December 4th, 2005

wheels falling off cars

Let's say I want to destroy my character's mobility real quick, so one of her tires is going to fall off while she is driving.

From searching the cartalk archives, I have decided that this is possible and that it would have warning signs such as vibrating and wobbling around on curves. I am totally clueless on cars. I can probably fudge it with a little more research, but since I'm asking anyway... The warning signs are going to be ignored, no matter how blatant.

The real question is, what would happen to a car when the tire falls off? Obviously the car is not going to be pleased at all, but is it going to flip over or do some marvelous crunch-crash-smashing immediately? If the driver has good reflexes and a better understanding of cars than I, is there anything she should do that would prevent her from dying?

Hopefully no-one has actual experience with this.

Which tire (front or back) is irrelevant. I'd prefer for her to be at highway speeds, but if that means quick death, I can probably make her agree to anywhere as long as the car is in motion. Modern times, the car is "a green station wagon" (I still know nothing about cars), not ridiculously old yet but certainly well-used, and hasn't gotten looked at by a qualified mechanic in far too long.

French currency system

Would someone please take pity on me and explain the early/mid-19th century French currency system for me? At the moment it seems like a giant jumble of sous, deniers, francs, livres, etc, and I have no idea what's equivalent to what or how much any of it is worth. (And if it helps, the relevant dates are 1817-1832.) A general idea of what one could buy with various amounts of money would be massively helpful too, as well as, more specifically, what a reasonable asking price for a lower-class streetwalker was.
times are hard for dreamers

custody of siblings

How difficult would it be for someone to gain custody of their younger half siblings? What kind of process would that take? I have a character fighting an absentee dad for custody and wanted to know whether she even stands a chance. The sister fighting for custody is a legal adult (21), since I'm sure that makes a difference.
  • rapier

Biology and nomenclature question re: fantastic creatures

So, there's a creature I have in mind, and I could use some clarification regarding biology and nomenclature.

This creature is a radially symmetrical flying creature called a streya. The adult streya has eight flat-ish legs surrounding a body shaped like an Mento or M&M. It attains flight by running in a circle in place, effectively spinning on its vertical axis. As it gains rotational speed, the streya lifts opposing pairs of legs until all eight are in the air. The assumption is that it gains lift much the same way a frisbee or helicopter does, and alters its speed and direction by means of tilting its legs/paddles/propellors.

When the streya is newly born, it doesn't have any legs, and is essentially immotile and helpless, not unlike a newborn human (except, you know, it's one foot wide and kind of hard-shelled and shaped like an M&M). The only defense mechanism I want to give a newborn streya is the ability to float. Streya have internal organs that generate a lighter-than-air gas and will allow an infant streya to float, but have effectively no control over its direction and speed. It will need to depend on its parent for rescue.

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I kill with my heart.

When is a jeep not a jeep?

I know that almost universally, no matter what kind of vehicle it is, if it looks like a Jeep, you can call it a jeep, and people will know what you're talking about...

But what is the actual *body style* called? If it's a Geo Tracker or a Suzuki Samurai, is there some kind of classification akin to SUV or sedan that a jeep-like-object would fit into?
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Prier: Sup in this thread?

Signification of a French-Canadian children's song.

I've tried both google and Wiki, in both English but mostly French, but I can't find what I'm looking for. I'll keep on looking but help would be appreciated.

I'm trying to find some information on a french children song called "Alouette". (Alouette, gentille alouette)

1. Is it a French song or a French-Canadien song? I keep getting conflicted results on this.

2. The thing I truly can't seem to find is the signification or symbolism of the song. It can't really be about torturing a bird can it?

3. And just one specification, this song is public domain, right?

Sorry for the stupid question.

EDIT: Well geez, that sucks. The only info I had found on it's significance told me that it had very deep meaning for the Quebec culture (although it didn't say what, go figure). So does that mean we just like to eat?
athens subway

Stupid question

This isn't actually for a piece I'm writing, but I thought that someone here would probably know the answer.

Last night, the old b/w version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol was on and there were two things about which I wondered. Perhaps they would be made clear if I went and read the book, but I don't own a copy and the library's closed on Sundays. Anyway...

1) In the scene where Scrooge sees the ghost of Marley, the latter has bandages wrapped around his head. For what purpose are they?

2) Later on, in the scene where Bob Kratchet's family is sitting down for the evening meal, his wife brings out some sort of flaming dessert. What is this, and why is it on fire?

Thank you for indulging/remedying my ignorance/stupidity...