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Location Selected For $1 Billion Ghost Town

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the welfare-ghosts-and-their-anchor-ghouls dept.

Science 172

Hugh Pickens writes "Although a fully operation city with no people sounds like the setup for a dystopian sci-fi novel, the Boston Globe reports that the Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation will develop a $1 billion scientific ghost town near Hobbs, New Mexico to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, says the town will be modeled after the real city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new. Unlike traditional cities, City Labs will start with its underground 'backbone' infrastructure that will allow the lab to monitor activity throughout the 17-mile site. Since nobody lives in the Center's buildings, computerized systems will mimic human behavior such as turning thermostats up and down, switching lights off and on, or flushing toilets. The Center's test facilities and supporting infrastructure may require as much as 20 square miles of open, unimproved land where the controlled environment will permit evaluation of the positive and negative impacts of smart grid applications and integration of renewable energies for residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. 'It's an amusement park for the scientists,' adds Brumley."

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fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985113)

Oh god, Slashdot really is dead... No one can be bothered to first post.

Sounds great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985117)

When can I move in?

Self-flushing toilets? (1)

kig8472 (915313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985125)

Yes, of course there's no way to test these without building a Billion-Dollar-Zero-People city...

Re:Self-flushing toilets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986185)

Why not start a war, destroy a country in middle east and then rebuild it with their oil money? And the money (for both war and rebuild) will go to corporates.

Oh I suspect Iran may want to build nukes. How about that?

City devoid of humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985129)

Good, then it'll also be devoid of anyone guarding all the high tech stuff. Who wants to go get some?

or a haven for hobos... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985135)

this one should be interesting

Little late for April Fools jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985149)

Isn't it?

Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities. (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985157)

Seriously, Facebook costs the same as 100 fully-automated and instrumented cities.

Economy is doing fine, indeed...

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985207)

Seriously, Facebook costs the same as 100 fully-automated and instrumented cities.

While that's interesting, what are we supposed to get from that? Could be an indication that the "city" above is overpriced.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985237)

Could be an indication that the "city" above is overpriced.

My eyes are rolling at 7200rpm.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985327)

I must admit that my eyes rolled at a slower RPM when I read your post. Still my point is valid. Virtual services can be extremely valuable in themselves. Merely having a high price tag doesn't tell us anything.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (-1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985341)

Think of it -- what does it tell us about economy when a service that can be replicated in about a year by any competent team of developers, can cost as much as 100 cities (that would be capable of housing and serving literally thousands of such teams)?

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985363)

The valuation isn't for the technology. The valuation is for the number of regular users.

Google+ is better technology, but by itself is worth a tiny fraction of what Facebook is.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (2, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985391)

Exactly!
And look what happened to Myspace (that was the last Facebook).

This valuation is for something less stable than the price of tulips.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986223)

Exactly! And look what happened to Myspace (that was the last Facebook). This valuation is for something less stable than the price of tulips.

I think your logic is a bit strange, MySpace might be to Facebook what Altavista or Yahoo was to Google. Yes, the leadership changed rapidly for a while but then a victor emerged and continues to dominate the industry. Or MMORPGs and WoW for example. Yes, I know the dangers of anecdotal data but I see more and more people gravitating towards Facebook rather than away, they don't email they use Facebook messages. They don't use MSN, they use Facebook chat. They don't share photo albums on Flickr, they share them on Facebook. It's practically becoming another AOL, a little "Facebookverse" in itself. I mean it's not like social networking is going to go away, people will be somewhere. And right now I have a hard time seeing who'd snatch them away from Facebook after even Google has failed.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985521)

Google+ is better technology, but by itself is worth a tiny fraction of what Facebook is.

Says who?

If Google+ actually was _GOOD_ people would use it.

I have had an account for quite some while, haven't checked it for months.

It's better such as Redhat 6 was better than Windows?

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985695)

If Google+ actually was _GOOD_ people would use it.

No, because the utility of a social networking site is whether your friends/family/colleagues are on it. Us few people that tried it didn't last long, because few other people were there. It's a chicken and egg situation.

The technology only has to be good enough. And that's what Facebook is. Lots of things about it irritate people, but the size of personal networks there are enough to outweigh that.

The UI for Google+ is undoubtably better Facebook. But unless Facebook really screw up, they'll never reach the tipping point to become successful.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986067)

If Google+ actually was _GOOD_ people would use it.

No, because the utility of a social networking site is whether your friends/family/colleagues are on it.

FYI this is known as Metcalfe's Law [wikipedia.org] : "the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system".

They should have just used Detroit. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985223)

Much of Detroit consists of vacant buildings these days, with at least some sort of roads still in place.

In a way, the government is already "employing" (i.e., wasting welfare dollars on) most of the people still living there. Turning lights on or off and flushing toilets for research purposes would at least indirectly allow them to provide something of value to society, rather than merely being the drain they currently represent.

Re:They should have just used Detroit. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985271)

Yeah weren't they bulldozing suburbs or something recently?

Re:They should have just used Detroit. (5, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985297)

But then they would have to adapt to the local crime rate, and will probably end up with some kind of cyborg cops instead of automated power grids and traffic lights.

Re:They should have just used Detroit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985951)

Stop or there will be trouble!

Re:They should have just used Detroit. (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986663)

Much of Detroit consists of vacant buildings these days, with at least some sort of roads still in place.

It would probably also be much better for testing new technology. Self-flushing toilets may work fine in city with all new plumbing. But will they work with old rusty pipes? Does a self-timing traffic system work with old wiring? New Mexico has little rain, low humidity, and a mild climate. Detroit would be much more challenging. If you can make something work in Detroit, it will work anywhere.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985291)

But Facebook is worth only 5% of it's current price ! Spread this word, let the bubble burst.

Help me prove that economy is just an illusion, the only one that's feeding people and feeding on people.

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985565)

Dear stupid,

"Cost" is not the same as "price." If a person pays $310k for a Vertu Cobra, does that mean it costs $310k to make the phone?

xoxo, Anonymous

Re:Reminder: Facebook costs the same as 100 cities (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985587)

No, but it costs that to BUY one. What investors supposedly do at IPO.

Wouldn't it be easier.... (3, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985161)

Wouldn't it be easier to just add sensors to Rock Hill, SC? Or better yet, play Sim City.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (4, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985195)

Obviously the scientists would rather live in the desert than in Rock Hill, SC. Having gone to college only about 20-30 miles away over the border in North Carolina, I wouldn't want to live in that area either.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (1, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985309)

Wouldn't it be easier to just simulate the entire city on a supercomputer? And when it's not calculating wattage of incandescent vs led lightbulbs, it could do something, oh, I don't know, useful, like curing cancer?

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985607)

They're planning on buying empty land and selling a whole fucking city. Selling a computer simulation won't generate as much profit.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986041)

Simulations won't work because we don't know enough about the line to fully simulate the system.

Testing on existing homes won't work because existing utilities don't have the right to force a homeowner to endure low power quality while some engineer runs a test.

I would rather see the money being used to pay off homeowners to deal with testing that may destroy their homes. However, most people would rather it be done on another person's home.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986259)

Wouldn't it be easier to just simulate the entire city on a supercomputer?

Simulations only work work when you have sufficient input data for the model to accurately reflect reality. This is, for any non trivial simulation, A Very Hard Problem - especially when the simulation is multi-dimensional.
 
For example, any errors in your model multiply across the interfaces. If your electrical model is only .999 accurate, and your sewage system (which uses electricity for the pumps, etc...) is only .999 accurate, then your model of these two systems can't be any more accurate than .998 (.999x.999). (Setting aside the issue of slight errors at the component and transport levels.) And without extensive (read "expensive") measurements on physical components, your model is only as good as your assumptions. (Adding extra decimal places of accuracy costs Really Big Bucks.)
 
So no, it isn't necessarily easier or cheaper to just simulate the city on a supercomputer.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985389)

Yep, the only way this makes sense if they want to test dangerous or potentially dangerous technologies without humans getting in the way. If it was really just wireless networks and automated appliances, they could just hand out/install the new bleeding edge technology out for free in a volunteer test city.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986235)

Haven't you heard, cell phones and Wi-Fi are dangerous technologies. Allergies, cancer, other mystery ailments....

And broadband internet access, that's an extremely dangerous technology, just ask the MPAA, RIAA, or DHS.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985599)

I don't think they could raise a billion dollars for that. To grab the interest of investors/suckers, you need to come up with something grandiose like building a whole city with no people in it.

But don't worry. If you build it, they will come. I think that's part of their rationale.

Re:Wouldn't it be easier.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986795)

...To grab the interest of investors/suckers, you need to come up with something grandiose like building a whole city with no people in it.

The Chinese have already tried that. [businessinsider.com]

Federal project? (-1)

bbartlog (1853116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985165)

Who's paying for this? I mean, it's really cool... but at the same time I don't think I could justify dropping $1 billion on something like this given our current deficit.

Re:Federal project? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985183)

Who's paying for this? I mean, it's really cool... but at the same time I don't think I could justify dropping $1 billion on something like this given our current deficit.

Yes, and there are people going with out food every day. Seems that $1B could be put to better use.

Re:Federal project? (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985187)

I don't think I could justify dropping $1 billion on something like this given our current deficit.

You misunderstand I guess, they're just going to build an automated toilet hooked up to a money printing press and see how much money they can flush down the toilet per minute.

Seriously though, there has to be a more cost-effective method to do an experiment like this.

Re:Federal project? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985617)

Government?

Re:Federal project? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985713)

Seriously though, there has to be a more cost-effective method to do an experiment like this.

Yeah but this is the government (I suppose.)

If there's any money they will be spent.

(Here in my home town they like to redo the city squares for no obvious reason. I would say all three are pretty bad as is but one of them is truly catastrophic and one is just stupidly made and the last one unnecessary.
They are already discussing redoing the catastrophic one again because the last design was so fucking retarded. I wonder if it's the same guys deciding what should be done. No good ideas but others money to spend ..)

Catastropic one:
The bad idea. [orebro.se]
The result - (The skate area can't even be used because it's tilted ...) [orebroguiden.com]
(Other two: http://www.orebro.se/4014.html [orebro.se] (less cars, wide empty space and they have cut the trees a lot because they wanted to have less birds sitting in the highest ones so now they have birds in all of them instead and lots of branches growing straight up instead ..) and http://www.orebro.se/2488.html [orebro.se] (picture two is the old one, with stairs to the left which people sat on, third is the new one with benches instead.)

Re:Federal project? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985423)

How about hand this over to the Department of Defense? Let them pay for it. At the end of a year, test an EMP to show people in the U.S. how vulnerable our lives really are. Show everyone how we rely on computers way too much. I think the money would be well spent in this case.

Re:Federal project? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986451)

Our current deficit is a result of excessive military spending, insufficient taxes, and rampant tax expenditures and corporate welfare.

But hey, good idea, just because you owe money doesn't mean you cut all your expenses and starve your way to prosperity. Sometimes that doesn't pay off, like the guy who didn't replace his roof because he owed money.

Then it blew off, and since he didn't pay for insurance, he ended up losing his house.

Smells like wasted taxes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985191)

This has got to be the citizens tax money being wasted to build a ghost city. No way private money would develop such a thing.

Testing washing machines and auto lights? An entire city needs to be built to do that?

Re:Smells like wasted taxes (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985287)

What I gathered is that they are actually testing possible smart electrical grid designs, and how such devices fit into the picture. When viewed from that perspective one can at least see the reasoning behind the project. Whether it's necessary or a good idea can be debated, but it's not quite as brain dead as 'build a city to test a washing machine'.

Re:Smells like wasted taxes (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985349)

This has got to be the citizens tax money being wasted to build a ghost city. No way private money would develop such a thing.

Wrong [pegasusglo...ldings.com]

Yes, but... (1)

KingRobot (703860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985853)

... where are THEY getting their money from?

Scooby-Doo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985197)

An empty automated city would be even better than an abandoned amusement park for a Scooby-Doo mystery.

So ... people are losing their houses ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985199)

People are losing their houses due to the housing bubble and they are going to build an entire town where no one is allowed to live and have computers simulate human activity?

I ... I don't even know how to express my feelings for just how wrong this is on so many levels.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985247)

"People are losing their houses due to the housing bubble and they are going to build an entire town where no one is allowed to live and have computers simulate human activity?"

Sounds like a guarded walled community for rich people existing today.
Only nowadays the robots turning thermostats up and down and cleaning the toilets are called Conchita and Manuel.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985305)

This has nothing to do with class warfare, please keep your bias out of it.

I just don't understand the logic fail of responsible homeowners being booted from their homes due to corporatism (government in bed with the banks) and a 1 billion dollar town of empty homes where they need computers to simulate human activity.

Why not just have a program where people may apply and be freed from their mortgage without harm to credit in return for living in and maintaining this town for data collection for a predetermined stretch of time. Seems like a win-win.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986105)

Nobody is losing there home due to corporatism.

They are losing their homes because they overpaid in a bubble. A bubble created by government. Most are better off walking away and leaving the banks to eat the loss.

You want to pay-off peoples homes to collect data? Moron. You'd have 300 million takers.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986495)

The government didn't create the bubble, they failed to stop it, but they didn't create it. Banks and financiers did.

More to the point, they also committed outright systemic fraud with their robo-signing process and other misdeads in the whole mortgage/foreclosure business.

There haven't been public trials and convictions, so you probably never noticed, but it's happened.

That's right, banks engaged in criminal behavior and aren't being prosecuted for it. If that's not corporatism, what is?

Don't believe me? Look up Countrywide.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985299)

People are losing their houses due to the housing bubble

Yea but those are poor people. Fuck them!

This one billion might help further improve the lives of the 1%. That's a worthy cause! Who gives a shit about a few million homeless and hungry peons?

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985431)

Really, so science (ironically in the name of the GREEN MOVEMENT) is the 1% now? I really wish you extremists wouldn't taint every argument with your anarchist political agenda. Your post does nothing but fan the flames that will make life worse for everyone instead of doing something constructive like offering an alternative solution that will benefit both sides.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985659)

People are losing houses they could never have afforded and shouldn't have been approved for anyway due to the housing bubble

FTFY

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986061)

Those people were told that they could afford those houses by the banks that were instructed and rewarded by the government to make those loans in the first place. Government involvement in markets creates misery.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986445)

Those people learned a valuable lesson. They are big boys and girls, hopefully they will think for themselves for the rest of their lives.

The rest of the world however is being spoon fed a narrative that only feeds this problem. It's NOT the banks fault someone bought a house they can't afford. It's NOT the governments fault. It's NOT the sellers fault. It's their fault.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986719)

But is it the bank's fault is they commit fraud when they swear to sworn statements that aren't true as part of their robo-signing process?

Fraud was endemic across the financial system, blaming the individual homeowners when banks engaged in a concerted process and raked in billions off the rest of us doing it...is spoon-feeding a narrative.

Re:So ... people are losing their houses ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986479)

A 2 bedroom house should cost about $50-$100k ANYWHERE, and I'm being generous. If real effort were made, the house:car price ratio would routinely be 2:1 instead of 10:1.

It will never happen because there are too many incentives built into the system which require housing to be expensive.

1. The biggest and cruelest joke: Politicians who express a desire for affordable housing. Nonsense. The tax base comes from a percentage of the assessed value of the house. Affordable housing would just give them a huge fiscal headache. Much of the cost of new construction also funds an inefficient permitting and inspection beurocracy, which they would have to cut if all housing were built in factories to national standards and shipped in components (yes, you could still customize, and it would only be marginally more expensive).

2. Leverage. Almost anybody who owns a house is overweighted real estate in their portfolio. Worse yet, they are leveraged. The nice thing about leverage is that if the asset rises it magnifies your wins. The downside is that it magnifies your losses and we just saw what that does. The individual owners require rising prices. Hence, people are very upset when property values decline. Note, ownership turns the consumer calculus on its head. If your landlord offered you a rent decrease you'd be extatic. That doesn't happen; but renters can shop rents with nothing more than the inconvenience of the move; while owners have much higher transaction costs.

3. The banks. If people could save enough to buy a house for cash, or if they could make large down payments then the banks would collect a lot less interest. The banks have the ear of Congress. This brings us back to point 1--efforts to encourage "affordable housing" by subsidizing... loans. The great deceit is for the banks to convince us that afforodable CREDIT is the same thing as affordable HOUSING. This isn't hair splitting. The unlieshing of credit under low rates doesn't just pump housing, it pumps inflation in general. It's partly why you can't buy a gallon of gasoline with a silver quarter anymore.

So why no people? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985211)

What reason is there not to have actual people living in it?
This could be a real life version of Eureka with scientists and the like all living in it doing research on automation and city development.

Best part is it would also be able to feed itself if you make it a smart city with respect to growing produce.
Then you could sell over-produced crops.
You could also experiment with large-scale aquaponics and food waste reclamation and recycling.

This town could be so much more but it is being limited for the sake of some stupid idea of having it inhabited by wires that unnaturally interact with the environments.
That isn't going to tell you squat.
What a waste.

Re:So why no people? (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985273)

"What reason is there not to have actual people living in it?"

Duh, so they can nuke it in case of a robot uprising.

Re:So why no people? (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985479)

"What reason is there not to have actual people living in it?"

Duh, so they can nuke it in case of a robot uprising.

Or more likely so nobody is around to see what they are really doing there. They've built cities in the past for secret research. The Manhattan Project comes to mind.

Re:So why no people? (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986009)

So they can do what they want with power/water, and not be sued by anyone for "mental distress". Because you know, that if they let people live there, and continue to play with the city, someone will become "hurt" or get pissed off and sue for something.

Best sims are real people (4, Insightful)

waltmarkers (319528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985219)

I know it's not as controlled, but letting actual people live in this town would have a few benefits.

1. Some people would get a place to live.
2. If you want simulation data for humans, why not just use humans?

Seriously, let people live there for free or nearly free and the deal is they have to let scientists into their homes whenever for testing and upgrades. They also give up privacy for all of their anonimized actions and give up certain privacy for identifiable information, like photos. Bonus round, let them run the businesses too. Seriously, in the days of the WPA there were all sorts of co op planned communities that went up all at once, like Greenbelt, MD. Many of them are still thriving.

Re:Best sims are real people (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985257)

Probably the answer is "some bloody insurance company doesn't allow it". Nevertheless, this place is begging to be occupied against the will of the owner. They should set an end date for the experiments and then sell the real estate for people who would commit to actually live there.

Can't test social theories with real people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985361)

If they used real people then the scientists couldn't test out their pet theories about how much energy could be saved if people changed their behaviors. You can program robots to behave differently, you can't make 50% of a real population live on night schedules to balance the grid load.

Re:Can't test social theories with real people (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986267)

Might be a valid thought, though if you can't even make 50% of a real population change their schedule for the sake of an experiment, what does that imply for the practicality of results? If in theory changing human behavior would help, but in practice you can't make that happen, that's less than useful....

Re:Best sims are real people (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986057)

Marketing manipulation in promoting the city and denying people access in order to generate desirability so that instead of paying people to inhabit the test site people will pay to inhabit the test site.

Getting the right sort of people to inhabit the test environment is not as easy as it sounds and getting them to do it with least cost to the developers is obviously a high goal.

It is not about abandoning privacy in that city it is about giving doctorates in psychology and developers the opportunity to manipulate you via your whole environment and monitor and adjust inputs until desired outcomes or failures are achieved.

Truly lab rats in a maze. Without people the city is pointless they are just conducting a exercise in market manipulation in order to gain the least costly volunteer group willing to sign the lives and minds away.

Save money and do something useful (5, Funny)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985235)

Why don't they just lease downtown Detroit?

Re:Save money and do something useful (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985457)

Or since the government already owns Times Beach and a bunch of other sites purchased with the super fund, why not use one of them, or even an abandoned/closed military base.

Re:Save money and do something useful (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985469)

They don't want to get shot?

Re:Save money and do something useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985717)

Can't have real humans screw up a computer system mimicing real humans.

Re:Save money and do something useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985729)

The 'natives' aren't freindly.

testing toilets? (2)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985253)

or are they testing something else where the presence of witnesses would interfere/hamper the test?

Squatters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985265)

How long until they realize that there's all this relatively unguarded real estate?

I live near this controversial town (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985277)

Funny- i wonder if they will also install automated sludge sites and automated landfills in a neighboring community.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Hill,_South_Carolina#Controversy

self-flushing toilets need a fake city to test? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985301)

Some one is living is the past if self-flushing toilets are so new they need to be tested like that.

Moving From The Dead To Ghosts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985321)

I wonder how many letters the MPIAA will be sending there.

New Mexico vs. The Monorail (1)

FloydTheDroid (1296743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985337)

Is that a monorail around the city?

What irony! (0)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985343)

At a time when millions of homes are foreclosed funding is available for this project, as it seems.

Talk about an imbalance in distribution of wealth in a system.

To get this fixed would probably worth spending some energy.

Occupy Wallstreet (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985395)

Now has a place to vacation at.

Ummm, just one little detail (0)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985447)

The point of all of this is to test all of these things on existing infrastructure. But, if you have to go out and build the infrastructure, then it really isn't existing infrastructure is it?

self-flushing toilets? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985467)

First we have these already! Second if they are still in development shouldn't the ones in store bathrooms have warning stickers on them?

Good place to test robotic cars (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985511)

You could test various algorithms for traffic control, "platooning" and high(er) speed avoidance.

Have you seen the computer simulation for robotic cars that are under computerized traffic control (I don't know if it's centralized or swarm intelligence). Pretty amazing, frightening yet undoubtedly efficient. It would be really something to see in real life, the intermeshing of high speed vehicles, inches from each other, on separate trajectories! (I remember watching a video of Italian motorcycle cops performing such amazing feats of driving, however they were very choreographed and the drivers went only on very set patterns at constant speed).

homeless people in the us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985539)

Your economy is to shits, you got soo many people on the streets and you want to build an empty city and "emulate" people living there?
I gotta hand it to you. You Americans are the biggest morons in the world. Your stupidity goes above and beyond my imagination.

What happened.... (5, Informative)

ash11888 (2208822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985569)

...to all the traditional slash-dotters I know?!? Do you people not do your research? If you paid attention to who it was and did a little, few minute research, you would find out that this is a global private company. They can do whatever the frak they want with their money. Before you start to go off on the "gov't," do some research to find out.

Re:What happened.... (1)

KingRobot (703860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985879)

Um, you've got to go further than that. Yes it's a private company, but where do they go for their funding?

Re:What happened.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985987)

Did you just come back after a 3-year hiatus? Slashdot is dead! I would not be tif it got filled up with Depends (adult-diapers) ads and 67-year-olds-on-Harley ads soon. (Like Popular Mechanics). Just take a look at the polls, the stories, or, really, anything.

I swear, even the nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Re:What happened.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986287)

Did you just come back after a 3-year hiatus? Slashdot is dead! I would not be surprised if it got filled up with Depends (adult-diapers) ads and 67-year-olds-on-Harley ads soon. (Like Popular Mechanics). Just take a look at the polls, the stories, or, really, anything.

I swear, even the nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

they should go to china (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985583)

China has a ton of newly built ghost towns

Why didn't they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985919)

Just buy Detroit? Honest question...

Why don't they just rent ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985923)

one of those surplus cities the Chinese built that noone lives in ( or a condo community in Spain ) ? It would be cheaper.

Beta test it with people (1)

Quick Reply (688867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985961)

Would be nice to have people move in who are willing to "Beta test" the city who are willing to live on the cutting edge at the risk that everything could fall to pieces at any time. Sounds like the place where most of Slashdot would want to live.

maybe a "Truman Show" set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986111)

So they say, that they are going to spend $1bln to test automated toiled, or traffic lights without actual traffic? I am pretty sure one can create at least as good testing environment for any of this for the fraction of this money.

The whole story sounds bogus to me. It is more likely that it is a "Truman Show" set then, but still anyone is free to spend his spare $1bln the way one wants.

Ghost Town ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986265)

It's not a ghost town if it has never been occupied. This would be a sham city, like the sham Paris [bigthink.com] of World War I.

This looks like a scam (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986399)

This looks like some kind of scam or hoax. There's a web site [cite-city.com] for the project, but it's all clip art. "Pegasus Global Holdings" is suspicious. The "Pegasus Global Holdings" behind this project is here. [pegasusglo...ldings.com] But there's also Pegasus-Global Holdings [pegasus-global.com] , with a dash. The one with a dash seems to be real. The one without the dash, the one behind this project, not so much.

Their "head office" is supposedly at 1875 "I" Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20006. Many other companies have the same address, including a small law firm and a PR firm. It seems to be a mail drop of some kind. Their address in Reston, VA is a small furnished space currently for lease. [furnished-spaces.com] Their "London office" is a is a "virtual office" package [executiveoffices.co.uk] : "Executive Offices Group can provide a Virtual Office business address at any of our 34 highly sought after locations. "

"Pegasus Global Holdings" isn't listed in the SEC's EDGAR system, so they're not publicly held or doing anything big financially. They previously announced a "commercial spaceport" project; nothing came of that.

The initial plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986735)

It was actually to create a casino. With hookers. But somehow they forgot about the hookers and mangled the casino part badly.

There will Come Soft Rains (1)

dolo724 (22338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986753)

Bradbury had this town written and burned before I was a Martian Wannabe.
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