February 6th, 2014

Is there a good source for how people look after they've died certain ways?

Location: not really relevant, but near future, mostly in the western US
search terms: how bodies look right after death from various causes

For a story I'm working on, I will have a bunch of zombies, who pretty much look as though they are recent corpses that died in various ways (zombification only happens after death, and substantially slows decay). Most of them will be from "normal" deaths--heart attacks, drug overdoses, car accidents, et cetera. Only people who died *relatively* intact (head attached to torso to at least some degree, both at least mostly present) will become zombies.

Is there a good source (preferably not *too* graphic, I'd kind of prefer words to pictures) for descriptions of what the recently deceased from various causes tend to *look* like? Some (like car accidents) I can guess, but I'm more interested in the various "medical" causes of death. Free online sources strongly preferred.

Alternately, if you can mention individual, specific causes of death that leave an interesting and/or distinct appearance, and causes that leave a relatively live-looking corpse, that would be helpful, too. (edit: this is an either/or. Causes that leave a very distinct appearance, and causes that would leave a corpse that looks basically alive)

And, since I'm asking, as a bonus... is there any chemical change that you can think of that more or less distinctly signals "this is a dead body now"? The zombie fungus lives harmlessly in the brain 'til the host dies, then puts on a growth spurt upon death, and I need something to signal "Time to grow now". (didn't search for this, just an additional thing I was wondering if anyone happens to know)

How Were Graphs and Charts Prepared in the 1950s?

Searches: graphs and charts 1950s gouache
graphs and charts 1950s paper
graphs and charts 1950s letraset
preparing graphs and charts in the 1950s
how graphs were prepared in the 1950s
hand-drwan graphs in the 1950s
office graphs before desktop printing

This is one of those things you never think about until it comes up -- I assume that prior to easy desktop publishing, any bar charts, zig-zag graphs, etc. used in an office environment would have had to be drawn by hand, but I don't know if there was a standardized method. Would they (as I imagine) have typically been drawn in pencil on a large sheet of graph paper, then filled in with gouache or watercolour paints? Would captions have been hand-lettered, or added in letraset? Were there standardized colour codes, like, say, blue for projected figures and red for actual figures, or was that all up to the person preparing the chart?

More specifically, here's my scenario -- the company is a small architectural firm, so they've got several draughtsmen on hand. Could they just tell one of the junior ones "our accountant's preparing some figures for a meeting tomorrow, would you mind turning them into a graph," or would that be ridiculously far outside his job description? My own office experience is that as the person who knows how to use both Excel and various graphic-design programs, I get called upon by everyone for everything, but it's possible someone specifically trained in architectural drawing would be assumed to be above that sort of thing. (My story pretty much requires that he *does* stay late to help with the graph, but I'm wondering if his boss should ask it as a special favour, or just as a matter of course.)

[ANON POST] Becoming a Priest under Unusual Circumstances

Setting: Near future, slightly banged up Scotland

Research so far: Netted the following: http://priestsforscotland.org.uk, http://www.catholicpriesthood.com/, http://www.ukpriest.org/, and other, less helpful sites.

The scenario: My MC almost became a Catholic priest in his 20s, but didn't quite finish his training. He subsequently got married, had kids, had partners of both genders, and ultimately, several decades later, had a major role on the winning side of a civil war. His wife and kids are dead, and his actions during the war, while understandable in terms of the just war doctrine, have left him wanting to leave his current life behind and repent.

He's going to make an attempt to rejoin the priesthood that involves contacting his old spiritual director, who gets where he's coming from but, rightly so, recognizes that he's not so much doing it out of faith as out of trauma and wanting to escape. What I'm wondering is basically whether he's immediately rejected or told to think about it for awhile first. If it's the latter, would he have to repeat his education at the seminary or just pick up where he left off? What advice is the spiritual director likely to give him?

Thanks in advance!