Linklist: September 4, 2012


The Minnesota Daily: Campus buses implement GPS tracking system [The University adopts NextBus, really cool bus stop signs, again leads MetroTransit]

KurzweilAI: California passes driverless car bill :

“Catching up with Nevada, it will be legal for autonomous cars to drive in California, probably within the next five years, if Gov. Brown signs SB 1298, just passed by the California Senate, the San Jose Mercury reports.”


KurzweilAI: Self-driving cars in 2019, report says:

“Autonomous cars will be in showrooms as early as 2019, or maybe even sooner, according to a report released by KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research.”

[I am still very skeptical of connected vehicles. We need autonomy first.]

The Hill’s Transportation Report: Stalled labor talks threaten to paralyze US ports – :

“Ports in the United States could be unable to import and export goods if a labor fight is not resolved by October”

SafetyUnderground China Bridge Collapse Raises Infrastructure Concerns:

“HONG KONG — One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed on Friday, just nine months after it opened, setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of its infrastructure.”

NYTimes: Why Waiting in Line Is Torture : ”

SOME years ago, executives at a Houston airport faced a troubling customer-relations issue. Passengers were lodging an inordinate number of complaints about the long waits at baggage claim. In response, the executives increased the number of baggage handlers working that shift. The plan worked: the average wait fell to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complaints persisted.
Puzzled, the airport executives undertook a more careful, on-site analysis. They found that it took passengers a minute to walk from their arrival gates to baggage claim and seven more minutes to get their bags. Roughly 88 percent of their time, in other words, was spent standing around waiting for their bags.
So the airport decided on a new approach: instead of reducing wait times, it moved the arrival gates away from the main terminal and routed bags to the outermost carousel. Passengers now had to walk six times longer to get their bags. Complaints dropped to near zero.”



You’ve Heard of Skyscrapers. But What About a ‘Depthscraper’? – Design – The Atlantic Cities [I work in one, lots of water-related issues]

Systemic Failure: The Problem of Under-Insured Drivers :

“In June 2010, Kaitlynn Fisher was killed in a car crash when the other driver, Ronald K. Hope, ran a red light. There was no doubt as to culpability: a jury and even Hope’s insurer (Nationwide) agreed that Hope was at fault.
The story gets interesting because Fisher’s insurer, Progressive, did not want to pay out a claim. You see, Fisher carried coverage for under-insured drivers. Hope had maxed out his $25,000 in coverage, and Fisher’s policy provided up to $100,000 coverage for accidents involving uninsured and under-insured drivers. Obviously hoping to avoid paying out a $75,000 claim, Progressive interjected itself into the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Hope.”

Human Transit: Grids on the brain

Seat2B The airline industry has “permanently shriveled”:

“Scheduled flights within North America this month are at their lowest levels in a decade, according to OAG, the global guardian of flight statistics. OAG estimates there will be around 21,400 fewer flights this month than last August and nearly a million fewer seats available to book. And this comes against a background of an airline system that has been shrinking relentlessly since the economic upheavals of 2008.”

Digital Trends: ‘Double’ transforms your iPad into a $1999 telepresence robot:

“Imagine you’re at your company, seated at your desk, when this iPad perched on a kind of pared-down Segway rolls up beside you. On the screen is the face of one of your co-workers located in another country who today is poking about your office, getting to know the layout, meeting some new people, asking a few questions. After a brief chat, it rolls off to the other side of the office. You look up five minutes later and do a double-take as you notice two of these devices having a conversation with each other by the water cooler.
Thanks to Double Robotics’ iPad-on-wheels – otherwise known as ‘Double’ – such a scenario could one day become a reality.”

The Hill’s E2-Wire: Report: Carbon emissions hit lowest levels in 20 years:

“Carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest levels in 20 years, primarily due to market forces, The Associated Press reports.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said Thursday that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have fallen close to 1992 levels.
Though the agency credited a large number of factors for the reduction, it said that the primary reason for the drop has been cheap and abundant natural gas.”