May 2nd, 2013

[ANON POST] Anti-semitic myths about mind-reading

I have a really bizarre question, and unfortunately not a fun bizarre question. It's a making-sure-my-story-isn't-accidentally-offensive question. Are there any anti-Semitic myths involving telepathy/mind-reading? (My telepath isn't Jewish, but his step-family is.) There's no reason there should be, but I wanted to make sure.

I've asked people, both Jewish and non-Jewish but knowledgable, and I've Googled all the variations I could think of on "anti-Semitic myths mind-reading" and "anti-Semitic myths telepathy," and I've found nothing.

Drinking and Smoking

I don't know if this can be answered, but I want to get an idea about how it makes people feel to drink alcohol or smoke a cigarette. And I'd like to hear about a range of alcoholic beverages. I'm not looking for how people feel when drunk. I'm looking for the feeling from a glass or two. Since I can't use my own impressions, I don't want to simply rely on cliches from reading. I've asked people that I know, and either they aren't good with words or it simply isn't something that can be described to a teetotaler.

First off, I know the clinical effects of alcohol. That's not what I'm looking for.

Second, I don't have a good impression because I just don't like it enough to drink more than a sip for curiosity's sake. I once got down the equivalent of half a glass of wine by taking a single sip of various people's wine and felt what I'll have to assume is tipsy (a little flushed, a little loud). And I did drink half a mudslide once. Similar feeling, but not something worth drinking on a regular basis for.

So, what does it make people feel that they do it again? Or always have one after dinner? Or what does it do for someone who is down or upset?

If my character is having a rough day, does she reach for some just because it's habit and it's the habit that is comforting? Or is it something more?

While we're at it. What is it about smoking? Aside from satisfying an addition. What feels good about smoke in the lungs? That's not meant to be facetious or sarcastic.

[ANON POST] Resource Post: Firearms Information for Writers - What Would You Like to Know?

Hi all! I've been an active Anon on here for a while--mostly on firearms topics--and I love this place! I just started a blog, and partly because of being active here I'm motivated to do an ongoing series on gun basics for writers (I work with firearms professionally). I've done one post so far (here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/2012/08/28/gun-basics-for-writers-the-three-rules-of-gun-safety/)), but I'd like to invite people from this community to ask questions (either here on this post or by commenting on my blog) and inquire about what types of firearms topics you feel like it's difficult to research online. Wondering how different weapons feel? What gun owners' attitudes are like? Believable gun malfunctions? Let me know what types of information you would appreciate having detailed guides to.

Questions about all eras of weaponry are welcome. (Questions about military tactics and gunshot wounds, on the other hand, I would not consider myself qualified to address, except in a peripheral sense.)

Again, this will be ongoing, so feel free to hop over at any time and suggest something you would like to hear about! I'm at http://www.slhuang.com/blog/ (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/).

(This is for general firearms topics -- Little Details is of course still the best place if you want to know what type of weapon Character A should have. :) But as always, I'll be lurking here to pitch in on those questions, too!)

Absorption of blood into soil

So this is a weird question that is hard to research without people thinking you are a serial killer, but here goes: the set-up is an alternate history of Classical Rome, set about 400 CE. The religion still includes regular sacrifices, but instead of focusing on the smoke rising into the sky, it focuses on the blood soaking into the ground. So what would happen if you regularly soaked the same area (not sure on size, probably like a tennis court) with blood for 600 years? The sacrifices are usually big animals like cows, sheep, and goats with a few humans when times get bad. The rites mostly want the blood pumped out as the victim is dying- not a lot of effort to drain the maximum amount possible- and the priests are trained to slash the carotid artery. They dig up and turn the soil once a year but do not remove or replace it (unless that turns out to be really unrealistic, in which case they might have to start over from time to time).

Would it smell?
What, if anything, could grow there?
How much blood can soil absorb, and long does it take to dry?

How many victims at a time and how often the rites are performed are related to what I find out about the above. I don't want a situation where the soil would be constantly soupy nasty mud but I'd like the temple to be creepy.

I tried Googling variations on blood absorption, but that got me things entering the blood, not the blood entering anything else. I also checked sites and books about forensic blood analysis and some of the experiments done on the Body Farm, but none of that was helpful in determining what the ground would look like or the long-term effects of repeated soaking. Finally I checked the library for information on Aztec sacrificial rites since they were the bloodiest I could think of, but nothing on what happened with the blood.