human experience, and since humanity hasn't actually made contact with another sentient species yet, racism is the closest analogous behaviour I can come up with in reality.
If anything, this is a "There but for the grace of God" type of story from my own cultural perspective (what with the fortunately aborted  Morgenthau Plan and Allied and Soviet use of POWs as a labor force in the first few years after WWII). But I worry that people from American and British background will see something very different, particularly because aliens are often used for racism allegories in western media.

So, what do you think? Is my story idea too close to real problems of racism? Is it going to be read as a metaphor with awful implications? Would it be enough to explain what mix of sources this story is based on in an author's note? Or should I better just leave this whole idea on the shelf? Obviously my intent doesn't matter when it comes to perpetuating racism, so if this is offensive to people of colour, I'd rather not write it at all. Creative expression and entertaining a subset of the audience isn't worth potentially hurting anyone.
I am

Misprescribed drugs effects and mental illness?

Hello all, so my MC is a teenager (approx 14) who has been misdiagnosed with ADHD and given Adderall. I'm wondering what the long term effects of the drug exposure would be. Approximately a year to a year and a half of taking them.

I'm also wondering what other mental illnesses would be grouped in with ADHD that would warrant hallucinations. My MC has been seeing an 'imaginary friend' but is exhibiting no other schizophrenic symptoms and only seeing this hallucination and believing it to exist.

I've googled Adderall, ADHD, read up on some psychology, information on schizophrenia, childhood psychosis and hallucinations.