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Random Questions Thread:

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.

Please don't use this thread for open-ended questions that are likely to inspire/require extended conversation, or discussion. Make a dedicated thread for it, or use the most appropriate of the special interest threads linked below. Thank you.

Now, for any questions involving particular fields, here are the links to the appropriate threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven:

edited 8th May '14 2:40:56 PM by dRoy

 7426 Ars Thaumaturgis, Mon, 13th May '13 1:39:32 PM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
What a fun way for a person with super strength to stop a car going about 30 mph? Note that they don't have super anchoring abilities but can fly, but not while carrying a car. The person inside the car is slight more robust than a normal human and needs to survive. They are driving the car towards the character at the time, exiting a multi story car park.

There's also the old trick of standing in front of the vehicle, catching the hood as it meets you and slowing it down through one's own friction with the road; since the character lacks super-anchoring he or she might end up wanting to dig his or her feet into the road just a little to increase the resistance offered.

This does, however, rely on the character being highly resilient — but then I would imagine that the degree of strength suggested implies a significant degree of resilience in order to withstand the forces applied during exertions of such strength.

edited 13th May '13 1:40:17 PM by ArsThaumaturgis

 7427 Marq FJA, Tue, 14th May '13 12:54:33 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
The vehicle's front half might be nigh-completely ruined since it's not made of Super Tough materials, though... if not the entire vehicle ending up bisected.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7428 Ars Thaumaturgis, Tue, 14th May '13 8:03:13 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
As to the former, I don't see that as necessarily being a problem. The latter can, I think, be made less likely by spreading one's grasp to distribute the force to either side rather than concentrating it in the middle.

 7429 Marq FJA, Tue, 14th May '13 8:47:27 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
As to the former, I don't see that as necessarily being a problem.
Sure, as long as she doesn't have super traction abilities that make her harder to move by impact than a fully-loaded truck, you wouldn't end up with the car and its contents turned into a thick pancake.

The latter can, I think, be made less likely by spreading one's grasp to distribute the force to either side rather than concentrating it in the middle.
That just risks quadri-secting the car, if the impact isn't strong enough to push back the Super Strong character from their position (much likelier if they have super traction) but still too strong to be bled out quickly.

Besides, if they don't have super traction, chances are that the character be launched into the air by the impact due to being much lighter in total mass than a car.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7430 demarquis, Tue, 14th May '13 8:52:25 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
If you're a super-hero and worried about the safety of the occupant, then the best option is not to stop the car at all, but to deflect it onto something that will absorb the impact, the way they teach drivers if they cant stop their own car. A ditch works well...
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7431 Ars Thaumaturgis, Tue, 14th May '13 9:27:10 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
[up][up] I seem to recall that the poster noted that the character lacked the usual anchoring ability. As to flying up, a bracing position and perhaps a slight digging of the character's feet into the ground might help with that.

[up] That might be a good idea indeed.

That said, if the character can produce the right amount of traction — enough to keep on the ground but not enough that the car stops too quickly — then some form of slowing the car his- or her- self might give the character more control over the car's path and speed, which might allow for greater safety.

edited 14th May '13 9:29:54 AM by ArsThaumaturgis

 7432 Marq FJA, Tue, 14th May '13 9:34:22 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up] We are talking about the physics of a 70-100 kg object at rest trying to stop a 500-1, 000 kg object moving at high speed. I don't know what kind of bracing position or digging into the ground a person could take to not be thrown away like a ragdoll on impact even we assume they have the Super Strength and Super Toughness to not sustain disabling injuries (if any injuries at all) from the collision. I mean, cars of roughly equal mass get pushed away a couple of meters at least, so what about an object that's 10 times lighter?

edited 14th May '13 9:36:00 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7433 MCE, Tue, 14th May '13 9:36:27 AM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
hmm, now I think about it, they could punch though the driver side window and yanking the wheel. This might allow the car to lose some speed during the turn and and crash into a wall, this would be quite close as most multi story car parks I know off have relatively narrow exits. This way they would have a least a few seconds to pull the dazed occupant out of their car. Would require good timing though, guess they could land on the front of the car and punch though the windscreen instead.

The level of super strength is that they can lift a car (about 1.5 ton) but lack the 'contact telekinesis' heroes like Superman seem to have, making balance a problem.

edited 14th May '13 9:46:49 AM by MCE

 7434 Noaqiyeum, Tue, 14th May '13 12:14:22 PM from out of the night from pole to pole Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
They could also lift up on the end of the vehicle with driving wheels, and fly against its momentum.

Punching through the window or windshield would entail showering their intended rescuee with shards of glass...

edited 14th May '13 12:23:01 PM by Noaqiyeum

We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost
 7435 Sabre's Edge, Tue, 14th May '13 12:53:11 PM from Project NAIL SPIKE
The key is going to be a controlled deceleration, hopefully involving as little structural damage as possible. Any kind of hard impact doesn't quite fit that criteria.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7436 Tehpillowstar, Tue, 14th May '13 11:46:07 PM from the Land of Pillows and Stars Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Soft and fluffy
How is the name "Cain" (from the Bible) spelled in Lithuanian, Polish, Turkish and Russian, and what is the pronunciation in those languages?

(Like, if the old testament of the Bible was translated in those language, how would the name be transliterated?)
"Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight." -R. W. Raymond
 7437 Khantalas, Tue, 14th May '13 11:52:46 PM from ((Not actually a creepy adorable little girl.))
Creepy adorable little girl
The Turkish version comes from Arabic, and is transliterated Kabil, pronounced qa-bill.
"Be mine, dear big brother."
[up][up] From Wiktionary the Russian version for "Cain" is Каин (pronounced Káin). Likewise, from what I can gather, the Polish version is likewise pronounced "Kain".

Now, quick question:

What scents would lead you to think that you're near a riverbank? My character is an urbanite so recognising the scents of specific flowers wouldn't really work for her. At the moment, all I can think of are "fresh pine" and "earthy moss"...

edited 15th May '13 2:33:15 AM by peasant

 
 7439 Madrugada, Wed, 15th May '13 4:36:46 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
"Wet dirt", for one. "Rotting leaves".

"Pine", not so much, at least for me. Pine trees aren't something I associate with rivers — that would be cottonwood, willow, and birch
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7440 De Marquis, Wed, 15th May '13 4:59:12 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Moisture in the air.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7441 MCE, Wed, 15th May '13 5:01:34 AM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic

Noaqiyeum:They could also lift up on the end of the vehicle with driving wheels, and fly against its momentum.

Punching through the window or windshield would entail showering their intended rescuee with shards of glass...

Lifting the car is a possibility.

The person in the car isn't being rescued, they're being arrested.

edited 15th May '13 5:02:17 AM by MCE

 7442 Sabre's Edge, Wed, 15th May '13 5:51:25 AM from Project NAIL SPIKE
If it is absolutely imperative to arrest him right the hell now, the best solution is still to lift up the rear of the vehicle and pull. That way he doesn't have to contend with the forward force of the engine; as a bonus, if he lifts the chassis high enough, the friction of the front bumper against the ground would deploy the airbag, further hindering the driver, and making it less likely that he'd be injured.

It is, however, probably safer to shadow him from the air, like a police helicopter, only far more nimble, while police seal off roads with barricades. The driver can't keep going forever, and it lessens the risk that he'd careen out of control and slam into pedestrians or other cars. Police tend to be more focused on limiting collateral damage when it comes to an arrest; civil suits for carelessness can get very nasty.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7443 MCE, Wed, 15th May '13 7:23:49 AM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
[up] That assumes rear wheel drive doesn't it?

The problem with the police road block idea in this case is that the person being chased also has super powers and could probably tear though the police if they were desperate enough.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, good amount of possibilities to work with.

edited 15th May '13 7:28:36 AM by MCE

 7444 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 15th May '13 8:21:29 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Is there some folklore that says dwarves grow out of stone?
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 7445 Madrugada, Wed, 15th May '13 8:44:53 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
I've never encountered that.
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7446 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 15th May '13 9:26:50 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
All I know is dwarves turning into stone.
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Would a 13-14-year-old count as an Enfant Terrible, and if not, what similar trope would they qualify for?
I'd say I'm being refined

Into the web I descend

Killing those I've left behind

I have been Endarkened
How much can I feature real life brands in my work? How much alteration is needed to avoid legal issues?

 7450 Marq FJA, Fri, 17th May '13 3:43:19 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Fortunately for all of us fanfic writers, fan fiction doesn't have to fear cease-and-desist copyright claims so long as you add in a brief and to-the-point legal disclaimer in the preface or footnotes... well, at least that's many fanfic archives that I've come across do it.

edited 17th May '13 3:44:12 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
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