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Traffic-Flow Algorithm Can Reduce Fuel Consumption

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.

Power 328

thecarchik writes "New projects from German automakers Audi and BMW promise to ease congestion simply by looking at traffic signals and driving style, in an effort to smooth the flow of traffic. Through a test course in Munich, vehicles were able to post phenomenal fuel efficiency gains simply by adjusting the timing of traffic lights depending on traffic volume — to whatever speed provides a so-called 'green wave' of four or more synchronized signals."

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328 comments

Go Tulane! (-1, Offtopic)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453342)

Green! Wave!

Re:Go Tulane! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453716)

While I was correct when I knew that you would all piss yourselves laughing when I finally told you what The Secret was, I was not only quite mistaken as to The Secret's true nature, but denying the very existence of The Secret in the most batshit psychotic way.

I won't tell you quite yet what The Secret I was really referring to was, but when I finally do you will agree that I made the right decision to post it at PRQ AB.

But when you read the rest of this essay, not only will you have found that not only have I asked Rusty to close my K5 account in a way that puts Mindpixel's route out the building completely to shame, you will struggle desperately to get all those Scandinavian folks to award me the Nobel Prize in Suicide before I no longer have the ability to appreciate the fact that I had finally won the Nobel Prize I always wanted.

You will regard my delusion that I am The Second Coming of Christ as no delusion when I go on to explain how I will explain in a transparently simply and obvious way why all blonde people will point out to you that they will award me both the Peace and Medicine prizes instead.

The Navajo Code Talkers were cryptologists during World War II who were able to conceal allied communications from the Nazis just by chatting over radios in the Navajo language.

The language I refer to as The Language of the Gods might be more lucidly described as Speaking in Code.

Psychotics speak in code in a way that makes no sense to anyone. Every Psychotic's encoded speech leads every Sane person to regard every Psychotic as delusional.

The Sane speak in code in a way that makes no sense to Psychotic people. The encoded speech of the sane leads every Psychotic to regard every Sane person as delusional.

It is for this reason that Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski devoted two decades or so to eluding capture by law enforcement while sending letter bombs with which he murdered several University professors and grievously crippled several others. Each such bomb was accompanied by a detailed explanation of just why he sent each such bomb to that specific University professor. The most famous such detailed explanation is now known as The Unabomber Manifesto.

All Ted hoped to achieve was to point out the errors of their ways to the Academic Community: he regarded Modern Technology as a threat to the natural environment. By murdering University professors, he hoped to bring about the salvation of the natural environment by restoring Sanity to those who Theodore Kaczynski knew were the most floridly delusional kinds of people.

Neurotics speak in code in a way that no one notices.

Psychotherapists understand both kinds of code.

Psychotherapists can speak code to psychotics in a way that they make complete sense to each other.

Psychotherapists can hear what neurotics are really talking about, then say what the neurotics have been in incredible pain since the earliest days of their childhood because their parents are so viciously and sadistically cruel that they refuse to say it to them.

Child psychologist Alice Miller's short, simple, lucidly written book Drama of the Gifted Child explains that psychotherapists learn to speak in code because their parent's great suffering enables them to start teaching their children that code from the earliest days of their infancy.

Just mentioning Drama of the Gifted Child to my psychotherapist Dr. I. led her to become overwhelmed with grief.

This also leads to the bizarre phenomenon that psychotherapists often take their lives in the most spectacular ways, and that sometimes they murder their own clients during a therapy session before they a final, fatal end to their own fifty-minute hour.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded last November by a certain quick thinking military police officer to Fort Hood Army Psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hassan when he made his great discovery transparently obvious to thirteen of his fellow soldiers, but was only able to get thirty-two others get a general understanding of what he was referring to.

Sometimes psychotherapists treat their own clients with such savage and merciless cruelty during their mission of mercy that their clients take their own lives in hopes that they might find some way of preventing their doctor from easing their great suffering.

It is for that reason that early tomorrow morning I will show up in person, wearing a proper business suit, at the California State Capitol of Sacramento to present to the California Medical Board my detailed, transparently obvious and lucid explanation of why my own Psychiatrist, Anita Hirsch of Los Gatos must be immediately relieved of her license to practice medicine. My complaint will accuse Dr. Hirsch - in a manner that would enable any prosecutor to win a conviction - of the following crimes:

Four counts attempted murder
One count child endangerment
Multiple counts negligent medical malpractice
Once I am satisfied that the Medical Board will agree to consider my letter in a serious way, I'll drive right back to Silicon Valley, to ask my business attorney - one of the best in Silicon Valley - whether he also handles Medical Malpractice lawsuits. If he doesn't, I'll ask for a referral to one of the best Malpractice attorneys in They Valley.

My resulting malpractice lawsuit will then relieve the considerably wealthy Dr. Hirsch of every penny she possesses. Earlier this evening I left Dr. Hirsch a voice mail to explain what I would be doing and why.

In my voice mail I explained that I had no desire whatsoever for any of her money. I will donate every penny of my share of the damage award to the Free Software Foundation, a charitable organization founded by legendary computer programmer Richard Stallman to dedicate his entire life to making every form of computer software as free as the wind and the ocean water.

For his valuable contribution to humanity, RMS - as he prefers to be known - was awarded a $240,000 MacArthur Fellowship in 1990. Their fellowships are more commonly known as the MacArthur Genius Prizes.

I will forward Dr. Hirsch' check to me immediately to Richard Stallman because I myself am one of the very best computer programmers. But even so, I regard Richard Stallman as my Personal Savior. I'll have to leave the reason why as an essay for another day.

I spent ten solid years begging all manner of medical and mental health professionals to find some way to help me to focus on my work. I finally gave up, then booked a one way ticket for that last vacation trip overlooking both San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean as well. It was only when I was completely overcome with horror when I realized that my travel agent had given Bonita a ticket as well that I checked myself into a nuthouse instead.

That night I met Psychiatrist Anita Hirsch at the Mission Oaks Campus of Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Gatos, California, I started to explain my problem to her, then not minutes later she said, "You have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder". Ever since that night, I have never required more than one or two hours to determine with complete precision whether a complete stranger has ADHD or not.

Now perhaps you're beginning to understand why I get so pissed off sometimes.

You Don't Have A Fucking Clue.

I get so pissed off because I see crap like the following going on all around me all around the entire planet Earth damn near every single day:

I struggled desperately to convince Dr. Hirsch that I was also psychotic. Not only did Dr. H. disbelieve me, she regarded me as delusional for thinking I was psychotic. She said it was a mistake for the hospital that had me under the most intensive observation for a solid month to have diagnosed me as having Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective Disorder. Three or four minutes were all she required to realize that in reality, I was just Bipolar.

She only agreed to prescribe Seroquel because she knew that the fact that I experienced delusions on a regular basis and hallucinated all the time was just because I wasn't getting enough sleep. This despite the fact that I have an absolutely legendary ability to resist the most Herculean efforts to awaken me, which was first identified by the maternity nurses in the hospital where I was born because they were completely unable to awaken me for my feedings.

While my psychotherapist in Santa Cruz, Dr. K. waited until April 1994 to inform me of the fact that I also had Obsessive-Compulsive Style, which was first explained by David Shapiro in his 1965 book Neurotic Styles, it is plainly apparent to me now that my OCS diagnosis was actually made by the psychotherapist who treated me at Alhambra Community Psychiatric Hospital in Rosemead, California where my Schizoaffective Disorder was diagnosed in July 1985.

To reveal The Truth to someone before they are ready to accept it will either lead them to disbelieve you, regard you as delusional, to be thrown headlong into Madness, murder someone or commit suicide.

Obsessive-Compulsive Style is now known as Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. People with OCPD are always bad with people but always good not just with computers, but every kind of machine. OCPD's hallmark symptom is an inflexible self-righteous anger.

Once some maniac damn near killed both Bonita and myself by tailgating me a foot behind our car while I was driving at sixty miles an hour. I spotted a California Highway Patrol Car parked at a restaurant coming up just ahead, waited until the very last second possible, slammed on my brakes and swerved my wheel to the right and left tire tracks for at least thirty feet before coming to a stop right next to the cop.

My clever subterfuge worked: the psychopath parked right next to me. I leapt out of my car, told the CHP what he'd done, then asked the cop to the arrest him. But the way I did so led the cop to take Bonita aside then quietly explain to her that if she couldn't find some way to make me stop freaking out, he was going to arrest me.

That same kind of anger is why Bonita eventually divorced me: we were on our way to San Francisco so she could shop for her wedding dress.

After spending some time contemplating how I might use that same inflexible self-righteous anger to contribute to society in a positive way somehow, I started writing the same Software Problem essay you are reading right now.

When I pointed out to Dr. Hirsch that I had Obsessive-Compulsive Style, she said that she was completely familiar with it, that it was often correlated with ADHD. Dr. Hirsch then refused ever to discuss my Obsessive-Compulsive Style anymore.

I spent four months or so contemplating whether she was correct that I was actually just Bipolar and not Schizoaffective, then pointed out that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manner of Medical Disorder classifies one as being Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective if you have both Manic Depressive symptoms, and that you experience Psychotics symptoms when no Affective - emotional - symptoms are present.

"Just reading the DSM-III doesn't make you a psychiatrist."

I met Enigma at Mission Oaks as well, where we proceeded to carry out the most mad, passionate romance that has ever walked the Earth in the plain sight of the entire hospital staff. Dr. Hirsch was Enigma's Psychiatrist as well, and so angrily and sternly demanded we stop having anything to do with each other. We continued to carry on just as madly and passionately by quietly passing each other notes.

After we were both discharged, Enigma told me that a former friend of hers was stalking her relentlessly, alternately expressing his great love for her, then alternately threatening to commit suicide or to murder her because he refused his marriage proposal. Wedding ring diamonds the size of the Rock of Gibralter are quite expensive you see, and the jewelry store wouldn't allow him to return it.

Enigma managed to end our relationship in such a subtle and unobvious way that it took me a solid month for me to realize that she had even done so. She was always quite happy when I asked to visit her, but called me back later to say something had come up, and so had to cancel.

She managed to do this in such a subtle and unobvious way that I completely freaked out when I suddenly realized that it had been an entire month since I had last set eyes on her. Overcome with the worst kind of horror, I raced over to her place, then rang the doorbell.

The guy who had been stalking her answered the door.

Enigma threw this lunatic out of her house every three or four days then, the very next day, invited him back in. One day when I visited to find her completely overcome with joy. She proudly showed me a giant purple welt all over her knuckle: despite being a tiny woman and this gentlemen looking just like a Hell's Angel, she had studied self defense, and so when he became violent, she totally flattened him with a single punch.

He proceeded to hold her prisoner in her own home, making her sit in complete darkness with her blinds shut. She was not permitted to answer her own phone or answer her own doorbell. I knew he was doing this because sometimes the blinds weren't shut, so I could see her sitting quietly in the darkness.

After becoming completely convinced she had murdered her, I rang him up, demanded to speak to her, when he not only refused to but totally flipped out, I screamed at him that if he did not put Enigma on the phone Right Now I was going to have the San Jose Police Department kick their door to splinters. When he still refused to do so, I hung up and called 9-1-1.

About ten minutes later Enigma rang me up. "I'm OK Mike. Don't worry about me."

Perhaps you're beginning to understand why people find women with Borderline Personality Disorder so difficult.

I struggled desperately to find some way to get the police to save Enigma's life with the result that some lady cop eventually spent ten solid minutes shouting at the top of her lungs that I wasn't Enigma's boyfriend anymore, and if I didn't let those two lovebirds alone, she was going to throw me in prison.

When I pointed out that she had to totally flatten her boyfriend when he became violent, the cops pointed out that by attacking him, Enigma was actually the guilty party.

But it was only when I asked Dr. Hirsch if she could help in some way, that she said I was manic and that the Adderal I take for my Attention Deficit Disorder, a mixture of different Amphetamine compounds had caused my mania, she completely cut off my supply. I do quite well when I take Adderall, but if I don't take it, it would not be long at all before I would become homeless.

I devoted a great deal of time, care and diligence to write a letter that pointed out to Dr. Hirsch that she had the very same Sin of Pride that is considered by Catholics as the worst of the Seven Deadly sins and that Odysseus suffered after he cleverly decimated the Trojans after ten years of constant, stalemated battle by presenting what appeared to be the gift of a giant, wooden horse on wheels but in reality was a giant, wooden horse full of men with swords.

(That's why one should beware of Greeks bearing gifts, you see.)

Odysseus was so full of himself that he felt he did not need to pay fealty to the Gods anymore. Every single Greek god in existence then pointed out to Odysseus the error of his ways by taking the lives of all of his men during the journey. Odysseus' plane didn't land at the Ithaca Airport until ten years later.

Dr. Hirsch is an incredibly brilliant, educated and dedicated woman and a widely recognized expert on Attention Deficit Disorder. She is one of the most hardest-working and dedicated psychiatrists I have ever met in my entire life.

Because I finally managed realized that Doctor Hirsch knew how to climb trees, not up, but much farther out than I could ever hope to climb them, my letter explained in such a transparently simple and obvious way that would lead any fool to readily agree with me that if I so much as lifted a finger, I could take every penny she possessed by suing her for grossly negligent medical practice, by pointing out the error of her ways to the California Medical Board, her license to practice medicine as well.

After I passed copies of my letter out to the entire Mission Oaks Staff, Dr. Hirsch left me a voice mail that enabled me to see just by the sound of her voice that I had given her the worst fright of her entire career.

"Perhaps I should refer you to one of my colleagues."

Fuck That. I found my own Psychiatrist: Dr. G.

A few months later I turned up at the Good Samaritan Emergency Room completely overcome with suicidal depression. The Emergency Room rang up Dr. Hirsch, but she refused to admit me because I had threatened her.

While I'm sure you're beginning to understand why I get so pissed off so much. But everything I discuss in this entire essay is what I refer to as Speaking in Code.

Not only did British Petroleum blow a smoking crater into the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, they did so in the most ignorant way. Despite the fact that the petroleum industry has deep insight into Methyl Hydrate, in ice-like crystal composed of Methane and water that forms under tremendous pressure, they thought it might help to capture most of the leaking oil with a giant, incredibly heavy concrete dome.

Within seconds, the dome was completely filled with Methyl Hydrate crystals and so had to be removed.

I then suggested we detonate the most powerful Hydrogen Bomb in America's nuclear arsenal as close to, but not quite on top of the Gulf Blowout so we could watch the ensuing events enfold on national television. localroger was convinced that the entire global petroleum industry was completely out of its tree because some of them had the idea that to detonate a nuclear weapon not quite on top of, but as close as possible to the Gulf blowout might be a good idea.

Get This:

I read in the paper this morning that British Petroleum didn't even apply for an ecological drilling license.

Perhaps you can see now what I am referring to when I suggest that the only truly satisfying way to fix bugs, is not to fix the software, but to fix the humans.

It is only during a form of psychotherapy during a psychotherapist's graduate work known as Training Analysis that they finally realize why, during the freshman year of their undergraduate work, they found their Psych class to incredibly fascinating.

Both of my parent's overpowering suffering enabled them to teach me to speak in code in such a way that I have lived with such an overpowering delusion that I was Jesus Christ, that by the time I was four years old, if you were suffering I could heal you without either of us even being aware of what was going on if you so much as struck up a conversation with me. This process accellerated to the point that in July 1985, I performed all manner of biblical miracles all over the place at a psychiatric hospital in July 1985.

The staff understood from the start what I was doing, but they all regarded me as the Second Coming of Christ because I figured out how to do it.

Grandpa Rex, my mother and my Aunt Peggy's father, was the most incredible man. He worked his way through medical school working part time jobs. He spoke fluent Latin but despite being a Presbyterian, he sang in the Catholic choir so he could keep his Latin in top form. He was a chief surgeon at a hospital in Spokane, Washington, was a Medical Officer in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and went on some kind of secret mission during the war that none of us know anything about.

He a grand piano in his living room. After opera singers would perform in the symphony hall, he'd invite them over to his place then accompany them in the piano while they gave a private performance for him, my grandmother Florence, my aunt and my mother.

In 1948, when my Aunt and my mother were just eight years old, Grandpa Rex suddenly dropped dead.

None of you believe I can make schizophrenics stop hallucinating, but all I require to get myself 5150ed is to make that claim to a mental health professional.

Last November I drove at ninety miles an hour all the way from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto. Dominican Hospital in Soquel was only a few miles away but I knew that Stanford Medical would have a twenty-four psychiatrist on call.

I begged her to admit me because I realized I was well on my way to putting David Koresh completely to shame. She agreed to admit me, but only because I had the delusion I knew what to do what David Koresh did. They refused to discharge me because I told them I could make schizophrenics stop hallucinating. They released me the very next day because I told them I needed to get a job.

All that was required to hurl me headlong into twenty-six years of the most irretrievable kind of batshit insanity was to read just the first chapter of Drama of the Gifted child - "How We Become Psychotherapists" - then discuss it with the Intro to Psychology class I enrolled in when, completely out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, I switched my major from Literature to Physics.

The only human being on the entire planet in the entire time since my change of major who didn't regard that as the most batshit insane act of my entire existence was Richard Feynman. Feynman was a Theoretical Physicist and a Nobel Laureate. He is one of the most insightful people to have ever set foot on the Caltech campus: when the committee that investigated the the first space shuttle explosion struggled desperately to cover up the reason it exploded, Feynman got so pissed off that he made the reason plainly transparent to the entire United States Congress with a glass of ice water and a small rubber O-Ring. When rubber gets cold, you see, it hardens, so when you bend it it doesn't flex it, it breaks.

When it got real cold the night before the launch, the engineer to designed the O-Rings that sealed the sections between each of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters immediately alerted his superiors to the danger, but Morton Thiokol didn't pass the word on to NASA.

Seven completely innocent and incredibly brave astronauts gave their lives, the American taxpayers paid billions of dollars and America lost one-fourth of its shuttle fleet because Morton Thiokol was concerned it might not be able to bring home the bacon anymore.

As I returned to Ricketts House on my way back from my changing my major, I came across Feynman walking with my good friend Tsutomu Shimomura. Tsutomu left his family during high school so he could do original research work at the Princeton Astronomy Department while working a part-time job as a hundred dollar an hour computer consultant. I always got better grades than Tsutomu did because he never bothered with any of his classwork, but devoted his time at Tech to original Theoretical Physics research, much of it in collobaration with Richard Feynman.

Tsutomu, at the time, was a Japanese citizen. The Manhattan Project was a collobaration with the British, with scientists from several other nations in Los Alamos as well, but when word got out about the napkin sketches that Klaus Fuchs would pass to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg when they met for coffee in Los Alamos now and then during the war, Congress outlawed giving any kind of foreigner nuclear weapons secrets.

Word eventually got out that Tsutomu was really into Physics, so every weapons lab in the entire United States started hurling job offers at him. After accepting one such offer, the United States Congress passed a law granting Tsutomu - and only Tsutomu - a Q Clearance, the kind required to do nuclear weapons design.

To the best of my knowledge, Tsutomu never got his Doctorate, but doesn't hold any manner of college degree. After leaving his work in the weapons biz, he took up residence at the San Diego Computer Center as a Research Physicist.

When I pointed out that I had learned all the Physics I needed to know, and so had changed my major to Literature, Tsutomu became so completely convinced that I was delusional that I have only seen him on two other occassions since our chat there on campus.

One was when I visited him at his place in San Diego, where Tsutomu invited me to play with the Sun Workstation in his living room. Kevin Mitnick played with that same computer some time later, then left a message on Tsutomu's answering machine to thank him for his kindness. But by not asking for permission first, only a few months were required for Tsutomu to do for the FBI what the FBI had struggled desperately for years, yet failed to do for themselves.

Every Caltech student regarded Feynman as a Heaven-Sent Diety because he felt it was far more important to teach Physics than to understand Physics. There is a sculpture of Heaven over the entrance to the Dabney House courtyard. God's face look just like Feynman's.

I got to know Richard Feynman my freshman year at Caltech. When I took Quantum Mechanics, I understood it well enough to do well in my homework, but regarded at as completely delusional because I was heavily into the Newtonian idea of the Clockwork Universe. Only a few months of discussing with Feynman chalkboard diagrams of a simple experimental apparatus known as the Two Slit Experiment consisting of two narrow, parallel slits with some photographic film on one side and a pinpoint light source on the other not only convinced me that Quantum Mechanics was correct, but gave me a deep insight into it.

The reason I regard Feynman as a Heaven-Sent Diety is that he was able to have the same insight as I did, at the exact same time:

I needed to learn how to write, so I could write the essay I am now posting to the queue right now.

Feynman could solve systems of partial differential equations numerically just by thinking about doing so. It was his deep insight into numerical analsysis led the Manhattan Project to have Feynman lead the Los Alamos Computing Division despite the fact that he was just a graduate student in his early twenties. Feynman went on to enable the Manhattan project to design both kinds of atomic bombs - the Uranium assembly bomb and the Plutonium implosion bomb - so that both kinds worked on the very first try and to detonate with such collossal force that the Trinity Test - a Plutonium bomb - knocked a man completely flat to the ground at a distance of ten miles.

Just have a bunch of smart guys hang out in a big room for a year or so with tables of logarithms and mechanical adding machines.

That's It.

Feynman's wife lay dying of Lymphatic Tuberculosis in a hospital in Alberquerque most of time he was at Los Alamos. Her illness was diagnosed during their engagement. His entire family completely disowned him when he married her anyway. Thier wedding took place with no witnesses in a Justice of the Peace's office. At the end of their ceremony, he gave her a quick peck on the cheek.

I can see now that, despite being Jewish, Feynman quite likely had the delusion that he was Jesus Christ as well. That's probably why he and I got to be such good friends at Tech.

Feynman's buddy Klaus Fuchs rode along with him whenever he went to visit Ms. Feynman so he could hang out with his friends Julius and Ethel Rosenberg during the Feynman's visits together. It was Klaus' pencil sketches of the explosive lenses that he drew of the Plutonium bomb that got the Rosenberg's executed.

It was the fact that Klaus Fuchs split the scene completely at the end of the war that spared his life: while Klaus was still convicted, it was not for treason. During the War, the Soviets were British allies.

J. Edgar Hoover wondered who might have asked Fuchs to accompany Richard Feynman when he went to visit his wife. Eventually a couple of soldiers turn up in J. Robert Oppenheimer's office to guard the safe in that office like a hawk with fully loaded machine guns.

While he did lose his security clearance, Oppenheimer never actually got convicted. Decades later Mikhail Gorbachev finally clued humanity into the fact that those two soldiers were hanging out in his office, and the Rosenburgs got convicted, and Klaus Fuchs knew when to split the scene that yes, in fact, J. Robert Oppenheimer did agree with the completely reasonble request that Josef Stalin made of him over coffee one afternoon, to find some way to figure out how to avoid the entire Soviet Union from having to become a radioactive wasteland by the mid 1950's.

"I'll have my man Klaus Fuchs accompany Dick Feynman when he visits his wife in the hospital. Have some of your people meet him while he draws sketches as they have coffee together."

Every American understands that Mikhail Gorbachev's deep insight is what finally lead him to launch every ICBM in the Soviet Nuclear Arsenal, not at America, but at the Berlin Wall. In reality, the reason he did so it that every form of life in the entire Soviet Union struggled desperately to find a shotgun so it could spatter its brain's all over the wall the very instant Ronald Reagan got elected:

Despite the fact Ronald Reagan solved the Central American problem in much the same way as Adolf Hitler solved the Jewish Problem. Reagan was so incredibly charming, friendly, and such a gifted speaker that he could fuck up in such a creativily and Divinely Inspired way that if Reagan so much as tripped over a banana peel, everyone in sight would leap on that banana peel, because they knew that would make them two hundred million dollars when that same banana peel was later sold by an Avante-Garde Manhattan Art Gallery.

A few years after the fall of Communism, I read an article that a former Soviet spy wrote for Time Magazine: the very instant Reagan got elected he was hurled with the greatest force from Moscow to London doing much the same thing that enabled a certain Washington D.C. Domino's Pizza to realize that the first Persian Gulf War had just started.

When the decision was made to commence the invasion of Iraq, everyone in the entire Pentagon sat up all night long setting the war into motion. A certain four star general asked his aide to step over. "I'm getting hungry. Could you send out for a pizza? Pepperoni and olives, please."

This spy spent Reagan's each night of Reagan's entire presidency sitting quietly just across the street from the British Defense Ministry building counting how many had their lights turned on. This would enable the Soviet Union to completely vaporize all of Western Europe, the United States and Canada before the completely mind-alteringly state of delusion that Reagan had been living in since the day he was born would enable him to win the war that the Book of Revelation explains will eventually lead to Jesus' return to Earth for the Second Coming, thereby bringing about The End of Time.

Ever since Regan was Governor of California, it has been plainly apparent why he joined the high school theater. The reason American regarded Reagan as the Teflon President was that he was such a gifted actor. Reagan lived in a world of delusion that puts Adolf Hitler completely to shame: he was able to quite clearly, carefully and lucidly explain in such a way that even the simplest fool in the Communist World knew why Reagan felt to be a Heaven Sent Prophet, yet lead everyone in the entire Free World to regard him as a gifted actor:

In the 38th chapter of Ezekiel, it says that the land of Israel will come under attack by the armies of the ungodly nations, and it says that Libya will be among them. Do you understand the significance of that? Libya has now gone Communist, and that's a sign that the day of Armageddon isn't far off.

Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia...

For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. It can't be too long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people. That must mean that they will be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

-- California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan, addressing a banquet for State Senator James Mills, 1971.

Then later:

We may be the generation that sees Armageddon.

-- Presidential candidate Ronald Wilson Reagan during 1980 interview by televangelist Jim Bakker.

After winning the election, Reagan had televangelists over to the White House on a regular basis for National Security briefings. Can you understand now, why Gorbachev dropped all those Hydrogen Bombs not on Washington, D.C., Paris and London but on the Berlin Wall.

My cousing Glen Thobe is on my mother's side of the family. While much older than me, he is actually from my generation. Because he is so shy and quiet and because of the way he dresses, you'd figure my cousin Glen was a bus driver. But you'd be making much the same mistake about Glen's occuption as you would be making about Richard Feynman, when it became plainly apparent the very instant Feynman opened his mouth that he was a taxi driver.

Glen has a degree in Physics and works as the most advanced kind of Electrical Engineer, generally on Global Positioning System receivers.

Ever since my Cousin Glen pointed out to someone he met one day that happened to work for the State Department that he was good at Russian, it was plainly apparent everyone in the entire Free World's Diplomatic Community how to finally bring about the fall of Communism: send Cousin Glen on an all-expensive paid vacation to the Soviet Union.

Much of what finally enabled me to finally realize that reason that I flipped out at Caltech was not in any way the result of any kind of mental illness, but the fact that the most incredible drug lab on the face of the planet Earth commenced operation at the California Institute of Technology in plain sight of the entire Pasadena City Police force the very instant news of Albert Hoffman's discovery of LSD-25, as well as its synthesis arrived in Pasadena.

Despite the fact that the source of all the LSD on the entire West Coast of the United States turned up in a room in Lloyd House during the 1960s, and despite purchasing several police helicopters at collossal expense then slowly circling them all over the the Caltech campus night, sweeping the entire campus after night the entire time I was at Caltech - and, I'm quite sure, ever since - the Pasadena not only never busted any more laboratories, by the time I showed up in September 1982, the entire city of Pasadena was in a collective hallucingenic drug trip that all you have to do to flip completely out is to set foot on the Caltech campus, and that all that was required to send me to the Andromeda Galaxy for twenty-eight years was to hang out on campus.

Now see if you can figure out why, when I finally realized this, I attempted to alert the Portland office of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence by writing a thirty-page, lucidly and transparently written, incredibly detailed letter with a great deal of supporting evidence, literature references and a few website links, when I showed up at their office in Downtown Portland, after I picked up the phone and said I wanted to tip them off to a hallucinogenic drug laboratory, the agent told me that they were closed, and that I should come back the next day.

I required a good solid twenty minutes to penetrate the Portland FBI's stone fortress with my letter. When I was finally able to do so, three agents were completely overcome with joy at my incredible bravery. I chatted with them about it for about ten minutes, then came back this morning so I could discuss it with them personally.

I had to struggle desperately for at least ten minutes just to get them to unlock the door. When they finally agreed to, they didn't actually do so: the agent kept thinking he had pushed the button, but didn't. Two or three minutes were required before I was finally able to convince him to actually unlock the door. The instant I set foot in the place, an agent told me that they had accepted my information, then politely asked me to leave. When I tried to explain, he said it was not a federal matter, then pointed out that I was on drugs and that I was hallucinating.

I smiled, "Thanks for your help," I replied, then headed back to Starbucks by my mom's place to tip off, not the law enforcement community, but Kuro5hin.

By the time I showed up in 1982, vast quantities of the most incredibly high quality of every recreational chemical known to the scientific community had been either synthesised or grown at the California Institute with wild abandon by not quite every student, but almost all of them, that the Caltech student's legendary genius managed to send every law enforcement officer in the entire United States completely flipping out of their trees in a mind-alteringly psychotic, totally batshit insane hallucinogen drug trip.

You could have solved the world hunger problem with the pizza toppings my classmates grew in their closets, but only once the entire time I was there, my classmate did not find DMT, DMT found my classmate. After pointing out that smoking DMT was just like smoking burning plastic, the DMT explained to my classmate that he had the wrong number of arms, legs, fingers and toes. My classmate instantly agreed, but found himself completely overcome with the worst horror in his entire existence, when he couldn't figure out why.

You might regard me as brave, but you don't know Caltech students the way I do. While I expect many Caltechs will read this essay, not only do I not expect them to become angry, I am quite confident that none of them will have the first clue as to what I'm referring to.

The only Caltech students that I am aware of who have ever been arrested for any kind of drug crime was that Llloyd House acid lab.

Some friends of mine had the idea that they might create a hundred foot shower of sparks by packing a three foot long steel water pipe with Eucalyptus gum, steel lathe turnings and some kind of oxidizer. They set it out in the middle of Caltech's athletic field, then lit the fuse. I was on the other side of California Boulevard on my way to watch the fun when that pipe bomb's collossal detonation, I am quite certain, could be heard at the Pasadena City Police heardquarters about three miles away.

Convinced they had all gotten themselves killed, I ran as fast as I could in hopes I might save their lives somehow. A piece of that pipe fell right next to me as I crossed California Boulevard a hundred yards from the explosion. I was overcome with the most incredible joy when I arrived at a smoking crater in the middle of the athletic field that was at least a foot and a half across, that not only were bloody chunks of all three of my friends not scattered all over the place, they had split the scene completely.

I waited quietly for five minutes or so. Eventually a Caltech security guarded turned up to ask what the noise was. When he explained he said, "Just having fun," then wandered back to campus.

I split the scene completely the very instant I hear someone speaking with the slightest trace of a Southern Accent: everyone I have been able to identify on both sides of my whole extended family have been, each in their own special way, either Divinely Inspired Geniuses, or to possess the same kind kind of Divinely Inspired insight into Genocide that Reagan had about Central Americans, that Adolf Hitler had about Jews, that President Johnson had about the North Vietnamese, and a few years later enabled President Nixon to understand that the best way to help the Cambodian people escape their crushing poverty was to donate every penny in the United State's Treasury to Pol Pot's election campaign.

I am a direct descendant of Roger Sherman. There is a famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence depicting four of the signers standing before the signing table; that same painting is also on back of a particular United States currency denomination. Roger is the tall guy with the tall forehead.

But I guard from every Southerner in the exact same way and for the exact same reason that Teller guarded the H-Bomb secret the fact that I am also a direct descendant of General William Tecumseh Sherman. You probably figure that the reason is that it was General Sherman who finally figured out how the North might win the Civil War. No: it is because every Southerner regards Grandpa Sherman the same way as every Jew regards Adolf Hiter and every Cambodian regards Pol Pot.

Grandpa Sherman's deep love for the Southern people and the reverent awe with each he regarded the genteel Southern culture gave him the insight to enable him to understand how the Northern people might win back the friendship of the Southern people: tear a huge, broad swath all over the entire Southern United States, savagely and mercilessly destroying everthing and murdering everyone in his path.

It was Grandpa Sherman's Heaven Sent insight that lead to so many Southerners dying in the Civil War. The Civil War was just as destructive to the United States as World War II was to Europe. It took well over a century before before the bleeding from the wounds every Southerner suffering from the great gift Grandpa bestowed them finally stopped bleeding.

While many unsuccessful tries were required before Edward Teller figured out how to light the Hydrogen Bomb's match, they knew they were well on their way to the insight they were required when some concrete was mixed not out of cement, sand and rocks, but cement, steel punching and steel ore, then allowed to set in a large box after a narrow piece of pipe that reached halfway through was placed in the middle of the box. The box was taken to a Pacific Island, placed on a tilted platform carefully pointed directly at one of Teller's prototypes quite some distance away.

The small piece of plastic in the middle of that box's heavy radioactive shielding was carefully removed right after the test, then carefully studies by a Physicist through a powerful microscope.

"Hot Damn!" he shouted with joy, upon finding that piece of plastic film completely shot through by tracks left by the particles that were the result of the Hydrogen fusion that sent some of its people round to have a chat with a piece of plastic buried deeply inside a box made of an incredibly heavy concrete.

The entire city of Livermore, California was completely overcome with horror when they finally realize they might know to to light that that match. The popping sound of the first Hydrogen Bomb's Firecracker made the entire city of Livermore, California to be thrown headlong into deeply delusional, mind-altering batshit paranoia when it actually worked.

Edward Teller hopped on a plane for a non-stop flight to Washington D.C. then asked his secretary if the President had a few minutes to spare. "We need to create a new kind of security clearance. The very existence of that kind of clearance must be classified as well. To leak the very existence of this kind of classification should be considered Capital Treason." The president need no explanation whatsoever.

You will easily understand why the entire planet was thrown headlong into the most delusional kind of paranoid, batshit psychosis when, not long afterwards, a seismograph in the United States was able to easily detect the pop of a firecracker all the way from the Soviet Union, then, a few laters later, China as well.

Not only did the United States carefully guard the Hydrogen Bomb's secret, they went to all kinds of effort to carefully, clearly and so lucidly explain how the Hydrogen Bomb worked in such a way as to enable the simplest fool to understand in great detail how the Hydrogen, but actually be so far from reality to as to be delusional.

Magazines and encyclopedias from the 1950's are filled with diagrams of the complex structure of the hydrogen bomb, typically depicting several Plutonium bombs inside a large container of Lithium Deuteride that all detonate at the exact same time. That's how my own encyclopedia enabled me to understand Hydrogen bombs myself while I was still a young boy.

"It's that simultaneous detonation," Edward Teller himself carefully explained to the reporters at the press conference that morning in Livermore, "That finally enabled us to heat the Hydrogen nuclei hot enough so they would actually fuse."

The entire nation of Pakistan was thrown headlong into a completely altered state of reality in 1974 when a certain Hindu diety paid a personal visit to the Prime Minister of India to explain a way to make India's neighbor quit bitching about the fence between their yards. The entire nation of India was thrown into a similar reality Pakistan refused to heed their advice so they decided to bury a half-dozen or so Plutonium firecrackers at the exact same time.

"We need to talk," said the Prime Minister of Pakistan when he rang up the Prime Minister of India just a few days later.

Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

You think I'm crazy? No I'll show you crazy: my batshit insanity can't even hold a candle to that experienced by the Prime Minister of India when he heard Pakistan's fireworks over the phone.

In reality, a large, hollow metal shell shaped like a pill capsule has a Plutonium bomb at one end, the rest of it being filled with styrofoam whose hydrogen molecules are Deuterium - a Proton and a Neutron - and Tritium - a Proton and two Neutrons. A round bar of Plutonium goes through the middle of the styrofoam from the Plutonium bomb most of the way through the styrofoam. After the bomb's detonation, the metal casing reflects the X-Rays emitted by the Plutonium fission back into the styrofoam, which vaporizes with such incredible force that it implodes that Plutonium rod.

Teller was correct in that more than one Plutonium bomb was. But he struggled desperately to prevent the Soviets to get the first clue how to arrange them inside all that styrofoam.

Tritium's twelve-year half-life was the reason they were testing Hydrogen bombs on a regular basis until the US stopped testing completely when they were finally able to build a computer powerful enough, and software complex enough to model the entire process of an H-Bomb explosion in great detail: Tritium's two neutrons enable Hydrogen fusion to even happen, but it's quick decay makes Hydrogen bombs extremely unreliable.

Los Alamos knew from the start that Uranium assembly would work: shoot a Uranium slug from a cannon through a Uranium ring thereby quickly assembling a piece of the required size. They never even bothered testing the Uranium bomb. The first one in history completely vaporized the City of Hiroshima.

They knew from the start that Plutonium would go on to make a few cubic feet of hydrogen make Moscow shine, just for a short while, as bright as the Sun does. Beijing would shine in much the same way. Both Uranium and Plutonium have the same nuclear cascade reaction, but Plutonium's is far more powerful and accellerates with such tremendous force that they also knew from the start why they need to implode it instead: the two piece of Plutonium would completely vaporize long before they got around to so much as introducing themselves to each other.

While they did know that surrounding a piece of Plutonium the size of a baseball with a layer of explosive about a foot and a half thick would lead to the required implosion, but some guy had to spend about a year snapping X-Rays of collossal detonations wrapped around steel baseballs before they realized that the way to make them implode rather than squirting out all over everywhere in thin jets of Plutonium vapor was to use explosive lenses.

Two kinds of explosives are used, one with a very fast detonation, one with a very slow one. With great care, the most talented artists sculpts each kind in a certain precise, certain specific way, then carefully assembles them around a Plutonium baseball in a spherical way.

Perhaps know you can understand the incredible terror felt by the guy who X-Rayed those beautiful sculptures just a day or two before the Trinity test only to find large air bubbles all over the inside of every single one of those high explosive art pieces. He stayed awake for an entire night, very slowly, very carefully, drilling holes through the explosive, melting that same kind of high explosive on a stove in a soup pot, then pouring it into the holes through a funnel.

You'll go batshit insane if you so much as contemplate the terror felt by the guy who gave the Hiroshima bomb one last inspection before its delivery so as to be sure that the people of Hiroshima wouldn't just toss it in the junk mail bin. Because of the bomb's large size, he had to lay right on on top of it while he carefully used a soldering iron to remove the connectors from both ends of a certain electrical wire, reverse them, then solder them back on.

A hundred thousand citizens of Hiroshima were completely overcome with joy within a tiny fraction of a second, but it took well over twenty years for the other hundred thousand people to even understand that a beautiful greeting card had arrived in their mail box that morning.

A few days later J. Robert Oppenheimer called over to Nagasaki to see how its day was going.

No one at the Instite was particularly concerned when I flipped out with such incredible velocity, just one week after discussing just the first chapter of my psychology book with my psychology class, I asked my friend Bruce Tiemann if I could borrow his expensive Canon A-1 camera. I knew I was hallucinating and that these visions were the product of my own fevered imagination. I explained that fact in great detail to Bruce, but he agreed to lend me his brother Michael Tiemann's camera because we were both so delusional as to think I could photograph them.

When the visions didn't show up in the prints, I purchased several professional photography textbooks, learned to develop and print my own film in the student darkroom, then within two months, was able to leave the most advanced professional photographer completely dumbstruck with awe with the most primitive kind of fully manual camera. Every professional photograph has a nostalgic affection for the Pentax K-1000, but they never use them for their work. My first K-1000 didn't even have a light meter. It was over twenty years after digital camera were first introduced to the public that I regarded them as working well enough to actually buy one. The Sony camera I eventually bought is so incredibly complex that it could win an aerial dogfight just by pointing it out the fighter plane's cockpit window. I set it to fully manual mode and have yet to so much as open the instruction book.

Michael Tiemann and I had the exact same idea of bringing Richard Stallman's Free Software to the private companies of Silicon Valley at the exact same time. Despite fully appreciating what a great idea for a business it was, I never lifted a finger to do more than contemplate it. I was completely dumbstruck with awe Michael Tiemman went on to sell Cygnus support to Red Hat for six hundred million during the Dot-Com boom, where he remains Chief Technical Officer to this day.

Apple Computer was completely unable to figure out how to find Cupertino on a map sketched on the back of an envelope whenever it so much as contemplated the idea of operating systems with preemptive multitasking and hardware memory protection. The company spent billions of dollars over a period of many years to do so, yet managed to fuck every single one of them up in such spectacularly creative and Divinely Inspired ways as to leave computer programmers who barely knew how to write Hello World completely dumbstruck with awe.

Perhaps you understand my claim that in reality, software bugs are not technical problems but human ones, and that the only truly satisfying way to Solve the Software Problem is not to fix the bugs, but to fix the humans.

When Jean-Louis finally realized the public would never accept a new hardware platform, he suggested the Apple give BeOS a try. When Apple accepted Steve Job's offer instead, I was not at all when I hard later that Jean-Louis then asked Michael Tiemann to lend him a hand.

I was completely dumbstruck with awe when I learned that Michael Tiemann had sold Cygnus Support to Red Hat for six million dollars where he remains Chief Technical Officer to this day. After I blew a smoking crater in the ground with my software consulting business, I came to regard the fact that I never acted on the idea that we both had as the worst fuckup of my entire career. It was only a few days ago that I realized why I made that mistake:

"Thanks for lending me such a nice camera," I said to Michael Tiemann back in 1989. "I've got this great idea for a business. Why don't I give it to you instead."

Simply learning that the North Koreans were working on The Bomb was all I required to be hurled headlong into the most incredibly floridly delusional kind of psychosis I have ever known as a result of my desperate struggle to warn humanity of the fact that all that was required to refine Uranium was to use ten percent of the electrical output of the entire United States during World War to power electromagnets made out of the United States Treasury's entire stockpile of silver for two years or so.

"We don't measure silver in tons," the United States Treasurer shouted angrily at the guy from Los Alamos who turned up one day to ask if they could borrow it until the end of the war. "We measure it in ounces."

All that is required to synthesis Plutonium is to use a Moonshine Still to distill enough water fill a swimming pool. The Hollywood movie Heroes of Telemark starring Kirk Douglas depicts what the British regard as the most successful act of sabotage during World War II: they snuck a bunch of Revenue Agents into Norway aboard a glider that landed on the snow with skis. After blowing the Moonshine Still to tiny little pieces, they also sunk a fully-loaded passenger ferry after Hitler tried to make off with his last bottle of Moonshine - but not until after the Commandoes ran all over the entire ferry cheerfully announcing to the kids that they were having a safety drill and so should don their life jackets.

Not long after the war, a swimming pool turned up in Germany. They found it odd that Hitler would bury a swimming pool so deeply underground, but were completely overcome with horror to find it one-third full of Moonshine.

Los Alamos tested Plutonium because there is some subtlety to implosion Physics that also lead to what Feynman referred to as Tickling the Tail of the Dragon. They fabricated two hemispherical pieces of Plutonium that, when placed together, would just be slightly below critical mass, fastened one about a foot off of the top of a table, with its flat side to the right, with the other arranged in such a way that when they let go of it, it would slide down the pole so that for a very short time it would form that just slightly subcritical mass.

The Physicists surrounded the two hemispheres with all manner of radiation detectors, but knew they would do well to split the scene completely before allowing them to slide past each other.

To Be Continued.

It astounds me (5, Insightful)

skelterjohn (1389343) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453356)

That this isn't done everywhere. With all the red light cameras everywhere (for safety), you'd think they could put a few out there that would make it so I don't spend 3 minutes every morning staring at an empty intersection.

Re:It astounds me (4, Informative)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453436)

Traffic timings don't even need to rely on cameras, they frequently take input from the inductive sensors (even more ubiquitous than cameras) in all four streets on the intersection.

Re:It astounds me (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453866)

Which inductive sensors suck hard for cyclists. I frequently go grocery shopping early in the morning or late at night when there's practically no traffic -- wanna make a left turn? Your choice: sit there for upwards of 5 minutes waiting for a cager to come trip the light (and then they have to wait for you to get through the intersection, a delay I'm sure they appreciate), or disregard the signal (yep, that's an infraction -- being on a bicycle gives me no immunity to laws, just to sensord) and turn when it's safe, without causing grief for others. I always come to a full stop, then turn left when there's no traffic, just to demonstrate a level of caution should that light be under observation, but I'd almost invariably be clear blowing straight through.

Fortunately, one light along the way has cameras, NOT to ticket unwary marks for racing a short yellow, but to control the intersection. Car pulls up? you get a green in a few seconds, just like the loop sensors. Bike pulls up? you ALSO get a green, although the same delay means it'll be green before you get there, and you get just enough time to make it through before yellow. I wish more lights were set up this way.

Besides, for the purpose of maintaining a green wave at traffic speed, I suspect cameras are the better oiption, as you can use the camera of the intersection you're controlling, whereas the induction sensors are usually too close (won't show the wave until the lead vehicles are practically stopped), and you'd need to use the sensors from the previous intersection.

Re:It astounds me (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453994)

Turn right on red, do a U-turn, proceed at will. Totally legal. My favorite maneuver is similar: to turn left, go straight through the intersection, take the first U-turn, then turn right.

Re:It astounds me (4, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454098)

U-Turns aren't legal here, but I frequently turn right, then turn around in a driveway or parking lot, and still get back to the intersection in plenty of time to beat the light change.

However, this is the driving equivalent of a programming kludge and doesn't fix the actual problem that the lights are set up stupidly.

Did I just make a computer analogy to better explain something about cars?

Re:It astounds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32454262)

Thanks,
Now there's a divide by zero error in my skull.

Re:It astounds me (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454106)

Fucking Austin, TX. I swear, they'll throw a Red Light at the bottom of a hill just to spite me! It may be 2am with no one around. It's green right up until I get there.

I suspect they do this to get your attention (sleeping at the wheel???) or some bullshit. Oh well, I'll just throw even more CO2 driving back up hill!

Re:It astounds me (3, Insightful)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454114)

most of the inductive sensors I have experienced are at the intersection, so you have stopped before they work, thus saving no fuel. They also pick up a single car and only optimize for that one car, and usually only on the lessor used roads, paying no heed to what they are stopping, and for how many. IE the ones I use see a single car (wanting to make a right turn 90% of the time) from a 30 mph lane turning on to a 65 mph highway, and the light will stop a string of a dozen cars going 70. With A very smart camera it would be possible to picking up how many cars, trucks, and where is the next opening. Need dozens of loop sensors to do that.

It would be a huge fuel savings if the lights know for example we have 3 loaded semi-trucks and 5 cars going 70 wait for them to pass and make the slow moving car wait longer. It would also be extremely helpful if we could get info sharing on light timing into something like the google map android phone applications, so that it could tell me to adjust speeds to hit lights, or to create a gap, or turn earlier to avoid a string of bad lights (or join a small group of cars...)

Poorly designed vehicle detectors (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453444)

With all the red light cameras everywhere (for safety), you'd think they could put a few out there that would make it so I don't spend 3 minutes every morning staring at an empty intersection.

A lot of traffic signals are on a fixed cycle because the sensors buried in the street often fail to reliably detect a bicycle waiting to turn left (US; mirror in UK/AU/JP), even when the bicycle's wheels are directly over the edge of the loop.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (-1, Flamebait)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453642)

Then get the fucking vehicle designed for a max speed of maybe 20mph off the fucking roads designed for 2 ton plus vehicles designed to travel at 35mph plus. Goddamn arrogant and retarded bicyclists need to be run over and then be shot for blocking traffic, ignoring traffic laws, including ones concerning the hindering of traffic, and for general principle. Roads are for cars, not for bicycles.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (2, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453684)

The city I live in has made it illegal to rid bicycles on the sidewalk in the downtown area near the college campus. I am forced to ride in the street in the most heavily trafficked area of town.

I hate it, but it's the law.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453726)

Roads are for road users. I ride a bike, I obey the laws (ALL of them - way better than ANY car I ever see on the road) and I pay at least as many taxes to pay for the roads as anyone else on the road. If the road isn't designed for my use, it's because the designers screwed up. Bikes were here before cars and they'll be here after cars.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453816)

Roads are for road users. I ride a bike, I obey the laws (ALL of them - way better than ANY car I ever see on the road)
 

I would like to personally applaud you, since you are a better biker than virtually all the ones here in Boston. Our bikers pay no to stop signs or red lights, swerve between lanes, cut cars off, dodge back and forth from the sidewalks and generally make an unsafe nuisance of themselves.

Perhaps where you live, those people are a minority and most of the bikers are like you. Until we all get to that level, please excuse the more rabid anti-bike folks (the GP) because they what they are really angry about is the arrogant rules-violating bikers that are the majority here.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453942)

I'm not going to argue with your point of view (since you're more or less correct), but I would like to point out that offensive (as opposed to defensive) riding is unfortunately essential in a large urban environment. Getting out in front of traffic at a stop light, riding two abreast, moving from sidewalk to road and back again, and splitting lanes are all part of not being hit. For every asshole bunny-hopping the curb or cube-gleaming your fender, there's another who's totally oblivious to the fact that they're behind two tons of metal.

It's a lose-lose scenario, yet for some reason blame is passed between various forms of commuters instead of placed on urban planners where it so rightfully belongs. We need one lane for transit/commerce/utility, one lane for personal motorized transport, one for muscle powered, and one for pedestrians. Crying that it's difficult is begging the point.

((Critical Mass doesn't fit into this picture. It's a protest, and you know full well when and where it will occur. Getting your side mirror bashed or your windshield krypto'd is your own damn fault))

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454182)

You are right, the blame lies with the urban planners but also with the fact that we have historically narrow roads that cannot just be arbitrarily widened. No amount of urban planning can will a bike lane into a spot where there is no room for it.

More importantly, however, there is no excuse for endangering everyone around you by breaking the traffic rules. Despite your lame protests they do, in fact, apply to everyone (the PD here has no remorse ticketing cyclists either) even if, in your opinion, it would be safer if you broke the law. As an avid biker (during summer anyway), I can assure you that you can bike safely without splitting lanes or running lights -- the only risk is that it will take you a little longer to get where you want to be.

Also, I've never seen a critical mass but it seems kind of counter-productive to encourage traffic harmony by committing senseless violence against cars. Anyone who expects cars to be kinder to cyclists after having their mirrors bashed has probably hit their head too many times.

Critical Mass (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454246)

Critical Mass is different things to different people, and people ride for different reasons. A few do ride to screw with motorists -- but they're typically the minority, and their fellow riders get them to cut that crap out or not come back.

As for cars getting their mirrors bashed or other similar acts of vandalism, that's pretty rare. Most riders are just out there to ride and have a good time. Red lights are often run, yes, "no more than two abreast" is flaunted (as it should be with hundreds of cyclists on a road) but beyond that ... it's mostly just a fun big bike ride.

As for "encouraging traffic harmony" -- that's really not the point for most. Perhaps the biggest reason people do it is that it's fun, and if there's a message it's more "we're here!" than anything else.

If you want to read more, the Wikipedia page on it is a pretty good starting point.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454266)

Can you elaborate on the second sentence of the second paragraph? Sounds quite interesting but unfortunately inefficient. Lanes can be shared between "transit/commerce/utility" and "personal motorized transport" more efficiently than splitting them up (unless the ratios are 1:1 which would almost never happen). As for bicycles, for inner-city roads they can simply share the roads as they will typically go the same speed as the cars. For rural roads, they have the shoulder. For roads in between, they can stay to the side or on the sidewalk as there won't be nearly as many pedestrians.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453818)

That's all well and good till you discover that the laws of physics do not yield to the laws of the land.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (2, Interesting)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453834)

if you dont drive a car, you dont pay NEARLY as much as anyone else on the road. gas taxes are the primary source for road funding. you dont buy gas, ergo you dont pay to maintain the roads.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454210)

every study I have seen shows that less than 50%, more like 20-30% of road maintenance is paid for by gas taxes (at least in the US.) The other 70-80% is from other taxes that bicyclists certainly pay. Since cars are so much harder on roads, every mile driven by car definitely creates a deficit. IE for every 100 miles we drive a car, we now need to do ~$3 more maintenance on the roads, we pay ~$1 in gasoline taxes over those same miles; net cost to other tax payers caused by our driving = $2/mile. Every 100 miles driven by a bicyclist results in $0.01 additional road maintenance, $0 paid in gas taxes. Thus those riding a bike instead of a car save tax payers $1.99 per every 100 miles driven, over driving a car the same distance. So essentially at equal income/spending levels; a bicyclist will contribute a much higher percentage than a car driver to maintaining roads.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454274)

Actually, gas taxes typically only pay for the highway system, and only a fraction of that, like 50% or so overall?

City roads that aren't part of the highway system -- the ones cyclists use the most, are mostly paid for by sales and property taxes. In Texas (where I'm the most familiar with the situation), not a single penny of the gasoline tax pays for these roads!

Of course, this varies from place to place, but I'm talking about most states in the US. I'm not aware of any states that are different -- but I haven't checked them all either.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453738)

fuck you.

they have video traffic detection cameras at some (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453690)

they have video traffic detection cameras at some light as well sensors at others.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453810)

I'm not surprised, most of the sensors I drive over fail to detect my 532 pound motorcycle. I be more surprised if one of them did detect a bicycle.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453886)

I've seen 'solutions' for some bikes which consist of putting RE magnets either under the bike or on the bottom of your shoe to try and trigger the induction loop.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454180)

Glue a rare-earth magnet to the underside or insole of your shoe or boot. That should trip the induction coil, or whatever the sensor is made of.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (4, Informative)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454236)

No no fucking no. They do not work that way. You want to align a large conducting loop or blade across the sensor's AC magnetic flux. It's looking to form a short-circuited transformer with the body of your car, or a bicycle wheel.

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454132)

A lot of traffic signals are on a fixed cycle because the sensors buried in the street often fail to reliably detect a bicycle waiting to turn left (US; mirror in UK/AU/JP), even when the bicycle's wheels are directly over the edge of the loop.

Is there some reason I can't think of why they can't do both?

Re:Poorly designed vehicle detectors (2, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454212)

Then the sensors are faulty. Properly adjusted, they will reliably pick up a bicycle. Even a bicycle with a carbon fiber frame -- the wheels alone are enough to trigger a properly adjusted sensor.

In Austin, you can call 311 (the non-emergency line) and report an intersection where it doesn't work and they'll fix it in a few days.

Re:It astounds me (5, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453454)

Not only is it astounding that this isn't done, it's old hat. Where I grew up, the main arteries were all set up so that if you traveled at the speed limit, you'd hit all green lights in one direction in the morning, and all green lights going the other direction in the evening. It saved gas, dramatically reduced average travel times and kept everyone going at the speed limit.

Instead, the main arteries where I live now are all set up to turn red when a car triggers a sensor on a cross street. The end result of that is that a 5 lane thoroughfare stops 15 cars every 50-100 yards because one care on a tiny side street is making a right turn onto the thoroughfare. A 2 mile drive can easily take 5-10 minutes with no traffic, just because the lights are setup so stupidly. And god help us if there's traffic (like, say on Black Friday or something like that): going half a mile to get on the freeway easily takes me 15 minutes, just because there's a light every 50 yards, they're not coordinated, and only 2-3 cars are actually able to cross the intersection at a time.

I'm always wondering if I should go to the city council meeting and ask why they're supporting terrorists with this inane system. The loss in gas mileage is atrocious, and the reason for it is just plain stupidity.

Re:It astounds me (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453514)

The end result of that is that a 5 lane thoroughfare stops 15 cars every 50-100 yards because one care on a tiny side street is making a right turn onto the thoroughfare.

Would you rather have the light remain red for ten minutes at a time while you wait to turn onto the thoroughfare? There's an intersection [google.com] where this has happened to me.

Re:It astounds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453656)

Re:It astounds me (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453698)

I have reported this intersection and a few others like it to the city's traffic engineering department, but it hasn't been corrected. The signal still doesn't activate until an SUV pulls up behind my bike.

Re:It astounds me (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453812)

Turn right, make a U-turn, either straight on the road or by entering any one's parking space. Either will get town council notified and the light fixed much faster :)

Re:It astounds me (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453848)

In most states, a non-functioning traffic light should be treated as a stop sign.

Re:It astounds me (3, Interesting)

gront (594175) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453622)

Lights are intentionally mis-timed for safety. During rush-hour around here, you can breeze past most lights, always catching the green. Once rush hour passes, the lights are set so you hit every single frickin' light and can't catch a green. Forces everyone to slow down, consume gas, but hey... think of the children!

Re:It astounds me (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453652)

going half a mile to get on the freeway easily takes me 15 minutes, just because there's a light every 50 yards,

Your freeways have lights?

Here in houston, Mayor Bill white put down an edict that said all the lights in downtown in each direction(e/w, n/s) would be green at the same time. This lasted about 2 months because people threw a fit, Basically with the timed wave approach you can get All the way across downtown without hitting a red light, I'm suprised

Re:It astounds me (3, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453730)

I'm always wondering if I should go to the city council meeting and ask why they're supporting terrorists with this inane system. The loss in gas mileage is atrocious, and the reason for it is just plain stupidity.

Seems to me the reasons for stupidly-timed lights is threefold:
1) Lowball bids from traffic light installers. To keep their bids low, a simple timer is way cheaper than a smart computer.
2) Politicians who pull strings so their development's side-road gets priority over the main thoroughfare.
3) Citizens like you and me who are too busy to attend council meetings and object.

Re:It astounds me (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453780)

That's not as easy as you suggest. It does depend somewhat on where you are, but unless you're living in a relatively new city, chances are it's not going to work. For instance around here, the blocks are a bit irregular, some don't go through and others are longer than the rest of the blocks. On top of that, there's significant areas where you can't build roads at all due to them running up a steep hill or trying to go along the center of a ravine.

Then you're talking about the actual timing itself, adjusting the timings isn't particularly easy to get right. You're having to deal with traffic in two different directions, and in a couple instances around here, you've got that second and a half direction. As well as a very limited number of major arterials that can be put into place due to the aforementioned geographic oddities.

If it were really as simple as you imply, they would be doing it already, but in practice it isn't that straightforward.

Re:It astounds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453972)

There's a road near me, that is set up perfectly for getting a large string of green lights, unfortunately, you have to travel 10-15 km/h over the speed limit to do it. (10 km over gets a decent run (but after a while you start to run yellows) - 15 km/h over gets all greens for about 10 km.) At the speed limit it's usual to just make one set. We have non-fixed/hidden speed cameras too. I think it's a conspiracy.

Re:It astounds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453524)

No kidding. I also hate when a light I'm approaching turns red right before I get to it when there is little to no traffic behind me. If it would just wait 10 seconds then we could pass through, saving gas from having to stop and start the car moving again. This is especially annoying when I get stopped like that light after light all in a row when the damn system should know I just left a light and would be approaching the next.

Stopping a car at an intersection uses a lot of fuel. Not just from the cars idling but from having to accelerate from a stop.

Re:It astounds me (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453938)

Yes. This. THIS!

I hit every single red light on the way home from work. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes twice, as one green light is too short to get through (allowing maybe 3 cars each time). People frequently run that light. I'm only 8 or so miles from work (just slightly too far to drive), and leaving late - or early - doesn't seem to help one damn bit. The drive regularly takes over half an hour.

The only time I'm able to take this route and not hit every light is when there is absolutely no traffic (IE I'm able to be the first one at a light consistently and there is at most one car going each direction within 100 feet) - and get lucky to arrive at the first light when it's green. This is either more than half an hour early (ie 7AM or so) or leave the office after dark (call it 8PM).

The sad thing is that this is a 'small city' of only around 60k people. It's just through a mountain pass, and everyone has to hit an X intersection area (actually more of two intersecting X's) to get anywhere (unless they're fortunate enough to live close enough, on the right side of the X's to where they need to go, to make it worthwhile). And the railroad tracks alongside one of those X roads doesn't help.

At any rate, traffic flow math = good. If you could vary the lights based on flow, it'd help immensely.

(To make matters worse, the last month of the summer is Tourist Season - punctuated nicely by Sturgis Bike Rally Week. This makes things... interesting.)

(The crappy intersection [google.com] in question:

Re:It astounds me (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454058)

This is done pretty much throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to the point we're so used to properly timed lights that it's almost rage inducing when you come to a light that's out of sync with all the others. Most of the main artery roads here are 3 lanes in each direction and 40-55mph. Even in the thick of rush hour on a friday afternoon before a three day weekend, Preston Road out of downtown Dallas flows ~45mph all the way to northern Frisco, crossing four major highways. Most roads aren't that good, but you can usually hit five or six green lights (spaced a half mile-to-mile apart) and coast through most cities before hitting one red light. In addition to saving fuel, it really, really cuts down on traffic congestion and minimizes the number of additional roads you have to build to carry the traffic.

Re:It astounds me (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454208)

That this isn't done everywhere. With all the red light cameras everywhere (for revenue), you'd think they could put a few out there that would make it so I don't spend 3 minutes every morning staring at an empty intersection.

There, fixed that for you. Now the rest of your question is self answering.

Re:It astounds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32454264)

Whoosh.

Red Wave (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453372)

British Local Authorities used to have a policy of halting the green wave, and trying to set up traffic lights to catch everyone on every light. This raised fuel consumption and brought in more tax for the government because of the increase in the purchase of fuel. Most lights still seem to be set up like this, at least in my experiences.

Too Bad It Won't Happen in US (2, Insightful)

Avin22 (1438931) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453396)

Here traffic lights are made to be a source of income. They are designed to stop you and increase your chances of running a yellow light so that the cops can pull you over and give you a ticket. Plus, it has the guise of making the roads safer (since people don't have as many green lights, they cannot speed as much), so much of the public is mostly ok with it. Unfortunately, in reality, we're just wasting fuel and making the roads more dangerous (more rear end crashes and angrier drivers).

Re:Too Bad It Won't Happen in US (2, Interesting)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453588)

I was always told, by marketing people working at large retailers, that large retailers bought traffic lights because they cause more people to stop in. Whether that is out of enter/exit convenience or that there is something to making people pause in front of your store I don't know, but do you know of any Wal-Marts that don't have a red light?

Re:Too Bad It Won't Happen in US (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453626)

do you know of any Wal-Marts that don't have a red light?

This one in Fort Wayne, Indiana [google.com] . It's between a strip mall to the south and some other department stores to the north. The closest traffic signals are two blocks away in each direction.

Re:Too Bad It Won't Happen in US (4, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453640)

Fucking google street view, passively shooting holes in my arguments.

But this isn't first time I've been lied to my a marketing person.

Re:Too Bad It Won't Happen in US (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453876)

Wow now that I think about it I personally Can't think of a walmart without a light. Sure there's probably a few where local laws prohibit a light (i.e. they have to be so far apart in most states), but I'd be willing to bet 95% of walmarts have a light.

This is why the American economy is fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453634)

This is why the American economy is so fucked. Instead of drawing people in based on reputation, fair prices and high-quality goods, American retailers have to resort to trickery to sell their shitty Chinese-manufactured trinkets and wares.

This marketing trickery ends up causing a net loss for the economy as a whole. In this case, it's due to the consumers wasting money on gas while idling, not to mention the extra wear and tear on their vehicles due to the constant starting and stopping.

These resources are essentially wasted, rather than being used productively.

Greenwashing (-1, Troll)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453416)

BMW makes cars, which are not "green" by any standard. You want green, invest in buses, trains, bikes, etc. Not more cars.

This is pretty clearly a greenwashing attempt by BMW.

Drawbacks of bikes and buses (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453460)

You want green, invest in buses, trains, bikes, etc.

Being car-free, I know the limitations of bikes and buses. Bikes can't carry a week of groceries for a family of four at a time, and they're uncomfortable in a thunderstorm or the freezing season. Buses in many cities don't run at night, on Sundays, or on national holidays, due to low ridership.

Re:Drawbacks of bikes and buses (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453742)

I actually manage quite well without a car.

I gave it up when I moved to a metropolitan area. I can pretty much get anywhere I need to go and the same goes for most of my co-workers. The guys with larger families tend to have what equates to a part time use vehicle.

For groceries I prefer a delivery service which charges a very nominal fee for the savings and time. However, if I want to drive some distance there is always zip car for quick trips.

That said for me being vehicle-less is more or less an experiment and I will likely purchase another one at the end of the trial. Where I previously resided was complete suburbia and there was no way to exist without a vehicle.

Notice, I could care less if I save the environment... I am a bastard like that...

Re:Drawbacks of bikes and buses (1)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453930)

I am quite happy to take my groceries on a bus or train. It's also a bit of a money saver because it prevents me from buying stuff I don't need like ice cream, coke, etc.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453474)

Yeah! Because buses, tram and trains can't benefit from studies like this! They don't use fuel and aren't affected by traffic!

And if more were spent on buses etc. then EVERYONE would use them - because it's a perfect world where additional investment in these modes of transportation will result in people being able to travel from every location to every other location whenever they want.

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Greenwashing (1)

Avin22 (1438931) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453504)

While I agree with you that cars are not nearly as green as buses, trains, bikes, etc, they are still sometimes a necessity. Some of us don't have a choice on the matter since there is no public transport for our commute. Ya, I would love it if there was, and we should invest in adding some, but until then, we need all the green solutions we can get. These companies found something that was cheap, easy to implement, and could make a real difference. I for one am quite happy about it.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453544)

You want green, join the voluntary human extinction movement. Not more power generation and transportation.

With the number of people who currently drive a car to work every day, and clearly have no plan to stop that any time soon, it is absurd to suggest that nobody should invest in improving the fuel efficiency of cars.

Re:The green light is "half empty" (2, Insightful)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453586)

BMW makes cars, which are not "green" by any standard. You want green, invest in buses, trains, bikes, etc. Not more cars.

This is pretty clearly a greenwashing attempt by BMW.

Yes, and I am OK with that...you see they do not make trains, bikes, (or even buses?),...

When a coal company stops mountain-top removal, we acknowledge this and do not disapprove. You do not have to agree with their actions, but even a feeble attempt at smart fuel consumption should be welcomed.

I can see that we need more mass transit "smart solutions", but complaining about some speculation/proposal for improved traffic signals...well cheer up man!

Such a method sounds ripe for deployment on U.S.-style boulevards, where obsolete signals, each running on their own cycle, can bring light traffic to a congested snarl.

That is a true statement, my city fixed its lights, lowered my commute by five minutes+, green washing right into my pocket!

Re:The green light is "half empty" (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453760)

BMW makes cars, which are not "green" by any standard. You want green, invest in buses, trains, bikes, etc. Not more cars.

This is pretty clearly a greenwashing attempt by BMW.

Yes, and I am OK with that...you see they do not make trains, bikes, (or even buses?)

I know BMW makes "bikes" in a sense [bmwmotorcycles.com] , and another German car company makes buses and sold them in the USA until the 1964 chicken tax.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453762)

BMW makes cars, which are not "green" by any standard.

The MPG of even the most efficient vehicle is at zero when it is stopped by a red light. Vehicle manufactures are expected to do all this work to improve gasoline efficiency, but it is put to waste by inefficiency in traffic light patterns. If we are really serious about better MPG in passenger vehicles, than cities will have to do their part, rather than simply passing the blame on to car makers.

I can also guess with some confidence that the current BMW 335d [mpgomatic.com] is more efficient than whatever you happen to be driving. It offers a very compelling blend of performance and efficiency.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453864)

>The MPG of even the most efficient vehicle is at zero when it is stopped by a red light.

Nope. Not if the engine is turned off. Now you've got 0/0, is that zero or infinity?

Re:Greenwashing (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453918)

>The MPG of even the most efficient vehicle is at zero when it is stopped by a red light.

Nope. Not if the engine is turned off. Now you've got 0/0, is that zero or infinity?

As soon as it has to start moving again, that falls apart.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454218)

In your pedantry, you miss the forest for the trees. I'm sure you understand the physics of repeatedly starting and stopping a car use way more energy than allow it to continue at a steady pace.

Having engines that shut off is good, but it's a bit like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.

Re:Greenwashing (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453852)

>This is pretty clearly a greenwashing attempt by BMW.

It would still be nice if roads were designed better. Of course this takes more than timing the lights.

Re:Greenwashing (0, Troll)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453976)

Getting the public to switch to mass transit is hard. It involves convincing everybody to give up what they see as a fundamental part of their own independence. Optimizing fuel consumption with traffic signals is easy. It involves tweaking some code.

You sort of people piss me off. If the solution isn't your ideal solution, then fuck the solution. Fuck the environment, fuck the planet basically. You're more interested in idealism than actually helping anything. Or maybe you just enjoy gloating about your obvious moral superiority. Go jump off a bridge. And fuck yourself on the way down.

Re:Greenwashing (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454200)

Cars aren't going away any time soon. So we can:

A. Do nothing.

B. Fix the traffic lights for minimal cost and offer some improvement on things.

But I guess since B doesn't remove cars entirely, we should do nothing right? That's pretty fucked logic you've got there. If doing this saves only 10% on urban fuel consumption, it will have the same effect as 1 out of 10 people stopping driving entirely. Seems like a net positive to me, and a lot more feasible than hoping 10% of people to give up their cars and start walking everywhere.

My route to work is horrible. I hit nearly every light, every day, even when coming home in the middle of the night. I'd like to send the city a bill for 20%+ of my gas, and half the cost of replacing brakes & clutch when the time comes, as this could have been easily saved by fixing the fucking lights. The rage induced by hitting every light probably knocked a few years off my life too.

Uphill battle (4, Insightful)

seizurebattlerobot (265408) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453422)

Traffic signal timing is nothing new, we've known about it a long time. Unfortunately, there is much money to be made fleecing motorists for traffic violations. As a result, our road systems are tweaked to generate revenue, not expedite traffic. Good luck getting these algorithms used in anywhere but a handful of places without a fight.

So can making only right turns !! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453472)

It's been proven buy Tory, Cary, and the other guy.

No left turn (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453590)

Making only right turns works when your streets are laid out in a nice grid. But where I live, this grid is interrupted by rivers, railroad tracks, parks, subdivisions with only one road in and out, a subdivision with streets oriented at 45 degrees to the rest of the town, shopping centers, a cemetery, and a college campus. Making no left turns would double or triple the distance, as I'd have to spiral way out and then spiral back in. Would you like me to plot the route to show exact figures?

Re:So can making only right turns !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32454076)

The other guy? Grant is BY FAR the most technologically inclined and geeky member of the cast.

Where the money is (2, Insightful)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453482)

This is somewhat old hat. Companies that depend on urban transportation efficiency for a profit (FedEx and UPS) have long ago implemented systems that recommend routes to drivers. UPS for example uses technology to help reduce/eliminate left turns (usually involve sitting at an intersection idling and waiting, wasting gas and time): http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/ups-driving-cost-savings-by-eliminating-left-hand-turns/2190 [zdnet.com] (2005 article). True it hasn't been done on such a scale or for specifically this exact purpose, but data mining this informational ore vein isn't exactly new.

Off topic, but another slightly more shocking example of just how the drive of money has helped corporations know everything about us: How about being able to predict your marriage and divorce percentage to 90% accuracy? Better yet, how about doing that based on _what you buy_? Visa's got you all covered: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/visa-predicts-divorce/story?id=10320638 [go.com] ;)

Things like this make me wonder what knowledge about society these companies know about us, and aren't letting ourselves know, simply to help them turn a better profit.

Thinking about drug companies is a scary thought.

Another reason it's not done in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453488)

They don't want traffic moving swiftly thru the city, because cars tend to go faster and faster and hit things. "Traffic Calming" is how they euphemistically describe things such as lane narrowing and speed humps, to deliberately keep traffic moving slowly. Yes, it really stinks and makes me angry to think about it, but that's politics in action.

Re:Another reason it's not done in the US... (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453602)

"Traffic Calming" is how they euphemistically describe things such as lane narrowing and speed humps

Then I've got an even better euphemism: "keeping the crosswalk safer for pedestrians". That's what politicians call it when they want votes.

Re:Another reason it's not done in the US... (-1, Flamebait)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453702)

The leading cause of death for people between 15 and 35 in the US is automobiles.

You sound like a big part of the problem.

Re:Another reason it's not done in the US... (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453910)

The leading cause of death for people between 15 and 35 in the US is automobiles.

You sound like a big part of the problem.

The leading cause of death is not automobiles, just like the leading cause of homicides is not guns.

Every single automobile death is caused by either someone not paying sufficient attention (which includes driving faster than you can plan ahead for any given set of road conditions), or mechanical failure (usually coupled with some degree of someone not paying attention). The idiot who pulled out "right in front of me" today might have caused an accident -- he certainly wasn't paying attention, but I was. I saw the potential for him to make a stupid choice about four seconds ahead of time (as soon as he approached the intersection*) and by the time he actually did it two seconds later, I had already dealt with the situation.**

The point is this: most accidents require two parties not paying attention: the one who is making the active mistake and does something stupid like pulling into traffic, or driving faster than he can react; and the one who should have seen the possibility for the event to occur, and reacted to avoid it. Obviously this doesn't apply in all cases - but I suspect it does in most. (Heck - even getting t-boned when crossing a protected intersection ... why did you assume you didn't have to look first, just because your light was green?)

* what is with those people who will pull up to an intersection, sit and STARE at oncoming traffic for several seconds, THEN pull into it, causing much swerving and slamming on of brakes? Are they just spaced out while they watch a few dozen tons of metal bearing down on them, or perhaps they know they *should* look left -- so they do it for form's sake though they've already made up their minds to go?
** no, "dealt with" does not mean slamming on the brake and potentially causing more incidents behind me. With so many more controls than the horizontally long pedal in the middle (or left), WHY is that so often a person's first reaction?

As far as GP goes - I feel his frustration, and it's nothing to do with wanting to speed. Driving in a residential area I only drive as fast as I can comfortably react to the unexpected - often given the potential for kids and animals coming onto the scene from hidden places, it's at or only slightly over the speed limit. But when I hit six lights in a row, and the timing of the lights causes yet more delays and backups because of volume... i can't help but get frustrated at what a waste of time and gas it is. Those lights *could* be sequenced together, but they're simply not -- usually in order to either raise ticket revenue for the city, or because some politician who doesn't know anything about traffic management decides something must be "done" about how unsafe it is in the city.

Interesting perspective... (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453530)

The perspective taken for this bit of problem solving is interesting, because it is stepping above the usual street engineering up to city planning - maximizing the number of people able to use shared resources, while minimizing resources used. This is decidedly NOT a perspective that is common in the US, as our cities tend to 'sprawl' at the whim of investors and politicians with 'complicated' priorities rather than anything as idealized as proper engineering to make best use of resources.

Greater use of mass transit to maximize available road where possible, waves of greens with appropriate buffers to keep congestion manageable to even extreme capacities, traffic system that work to inform the driver and minimize late decision making - these are good moves.

I would hope we could use some of these moves to create a road system that would allow for us to approach automated driving systems - where you would decide where you needed to be, and an appropriate vehicle would pick you up within a few minutes, using the minimum amount of fuel for the entire city worth of people using the system, and giving non-automated drivers plenty of road space as they go. Nobody limited in choices - but maximizing efficiency and convenience for everyone.

It probably won't happen here in the US (different priorities, as mentioned), but I hope such a system could be established in my lifetime.

Ryan Fenton

robocab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453788)

it would be interesting to try it with a taxi first. that way you could get people to start using it without a big outlay=less perceived risk (no purchase or lease) and also they could sign a waver too, like an automatic teller with a pad where you can give an electronic signature (im sure this could be done to be legally standing, together with photos or other biometrics, like fingerprints, together with a CC or potentially eftpost (all taxis have eftpos here in australia), to cover any potential experimental nature.

if someone can figure out how to do this, and the beauty is you could start with only pretrained routes, and if you keep it local (say cbd) it could easily be kept upto date with road works etc. the toughest thing is navigating with, or around other cars. i think we need to model the intelligence of the othercars, in a min/max way, so you can figure out what the most probable thing is that the other cars could do next, and also consider contingencies for a worst outcome. do this with plenty of tolerance and you've just eliminated the cost of wages for taxi drivers. thats go to be worth a few mill$$. hey if you feel guilty about all the money you make from this idea just send some to AC /co /.

Ya hit a sore spot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32453670)

Duuuuuh. Really, coordinating the red lights so that you don't have to stop at EVERY DAMN ONE of them will save fuel? How about that!

Oh, how about saving brake pads and rotors, along with less wear and tear so that you only spend 15 minutes going to work instead of 25 since you don't have to stop at EVERY DAMN RED LIGHT on your way (because, of course, the traffic on the cross streets should only have to stop long enough for their light to turn green, so that the traffic on the main road has to stop for 60 seconds).

In these here parts (Pennsylvania) it seems as though the traffic engineers WANT you to have to stop at all the red lights (oh, and all the damn 4-way stop signs, too). Would be nice if some of the ideas the Germans are coming up with (or, perhaps, just some common sense) would migrate over here to the states.

Of course, any driver knows this (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453778)

40 cars standing motionless at an intersection are getting exactly 0.0 mpg. With the added benefit of all that extra pollution that zero mpg brings.

Re:Of course, any driver knows this (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453820)

Some cars burn much less gas while waiting for a light. It is true even in a Prius that the electricity consumed sitting does amount to fuel wasted at a light, even if the engine is off at that time. In a Hybrid, the loss is less.

Re:Of course, any driver knows this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32454270)

I would think that a modern vehicle uses less fuel idling for a minute or two than it does accelerating back up to the speed limit.

IOW, it's not the waiting, it's the stopping and starting.

HEADLINE NEWS (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453802)

Through a test course in Munich, vehicles were able to post phenomenal fuel efficiency gains simply by adjusting the timing of traffic lights depending on traffic volume — to whatever speed provides a so-called 'green wave' of four or more synchronized signals."

This just in! Stopping and idling at each of four consecutive lights uses much more gas than driving straight through them without stopping!

Re:HEADLINE NEWS (1)

iksbob (947407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453990)

It's not even the idling that's the biggest problem... Accelerating once the light turns green uses far more fuel than either idling or cruising through a green light. When you step on the brakes to stop at a red light, you're converting your car's kinetic energy into waste heat via friction between the brake pads/shoes and the brake disks/drums. That wasted energy has to be replaced once the light turns green, or the car won't move. The faster the traffic flow, the greater the kinetic energy of each car and energy wasted by each red light that catches a wave of cars.
Regenerative braking systems found in hybrid cars help to some degree, but they still have limitations and conversion losses that waste energy. The battery can only be charged so fast, which leads to falling back on the mechanical brakes (assuming driving style isn't altered to compensate) in situations calling for anything more than casual brake application. Mechanical losses (additional load causing increased friction in axles, transmission, etc), conversion from mechanical to electrical energy (resistance in the generator windings and power conditioning), and conversion from electrical to chemical (battery internal resistance and chemical process efficiency) all take a two-fold toll on efficiency: Once when using braking energy to charge the battery, and again when using the battery to accelerate the vehicle. It's better than just letting the energy blow away on the wind, but still far from perfect.

It figures the Germans would do this (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453906)

Here in the US, you have an on-ramp, and you have a traffic jam next to the on-ramp. It happens every day. Every day drivers get fucked.

Then they have electric signs that tell you when the next traffic jam is coming up. The signs say (basically), "Traffic jam at next on-ramp."

I realize that past a certain point in the day, there's enough cars that the traffic flow becomes unmanageable. But when you have traffic jams at 6am (60mph to gridlock and back to 60 again), it just says to me that voters, politicians, traffic planners, etc. collectively don't give a shit about their morning commute, safety, sanity, or even how they look to the outside world.

Want to see real improvements? (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453944)

Just stop allowing people to drive already. We'd all be amazed at the increase in fuel efficiency and road safety.

Dangerous? (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#32453970)

From the article:

"Likewise, if the light is about to change to yellow, the system prompts the driver and momentarily cuts power."

Am I the only one who thinks that could end badly?

Wrote People in Charge of Highways (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454044)

I actually wrote the local government entity that is in charge of designing and maintaining the highway system where I live (I forget what is called... its not the DOT) describing just this idea. They actually wrote back and said they were already implementing such a thing with cameras and a fiber-optic system.

They have two lights rigged up with cameras so far. The weird thing about these cameras is that they actually judge the speed of the last car and get him to run a yellow so that the light is green (or red depending on how you look at it) for minimum time. Really cool tech until your the motorcyclist behind that last car who isn't seen by the camera and find yourself either slamming your brakes or running a red light with a 50 mph cross street. Another con is that they will cycle the lights at blazing fast speeds if they don't see any cars coming from a direction for a while, even if it sees imminent traffic coming from the other direction, based on the assumption that maybe the camera malfunctioned. When it cycles the lights in this manner it is a 3 second yellow and green, which as you might imagine isn't nearly enough time to comfortably stop if your going 50 mph.

On the flip side, the cameras tend to see motorcyclists a lot more reliably than the magnetic inductance sensors detect them.

The problems with any intersection as it turns out is:

Unlimited traffic from one direction
Unknown traffic ratios
Traffic that is equally congested in both directions and people have plenty of reason to turn left from both sides

That third one is the biggest problem, because it makes running "green waves" up and down road harder, especially if you have a single cross-street that sees the same traffic density as the road in question.

how about we make personal cars illegal (0, Troll)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454064)

say in 15 years, no more personal cars that would really do it for the enviroment; all this making cars green stuff is hypocritical; even when the are zero tailpipe emission (aka just as bad but you can fool yourself cause the emission is somewhere else) cars foster a lifestyle that is bad, bad, bad. I say, ban them altogether; cars are like heroin - just no reason to have em around

Hybrid or electric (2, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 3 years ago | (#32454184)

Hybrid or eletric cars don't use any fuel while stopped or even during normal in city acceleration.

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