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Old 01-16-2013, 08:07 AM   #1
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Weird google searches for your novel research

What are some of the strangest searches you've entered to research your novel? I think writers probably have some of the weirdest and possibly worst sounding Google searches.

For example, today I searched for methods of torture and how much weight it takes to crush a human skull.

Yeah, I was writing a pretty messed up scene.

Your turn...
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:22 AM   #2
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Lol

So far, all I've had to do was research animal spirit meanings & native american tribes in Ohio. Nothing crazy yet, but I'm sure it'll get worse. Deep world mythology stuff going on in my novel.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:50 AM   #3
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Ha! I spend half my night doing Google searches, it seems. We modern writers have it easy! Imagine doing any sort of research twenty+ years ago. You'd have to go to a library or interview someone.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:21 AM   #4
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This isn't a google search, but for a scene in my horror/thriller where the MC has to break into a morgue and search a body for evidence, I actually checked out want-ads from real morgues to find out what their staffing and hours were.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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"Inappropriate ways to use a deli slicer"
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
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"Inappropriate ways to use a deli slicer"
I used to work in a deli. Sometimes the cleats that hold the meat in place can cause more problems the blade, 'cause they're so heavy, swing so freely, and since they're not as obviously dangerous, don't have anywhere near the same amount of safeguards.

Personal experience? ...maybe...

*rubs hand, which hurts just from the memory*
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 AM   #7
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So far researching moons or planets around gas giants, and various astronomical stuff.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #8
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I've had to look up various ways of poisoning people, that's always been fun (the best was using a substance used to make red paint to poison the water supply).
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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The history of paper. Long story.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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I've been trying to find out how many SSRIs someone would have to take to cause permanent damage or death.

Surprisingly, Google is not terribly forthcoming with actual figures. There's no tabular data anywhere: "To commit suicide, take 24 Paxil or 52 Prozac and rinse with vodka."
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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"how to assassinate with a knife"

Eventually that one led to a horrifyingly matter of fact e-book written by someone who obviously going off personal experience. The whole thing was surreal, and I had to go take a long hot shower afterward. Ugh. It was invaluable for the scene I was writing but at the same time, knowing it came from someone who put it into practice just makes me feel rotten in the stomach.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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Latin love poetry had to be the strangest one, which I admit is not that exciting...

Though for real world work (when I was a clinical scientist) I did have to research the inhibitory concentration (IC) of a drug I was planning to use on my cell samples. To get the information I filled in a web form on the manufacturer's site, expecting to get an email in reply or a phone call during office hours.

I got the phone call while I was on the bus on the way home. In the middle of a crowd of passengers in rush hour I had a matter of fact conversation with someone about drugs and the lethal dose of that drug (apparently they had not yet found out the IC but they knew the LD...). I have no idea what the other people on the bus thought of this conversation...
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:17 PM   #13
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"How to kill a man in the least messy way" and "How to make a bomb" are probably the searches I was most uncomfortable with. I didn't mention HOW to actually make a damned bomb in my book, I just needed to know enough to have them work in a vaguely realistic way, but when I did the search I kept thinking, The FBI's gonna come through my door any moment now.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:40 PM   #14
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Some of my Google searches for various books include:

Incest.
Nuclear war (health effects of).
The quickest route on foot between Cambridge and Manchester.
The police response to an unexplained explosion.
The government response to a terrorist attack (namely, road closures).
Cauterising a wound with a fag lighter.
British myths (500 AD to 1850).
A-Level Maths.
Non-lethal but painful gunshot wounds.
The forced removal of someone's tongue.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:44 PM   #15
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Seun, while I am perfectly fine with your research into nuclear warfare and tongue removal, what sort of sick bastard does research into A level maths? God, you are disgusting...
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Seun, while I am perfectly fine with your research into nuclear warfare and tongue removal, what sort of sick bastard does research into A level maths? God, you are disgusting...
fair makes you sick, doesn't it?
Unusual searches I've found myself doing include the application of nanomachines in building a cyborg, lasting damage from a gunshot wound to the left shoulder, jealous issues in polyamorous relationships, structure and procedure of the Met's Human Trafficking division and what would happen if a human lived exclusively on tinned hot dogs in brine.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:53 PM   #17
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How to organise a kidnap / ransom exchange.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #18
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I just looked at my Google search history. Here's a few recent ones:

reasons a police officer would get demoted
free blood spatter images
how big is a yacht
define:laity
time zone chicago
graffiti
gangster phrases
what channel number is your news now albany
smartphone locking mechanism

I also googled "how to view google history" because I've never looked at just Google (if I tried to go through the browser history and pick out the Googles, I'd be at this all day...).
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:14 PM   #19
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Seun, while I am perfectly fine with your research into nuclear warfare and tongue removal, what sort of sick bastard does research into A level maths? God, you are disgusting...
Thankfully, it wasn't all for the same book.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:34 PM   #20
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Google offered very little. I'm going to have to visit the archives at the National Library:

- What kind of food did the British serve at their dinner parties in colonial Singapore?

- How often did the colonial British return to England for holidays in the 1950s (considering the journey by ship took four weeks each way and flying was too expensive for most people)

- King cobras

- Wicked colonial masters in Singapore
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:01 PM   #21
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Hmm...

Oh, yeah, I was trying to find prices for marijuana, looking up the finer points of manslaughter vs. murder, and age of consent laws.

Pretty tame in comparison to some of you.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:12 PM   #22
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Oh, goodness.

I too have searched for how much pressure is required to crush a skull! I've searched just about every drug topic possible. I've looked up:

How to get a corpse out of a well
How soon after death does rigor mortis set in
How fast body temperature drops after death in freezing conditions
What happens if you inject oil into the jugular vein
How to break a neck with your bare hands
How to break a wrist with your bare hands
What knife is best for dismemberment
How much blood can someone lose and stay alive
How to crush a windpipe and kill someone
Cauterizing wounds
how long for maggots to hatch
When do Great Horned Owls molt
Crematorium ovens and how they work
autopsies
How fast do corpses rot

...I don't even think the weirdest ones are on that list.

Research is fun.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:37 PM   #23
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I've been trying to find out how many SSRIs someone would have to take to cause permanent damage or death.

Surprisingly, Google is not terribly forthcoming with actual figures. There's no tabular data anywhere: "To commit suicide, take 24 Paxil or 52 Prozac and rinse with vodka."
Yeah, they're much safer than the older drugs. A drug interaction would be a better bet. Google 'serotonin syndrome'.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:41 PM   #24
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How to make napalm/what the constituents of napalm are, and prisoner branding, are the most recent ones. Oh and what happens to late-in-life eunuchs is on my to-do list...
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:50 PM   #25
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Forgot to answer the question. I should google 'how to remember to answer the OP's question'.

I've been doing a lot of research into idiosyncratic alcohol intoxication, benzo, psychosis, antipsychotics, delusions, the Fraud Act 2006....
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