Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:The single best law that could be enforced.... (Score 1) 469

Two points: first, the road's capacity is not set by a law of physics. It is a heuristic reached by observation, which is to say, which assumes nobody changes their behavior at all. In fact, if you increase the number of vehicles beyond what's possible to move through at a given speed, physics requires that everyone INCREASE their speed. Imagine a line of stopped cars with adequate space between them. It's not possible. They will be moving.
Next, there is a difference between an ideal recommendation (which I agree is safest) and a law. The law should be the legal minimum. 2-3 seconds is probably too large for such a legal limit, but I'd be happy with any law that ENFORCED a cushion between cars. Sorry for the screaming caps.

Comment The single best law that could be enforced.... (Score 4, Insightful) 469

is to force people to always leave at least 3 car lengths between themselves and the car in front of them on the freeway, including onramps and exits. (metering lights effectively create this situation, and they do work). This way, people could always merge, change lanes, etc. Once a merge or lane change was accomplished, another merge or lane change by the same car should not be allowed until proper distance is established from the car in front again. If the police would simply enforce this one law ruthlessly, road conditions would improve dramatically. The preponderant reason for traffic jams is people not letting others merge or execute needed maneuvers, and people making sudden lane changes, both of which cause sudden braking, which is amplified backwards through traffic. Smooth driving, even under severely packed conditions, would alleviate almost all traffic jams.

Comment Re:Solar is the only real hope (Score 1) 230

Yes, there are a couple of major hurdles to overcome with solar, such as storage, and it's definitely not there yet. I guess I'm hearing from a biased source but LBL does have a national center focused on the effort and it's good science and they have a very reasonable path forward that is on the verge of making some huge breakthroughs. In particular, they intend to solve the storage problem by converting sunlight directly into fuel, like nature does, but much more effectively. They are well on their way to achieving this, it sounds like. Plants are not efficient enough, and then you have to utilize something like switchgrass using bugs, technically messy.
But nuclear, wind, geothermal, etc. none of them have the energy potential to solve the problem. I've always been a nuclear proponent, but you would have to build a nuclear fission plant every day for like 30 years to replace fossil fuels. I'm hopeful about fusion plants -- keep your fingers crossed. Geothermal is inexhaustible but woefully insufficient in terms of available energy, just not really worth doing IMO. The sun bathes the earth with a huge abundance of energy, far in excess of all our needs for the foreseeable future, as in for millennia. Building it out would be a huge project but at least it's feasible.

Slashdot Top Deals

Never call a man a fool. Borrow from him.