Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dumbasscience: Flying Cars Part 3

Dumbasscience: Science is not always smart. Oh no sir-ree-Bob. Sometimes it is just plain stupid. That's okay, I won't judge. I'll just point it out and mock it mercilessly. These articles will contain rants from history and breaking news where scientists are pursuing through-and-through bad ideas. From the 'flying your car to work' pipe-dream, to various plans of how to forcibly reverse global warming, if it's technological and perilous to rationalists, it's Dumbasscience.

Last time in Dumbasscience, I expounded upon the potential cost of flying cars. This week, I'm going to analyze the safety hazards of driving your flying car of the future in the raging skies of tomorrow.

First, let's get some perspective. I've driven past one hundred car pile-ups on the interstate. No fooling, no exaggeration. One hundred cars, all in one long chain of catamite stupidity, and what was the reason? Fog.

Fog, for frak's sake.

I mean, sure it limits visibility, but it's fog for crying out loud, it's not hiding in the bushes along the side of the road and jumping out at you when it sees headlights. You can adjust your driving, slow down, take an alternate route, or stay at home until it's over. But for at least one-hundred people in one afternoon in a small chunk of the midwest, that would be asking for too much. Just think how bad it would be if people were flying their cars and applying this same crap-tastic illogic. The Blezinsky 9000's will be turning into air-borne confetti before the commercials can get recalled.

Yes, I understand that with flying cars we'd have more distance, and therefore larger margins of error, between vehicles. But that doesn't jive with me, MacReady. We're driving those flying cars somewhere, right? So when we get there, we'll be cramming our cars into the same tight-packed intersections. Imagine all the accidents that will occur outside your friendly floating Golden Arches, with grav-soccer moms obliterating each other's flying caravans while telling their personal Jarvis to adjust their pilates appointments and stock up on cucumbers. It's going to be a bloodbath.

And what about passing and other elements of basic driving etiquette? As Sunday Driving points out, there's a lot of bad drivers on the ground today who ignore simple little concepts of courteous driving of which they must certainly be capable. Putting that into the sky is just an apocalyptic mistake. Do you hate being passed on the right? You should, it's against the rules of the road. Do you like having some sky-douche drop down onto your modest little Blezzy 4000 from two hundred feet above you, his Blezinsky Compensator 9000 all pimped-out gold and a "suck my popsicle" bumper sticker emblazoning his rear? That will happen on the sky roads, my friend. And you know a blind-spot all cars today have in common? Right below them. Think about it.

If the sky cars of tomorrow look like our cars today--or anything like the proposals we've seen over the past century--then they too will have this vertical blind spot. Of course, there will be two ways we can check our blind spots, for those so inclined. One is to have a monitor that is constantly linked to a downward-facing camera. Now the camera's perspective will have to be distorted to give you a more comprehensive view, and it will likely cause just as many problems, as sky drivers will already be too busy eating, texting, skyPadding and facing their tweetbook status to actually use the monitor. Plus, it's not cool enough.

"And you know a blind-spot all cars today have in common? Right below them. Think about it."

The cool sky drivers of tomorrow have an alternative method for checking their blind spots. They bank their Blezzy 9000 over to the right at a 70 degree angle so they can look out their right window to check below them. This is cool, makes the ho in the passenger seat scream with sudden arousal at your sky prowess, and has the added bonus of giving you a chance to leer at your date at the same time. Win-win. Of course, you'll probably lose some altitude if you don't manage the bank well, sending you juking down into the sky-lane you were trying to scope out, but that's to be expected. That's what sky-horns are for.

Not to mention(actually, I think I will) that air-traffic controllers will become at least as common as urban parking valets. Just think about that. Imagine the joy-riding valets from Ferris Beuller's Day Off directing the thousands of daily commuters on their way into Chi-town through the 94 exchange.

And all of these concerns are only relevant to incidental safety concerns. There's the sky-ragers of tomorrow, and more serious criminal elements that lead us to the next--and probably final--issue of flying cars: law enforcement. In the mean-time, be thankful that all your road-bound headaches are road-bound and not pushing the sonic envelope at two thousand feet or more of altitude.

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