Hwrr, whine, whine

My back hurts again. I’ve been trying to do the exercises that the physical therapist suggested for me, and *they* hurt. So I guess I will call him and go back in and have him work on me some more.

I still blame the car accident that I was in a few years ago – I never had any problems with my back before that, and it seems like it’s been intermittently broken in more and more irritating ways ever since. Since I can’t think of any amount of money that would be worth ongoing pain, I think that what we need to do is redesign cars so that these things can’t happen.

I was musing last night as I was driving to get fast food about how many different ways computer-assisted driving could work. Obvious ways are things like putting a bracket around anything radiating at 37 degrees so that you’d be aware of children, dogs, etc as you drove past them – and, of course, a system that tracked what speed you were closing on potential obsticles and displayed warnings, sounded alarms, and ultimately engaged the car’s braking system.

I keep hoping that DARPA’s various autonomous vehicle challenges will lead to more autonomous safety systems being built into vehicles. Humans really shouldn’t drive cars – we’re too easily distracted, we can only see in two directions at once and those directions have to be on approximately the same plane, and we’re too fragile and we don’t handle high G loads well. When humans fly planes or drive trains, they often use computer systems to assist them in all sorts of ways – and, yes, I know taht cars have traction control computers and antilock computers, but that’s really just a small segment of what should be onboard.

Among other things, why don’t cars have black box style recorders? It seems to me that this would remove a lot of sources of arguments during car accident discussions – how fast was driver A going? How hard did he brake? What was he seeing?

I also suspect that a somewhat centrally-dispatched traffic management system – soemthing more sophisticated than a guy on the radio telling me I should avoid the 405 – would save everybody a lot of time.

Someone should also figure out a very sort set of strategies  that if done by every driver in a traffic jam, will tend to unjam the traffic. I noticed when me and Nicka drive down 123 at rush hour on our mopeds that by slowing the road from 45 to 35, it changed from gridlock to flowing smoothly. I suspect that there’s a whole set of these – like, for example, leaving more space in front of you during a traffic jam so you can drive at a constant speed, using the space in front of you as a buffer, rather than constantly speeding up and slowing down (and losing time to human reaction time for every single driver behind you as they do the same)

I noticed one of my friends talked about a book, something like you can’t afford a negative thought. I definately think I suffer from some negative thinking.. part of it is engineer’s disease – you have to be able to see all the flaws before you can improve the system.. but part of it is just plain excessive.

Anyway, my back hurts, whine whine whine whine

One Response to “Hwrr, whine, whine”

  1. ClintJCL Says:

    I gave up on doing the back exercises assigned to me by Kaiser-Permanente. I downloaded a back workout (“Stop Back Pain Now!” torrent) but never did it. Sigh.

    Most new cars have had the black box data recorders you speak of for over 10 years. Thing is — I don’t really want to pay for something that could be used against me in court. Of course, it could prove i was driving good, and since I believe I drive better than 50% of drives out there, perhaps I would have an advantage in owning a newer car that has one of these. They used one to settle a vehicular homicide case in Alaska.

    I think books that say you can’t afford a negative thought are feelgood bleedingheart simple-solutions-to-hard-question tomes of bullshit, myself. Human brains were evolved to focus on negative thoughts for a reason — It’s more important to remember how you were fscked over, so it doesn’t happen again .. than it is to remember that great cake you had last week, or to “think positively” in the face of adversity that you might have been able to avoid by thinking negatively… Stick with the engineers, man. 🙂

    As for back problems — avoid memory foam. Ugh.

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