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Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

"Of course, in those days when you wanted to ride your bike, you just jumped on it and off you went. If we'd had to dress up like quarterbacks every time we wanted to run to the store or a friend's house, we probably would have lost our taste for bicycling, too."

Yes. We all rode bikes everywhere when I was a kid, but I seldom see kids on bikes now. Bicycles weren't just for fun - they were our transportation to friends' houses, or really any location within a mile or two from home.

However, I don't think it is just the helmets (though that plays a part). It is the general trend of children seldom going outdoors, driven largely by helicopter parenting.

More generally - I approve of helmets for highway use, but think we would be better off without helmets for casual cycling on city streets with low speeds. For one thing, most people don't want to carry a bicycle helmet with them everywhere they go, and helmets mess up your hair too - which might seem silly but do you really expect office workers to put up with bad hair every day when they could just drive instead?

Comment Re:Yes, but when does it do so efficiently? (Score 1) 1010

On the other hand, some of us just can't do algebra. I've taken plenty of classes, had tutors, understood every step of the problems ... but when I put those steps together, they never come out right. Never.

On the other hand, I frequently astonish people by doing simple math in my head, and by figuring out the math I need from scratch when I need it. When I took geometry, I didn't have to memorize the axioms because they were second nature to me.

I know I would have been a good engineer for almost every purpose, but I never got to the practical stuff because I did so poorly at algebra.

So - is it really helpful to demand that every student know every branch of every field well? Or would we be better served to allow students more latitude to develop their strengths without regard to their weaknesses, and to use their time wisely by learning what they are capable of learning rather than what someone else with different strengths thinks is appropriate for them?

Comment Re:Sounds great (Score 1) 648

Here's a thought: combine driverless cars and driverless buses for a commute. One of the chief problems with buses is the sometimes long waits when one needs to change buses, but if a company could assure that one never needed to wait more than two minutes to change from car to bus or bus to car, the advantages in reducing traffic might be well worth it.

Consider, a small queue of buses waits at an interstate entrance ramp - only two or three buses, not enough to waste much time but enough to be sure no one will need to wait long for a delayed replacement vehicle - and most of the cars that would have gone onto the interstate stop and their passengers get onto the bus. At two minute intervals, the bus hits the road - taking probably 30 and perhaps (if a double-decker) over a hundred cars off the road. If this is happening at rush hour and at every major intersection on main routes going into a center city, ten thousand cars could be replaced on the roads by one or two hundred buses. Aside from reduced parking, consider the reduction in traffic in city centers. Add in traffic lights (or other controls) coordinated on the fly with buses, and riders could be assured of a smooth commute into town almost every time.

Of course, not everyone would be going to exactly the same place, but walking two or three blocks is healthy anyway, and not much further from a destination than most parking lots - or for more spread out city centers, more cars could be waiting at the exit ramp - with less than 30 seconds to transfer. With reduced traffic and higher safe speeds, commute times could actually be reduced, and of course commuters could spend their time more productively than driving. Driverless services could include options for breakfast or a snack on the buses, or even bunks to take a nap on long commutes - and of course wi-fi and the like.

Comment Re:Driver-less cars would eliminate car ownership (Score 1) 648

True. I think many families will continue to own cars, because on long drives it's nice to have a comfortable space that is one's own. Also, I keep certain things in my car so I'll have them when I need them - a few basic tools, a flashlight, an extra coat - things like that - and I think that is common. Still, many families that now have two or three cars may discover that they need only one - and even that would free up an awful lot of space and reduce costs considerably.

Comment Re:Dumb question (Score 1) 113

The fluorescent fixtures frequently used in offices are already made to replace one or two ceiling tiles. Not only could a new LED fixture do the same, but there are already LED replacement lamps that may increasingly replace the lamps in existing fluorescent fixtures. They're expensive right now, but expect prices to drop.

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