1116: "Traffic Lights"

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:44 am UTC

I still argue those TAC commercials are unnecessary. Thankfully we don't get them here in WA, but we're not without our own issues, including lack of knowledge on how to merge and give way (WA drivers will probably never learn how to do this,) and crap roads outside of the cities.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:08 am UTC

r3loaded wrote:American traffic engineers - going out of their way to engineer a complex traffic light solution when a good old British-style roundabout would have sufficed :D

Have you been around the magic roundabout, north-west of the University of Essex? I found that the simplest way around it was to get into the inner (counter-rotating) ring, after which people would assume that I was crazier than they were, and get out of my way.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:19 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Sometimes I think it might be good to have a traffic system that's set up to encourage bad drivers to have big accidents with other bad drivers. A bit of built-in quality control. But it would be mean.

And also to the people whose jobs require them to hose off the mess.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Max™ » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:52 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I'm not sure that's a good idea. A deer on the road etc might cause big accidents. But no matter, if you could achieve fully automated driving that scaled well, without too many emergent properties, you could get a far lower rate of accidents even if you didn't pack more cars together. Then you could start gradually packing them closer together until you notice a bad result, and back off after that.

Computers are going to handle easily predictable tasks like driving better than most human drivers, if just because most drivers are unqualified to drive.

Computer controlled cars can handled unexpected obstacles like deer and whatnot BETTER than a human driver, not worse, don't know where you got the idea that it was otherwise. The ability to brake and properly avoid accidents comes down to reaction time, obviously we're not going to win compared to a computer in that situation. We already have systems that do this in modern cruise control systems, which are just a few steps removed from fully automated driving.
There's a viking proverb that goes "Nothing overcomes numbers". Americans increasingly believe in libertarian ideas, and if you want your result you have to get past that.

You should capitalize that l, Libertarian Party members are not actually libertarians, I am a "small-l" libertarian due to being a socialist and anarchist. That there is a huge discrepancy due to misappropriation of the term doesn't change that.

Yes, and while the argument plays out it will be hard to go too much against those ideas, unless you can somehow reframe your story to avoid opposing them. On the other hand, if you can get the die-hard libertarians to agree that roads are inherently unfree and we should eliminate the road system and replace it with some sort of air traffic, you will have achieved a victory.

Again, you're talking to a die-hard libertarian. I do not agree that your argument is the most supportive of liberty. I also do not think there is any reason to suggest eliminating the road system for air traffic is ideal, just eliminating the variable most at fault for fatalities will suffice: unqualified drivers kill, replace them with a bare minimum of competency from computer driven cars.

Americans *will* value their moral standards over everything else, until they switch moral standards. You have to take that into account. Ignoring it is like ignoring other traffic on the road.

That's not a good enough reason, arguments like that boil down to "I should have the right to kill people with my negligence", and I have no qualms about violating such imaginary "rights".

Yes, and somehow they want to think that doesn't count. Or there's the argument that if designing the roads is somehow a consensual process then it's OK. There's a sort of assumption that whatever is somehow already there can't be challenged. And there's the absurdist argument that nothing needs to be public, that private individuals will design roads across their own property and will inevitably learn to do so in an optimal way.

Some people go to extreme lengths in their search for a single coherent system that fits everything together.

I'd say those people have failed a certain type of competency test and can be safely ignored.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:25 am UTC

*** wrote:On another note, you know those narrow 2-lane roads where the speed limit is about 50mph and everyone goes 60? You ever think about how close you are to the opposite lane? Its like 3 feet! A 120mph crash is 3 feet away from you! Youre 3ft from death! And when youre a pedestrian, thats like a foot and a half!
We all thought about it when we first learned to drive, but have you ever gone back to that way of thought?

Yes. It's one of the reasons I don't drive gratuitously, or motorway drive at night at all, if I can help it.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:42 pm UTC

arthurd006_5 wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Sometimes I think it might be good to have a traffic system that's set up to encourage bad drivers to have big accidents with other bad drivers. A bit of built-in quality control. But it would be mean.

And also to the people whose jobs require them to hose off the mess.

Sure, but consider the odds. I'm going to make up numbers to illustrate my point, stating from the start that I have no factual basis for these numbers and they are likely to be quite wrong.

Let's suppose that the worst 1% of drivers *will* have accidents. And for the sake of argument, let's ignore one-car accidents.

So 99% of the time, when an awful driver has an accident, he has it with another car and a better driver. Think about it. 99 accidents. 1 of them with two awful drivers, 98 of them with one awful driver and somebody else who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And if the roads were designed different? Say there were lots of chances to have accidents where either driver could stop it if he was only alert and had reasonable reflexes. Then instead of 99 accidents we get 50 accidents, each accident with two awful drivers. The people who hose off the mess would be glad, if only they knew what the alternative was.

Given these assumptions it seems reasonable. "Think of it as evolution in action." It might even be possible. Some accidents may come from people who drive when their reflexes are not good. Drunks. People who are falling asleep. Etc. It's probably workable to set up situations that anybody with reasonable reflexes can avoid, but two drivers with bad reflexes will collide.

But there's a good chance those assumptions are not exactly right. Maybe a lot of the worst drivers would drive OK, if only they learned how. Is it better to assume they are unteachable and encourage them to die? Likely not.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby webgiant » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:22 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Image
Alt Text:"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."
ooooh, an animated gif. Traffic lights aren't really bad until construction work is taking place D:

This comic is taunting me. Somehow Randall found out I was taking a PLC class and was having trouble with the stoplight simulation PLC program. I'm lucky when my lights flash at all.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby watersb » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:01 pm UTC

It's like a Christmas tree.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Davidy » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:01 am UTC

tjunction wrote:
Comics like this make me love living in Britain, where things like traffic lights and road layouts and plugs were standardised using logic and reasoning.

Is this the same country where logic and reasoning dictate that you can buy an appliance with a power cord, but then have to buy and install your own plug?
"It's only funny until someone loses an eye, then it's still funny but they can only see it in 2-D."

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Thorbard9 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:21 pm UTC

I've not seen an appliance sold in the UK without a plug in the last 15 years, at least.

Some plugs are serviceable, although I'm not sure if these are still supposed to be sold, most are now moulded/fitted, the same as US plugs.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby kc_showman » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:58 am UTC

Hi, Randall.

This reply has nothing to do with traffic, so please pardon the nonsequitur.

I'm a "theatre geek" in that I'm a techie, but I also act and write the occasional play. This xkcd strip echoed almost completely a metaphor I used in one of my plays.

I have what's called, or used-to-be called, Asperger's Syndrome; a form of high-function autism where linguistic skills tend to develop in abundance, but social skills tend to be a major source of frustration (or amusement, to someone who isn't, in fact, me).

The metaphor in question is one I used to describe going through life with Aspergers. It had to do with imagining driving and encountering random traffic signals, not knowing what should be done when, no two signals alike, what works in one doesn't work in the next, some are all on, some all off, some, in fact, blue. I equate this to social interaction - signals that make perfect sense to others, even in contradictory situations, are unintelligible to me unless I expend substantial mental effort in the face of numbing anxiety and can manage to steer conversation into some familiar, well-rehearsed pattern.

When I was catching up on the archives here, and saw that signal gif, it was eerie in its exactness to what I had written years ago, and almost hypnotic in its relatability, especially in light of reading some of the confusion voiced in other posts in this forum regarding similar traffic situations.

I just wanted to thank you for giving visual solidity to a concept I had only been able to express in words, even though I know that wasn't the initial intention.

A fan,
Sean Leistico

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