Wednesday, April 23, 2014

riverplants said: Hello! I think your tips are brilliant and I was wondering if there was a document with all of them in it? Or a text where they are all in one place? Thank you! x

Not currently. I’ve been thinking about making one but now that I know there’s interest I’ll start on that project. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anonymous said: How do you organise your digitised info? Do you use specialised software or just neat folder systems?

I use neat folder systems and tags (which you can do on my operating system, OS X, not sure about any others).

If you would like to use software however, I can recommend Evernote, which I used for some time but just didn’t find suited to my personal taste.


Anonymous said: Hi, do you have any advice for efficient, concise record keeping? I'd like to develop a bit of a personal library but feel like it would wind up being massive and contain a lot of useless info.

This depends on your profession/intended use of the information. Obviously, if you’re a chemist, history is going to be low on the priority list, and vice-versa. 

Record keeping and a personal library are two different things: record keeping is about keeping thorough reports of your past cases, etc., whereas a personal library is about the information that you might need to solve future ones. Record keeping should be done as thoroughly as possible, especially if you plan on forgetting the information, and should as a general rule not be sacrificed on the altar of “conciseness”, because it will come in useful in court cases and if you later shed light on a criminal network, it will be vital that you already have the information pertaining to the cases. Scouring your memory can be downright fruitless sometimes. You can keep these records from becoming “vast” by keeping them on your computer in an organized fashion, saving them under keywords. This rule also applies to any profession constituted of “matters” (legal work, for example) and not just detective work. Also note that in many countries lawyers are required by law to maintain records, which is a good practice and personal policy even if you are not in that particular line of work. 

As far as a personal library, keep a good equilibrium between what interests you and what is useful. If you’ve taken a career path/area of study that appeals to your interests, this shouldn’t be a problem. If not, make sure to keep a good cap on the amount of space consumed by books that are for pleasure rather than your work. 

When keeping factoids or pieces of information on index cards, I would always recommend keeping them digitized because they are far easier to find in a hurry, but if you’re a traditionalist (*cough*AH*cough*) try making up your own test to ensure that anything taking up space is actually going to do you good (someday). 

For example, if you’re a detective, this is easy. Review the sorts of cases that usually come your way and keep facts and information related to the most common types (seeing a lot of stabbings? Keep a blood splatter record.) 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Anonymous said: It's a somewhat idiotic question, but what are some applications of the resources in this guide? (Besides helping detectives and sourcing research papers, that is)

Manifold, my dear anon. Just a few:

  • Digging up dirt on your nemesis a.k.a. your prying bureaucratic prostitute of a brother (well, you can tell Sherlock’s back, can’t you?) 
  • Researching your topic of choice for academic, professional, or personal purposes 
  • Figuring stuff out about your friends, potential dates, or coworkers
  • Being generally nosy 
  • Making even nosier deductions using what you have learned
  • Becoming an expert on something (history is my personal favorite; never get me started about the black plague) 
  • Crushing your opponent beneath your heels in a debate (especially parli, which generally precludes preparation) 
  • Succeeding a little more efficiently at school 
  • Impressing people with your vast encyclopedic knowledge 
  • Pissing people off with your busybody-ness 
  • If people know you know things, they will take advantage, and it is an easy way to get a favor in return 

And just the simple maxim that knowledge is power. Sure, it might not be useful right now to know about the parliamentary system of Iceland, but it will certainly be good for your ego in two or three years when you can whip the facts out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation or a class, as happened to me earlier today. Although becoming an expert at gathering and synthesizing information can have applications and earn you a rap as someone who knows “everything”—a major exaggeration—I know that I personally like knowing things to know them. 


(Hope that helps?) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Now I don’t know if you lot heard but they might have made this blog into an iPhone app or something like that. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

*cough cough* 

(Source: moriarty)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Anonymous said: Wiggins, I'll have you know that I almost spat out my tea upon reading that. Also, I still have that book you lent me, so I need to give it back to you next time you come round, which should be soon (that was a hint).-Jess

As we all know, the truth will out. Lazarus was a farce. 

Which book? We have all lent you lots of books. I know that AH is quite keen to get her copy of How to Win Every Argument back.


The Gunpowder Plot for non-Britons



Out of  general history interest as well as  Sherlock interest, let’s talk a little a lot about the Gunpowder Plot. I was inspired to do this post by my friend who, during our Sherlock watch party, asked what the 5th of November had to do with anything. 

So, Americans, French(wo)men, Australians, whatever you may be that you thought “so what hell does ‘remember, remember’ mean,” you can now walk away a little bit wiser; here’s your briefing on the Gunpowder Plot. 

Read More

I’m going to correct a few things. 

Mary I persecuted protestants. 

It’s James VI not James IV, however, he is known as James I of England (he ruled both thrones at the same time, but lived and legislated in England). 

We don’t just hold bonfires we burn effigies of Guy Fawkes (that’s the straw-man on the top of the bonfire that the girl thought was talking to her when John was yelling for help). 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Gunpowder Plot for non-Britons

Out of  general history interest as well as  Sherlock interest, let’s talk a little a lot about the Gunpowder Plot. I was inspired to do this post by my friend who, during our Sherlock watch party, asked what the 5th of November had to do with anything. 

So, Americans, French(wo)men, Australians, whatever you may be that you thought “so what hell does ‘remember, remember’ mean,” you can now walk away a little bit wiser; here’s your briefing on the Gunpowder Plot. 

Religion was a big deal in 17th-century Europe. After Henry VIII broke with the Pope, the two biggest and most significant Christian sects in England were Anglicans and Catholics. Anglicanism was the state-sanctioned religion and Catholics were persecuted under all of the Tudor monarchs except Mary I, who, confusingly, persecuted Anglicans. Her sister, Elizabeth I, wasn’t a religious zealot (Mary definitely was) but did have political interest in the suppression of Catholics. 

(TLDR; Protestantism is a thing, we’re focusing on Anglicans and Catholics here. The English monarchy was persecuting Catholics as of the end of the 16th century)  

Under Elizabeth, Catholicism was under stringent control if you don’t consider it an outright ban. This was essentially because Catholics considered Elizabeth an illegitimate heir, since she wasn’t born to parents considered legally married under the Catholic church (see Henry VIII’s six wives for more information). Earlier in her reign, they conspired with the Spanish government to overthrow Elizabeth, since England and Spain weren’t the best of friends anyways and the religious schism caused more friction between the two countries. There were other reasons for which Catholics were not A-OK in England at that point, but I won’t bore you with details. 

(TLDR; Catholics don’t like Elizabeth) 

Most Catholics in England were hoping, at the time Elizabeth was dying, that her heir, James IV of Scotland (a Stuart, as a pose to Elizabeth, who was a Tudor) would be more magnanimous towards Catholics. This, however, turned out not to be the case, since, what do you know, politics matter more than personal beliefs do, and James wanted to please as many people as possible. So, although he was pretty generous at the beginning of his reign, he tightened back up in the year leading up to the Gunpowder Plot. 

(TLDR; James IV was more generous towards Catholics, but, hey, just kidding, he changed his mind for political reasons, big surprise)

So, now for the exciting, Sherlock-related part. 

A group of Catholics, not too pleased with James VI’s new concessions toward the Catholic-hating majority, got their hands on a room located below the House of Lords and filled it with 36 barrels of gunpowder. The date to light them was set for 5 November. Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators, was appointed to be the fuse-lighter, but luckily (for Parliament, at least), a Catholic member of the House of Lords, Lord Monteagle, received a letter a few weeks before the event warning him to keep away from Parliament on 5 November. 

Bit suspicious. 

The cat was out of the bag; Guy Fawkes was caught, tortured, and sentenced to death. He was executed on 31 January 1606. Many of his compatriots fled to the Midlands, although one died in prison and eight (including Fawkes) were executed. 

To this day, 5 November is known as Bonfire Night in Great Britain, and people light bonfires to commemorate the event. (Also, I am informed, in select Canadian provinces and South Africa). 

In case you’re wondering, because I was, one plausible explanation for John’s bonfire being held on the fourth and not the fifth is the common move of bonfire night to weekends in order to accommodate children and maximize attendance, particularly at events with a commercial interest. 

(TLDR; In the UK, on 5 November, people light bonfires in order to commemorate a failed terrorist attack planned by Catholics angered by James IV’s policies of intolerance. Both John’s presence in a bonfire and the terrorist bomb in TEH are homages to this event.) 

Sources: Personal knowledge (AP Euro), BBC History, the UK Parliament, and the cultural stuff comes from Wikipedia

UK residents a.k.a. people who know more about it than I do, please feel free to correct facts.