Writer by trade. I makes da words purdy.
My #meetHubski interview is here.
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Well... that's Monroe, man. Might as well be the Moon!
(Honestly, I turn off my phone when I go to Jay's, because the battery will die as it panics and continually, fruitlessly, hopelessly scans for signal... and receives none.)
But then, I'm a writer. I don't run a birth center. So powering off my phone is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. For days at a time.
Hey Pubski. Been a while... I'm just passing through.
Got the Google mesh wifi thingies, and my house and network have never been happier. Got Chromecasts spread around the place connected to speakers in my bedroom, the kitchen, and the Pillow Palace, so I can throw my Spotify signal around wherever I am.
Making generally good diet and exercise decisions, but my body is at the early stage of, "Hey! Dude! SERIOUSLY?!? What the hell are you doing to me?!? I thought we had a good thing going on here... sitting all day... lazing around the house watching movies when we get home... what is this EXCERCISE and STRETCHING bullshit?!?"
Ya know... I wonder if the police/black helicopter guys have a Stingray installed in your area?
I've anecdotally noticed a "pattern" that in certain areas with ample wifi and cell signal, calls not being connected, SMS messages vaporizing into thin air, etc... and I wonder if the Stingrays are not so good at passing on valid data as they are at collecting it...
Because, these problems seem to occur in areas police find "interesting"... like Rainier Ave, and a wide stripe on either side of Aurora Ave in the north end (where meth heads are making product in quiet little residential subdivisions), etc.
I wonder if they can trace the signal path your data is traveling?
Either way, it's gotta be goddamn frustrating.
Here's a way to figure out where Stingrays are operating: http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/10/racial-disparities-in-police-stingray-surveillance-mapped/502715/
The ACLU is also tracking their use: https://www.aclu.org/map/stingray-tracking-devices-whos-got-them
I think the fact you are asking this question shows some key weaknesses in your story/plot/method.
The method is a distraction. It's not the scary part.
What is authentically scary is why someone does something.
Have your killer kill his victims by pulling their hangnails until they die. That'll squick people out, but the scary part is that he does it because he has a compulsion to pick at things. He picks at the gum stuck under the railings in the subway station. He picks at the edge of peeling stickers. He has a picking compulsion, and THAT is why he picks their hangnails until they die.
Because here's the thing: You are asking the question like a man would. "What could he DO to someone?" That's scary for a man, but emotional torture is far more scary to a woman.
Take the movie Misery, for example. The guys I know completely lose their shit when she breaks his ankles with the sledgehammer. The women I know cringe, but then get on with it.
Women process pain differently than men, and they spend a lot more time in the mental space around a situation, considering all the angles and impulses and consequences, and torture themselves over the mental aspects, much more than the physical aspects of torture.
So. Back to the hangnails.
If the dude has a picking fetish, and only tortures the women to death by picking their hangnails because he has this compulsion - it has nothing to do with the woman at all - then it is FAR more scarier. Because you have just removed the woman's humanity. She isn't a person at all, any more. She is just an object he picks at, like gum.
THAT is some fucked up shit right there.
So anyway, in asking your question I think you have highlighted the core problems with your story more eloquently than any type of invented ridiculous torture can fix.
(Footnote: That's why I don't write stuff like this. It is too easy, and there is too much of this humans-being-shitty-to-each-other crap our there already. It's easy. It's done. There isn't really any originality in the genre any more, other than just ratcheting up the "Eeeewwww" factor until people walk out. No offense intended. Solely my opinion, expressed on absolutely zero knowledge of you, your writing, or anything. So take this all with a big old 5lb block of salt! Welcome to hubski!)
Right. The Exit/Onramp problem is simply solved with AV's, because you do not need traffic lights and 8-feet of extra space on either side to accommodate idiot drivers, and you can have walls and tunnels and narrow passages because you don't have to worry about people panic-braking because the lane got narrower, etc.
Essentially, if we had SmartCar-sized AV's, we could fit TWO lanes, side-by-side, in the space currently taken by ONE lane of idiot-operated cars.
Every single road is something like 80% wasted space and design, to account for human error, and the peculiar foibles of our sensory systems. When you eliminate those vectors of uncertainty from the calculation, you can fit FAR more vehicles into the current traffic pattern, with little/no impact on the current traffic flow and control mechanisms.
Let's look at a detailed example...
Off-Ramps and AV's
Because AV's are smaller and narrower than a regular car, you have TWO lanes of AV's operating in your current HOV lane.
Off- and On-ramps are on the LEFT side of the freeway, and ONLY accessible to AVs.
They do not need to be built to support a 40-ton semi tractor trailer. They need to support a series of 1800-pound AVs. The off-ramp also doesn't need to be flat, or provide forward visibility, or a clear line of sight, so angles, turn radii, and crash zones don't need to be designed into the off-ramp design. (Imagine AVs turning off the freeway into a simple tube, that bends down away from the freeway in a sweeping arc, towards the road below.)
The outside of the tubes can become public art spaces... paint them like snakes, or dragons, or whales, or whatever.
Below the freeway, the tube merges with regular traffic in a standard merge lane, or - more likely - adds a lane to the road that is dedicated to AVs.
AVs enter the freeway the opposite way, entering the freeway from the left, and merging in with other AVs.
Because all the AVs are talking to one another constantly, the flow of traffic in these lanes is smooth. All the vagraries of acceleration, object avoidance, jammed up off-ramps, etc, are spread amongst ALL of the vehicles in the area, so each one backs off an inch (for example) and the cumulative effect over 60 vehicles is enough space for a new vehicle to merge in.
With two AV lanes, the left one is the slower lane, with traffic entering and exiting the freeway, and the right lane is the "fast" lane for vehicles going further.
The AVs essentially become person-sized train cars, wirelessly connected, which can dynamically "connect" and "disconnect" from the cars in front and behind them, and flow in with vehicles in the other lane.
The Fun Stuff
The best part is once people get past their hangup on the "Trolley Problem" strawman argument, and the software designers get to begin thinking of how to make things flow like water, rather than road designers having to design to accommodate that Escalade with one person in it, who is also on the phone, and riding on bald tires with brakes that should've been serviced 20k miles ago.
What if an AV gets a flat tire? I could see the AVs in front and back "teaming up" and sandwiching the one with the flat tire, and helping it get safely to a turnout or Repair-de-sac (something I just made up: a little turnout that can fit 3 AVs... the "bad" one, the "replacement" one that picks up the rider immediately and continues their journey, and the Repair vehicle that carries the dude who fixes the broken one.)
When we get to this point, London reduces the number of vehicles allowed in The City even further. Taxicabs in two lanes, AVs in their own four lanes. That provides the financial base and incentive for the AV companies to develop and built resilient systems, and tweak the code in a live environment, before rollout to progressive cities worldwide... Sao Paolo, Vancouver, Toronto, Dubai, Stockholm, Berlin, Nagoya, etc.
We already have HOV or Carpool lanes.
I figure eventually we will just convert those to Autonomous Vehicle lanes, or build a new lane for them, like they do with buses.
This gives the AV's a "safe" environment in which to travel, they can follow each other much more closely than other cars, and they can have their own exits that don't need stupid-human-tools like traffic lights, etc.
I can't wait. I'm tired of sharing the roads with assholes. I just wanna get in, listen to a podcast, and arrive at my destination.
- I am starting to like the idea of rate-limiting promotion to once per person per day.
I'm on the other side of this fence. If there is a great comment thread with several really good ideas, or several posts with excellent comments, I don't want to be told I cannot reward that person for their quality content due to some arbitrary constraint imposed by the software.
Participation should not be punished.
However, I could see limiting a user's number of promotions for their first month of membership, or preventing them from being the first person to promote a post... that could limit the spammers enough to discourage them.
I like the idea, and look forward to seeing how it works out.
And instead of "promote" how about "gift". As in, "I think you are a valuable member here, so I am gifting you this ability."