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Japan

Experiment Shows Traffic 'Shock Waves' Cause Jams 642

Posted by Zonk
from the science-in-the-wheels dept.
Galactic_grub writes "Japanese researchers recently performed the first experimental demonstration of a phenomenon that causes a busy freeway to inexplicably grind to a halt. A team from Nagoya University in Japan had volunteers drive cars around a small circular track and monitored the way 'shockwaves' — caused when one driver brakes — are sent back to other cars, caused jams to occur. Drivers were asked to travel at 30 kmph but small fluctuations soon appeared, eventually causing several vehicles to stop completely. Understanding the phenomenon could help devise ways to avoid the problem. As one researcher comments: 'If they had set up an experiment with robots driving in a perfect circle, flow breakdown would not have occurred.'"
Government

Daylight Saving Time Wastes Energy 550

Posted by kdawson
from the back-to-nature's-clock dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the time approaching when we'll be changing our clocks again, the Wall Street Journal is running a timely article on a study done by a UC-Santa Barbara economics professor and a Ph.D. student. The study unambiguously concludes that Daylight Saving Time not only doesn't save any energy, it actually wastes energy and costs more. The study used energy company records from Indiana before and after that state mandated DST for all of its counties, and calculated that the switch cost Indiana citizens $8.6M per year. 'I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this,' the professor said."
The Internet

Higher-Resolution YouTube Videos Currently In Testing 214

Posted by Zonk
from the someday-that-dog-shall-rule-the-world dept.
jason writes "YouTube has never really been known for streaming videos at a high resolution, but it appears that they are taking early steps at providing higher quality videos. The project was announced last year by the site's co-founder Steve Chen, and now appears to be in the earliest stages of deployment. By adding a parameter onto the end of a video's URL you're able to watch it in a higher quality (in terms of audio and video) that is actually quite noticeable. Not all videos have been converted at this point, but they do have millions upon millions of videos that they need to do."
Transportation

Strict Order Boarding Would Get Planes in the Sky Faster 880

Posted by Zonk
from the up-up-and-away dept.
electrostatic writes "In a Nature.com oldie-but-goodie, a physicist says he has solved a problem that costs airlines millions every year: what is the quickest way to get passengers aboard an aircraft? Boarding is a serious issue for airlines, particularly those operating short flights that run several times a day, yet boarding times have steadily increased for decades. Back in 2005 Jason Steffen of the Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois said the method used by many airlines to this day is almost the worst. 'The best way to board, according to the researchers, would be a row-by-row, seat-by-seat, strict order. That would mean everyone lines up, row 25 first. I can't imagine fliers will go for that. Next best, they say, would be boarding all the window seats first, followed by those in the aisle. Obviously that's not practical, at least for couples or families traveling together.'"

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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