Weird Questions

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SusanStar

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I just had to ask google what the dangly bit on a male dog is called for research in how to word a scene and part of me died a little inside because now Google knows I was wondering about that. And you can remove it from your history but we all know it never really goes away.

So, that got me wondering: What's the strangest thing you've ever asked Google in the name of research for your novel(s)?
 

ChaseJxyz

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Lately a lot of them have been technical: Can you make up your own <html> tags (as in: do they show up when you look at the page source but aren't actually visible/rendered in the browser)? {yes, but it might not play nice with screen readers, also why would you even want to do this?} Font that includes alchemical symbols {it uses the "reserved" block along with the "normal" characters, mostly the astrological symbols} Height comparison chart {I wanted to maximize the difference between two characters but still be realistic lol}

Probably the weirdest thing for actual research I've done that I can recall is "serial killer fandom tumblr." Because I know they exist, but I never actually went looking for them when I was on tumblr, and I want to know WHAT, exactly, they are posting, besides flower crown edits (I presume). For a character! Not for me! I very much am not a serial killer stan or someone who's entire personality is true crime "fandom" (but my MC is, maybe, hence the research).
 
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SusanStar

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Probably the weirdest thing for actual research I've done that I can recall is "serial killer fandom tumblr." Because I know they exist, but I never actually went looking for them when I was on tumblr, and I want to know WHAT, exactly, they are posting, besides flower crown edits (I presume). For a character! Not for me! I very much am not a serial killer stan or someone who's entire personality is true crime "fandom" (but my MC is, maybe, hence the research).
The things we look up for our character. I feel like a parent looking up the latest trend to understand their teenaged child whenever I'm trying to understand how my character's head should work to a believable extent.
 

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I just had to ask google what the dangly bit on a male dog is called for research in how to word a scene and part of me died a little inside because now Google knows I was wondering about that. And you can remove it from your history but we all know it never really goes away.

So, that got me wondering: What's the strangest thing you've ever asked Google in the name of research for your novel(s)?
I have no novel, and therefore have not had to Google anything all that interesting, but, I hope that too much of you didn't die inside.
Lots of people probably Google that one.
Dog owners, would-be dog owners, people complaining about dogs relieving themselves on other people's property, or getting other dogs pregnant. Cat owners. Potential veterinarians.
One writer more or less will get lost in the crowd.
 
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Nether

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You can just use another search engine for writing research, like DuckDuckGo. Or search in a private browser so you don't worry about cookies.

I routinely need weirdly specific information, but not a lot comes to mind.
 
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SusanStar

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Lots of people probably Google that one.
Dog owners, would-be dog owners, people complaining about dogs relieving themselves on other people's property, or getting other dogs pregnant. Cat owners. Potential veterinarians.
One writer more or less will get lost in the crowd.
Thank you for the reassurance ☺️. I'll imagine that's what Google thought I was thinking about when I asked so I'm not in the realm of weirdness that I don't identify with.
You can just use another search engine for writing research, like DuckDuckGo.
I didn't know there were search engines for that. Although I never bothered looking either so that's on me. I'll have to give it a go next time I have some questionable search topics to research.
 

CWNitz

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Lately a lot of them have been technical: Can you make up your own <html> tags (as in: do they show up when you look at the page source but aren't actually visible/rendered in the browser)? {yes, but it might not play nice with screen readers, also why would you even want to do this?}
It actually works fine with quality screen readers. Some people are under the impression screen readers are stuck in the Dark Ages, but no, they work just fine with javascript and such. If you created a custom button, for instance, you could indicate to the screen reader when it's pressed or not, and how the reader should interact with it, just like you do with a regular browser.

The main reason people make their own tag is to add functionality. For instance, you could make a <powerpoint> tag with a src attribute that plays powerpoints. Since it doesn't exist natively in HTML, it would be convenient and more readable than a pile of divs.

That said, with JSX/TSX nowadays there's less need for this, since you can have you own "custom elements" in JS that will be compiled to regular HTML.
 

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Susan Star said:
What's the strangest thing you've ever asked Google in the name of research for your novel(s)?

I had to find the title and lyrics for a Nazi marching song a couple of years ago - obviously for a WW2 action drama I was writing at the time. Holy smokes, the type of sites that popped up... I ultimately abandoned that part of it and just used a few standard phrases for the scene.


Norsebard
 
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I just love it when I'm struck completely dumb while writing and end up Googling something in a really infantile way ('What do you call the wibbly-wobbly bit on a turkey's neck?') and it throws up the answer for me no matter how stupidly I word it. Man, the internet really is amazing.
 
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I might be weird, but I know offhand that the wibbly-wobbly part on a turkey's neck is a wattle.

Some of the odd answers I have come up with include the fact that scientists sometimes invent things like diapers for mice during studies at mouse medical metabolism studies when mice are or are not allowed to... acquire their own probiotics.

Male octopus have an extra "tentacle" whose sole purpose is to deposit packets of sperm in a female octopus's mantle. Female octopus will then "store" said sperm until she decides she wants to have offspring.

Although completely dark cave organisms lack pigmentation and eyes, deep ocean organisms tend to have dark red or black pigment and very large eyes due to bioluminescence.

I have never done a search on slime molds even though they sound like fascinating organisms and are said to be rather beautiful at some points in their life cycles.
 

Maryn

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I write erotica, sometimes with a certain level of kink. So I've looked up all kinds of things that it seems inappropriate to mention here. We'll just say "fairly extreme adult activities" and leave it at that.

I do second the private browser window if you don't like a search engine tracking what you've looked up. It saves no history and deletes any cookies a website gave you when you close the window. I like that level of anonymity when I'm researching, whether it's sexual or methods of murder or the names and areas of expertise for demons.

Or fabric and sewing supplies, because man, my ad-blocking software cannot block Jo-freakin'-Ann Fabrics.

Maryn, who uses a regular tab only for sites where she logs in
 

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Just yesterday I had to search "species that reproduce asexually" for my book.

Maybe not the weirdest thing I've ever searched but it's fresh in my mind.
 
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SusanStar

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Male octopus have an extra "tentacle" whose sole purpose is to deposit packets of sperm in a female octopus's mantle. Female octopus will then "store" said sperm until she decides she wants to have offspring.
I heard that one before on a True Facts video. I remember him putting it "Shaking hands with an octopus is like playing Russian Roulette only your hand risks becoming pregnant"
 

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I was researching how international adoption affects the child and ended up reading the most depressing articles about an orphanage in Romania. I don't think I want to go down that rabbit hole ever again.
 
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SusanStar

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I do second the private browser window if you don't like a search engine tracking what you've looked up. It saves no history and deletes any cookies a website gave you when you close the window. I like that level of anonymity when I'm researching, whether it's sexual or methods of murder or the names and areas of expertise for demons.
I think I might just start doing that. Most of the stuff I look up is usually to check if I'm using a word correctly or if there's a better word for what I'm thinking but I'll try keep a private search browser/engine open for my more questionable asks.
 

Chris P

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Not the strangest, but one of the hardest was trying to find the title and artist of a song I didn't know the words to, but was used in the background of a movie. All I knew was it was in Studio 54, and had the line "Awwwwwww baby!" then I could hum the tune but the words were all jibberish in my head: "A heartspot treats the boney, and a sparts for two."

[Turned out it was Thelma Houston, "Don't leave me this way." The actual words were "My heart is full of love and desire for you." No idea how I finally found it, since there was no track listing for the film at the time.]
 
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Chris P

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I had to find the title and lyrics for a Nazi marching song a couple of years ago - obviously for a WW2 action drama I was writing at the time. Holy smokes, the type of sites that popped up... I ultimately abandoned that part of it and just used a few standard phrases for the scene.


Norsebard

Yeah, this. I'm heeding Maryn's "Incognito mode" advice.
 

SusanStar

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Not the strangest, but one of the hardest was trying to find the title and artist of a song I didn't know the words to, but was used in the background of a movie.
I've definitely been there. It gives me a headache because I'm too stubborn to give up until I finally figure out what the song was. This latest time, I hummed it to a friend and he got it right on the first try through an online call. I'm still impressed he managed that feat.
 

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I just asked google if zombies can drive a car.

It seems there are a lot of people wanting to know what is the best car you can drive to escape the zombie apocalypse, which is interesting.

I didn't, therefore, get an answer to my question, so now I'm mulling over how to fine tune my query. I don't think googling "brainy zombies" would be productive, but it might be amusing, so I can't resist...
 
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This is really out there....but a true google story

I like the etymology of words, and was curious about where the term masochism came from (we all know sadism is named after the Marquis de Sade). I struck the mother lode in Google; von Krafft-Ebing is the guy, published case studies in 1886 called Psychopathia Sexualis and he coined both terms sadism and masochism. Arguably Freud picked up of some of his seuxal/libido ideas from this guy - well, they corresponded a lot as Freud was working on his sex drive to explain behaviour theories.

von Krafft-Ebing is sort of the founding father of forensic psychology.

For those interested in paraphilias/sexual hang ups, its a surprisingly pretty boring set of clinical case studies (they get repetitive), but it is free to download at Project Gutenberg.

Looking to add some strange sexual proclivity or kink to a character, a good place to start is von Krafft-Ebing because so much of the 'naughty' things are mundane to therapists - even in the late 19th century.
 
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frimble3

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The things we look up for our character. I feel like a parent looking up the latest trend to understand their teenaged child whenever I'm trying to understand how my character's head should work to a believable extent.
 

Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
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I only write short/flash fiction, so you'd think I'd be immune. But no, because I often write horror.

Note to self: do not use the day job computer/browser to look up how to poison and dismember people.

Looking forward to unemployment in three.... two....one...
 
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I think I might just start doing that. Most of the stuff I look up is usually to check if I'm using a word correctly or if there's a better word for what I'm thinking but I'll try keep a private search browser/engine open for my more questionable asks.
Ditto. Not that my research at this point is titillating or anything. I have a slew of tabs open to wordmithing/grammar/all things Scottish sites, but now that we are discussing it more, the idea of Google...yeah...duckduckgo
 

Helix

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Male octopus have an extra "tentacle" whose sole purpose is to deposit packets of sperm in a female octopus's mantle. Female octopus will then "store" said sperm until she decides she wants to have offspring.

The cephalo-pedant in me wants to point out that the ligula isn't an extra arm. Male occys have eight arms, and the ligula is the modified tip of one of them. The squid equivalent is the hectocotylus.

But did you know that the hectocotylus was originally thought to be a parasitic worm...which resembled an octopus arm so closely it even had suckers. Now there's a story.
 

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