Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fun Video Blog Break: Lady Gaga

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Lady Gaga but this is some very interesting insight into what life's all about. Consider this as you're thinking through your New Year's resolution.

And it's clean-- no swearing.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fun Video Blog Break: What is a Transatlantic Accent?

This isn't particularly funny but I found it pretty interesting-- why do actors from the 1930's and 1940's talk so funny? Definitely good for research if you write in the era.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fun Video Blog Break: Cats and Dogs Breaking Bread

I thought this would be a super fun video to show on Christmas Day. A cat hosting a meal with a bunch of dogs. Watch it a couple of times to see all the funny details they've done.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fun Video Blog Break: Jimmy Kimmel/Halloween Candy Theft

I'm all for playing pranks on my children but comedian and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has taken it to a whole new level. Evidently, for four years running, he's asked parents to video their children's responses when they tell them, "We ate all your Halloween candy."

Some of the reactions are very interesting.

And if you need another helping. Here's the one from 2013.

Overall, with Christmas coming in a few days, let's work to teach children gratitude. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fun Video Blog Break: Have You Seen Jesus?

If you're a frequent follower/reader of this blog then you know every Christmas I take a two week blog break but share funny and/or interesting videos to celebrate the Christmas season.

I recently discovered comedian Chonda Pierce. This bit on finding Jesus-- as in Christmas lawn ornaments-- is pretty funny.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Author Question: Delayed Death by Crossbow

Ben Asks:

Here's my scenario that I would appreciate some advice on:

I've got a 25 year old woman that is shot through the left calf and the upper torso (I was thinking, maybe having the upper body shot piercing her shoulder) by crossbow bolts made of wood in my fantasy novel. The weapons that shoot her are each one-hand-held, meaning that they can be aimed and fired with only one hand.

What I need to know is this:

1. Would this outright kill the character?

2. If yes, where on the average human female body can I have two crossbow bolts made of wood puncture that body in such a way as to negate instant death, but still leave months of recovery time for that character, if she gets the proper medical help fast enough?

For background information, the science level of the world I am writing is roughly the same level we have today in America and Europe, the same with this world's medical tech and knowledge.

Jordyn Says:

Thanks for sending me your questions.

1. A wound to the calf is unlikely to outright kill someone immediately. Any bleeding that's not controlled if brisk enough can lead to death. Infection is a risk with any wound-- particularly those that are caused from things (like arrows) that penetrate the body deep into its tissues leaving bacteria and other microorganisms behind.

The shot to the torso has more likelihood to cause death if it hits the right structure. On the left side of your chest are your heart, great blood vessels, and lungs. If the shot was more to the shoulder then an outright kill would be less likely and the risks above would be more prominent (bleeding and infection).

2. A shot to the calf and the shoulder have the potential to set your character back several months. If you don't want the character to die-- I would avoid having a shot to the torso. A projectile to any extremity can cause the bone underneath to fracture. Fractures typically take 6-8 weeks to heal.

If you didn't want to go with a fracture of the bone from the projectile-- you could have onset of infection (depending on how sick you'd want her to be for those months). Systemic infection can easily cause death. Local infection to the wounds can be problematic as well. You could also go with tendon damage to the arm or leg which would inhibit movement of the extremity. Healing and rehab of tendon and/or ligament damage can take months as well. Whenever an extremity isn't used because it's immobilized you always get muscle atrophy (muscle wasting) which causes weakness of the arm/leg, etc. It takes time to rehab that as well.

Good luck with your novel!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How Long Can Some Survive Without Adrenal Glands?

Jessica asks:

In my story idea one of the things my serial killer does is remove her victim's adrenal glands(she has illegal organ harvesters do this), then put him in an underground maze and see how far he manages to make it out of the maze before he collapses and dies. This character dies.

What I wanted to know was:

1. Is this idea realistic? Would he actually survive long enough to try and find his way out of a maze, or would he just collapse there and then?

2. If not, could I make it realistic somehow, for example, by having the killer give him some steroid hormones before dropping him in the maze, but then no more?

3. What would actual removal, as opposed to, say, Addison's disease, do to him? Like how severe would the effects be - would be just be a little bit weak and then deteriorate, or would he be really sick right away?

4. Something she does to another victim is render them completely deaf. How easily could she do this?

Jordyn Says:

The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and release cortisol and epinephrine. You do have some of these hormones circulating at all times that will probably last somewhere between 2-4 hours. As to how long your character could last probably depends on how long and how much energy they would have to expend in the maze.

For instance, a five minutes stroll and he's out then he's probably alive at the end. However, if it's a long arduous maze and he's being chased by a serial killer, the victim will burn through their hormone reserves much faster and would be more likely to succumb to death more quickly.
Giving steroids could lengthen the amount of time they could live for. Patients with Addison's disease, where the adrenal glands aren't working properly, generally take supplemental steroids twice a day.
I would imagine the effects of immediate removal of the adrenal glands would cause the patient to be sick right away. In Addison's disease, the symptoms develop slowly over time because there is still some amount of these hormones being released. In surgical removal, there's no further release from the glands, just what the patient has remaining in their blood stream. And remember, surgery in and of itself, is a stressor to the body which would likely use up some of these hormones as well. I would do some reading on Addisonian crisis to get a clear picture of how soon and how sick the patient/victim would be.

It is easy to render someone deaf by puncturing the tympanic membrane and removing one of the ossicles (or one of three bones in your middle ear.) 
Hope this help. Your book idea sounds very intriguing!

And shout out to Liz for helping me with this question.