Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Modest Proposal: The future of Drones

Drones are here to stay, so I've been told, so it's high time I became part of the process in determining what our drone-filled future will look like. It seems foolish to me to imagine that they will not be used for violence - law enforcement springs to mind - so I've also accepted that. But I think if they are going to be used for violence, there should be  noble final goal in mind, and I don't trust the police to do this consistently.

I would like to propose a way to use weaponized drones to curb noise pollution in cities. Picture this - explosive drones hovering 10 meters above city streets, patrolling randomly. As someone honks their horn, the drone triangulates the location of the horn and approaches it at a constant rate. When the horn stops honking, the drone returns to its hovering altitude. Perhaps it takes 5 seconds of constant honking for it to reach street level, at which point it latches onto and detonates the honking car in such a way as to only harm the driver. As a side benefit, these drones would need to be regularly serviced, and occasionally replaced, so I do believe this would have a net positive effect on job creation.

Honking to express your disapproval of another driver's actions would still be allowed, but prolonged honking long past its utility would be swifltly eradicated. Traffic jams in which everyone attempts to solve the issue by honking would become deadly games of chance in which the risk of honking far outweighs the potential benefit of... actually, there's no benefit of honking in traffic jams. Everyone hates you when you do that, and it solves nothing, so it really becomes a more exciting game of hot potato.

Perhaps this seems like an over-reaction, but I guarantee that unnecessary honking would decrease rapidly within days of this programs implementation. Of course, the drones would need to learn to recognize car alarms and sirens so that it does not hit unintended consequences, but that could be easily programmed.

Better still, as surveillance technologies such as microphones, high definition cameras, and AI that can monitor and react to situations without human oversight improve, this technology could rapidly be expanded to other behaviors that need curbing, such as smoking in public, clipping your fingernails on public transportation, or talking during movies. So please, write your mayors now, and inform them that you think this is a great idea, and with luck, our own government will implement it soon. If not, don't worry - this technology may soon be available at your local Walmart!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Split Laundry Personalities

Because of my own limited experiences and my exposure to fictional characters such as Two-Face and Jekly and Hyde, I always thought of split personality disorder as a largely fictional disease. Even then, I imagined that if were real, it would have dramatic symptoms. Alter egos were evil beings who love destruction, who revel in chaos and who fiddle while Rome burns.

I've begun to suspect that split personalities are not so rare, nor so dramatic; I even worry that I might have one. I realized this just this evening after returning from the laundromat. I placed my clean clothes on the floor and grabbed my towel off of the door hook only to find a used undershirt hiding there. "I have no idea how that got there" was the first thing I thought, but, deep down, I knew that I myself placed it there.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. In my experience as a (pretend) grown up who does his own laundry, it's a rare occassion that I return to my room not to find an extra sock or pair of boxers hiding in a dusty nook, waiting desperately to be found and reunited with their generation of dirty clothes.

And that bugs the crap out of me. Laundry is already a sysiphean task; it's as if Sysiphus realized reached the crest he had been aiming for only to find it was was actually only a plateau, and the hill continued! So I find it strange that my natural aversion to doing laundry hasn't trained me to clean every possible under(shirt/wear) and sock so that I can get every last day out of that laundry load.

With that in mind, what if I do have an alter-ego who loves destruction, who hates order and efficiency, and whose ultimate goal is to hasten the entropy of the universe? And what if the way that he manifests that is to hide my laundry from me? That would explain the socks tucked inside pillowcases, the shirts hidden in instruments and the underwear disguised in a stack of magazines. This would also explain why my split personality is so well hidden from everyone else, and even myself.  His mission is so discrete and precise that he can afford to snooze most of the time, only awakening at key moments. But then, in an instant, he can appear to tug open the doors under the sink and flick an undershirt in before he disappears without me noticing.

I tell you, it's a scary thing once you realize what your alter ego might be up to. I fear I may be trapped in a battle of wits with him till the end of my days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Sentence Review: Die Hard

You can watch it before July though.

That's how I want to die, too.