August 22nd, 2013

Thrall - My Heart Calling

Russian teenagers - school and culture

I have a few questions about schooling in Russia, specifically Moscow, around 2000.

I googled using search strings such as "russian school grades", "russian school ages" and "russian school discipline" (though that last one netted me more bad p0rn than useful info) and found out that:
- school is mandatory for Russian children between the ages of 6 and 15, though if you want to "graduate properly" and go on to higher education you need to stay till 17.
- exams are held in June, at the end of the school year.
- any kind of corporal punishment of students is strictly forbidden, but teachers can often be quite harsh in criticizing students, even in front of their class.
- there aren't really any objective standards for grading, it depends on the teacher's opinion of the student's performance.
- a student who doesn't "perform up to standards" can be held back a year.

However, I still wonder...

How do teachers adress each other, and their students? I know student to teacher is always first name + patronymic, and I presume teacher to teacher would be the same unless they were friends as well as colleagues, but would the average teacher adress their students the same way, or by first name only, or what?

My main character is very smart, but prone to acting out (fighting with/beating up other kids, minor vandalism, that sort of thing). What kind of disciplinary measures would the school take? Is it at all plausible that despite doing well on tests, he'd be given poor enough grades to be held back?

Are grades and exam results considered private info in Russian schools, or would they be posted/announced publicly?

Oh, and the bonus question: could you name a few bands/TV shows/similar that were hot among Russian teens around 2000? I'm thinking something like Justin Bieber, where even if you don't like his music and in fact you define yourself by being Not The Kind Of Person Who Listens To That Crap, you couldn't help but be aware of him. I know T.a.T.u. were a big deal around that time, would they count?

Slang or terms meaning deferred

Okay all I am working on chapter titles and am looking to play off the title: A Fate Deferred.  I attempted to google this but it was a shot in the dark.  Terms included "synonyms for deferred", "slang for delaying tactic", "delaying tactics in sports" delaying tactics in chess"

Things I got that I liked: stonewall, filibuster, ploy
Things that I got that I didn't like so much: hoax, susppended

What I would really like are terms specific to a topic or group (sport, chess, etc) that would give someone familiar with the term a unique picture.  I am totally open to any language as long as you can give me a good description of the nuiances.  The fandom is Harry Potter not that that makes much of a difference in this case.

Thanks for the help!
[Wolf's Rain] *Blinku*

Somehow pretending the geocentric model is still viable

As we all know, the earth revolves around the sun, aka the heliocentric model.

However, let's pretend that, for some reason, in modern society today, people still use the geocentric model, aka the earth is stationary and the sun and everything else revolves around the sun. unfortunately according to my research we don't have to pretend too hard; apparently ~20% of the US/UK/Germany/Russia still think this but let's pretend our education isn't that bad

1) How far into bizarro land will I need to twist the Ptolemaic system to account for various things we know in astronomy (stars twinkling, Galileo's observations, Kepler's laws, etc.)

I really don't care how bizarro I'll need to get; I actually want to create this giant mess, that I can later refute. It may help that my fictional modern society has magic and gods, and Absolutely And Resolutely Believes that the gods raise the sun and moon (and yet for some reason still tries applying the laws of physics to everything else). Right now I'm using the excuse of said magical gods have created a magical veil around earth that allows them to affect how the sun's light and moon's appearance comes into view to an observer on earth, but everything else follows modern astronomy (including the actual fact that the earth revolves around the sun). Also, my fictional society has not gone space age yet and so we don't have to worry about things like the Hubble telescope and satellite information enlightening everyone yet.

2) Other than the brief examples I listed earlier, what are various proofs that shows that the earth revolves around the sun?

Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler (and Newton) are the big ones I know, and a few things like twinkling stars and parallax (which I only vaguely understand), but what other observational proofs are there that show that the geocentric model is really, really dumb? In other words, what holes will still exist in my souped-up bizarro Ptolemaic system, that I'll be able to use to refute it?

I could just use the Ptolemaic system as is with all its "deferents" and "epicycles," but I'm not sure it could still hold with modern society, which has telescopes (Galileo) and things like TVs, cameras, etc. I need a system that modern society, with all of its current knowledge in astronomy, can use - and still have the sun/moon revolve around the earth.

I saw a throw-away reference in one of my astronomy books with some attempts after Copernicus to still have a geocentric model was to have the earth at the center, the sun/moon orbiting the earth, but have everything else revolving around the sun. Would this even work? Would this model fool my fictional society long enough?

ETA: Confession: this is actually for a tabletop game based on an existing canon so I can't change the existence of the gods or the technology level. Unfortunately one of the player characters is an astronomer so now I need to reconcile the two, which obviously the game creators didn't bother with.