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Old 06-21-2023, 04:41 PM   #2831
L.J.Steele
 
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
And, of course, the idea of the Titanic disaster being a hit job is excellent fodder for games (being insurance fraud is a bit less interesting, but also usable - of course, it should be possible to have both be in play). A lot of conspiracy theories are.
There was a SF/F book noting that the rescue ship was Carpathia and speculating about vampiric involvement.
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Old 06-25-2023, 12:55 AM   #2832
Luke Bunyip
 
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

For once, this is not a story about Australian fauna or flora

Fundraising race, where if you make the right bet, you've got to eat the winning beastie.
Which is in this case, a cockroach.
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Last edited by Luke Bunyip; 06-25-2023 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Tangent reduction
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Old 06-25-2023, 09:54 AM   #2833
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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And in other news...

Harvard Med School morgue sold donated bodies on the black market

https://www.wbur.org/news/2023/06/15...man-body-theft

Sad as the news is, it could easily be a plot seed.
The first thing I thought of was:
Dr. Orpheus: It's powered by a FORSAKEN CHILD!?
Dr. Venture: Might be, kind of I mean, I didn't use the whole thing!
Sadly for the sake of gaming and faith in humanity, it seems to have been an effort to make a buck off of curiosity collectors. No rituals to keep ancient evils sealed or anything interesting like that.
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Old 06-25-2023, 08:56 PM   #2834
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The first thing I thought of was:
Dr. Orpheus: It's powered by a FORSAKEN CHILD!?
Dr. Venture: Might be, kind of I mean, I didn't use the whole thing!
Sadly for the sake of gaming and faith in humanity,
Actually, this accords pretty much precisely with my faith in humanity, esp. academic/'altruistic' humanity. They behaved as I had faith they would. :lol: :sigh:
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Old 06-26-2023, 08:45 AM   #2835
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Sadly for the sake of gaming and faith in humanity, it seems to have been an effort to make a buck off of curiosity collectors. No rituals to keep ancient evils sealed or anything interesting like that.
I mean, the fact there is a trade in human body parts for curiosity collectors is fodder for games - when the characters come across a case of someone buying up human organs, there's no way to know for certain if their dealing with a cannibal of some sort (or someone feeding a ravenous demon; in Diablo IV there's a quest where you kill a demon, and your NPC companion cuts open its belly to see if the remains of those it's been fed have any clues as to where its master is currently located), an occultist doing a profane ritual, a mad scientist trying to pull a Frankenstein, or just some weirdo decorating human skulls and posting about it on Facebook.
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Old 06-26-2023, 09:46 AM   #2836
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And, of course, the idea of the Titanic disaster being a hit job is excellent fodder for games (being insurance fraud is a bit less interesting, but also usable - of course, it should be possible to have both be in play). A lot of conspiracy theories are.
GURPS Time Travel Adventures has an adventure where two opposing teams are trying to make sure the right people survive and the wrong people don't. They have different lists, of course.
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Old 07-02-2023, 01:06 PM   #2837
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

Here's a nice medical element for a fantasy setting, or even (with sufficient cleverness) a hard-sci Bronze/Iron Age setting!

Tilapia skin has been used in recent years as a wound dressing for burns, preventing infection and promoting regrowth of skin without scar tissue. Note that this is tilapia specifically, due to commonalities between this and human skin. Sharkskin isn't going to do as well. Naturally, on a non-Earth planet, some other fish would be needed - perhaps a similar light-fleshed freshwater fish. Slice it as thin as your obsidian surgeon's knives can cut it, and put on a few layers above the burn. Change every 4-6 days for the first few weeks.

An important step in this process, however, is sterilization of the skin. Boiling is actually pretty bad, because it destroys the structural properties that make the skin useful as a bandage/graft.

So this paper tested a few sterilization procedures. Deliciously, one of the best for anti-microbial activity with minimal degradation of the skin is a solution of silver particles. I quote the paper:

"Stable silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) <100 nm were synthesized in a typical one-step protocol as described before. Briefly, 1.0 g of soluble starch was added to 100 mL of deionized water and heated until complete dissolution. One milliliter of 100 mM aqueous solution of silver nitrate (AgNO3) crystal was added and stirred well. This mixture was put into a dark glass bottle and autoclaved. The resulting solution was clear yellow in color indicating the silver nanoparticles formation. The stock solution of AgNPs was kept in dark glass bottles away from direct sunlight and at room temperature (25C)."

Presumably the bottle being autoclaved is strong enough and sufficiently well-stoppered to handle any steam pressure from the volume of solution being treated.

Sterilization now simply involves exposing the well-denuded tilapia skin to the silver particle solution for about 15 minutes.

Other than the deionization (substitute "as pure as possible", I suppose?) and the autoclaving (just "high heat"), that procedure, top to bottom, sure sounds like something available to ancient doctors!
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Old 07-02-2023, 02:59 PM   #2838
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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One milliliter of 100 mM aqueous solution of silver nitrate (AgNO3) crystal was added and stirred well. . .

Other than the deionization (substitute "as pure as possible", I suppose?) and the autoclaving (just "high heat"), that procedure, top to bottom, sure sounds like something available to ancient doctors!
Err, silver nitrate? Making that requires nitric acid, which seems to have been discovered by thirteenth-century European alchemists.
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Old 07-02-2023, 05:09 PM   #2839
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Fair enough - medieval setting then!
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Old 07-03-2023, 08:23 AM   #2840
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Err, silver nitrate? Making that requires nitric acid, which seems to have been discovered by thirteenth-century European alchemists.
Another possible option for making silver nanoparticles is silver oxide; I believe the lab I worked at used silver(II) oxide, which seems less prevalent in nature than silver(I) oxide - I'm not certain if you use the latter if it will still work (and I know the former is actually better for antimicrobial uses), but if so, you can get silver(I) oxide from ores. You basically toss some silver(II) oxide in distilled water (it's fairly insoluble, so you basically just wind up with wet powder on the bottom and water on top), then mix in an antioxidant - our lab used EGCG (the active ingredient in green tea; it bound to the protein we were looking for), but I experimented with Vitamin C and a few others and found they also produced the nanoparticles. You then separate the liquid from the solid (we used a centrifuge and a pipet, but something like cheesecloth should also work), et voila, you've got silver nanoparticles bound to the relevant antioxidant. Probably the most "primitive" method of producing something like this - which wouldn't have great yields but might work well enough for these purposes - would be to brew up some green tea from the cleanest leaves and purest water you can source, pour it over some crushed-up silver ore, mix it up well, and then separate out the silver ore (which can be smelted into silver later, so you aren't really losing anything*) from the resulting "potion." Store the potion in something that will protect it from the light, and wash your tilapia skins with it to make your enhanced bandages. (EDIT: Also, if you opt to drink the potion and do so frequently, eventually your skin will turn blue)

Failing all that, I wonder how well the skins would hold up to being washed in red wine. Red wine also has some antimicrobial properties beyond simply having alcohol in it (drink it with your meal and you have a much lower chance of suffering food poisoning and similar), so as long as the skin doesn't break down in the wine, this would probably have a comparable effect.


*In a more mystical setting, such silver might actually gain special properties related to whatever antioxidant you mixed it with. At the very least, charms made from it would likely protect the wearer from disease.
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Last edited by Varyon; 07-03-2023 at 08:31 AM.
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