foxfinial: (Default)
[personal profile] foxfinial
I've been researching 19th Century Turkmen people for a short story I'm currently working on, and while plenty of my research has proved really useful for the story, there're some awesome tidbits that I have no way of working in. And so, I bring them to you!

• Pre-Islamic beliefs apparently linger among the Turkmen, such that "Even today, in some extremely remote areas, one can occasionally see the skull and skin of a sacrificed horse hanging on a tree or shrub." These sacrifices are to Tengri, currying favours.
• Zengibaba is the saint-protector of cattle.
Source: Rafis Abazon, Culture and Customs of the Central Asian Republics, Greenwood Press: 2007.

• "Remnants of totemism cited by Rashid al-Din indicated that each tribe revered a bird that was not touched or eaten." (But it was unclear whether this referred to Turkmen or other Turkic peoples.)
• For the bridal wedding procession, where the bride goes to her husband's yurt, there are small carpet-covers for the camel's knees, "in deference to the camels' well-known sense of modesty."
Source: Louise W Mackie & Jon Thompson, eds. Turkmen: Tribal Carpets and Traditions, The Textile Museum, Washington DC: 1980.

• [a certain river] "is fabulously rich in fish at about four or five geographical miles from its mouth, so that its waters appeared almost coloured by them, and are in summer hardly drinkable. After I had only twice used it for washing, my hands and face acquired a strong fishy smell."
Source: Arminius Vambéry, Travels in Central Asia, John Murray: 1864.
alias_sqbr: (I like pi!)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
This isn't so much leftover as something I found while researching something else: Sangaku, Japanese geometrical puzzles in Euclidean geometry which people placed in temples during the Edo period (1603–1867). Sometimes a mathematician would solve a problem then put the problem but not it's solution in a temple as a way of saying "I have solved this, now you do it!".

Also Japanese mathematicians developed their own form of mathematics parallel to that of the West during the Edo period, though I can't find any concrete descriptions in English of how exactly it differed. They seem to have found a lot of the same theorems as their European contemporaries independently (and sometimes first) but afaict didn't have as advanced techniques of differentiation or any integration and used more geometric series etc. (In particular, no Galois theory afaict. Possibly only interesting to me because I really like Galois Theory :))

This site about Sangaku thinks they weren't as popular nor Japan as cut off as is generally thought.
oursin: Let's not panic just yet. Breath deeply & untwist the knickers (knickertwist)
[personal profile] oursin

This is not exactly left-over research, but it's certainly research I currently have going spare.

Word on the street is that a Certain Well-Known Writer of Historical Romances has compared fanfic of her works to white slavery (not in the current kerfuffle, but in an earlier debate on a posting board somewhere).

I'm not sure how it played out in other regions, but in the UK 'white slavery' became very early on a synonym for the drugging and kidnapping of perfectly innocent young girls* while they were out shopping, in cinemas, having a cup of tea in Lyons Corner House, etc.

It was pretty much entirely a sensationalist media trope, which profoundly irritated dedicated workers in moral reform and social purity organisations whenever it surfaced in the early C20th equivalent of the tabloid press. They repeatedly pointed out that in no case where it had been claimed that a girl had been abducted by brothelkeepers for their malign purposes had this ever turned out on investigation to be the case, and in most instances in which a young woman had left home and not returned, she had gone off of her own accord, usually with forethought and planning, to e.g. shack up with a boyfriend.

There is also an amusing letter written to the papers as late as the 1950s (when these myths were still flourishing) by a woman doctor pointing out that it's not really that easy to inject a fully clothed person both surreptitiously and effectively with a narcotic drug in the middle of a crowded public space, not to mention have it act with the expedition that would have been necessary if the stories were true.

The myth crops up persistently in fiction and memoirs of the early C20th (Jessica Mitford alludes to it in Hons and Rebels and in Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle Cassandra is suspicious of a hospital nurse she spots in Lyons Corner House on account of having heard these tales).

I was particularly struck by the resemblance to this trope of the stories that started cropping up later in the C20th about people who had been doped and had their kidneys removed...

*Okay, I think it can plausibly be argued that the whole thing was strongly connected to women's increasing presence in public spaces for leisure activities and without chaperonage and the fears that aroused.

oursin: Drawing of hedgehog in a cave, writing in a book with a quill pen (Writing hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Proviso: I am writing as a historian with a large number of physical and digital files of research materials relating to books and articles already written and published, as well as stuff I took notes on or had copied that wasn't strictly relevant to the project I was working on but looked interesting.

Even the files specifically created for a particular project contain a fair amount of material which didn't get into the finished product.

Nonetheless, I hang on to these files, on the grounds that
a) I may need to go back to the original materials at some point;
b) The stuff I didn't use might come in for another project.

I'm perfectly happy, should someone mention something they're researching, which makes me go 'aha! I found something of relevance in X archives when I was looking for something slightly different', to pass on copies of anything of relevance I might have to them.

But I'm really, really, reluctant to think that the basic materials are ever actually finished with.

Is this terribly idiosyncratic of me, or do other people hang on to research in case it might come in handy at some future date?

Anyway, this is a sort of excuse for why I've never actually posted anything to this community, in spite of the aforesaid files.

crevanfox: (bad day)
[personal profile] crevanfox
Number of dead through out history

The current population is pretty small, by comparison. Or maybe it's a frightening percentage of all the people to have ever lived. I'm not sure.
msilverstar: (elijah-pete hee!)
[personal profile] msilverstar
I have this thing about raw numbers, because inflation exists, and the rest of the world exists!

real numbers )


Messy but useful page about inflation

(I stuck it in [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's journal, but wanted to share more.)
pachamama: (Default)
[personal profile] pachamama
First labour which is completely unmedicated commonly lasts around 24 hours or more. The waters-breaking-oh-my-god-contractions of the tv sitcom almost never ever happens. Waters most commonly break during transition from First stage (contractions) to Second Stage (pushing), and contractions often start out as mild and indistinguishable from Braxton-Hicks, only slowly evolving over hours into something painful and significant.

The later the waters break often the slower the labour because the baby's head isn't pressing as firmly against the opening cervix, but the fewer the complications due to misalignment which can happen when the waters break and the head comes down crooked or with a hand by the face (complex presentation)and the lower the risk of secondary infection. Waters breaking late is also often a sign of good nutrition during pregnancy.

"Back labour" (labour pains which focus in the lower back) is caused often by a baby who hasn't rotated (ie is "sunny side up" or face-to-pubic-bone. Back labour is often slower too, again because the hardest part of the baby's head isn't located where it needs to be to make that cervix streeeeetch.

Having the chord wrapped around the neck is not usually any big deal for an experienced midwife -- they just reach in and unwrap it before the next contraction which will birth the shoulders. Baby is still getting oxygen through the umbilicus at that time, so "strangling on the chord" is largely a myth.

Very large babies may cause tearing of the perineum at the birthing of the head, but if a baby is going to get "stuck" it is normally at the birthing of the shoulders, which in a large baby is the trickiest bit.

One of the riskiest parts of birth for the mother is the Third Stage or birthing of the placenta. A retained or partially retained placenta is a real problem, as is post-partum haemorrhage which tends to occur when the womb doesn't contract adequately after the placenta separates, and the separation point continues to bleed copiously. Suckling at the nipples releases ocytocin which assists the contraction to occur, which is why midwives put babies to the breast right away.
dechant: (Default)
[personal profile] dechant
-- That which hides a bloke's wedding tackle is a gaff. They are not exactly cheap, so if Philip were to tear one off Finn's body in a fit of lust, Finn would very likely ask him to replace it.
-- Philip is what's known as a bear, though he'd never self-identify as such. He's your man's man: affectionate to loved ones but gruff on the outside, drinks only marginally less than he fights, tinkers with just about everything. He won't shave anything but his face, and God help you if you get near him with body wax.
-- Speaking of hair removal methods: electrolysis is slow and painful. Finn, if he really wants it all gone (or significant parts thereof) would look at lasering, since he's a pale brunette. If he had been a tanned blonde, he would have been cautioned against the procedure by any dermatologist worth hir salt. Lasering isn't 100%, either; some hair will come back far lighter and thinner.
-- Dubai, as part of the United Arab Emirates, does indeed have an emir and not a sheik.

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Jun. 1st, 2009 10:34 pm
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[personal profile] commodorified
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sidravitale: starwars amidala 'strength' LJ icon by musesrealm (starwars amidala strength musesrealm)
[personal profile] sidravitale
Interesting tidbits I have to share (not done reading it):

1. The various tribes thought of themselves as different portions of a longhouse, because they all were "people of the longhouse". So, the Mohawks were the east door, and I'll have to list the rest when I get back home. (ETA: "The Senecas were known as the 'keepers of the western door' and the Mohawks as the 'keepers of the eastern door." The Onondagas were the firekeepers, at the geographic center of Iroquoia. That leaves the Oneida and the Cayuga, not sure about their longhouse section names.)
2. Men sat in council but were elected by the senior women of the tribe, and families were matrilineal.
3. They had "mourning war," sponsored/egged on by the women of the community, and used to replace lost relatives (and thereby indirectly maintain the size of the kinship group) if the loss of that relative was too greatly felt to be assuaged by time.
4. When capturing 'slaves' (to replace lost relatives), some would be kept as new family, and others - usually strong men, de facto warriors - would be tortured to death and sometimes? frequently? cannibalized. The men taken for torture would exhort their captors to do their worst, and taunt them to make their torture more horrific, to show their strength. The more the man could endure, the more highly he was regarded, even though a nominal enemy. (ETA: by eating him, the strength he showed in his torture and death was absorbed into the group.)
5. We look at them as tribes, but they a) shared linguistic background, using the same term to describe themselves (people of the longhouse), and b) divided themselves into crisscrossing networks of kinship groups (localized family groups).
6. They divided the world into "us" and "them" via trade. Either you were someone they traded with, or someone they warred with. If you traded with them, they viewed you as part of their confederation, basically.
7. Replenishing bonds between communities in this enormous network, included a ceremony grounded in consoling the bereaved, where part of the participants take on the role of inconsolable, and there's a whole ritual to make them whole and address their grief. It all seems to go back, IMO, to the death of one of the creator-twins who helped make all the animals and men of the world. (ETA (here's the legend, note it says nothing about the creator-twins, but having one die as part of the creation mythos is just too telling for me to let go): "Iroquois oral tradition tells . . . a virgin Huron woman living north of Iroquoia gave birth to a son." To wit, Deganawidah, the Peacemaker, who traveled to Iroquoia, preaching peace. He converted Hiawatha, "an Onondaga who had killed and eaten many of his enemies but whose grief over the loss of his own daughters left him inconsolable. Deganawidah restored Hiawatha's well-being by giving him three strings of beads while reciting words of condolence." The three strands dried his tears, cleared his throat (so he could speak), and opened his ears (so he could hear [the Peacemaker's message]). Hiawatha went on to heal the hate of an Onondaga sorcerer named Tadadaho, whose hate had twisted his body and even his hair. Hiawatha and Tadadaho founded the Iroquois League to preserve Deganawidah's message.)
8. Ergo, the concept of loss, grief, and recovery from that grief, are critical, culturally speaking, not just to an individual grieving, but to the entire community. (ETA: "The condolence ritual described in the Deganawidah Epic became the cermonial centerpiece of the Iroquois League." Conducted annually at the Grand Council.) Essentially, restoration of an injured person is paramount to the maintenance of the collective (kinship group).

Fascinating stuff.

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