Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quiet season...and autonomous vehicles.

Not much happening here...Mandy's into her annual quiet season.   With the holidays, the end of December traditionally was very quiet.  Likewise the month of January and February will be.   There may not be a lot of posting activity -  wife and I may be doing some traveling together.  So any posting will unfortunately be mostly more local androgynous stuff.

I hope my followers (and readers who don't necessarily follow me yet) will bear with me.   Hopefully once the worst of winter is past us, things will make their usual seasonal improvement and Mandy will be able to get "back in the saddle again."   And hopefully you - and we - have a Happy New Year in the process....

One thing caught my eye on the internet recently, and it has nothing to do with gender or presentation.  Maryland's Republican administration recently announced that Interstate 95 and other major arteries around the Baltimore region could become a testing ground for driverless cars starting in 2018, under a proposal announced in the last couple of weeks.

"The state has applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation program that aims to work out the kinks in autonomous vehicle technology, speed its arrival on roadways across the country and help grow companies that are developing it."   Nice idea, folks.  I'm just not sure the area is ready for it...    If it were April 1,  I'd be very suspicious of an April Fool's joke.  But April 1 is still almost 3 months away, so it apparently isn't a joke.

Unfortunately, IMHO the idea is "kink-infested" from the get-go.   Can you imagine the difficulty of citing such a car for causing an accident?  How do you sue a driverless car?  Do they haul the car into the courtroom, and if so, how does it take the oath and testify?  If found guilty, how can the car be punished?  Disconnect its battery or drain its gas tank?  Put a "boot" on its front tire?  It's not alive...so punishments like that won't do any good.  Maybe reformat its computer or install an upgrade?

More hypothetical questions:  how will the autonomous vehicle respond to an officer controlling traffic at an accident scene or intersection with malfunctioning lights, or deal with a police vehicle trying to pull it over for a violation?   (These and  numerous other scenarios require instant judgment calls - and are not well-suited to AI - Artificial Intelligence.)

To inject a bit of humor into a serious topic, are the makers of those driverless vehicles planning to install a "prosthetic arm with it's hand's middle finger extended" in each dashboard and rear package shelf?  The purpose of this would be to automatically "pop up" in the appropriate window, each time the autonomous car cuts someone off, or a conventional vehicle's driver honks his horn.  Big city driving would not be complete without that feature...   And conventional drivers wouldn't know how to react if they didn't have something "flip them the bird" as they use the horn to warn the autonomous car about running the red light, blowing through the stop sign or making an improper lane change or turn. 

Sorry for the rant.  But perhaps this whole "autonomous" thing is best relegated to the scrap heap,  before it starts to kill or maim people.  (Hopefully they won't spend much time over here on the Delmarva...quite yet.)

I'll leave you with a picture of this holiday decoration, seen while driving through a small town on the Delmarva.  And I gotta admit, this is a first for this type of decoration:

Cute, isn't it?

Happy New Year...




  1. I seem to be getting adequate license to dress at night around the condo. Even last night while dressed for dinner in a beige skirt, red turtleneck sweater, beige hose and heels (only lipstick and no wig or jewelry) my wife mentioned that on the auto train heading down next week we will have one of the 'family rooms'. I mentioned that this was great and that it will give me more room to dress and hang out than the roomettes. She did not seem to raise any objection.

    In my view I like to drive and would worry about driverless cars but I can see their utility. I suppose in future years as my reactions and reflexes wane even more having a driverless car may be a way to get around if I am too old to be a safe driver.
    As for not I will take the train.

    1. Your outfit for dinner sounds nice! Glad you got a chance to wear it for a while. My androgynous presentation (and wearing dresses around the house) likewise have to be sufficient during my annual "quiet season."

      You'll enjoy the family bedroom on the auto train...we've used them on occasion, but since neither of us like the upper bunk, we've lately each been getting a small roomette. For your purposes, the family room will be perfect.

      Interesting concept about autonomous vehicles being "transportation for the elderly." That could indeed be good.

      But they have a long way to go in development before I'd feel safe in riding in one. And no telling how many folks will die in the process.

      It would be a horrible thing, watching the machine-driven car you're riding in do something clearly and massively wrong (like pulling out in front of a gasoline tanker), and being unable to stop the resulting horrific accident from happening. That would certainly defeat the utility, wouldn't it?

      I guess that's what cabs and trains are for... At least until they're autonomously-driven, too.

      Have a wonderful time on your train ride and in FL, and enjoy the warm weather...


  2. Tomorrow we head for the auto train. I have a train bag packed with heels, wig, makeup and two skirt sets. Lets see what I can get on and for how long.

  3. Have a great time... I hope you get to enjoy lots of girl time...and you'll love the family room!

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