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Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help - II

  1. #11
    First Year Ravenclaw
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    I believe the talking newspaper would be a separate spell after the translation spell (the blind person would obviously want it spoken in a language he understood). Yet if a spell can make a newspaper change its language, couldn't there just as well be a spell that makes the reader understand the language already printed?

    Whenever I consider the possibility of spells of this type, I see it as a magic that is creating information or knowledge (since we all have to study to learn a new language). One of J.K. Rowling's own Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law is supposed to be information, yet I see many stories that use plots/spells where this supposed basic wizarding world rule is contradicted. Does anyone else ever consider this, or is it just me?

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  2. #12
    Inverarity
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    Oh yes -- Rowling contradicted herself quite a lot. She laid out a lot of rules for how magic works in her world, but she ignored them whenever it was convenient for her plot.

    I agree that a "universal translator" spell doesn't seem very likely. It would require an intelligent spell, and where would its knowledge of the languages to be translated come from?

    I can, however, see spells that are capable of doing partial translations -- dictionary lookups, basically -- with amusing results. Think Google Translator. So maybe you can "translate" a newspaper by transfiguring all the words into the equivalent word in another language (using whatever "dictionary" the spell has available), but the results aren't going to be pretty.

  3. #13
    Lizzy
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    Hi! I have a crazy plot bunny, and it begs the questions:

    Do you have pages in the federal government (like political aides, who run errands like photocopying, message delivering and water-getting)?

    Where's your main military base?

    If the president was going to hold a press conference on international affairs, where would it be?

    That's all I can think of at the moment. I'll maybe come back with more.

  4. #14
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzy
    Do you have pages in the federal government (like political aides, who run errands like photocopying, message delivering and water-getting)?
    Congressmen and Senators have pages (usually high school or college students) who work for them in Washington, D.C. Outside of Congress, they'd be called interns, not pages. Yes, most federal agencies do have internship programs for high school and college students, and mostly what they do is the sort of gopher work you are describing.

    Where's your main military base?
    Er, the U.S. has hundreds of military bases, in and out of the country. The main base for what? The Airborne Rangers? The Pacific Fleet? Infantry or Armored divisons? Nuclear bomber wings?

    If the president was going to hold a press conference on international affairs, where would it be?
    Usually the White House, though if he's traveling overseas, he'll often give press conferences wherever he is visiting.

  5. #15
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Wow, it's been a long time since we had any questions in this thread!


    Do you have pages in the federal government (like political aides, who run errands like photocopying, message delivering and water-getting)?
    Yes, but they're usually called aides or assistants. Actually, the people with these jobs are usually college interns, and most of the time, they aren't even paid.


    Where's your main military base?
    There are military bases all over the country and the world. There really isn't a main one. But I do have this link listing all U.S. military bases and their locations.


    If the president was going to hold a press conference on international affairs, where would it be?
    If he is in Washington, it would probably be on the front steps of the White House. But if in your story, he is in another city, I can give you some other government buildings he could be at.

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  6. #16
    Lizzy
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    Okay, to the root of my plot, sort of (because it keeps changing): food and energy shortage. Do you think the States would be able to produce enough on its own to get by decently in twenty years? How much of your total food do you import, do you think? Because with the energy crisis, there's won't be as many imports/exports.

    Also, global warming: how badly affected do you think you'll be by that?

    And are there any prejudices remaining about the Japanese?

    Oh, and thanks for the help. It was the Pentagon I was looking for, I guess that's not a base. Whoops.

    Thanks.

    ~Lizzy

  7. #17
    tibi jones
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzy
    Okay, to the root of my plot, sort of (because it keeps changing): food and energy shortage. Do you think the States would be able to produce enough on its own to get by decently in twenty years? How much of your total food do you import, do you think? Because with the energy crisis, there's won't be as many imports/exports.

    Also, global warming: how badly affected do you think you'll be by that?

    And are there any prejudices remaining about the Japanese?

    Oh, and thanks for the help. It was the Pentagon I was looking for, I guess that's not a base. Whoops.

    Thanks.

    ~Lizzy
    Without doing a lot of research, I would say the US would be capable of sustaining itself for that time period without food imports. We currently export a great deal as well. There is a lot of unused land that can be used for agriculture. Global warming has the same affect on the US as other areas. We have all climate zones and with lots of cold Polar air meeting lots of warm Gulf air, it will keep the great plains able to sustain an agriculture surge in my opinion.

    Fuel resources would be stretched, but there are many areas not currently being used as a reserve. I think it plausible that without some catastrophe, we would weather the storm so to speak.

    There are prejudices about everyone here. Most are not overt, much of the sentiments toward Japan are neutral at worst I would say. Many Americans find Japanese culture very interesting.

  8. #18
    Inverarity
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    The United States has vast natural resources, and is quite capable of being self-sufficient. Of course, a food and energy shortage would hurt us like everyone else, but if it were global in scale, the U.S. would be better off than much of the world.

    Global warming will affect everyone, but again, we've got a lot of land and a lot of different ecosystems. The idea of the poles melting and Florida and California being underwater is a bit exaggerated. (If the sea level does rise that much, then the entire planet is going to be hosed, and the U.S. will still suffer less than a lot of other places.)

    Yes, the Pentagon is essentially a big office building. There is very little military activity that really goes on there, unless you count lots of 1-star generals fetching coffee for 3- and 4-star generals.

    Anti-Japanese prejudice -- it depends on what part of the country. It also kind of depends on whether you mean Japanese-Americans or Japanese-Japanese.

    The coasts are more metropolitan. The East Coast and especially the West Coast have very large Asian populations (including Japanese, but also Chinese and Koreans and Vietnamese and many others). Racial tensions are usually pretty low-key, and tend to focus on things like media representation and college acceptance rates. You'll rarely hear any overt anti-Japanese (or other anti-Asian) sentiment. (Which is not to say racism doesn't exist, but it's not socially acceptable, so it tends to be more subtle.)

    That's certainly not true of all parts of the U.S., though. If you go into the interior (and I'm not just talking about the Midwest or the South, but inland California or upstate New York, or anywhere away from big cities) you'll find people who by and large don't know any Asians (or often, any other non-white people), and racism tends to be much more common and freely expressed there.

    The sort of prejudice that resulted in the internment camps of World War II is mostly gone, but there's still a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment typified by Michael Crichton's book (later a movie) "Rising Sun," which portrayed Japan as a sneaky alien culture intent on devious political and economic warfare against America.

    That was more common in the 1980s, though, before the Japanese economy crashed and burned. Now that they're in worse shape than us, and have been for nearly two decades, people aren't making so much noise about the threat from Japan, Inc.

  9. #19
    sorrow_of_severus
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    Do you think the States would be able to produce enough [food and energy] on its own to get by decently in twenty years?
    Probably, but it would be a hard adjustment. A big political issue in the U.S. is "energy independence" (the need to produce most of our energy within our own country). You here all about it every campaign season (the months leading up to the big elections that occur across the country every other November). We import most of our petroleum from other countries, namely Canada and Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia.

    The American states around the Gulf of Mexico produce some petroleum, and oil drilling is a major part of Alaska's economy. West Virginia is the state most famous for it's coal mining. I suppose, though, if people are suffering from the repercussions of global warming, they'd probably not want to make it worse by burning fossil fuels. There are places all over the U.S. that are good for wind. One really large site of wind energy production is the Buffalo Ridge, an area along the Minnesota-South Dakota border. Solar energy has more potential in the southern U.S. because this area gets more sunlight. There is a lot of talk about putting up miles and miles of solar panels in the largely uninhabited parts of deserts in the southwestern part of the country, like Nevada.

    I have no idea how much food the U.S. imports. What pops into my mind is that grapes always seem to be from Chile, and I think I've seen apples from China. Something that's talked about more is just generally how far food travels on average from farm field to consumer's fork, something like 1,000 miles to 1,500 miles on average. People all over the country get a major portion of their fruits and vegetables from states that have longer growing seasons, like California and Florida, especially the former.

    If there was a huge energy crisis and people had to stop importing a lot of food, I think Americans wouldn't starve, but it would be a huge lifestyle adjustment. We expect to have any food that we want at any time of the year. People, especially in the colder climates of the northern U.S., would have to get used to having a lot more of things in the winter that store well, like potatoes and squash, and a lot less of things like Californian strawberries and Chilean grapes.

    Remember, the U.S. takes up a significant portion of a continent, unlike any European country, where I'm assuming you're from. If there was limited fuel, people probably wouldn't have the energy import things or even send them across the country. People would start eating and doing things (like vacations) locally and regionally instead of internationally and nationally.

    Are there any prejudices remaining about the Japanese?
    Not that I'm aware of. Everything I've read and heard seems to express shame over our treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

    If the president was going to hold a press conference on international affairs, where would it be?
    What to you mean by "conference"? If you mean press conference, that would probably be at the White House. If the weather were nice, it might be in the White House Rose Garden.

    If you mean summit/meeting with foreign leaders, I'm not sure. It might be in Washington, D.C., or it might be somewhere else like the presidential retreat, Camp David.



    Have I overwhelmed you with all this information yet?

  10. #20
    harryginny4eva61
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    Do you think the States would be able to produce enough on its own to get by decently in twenty years? How much of your total food do you import, do you think? Because with the energy crisis, there's won't be as many imports/exports.
    I don't really know much about the import/export bit, but I think the U.S could likely get through with all their own food. We've got steel plants and such; in fact, there's a large one in Buffalo. There's plenty of oranges in Florida, apples in New York, and grain and wheat I think are grown in the plains area. there's some corn in rural areas too.
    Also, global warming: how badly affected do you think you'll be by that?
    To be honest, I don't find global warming a huge pollution thing, just natural. But we are using wind energy, there's tons of windmills. Solar energy is more isolated. The Niagara Falls give a lot of water energy to New York too.
    And are there any prejudices remaining about the Japanese?
    No, like sorrow_of_severus said, we're pretty ashamed about it.

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