In detailing my world and writing, I do a lot of research. I’m a library worker at my Day Job, so I have good access to a lot of sources of in-depth exploration, but there are some questions out there that no published writer has seen fit to answer — and some answers that are easier to find on the internet than in an encyclopedia. And then there are some things that have to be seen to be understood.
Here are some of my recent searches, both for the books and just from curiosity (though spawned by the books).
The melting point of amber:
Amber becomes softer at about 150°C (300°F) and the melting temperature for amber is about 300oC (570°F). However, amber does not really melt (i.e. it does not form a liquid) but rather decomposes above the melting temperature, unlike synthetic resins.
How far a person can throw another person:
How to remove an eyeball without damaging it (warning, graphic images):
Archaic surgical tools:
Optical prism types and concave facets:
The amount of the light spectrum plants use to photosynthesize:
The region between 400 nm and 700 nm is what plants use to drive photosynthesis and is typically referred to as Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR).
The wingspan needed to lift a human:
It seems the biggest specimen to ever achieve [self-powered flight] is the Pteranodon, which weighed anything from 20 to 93kg and had a wingspan of 7 meters.
Blank astronomy star charts:
The glass with the highest melting point:
Fused silica itself is an excellent glass, but, as the melting point of sand (crystalline silica) is above 1,700 °C (3,092 °F) and as it is very expensive to attain such high temperatures, its uses are restricted to those in which its superior properties—chemical inertness and the ability to withstand sudden changes of temperature—are so important that the cost is justified. Nevertheless the production of fused silica glass is quite a large industry; it is manufactured in various qualities, and when intended for optical purposes the raw material used is rock crystal rather than quartz sand.
Whether it is possible to control a blush (Erica!):
Step 3: Avoid feeling embarrassed. The more a person hides his or her blushing and is conscious of it, the more it will probably occur.
The lowest known temperature of a star:
The temperatures on this brown dwarf – a star without the mass to burn nuclear fuel and radiate light – is between minus-54 and 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown dwarfs lack the mass to shed light or much heat, making them hard to detect without a telescope that can use an infrared lens.
How to hydrate an unconscious person — subcutaneous fluids:
Hypodermoclysis has been an alternative option to the traditional intravenous route for over 50 years. This method involves the insertion of a 21 or 23 gauge butterfly cannula under aseptic conditions into subcutaneous tissue.
Regaining scar tissue mobility:
Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning the same as they did before the injury or incident. Normal functioning tissue runs in the same direction, for instance, with tendons and ligaments. This allows for proper biomechanical movement. Scar tissue runs in multiple directions and restricts proper movement or very often causes pain.
How to perform an ear-clap:
The human (and animal) visual spectrum:
What happens to debris in lungs:
The inside of your lungs are coated in a thin layer of mucus. This fluid performs several functions, and has some very special properties, but one of the more basic ones is that it will capture dust and particles that enter your lungs.
One the particles are captured, cells lining your airways that have microscopic “fingers” called cillia wave the fluid up the sides of your lung airways (bronchial tubes). This moves the mucus into your throat, where it is typically swallowed unconsciously, or coughed or spit out. This is how dust and small particles typically exit the lungs.
And the origin and distribution of red hair:
This, of course, is in addition to a bajillion image searches for glacier ice, mahogany, angry red squirrels, bunraku puppets (because of its mention in an Uncanny Valley discussion), olivine, the Great Blue Hole, thorn trees, witchgrass, bee vision, cranberry bogs, landsknecht, derpy eagle photos, et cetera.
I can only hope that some of this is as useful to you as it was to me. 😀
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched?
Well then, I’m sure the knowledge about removing an eye is useful… It must be in a book.
I’m sure it is, but we’re a public library, so we don’t have opthamology textbooks on hand. And GIFs and videos are super-helpful in understanding lots of the sciences (not that there were any involved in the eye-pages) — I should re-find this one page of engineering GIFs, because they illustrated mechanical motions I couldn’t comprehend with just my brain and the text.
You’re lucky to be able to have quick access to a library, since you work there. Living in Japan, I don’t really have access to English books in libraries. Not so convenient.
A lot of library systems have large e-book collections these days. If you have friends or relatives in English-speaking countries who wouldn’t mind sharing their library card, you can generally access those e-materials from abroad. Just don’t tell them I sent you.
I already have too many eBooks on my phone, and no time to look at anything borrowed. For now, I’m stuck with the internet.
As long as you get your internet info from reputable sources, that’s usually fine! (I really hope no one who’s tripped over my blog via random searches for mentalism or pictographs has taken my stuff as real.)
I usually check the sources. But then, it depends on what it is.
Why were you researching landsknecht? That’s a very Dutch word! And on the blushes, I’m pretty sure I said he *tried* to control it, not that he succeeded. >.<
Also, some of your searches freak me out.
I’d seen some drawings of landsknecht a while back, in a reference book, and recently decided that I wanted my ogre-blooded mercenaries to dress like them. Obviously I needed pictures. :3
I can relate entirely. My novel-in-progress has an assumed Iron-Age setting with culture and technology based heavily on my studies of Ancient Greece. I’ve had to do research on stuff like what kinds of poisons would be available (a very long list) and whether or not they’d have had locks and keys for prison cells (of a primitive sort).
It’s always fun to trip over interesting information while researching. I feel like I can enlighten the world just a little bit! 😀