Random Questions Thread:

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Hello, fellow writers! Got any question that you can't find answer from Google or Wikipedia, but you don't think it needs a separate thread for? You came to the right place!

Don't be shy, and just ask away. The nice folks here, writers and non-writers, experts and non-experts, will do their best to help you.

The folder below contains links for special interest threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven.

    Special Interest Threads 

Also take a look at Useful Notes on various topics. They can be pretty useful.

Now, bring on the questions, baby!

edited 16th Feb '15 12:47:26 PM by dRoy

6926 MCE5th Mar 2013 12:52:08 PM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
this article on robots is relevant to my previous post.

Yes, I realize that was several questions ago, I just thought it was interesting.

edited 5th Mar '13 12:52:45 PM by MCE

Insert witty title here
Character is a sickly teenage boy whose father (whom the kid admires) is a detective. Said sickly teenage boys wants to be strong to protect the ones he loves.

Why exactly WOULDN'T the kid want to become a detective like his dad?
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
6928 montmorencey5th Mar 2013 10:53:22 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Detective with the police?
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
Insert witty title here
Yes
For any number of the numerous downsides associated with working as a police - and as a civil servant in general. And there are lots. For starters, there's always the inherent dangers of being a cop and being in regular contact with criminals. Then, there are the regular civil servant woes of long hours and poor pay; which are especially bad for frontline services like the police.

edited 6th Mar '13 3:02:46 AM by peasant

6931 TeraChimera6th Mar 2013 07:02:43 AM from somewhere out there
Cool Celtic Composition
Suppose a species had a significantly smaller hearing range compared to humans; say, an upper bound of ~5 kHz, compared to humans' 20 kHz. Would there be sounds that are painfully high-pitched for them but we wouldn't mind? If so, is there any way to estimate them?
"The Uncertainty Principle isn't about uncertainty and it isn't a principle; other than that, it's perfectly named." — David Van Baak
6932 MarqFJA6th Mar 2013 08:02:39 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Any suggestions on a Lighter and Softer, not-morally-heinous version of the phrase "rape, pillage, and burn" that is often used to describe pirates and Vikings?

edited 6th Mar '13 8:02:56 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
Cheesus!
Remove the "rape" part then turn them into a mercenary force fighting non-humans ? With What Measure Is a Non-Human? in full effect.

Anyways, so say you're living in a fairly big city. Then monsters disguised as humans start infiltrating it with the intention of killing everyone. Where'd they go for first, and how would the citizens react ?
[up] They'd probably head for wherever your story needs to be set in. That's why both, Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe and Aliens in Cardiff exist. As for the public's reaction, they can always be counted on to panic and run away while the main characters stay and execute the plot of your story (be it to stand and fight or to run away in as harrowing a route as possible).

Now, for my question:

I have a character whose family is Rich, Aristocratic, and are absolute snobs about it; looking down at both, the Poor and the Newly Rich. The setting is modern day Britain. So, my question is this... what kind of job would fit with these attributes? And no, being the monarch isn't an option. tongue

edited 6th Mar '13 8:56:09 AM by peasant

6935 ArsThaumaturgis6th Mar 2013 09:03:07 AM , Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Any suggestions on a Lighter and Softer, not-morally-heinous version of the phrase "rape, pillage, and burn" that is often used to describe pirates and Vikings?
"Kidnap and pillage", perhaps?

Anyways, so say you're living in a fairly big city. Then monsters disguised as humans start infiltrating it with the intention of killing everyone. Where'd they go for first, and how would the citizens react ?
Presuming human-level intelligence, perhaps coordinated attacks on police, military and leadership targets, approaching through one infiltration method or another, depending on their abilities and resources: getting arrested, copying extant leaders, gaining appointments with leaders, etc.

As to the citizenry, I imagine anxiety as the killings start, then fear keeping them in, and finally panic, leading to mass exodus form perceived danger areas.

I have a character whose family is Rich, Aristocratic, and are absolute snobs about it; looking down at both, the Poor and the Newly Rich. The setting is modern day Britain. So, my question is this... what kind of job would fit with these attributes? And no, being the monarch isn't an option.
No job, ideally, I would imagine: the idea would be that they have inherited money and those with either none or who had to work for it are lesser entities. If a job is called for, perhaps something along the lines of land-owner or large-scale city landlord.
6936 MarqFJA6th Mar 2013 02:56:26 PM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
On second thought, make it a Lighter and Softer version of "rape, pillage, plunder, and burn".

Remove the "rape" part then turn them into a mercenary force fighting non-humans ? With What Measure Is a Non-Human? in full effect.
This isn't a Space Opera with Lots And Lots Of Nonhuman Races. It's more of a One Piece-style setting.

"Kidnap and pillage", perhaps?
No, too criminal of an act. (I really should've elaborated in that post.)

The group of characters that involve this are more or less an Amazon Brigade Ragtag Band of Misfits who became seafaring pirates out of disgust/frustration with The Government's rampant corruption. They're also fairly... liberally-minded, and take the following modus operandi:

  1. Find a port town that's hounded by evil pirates, corrupt government troops/leaders, local bandits, or the like:
    1. Beat the shit out of the bad guys hard enough that they won't dare come back.
    2. Convince the locals to hold a rowdy party to celebrate their newfound freedom, during which the girls work off mounting "stress" by screwing the hell out of the local hunks (off-screen, of course) so hard that they — the hunks, not the girls — will walk bowlegged for the next few days, and maybe a bit fearful of how... assertive a woman can be. (Nymphomaniacs, the whole lot of them! XD)
    3. Kindly decline all of the treasures and gifts that the locals try to give them... only to steal all of those (and just those) when they're not looking, preferably such that they only realize what had happened after the crew is too far to pursue. Bonus points for managing to acquire even more wealth either by finding unclaimed/lost treasures in some hiding place, or through technically illegal but morally okay methods, e.g. charming the local Jerkass Handsome Lech out of the greater portion of his unearned fortune as well, while leaving him with empty promises of womanly company, or confiscating the aforementioned bad guys' ill-acquired, no-original-owner-identifiable gains.
  2. Failing that, find a Government installation/stronghold that's not too strong to take on:
    1. Wreck havoc upon the poor saps by kicking asses, taking names, and burning down every edifice they can reach.
    2. Raid the local Government arsenal and treasury for new weapons and shiny goodies.
    3. Detain any present General Ripper, Obstructive Bureaucrat, and other unwholesome sorts who are unambiguously and unrepentantly responsible for a lot of the crap that most of the world is going through, and humiliate them... preferably by challenging the commonly espoused-in-universe Government belief that women pirates are "worthless whores" whom the Government's troops should "re-educate via manly physical disciplining" note  in general, and more specifically their captives' ability to live up to those expectations, literally screwing them to near-impotence, and then laughing at them for being "unable to 'handle' a few 'worthless whores'" like them.

Yes, my mind goes into strange places frequently.

edited 6th Mar '13 3:06:02 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
6937 montmorencey6th Mar 2013 06:05:53 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
@ risingdreams, your teenager might be on board with the whole People Protecting Thing and admire his father because he's a really great, moral guy who does the Right Thing, no matter what, but he might be disillusioned with certain aspects of organised police as it presents itself? I don't really know what your story is about, but maybe his Dad even got screwed over by the department. Maybe it was something else. But, basically, maybe he doesn't believe that the police as an organisation is holding up their promise to 'protect and serve' very faithfully.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
6938 fishsicles6th Mar 2013 07:41:45 PM from Down The Curtain , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
An Ex-Troper
Are the phrases "the sir" or "the madam" considered grammatically correct?

I am attempting to apply Translation Convention on some formal-register fictional-language conversations. One of the first steps is addressing people; the basic way is "the <respectful term for another person> of the <descriptive complement, varies based on clan relations> <name of clan>"; the question regards the first blank. "Lord" and "lady" seem a tad much.

edited 6th Mar '13 7:42:09 PM by fishsicles

Not nearly a good enough singer for the Choir Invisible, and the Basement Room With A Synth Invisible is much less prestigious.
Shadowed Philosopher
"The sir" doesn't sound right; it's a title affixed to a name or used as an address, not a noun itself.

There's any number of things you could use. "Knight", maybe, or some feudal title (earl, baron, count, whatever). It depends on the sort of impression you're trying to give.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
6940 KillerClowns6th Mar 2013 08:13:32 PM from the Midwest , Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
is taken by a fey mood!
"The gentleman" and — a bit awkwardly — "the gentlewoman?"
6941 fishsicles6th Mar 2013 08:20:51 PM from Down The Curtain , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
An Ex-Troper
[up] Yeah, that is what I need. I cannot believe I failed to think of it. (Feudal titles would be a good translation for leaders, though.)
Not nearly a good enough singer for the Choir Invisible, and the Basement Room With A Synth Invisible is much less prestigious.
[up][up] Wouldn't it be more accurate/appropriate to say "the gentleman" and "the lady"? Sounds a lot less awkward than "the gentlewoman", most certainly. After all, there is such a phrase as "ladies and gentlemen"...

edited 7th Mar '13 2:04:31 AM by peasant

6943 MorwenEdhelwen7th Mar 2013 02:32:12 AM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
Does anyone know of any Norse folklore about goblins? (not trolls)
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
AFAIK the word "goblin" only dates from the Late Middle Ages. So there aren't really any goblins in Norse mythology.
It's perfectly possible to admire building a cannon to destroy the moon, whilst lamenting the act of destruction.
6945 montmorencey7th Mar 2013 10:31:48 AM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
[up] Same here. I asked my friend who majored in Finnish and she couldn't think of anything but dwarves. Germanic Mythology, though, in which Norse Mythology is included, has the 'Kobold'.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
6946 MorwenEdhelwen8th Mar 2013 02:31:43 AM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
@montmorency: Thanks. I actually meant creatures similar to goblins. Dwarves won't work for various reasons, mainly because if you're a human child raised by dwarves, (as the hero is) you will know that dwarves don't eat humans.

edited 8th Mar '13 2:41:07 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Kutsuzure Sensen
"I have done that," says my memory. "I cannot have done that," says my pride. Eventually, memory yields. — Friedrich Nietzsche
6948 MorwenEdhelwen8th Mar 2013 04:23:08 AM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
@Sabre: I meant traditionally.

edited 8th Mar '13 4:58:52 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
6949 MrAHR8th Mar 2013 02:42:58 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Would there be any cultures that would be more willing to matchmake cousin-cousin relations?
6950 MarqFJA8th Mar 2013 03:00:37 PM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
In/based on real-life ones, you mean?
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar

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