Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » August 2004 » Hmmmmmm... never thought of that before, did you?

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08/29/2004: Hmmmmmm... never thought of that before, did you?

BSTommy pegs exactly why the idea of flying cars isn't a good one:

Now, I've got no problem with the idea of a flying car. I've been stuck in a traffic jam just like the rest of you, and thought about just how wonderful it would be to be able to lift out of the traffic jam harrier-style, and fly beyond the madness.

But am I the only one who sees the problem with this idea?

See, if you've got a flying car, that's great.

But it's great only if you're the only one with the flying car.

If the day comes that Average Joe can own his flying car...the problem is that every other Average Joe in the world will own a flying car.

I'm convinced that anywhere between a fifth and a full-on third of the drivers we have driving your standard ground-based automobiles nowadays aren't completely competent to handle their machines. Not in any kind of responsible manner. Look around you the next time you're out driving, and look at the people who do the little annoying things, like not signalling turns, like refusing to turn right on red even though there's an empty spot the size of Nebraska in the road, or like talking on the cell phone not realizing that they've become so involved with their conversation that they're going 11 miles per hour.

And when you're done with these guys, look at the jagoffs who do the stuff that makes you really psychotically angry. People who do stuff like backing up an entire parking lot for days on end just so that they can turn left out of the parking lot across four lanes of traffic. Or how about those who take it upon themselves to slow everybody in the passing lane of the interstate down by driving 68 in that left hand lane?

Have you ever noticed the number of those cars who drive slowly in that left lane who have that Jesus fish on them? The Jesus fish, or some other manner of religious paraphanelia? It's not a 100% across the board number, but the ratio is up around 4 to 1.

But that's neither here nor there....

Back to my little rant, also, when you're out driving and looking at these colossal boneheads, look at the number of cars you see broken down along side the road. Especially if you're driving on the interstates or freeways. There are two reasons for these breakdowns: Poor craftsmanship, and poor upkeep.

Some cars are just lemons. You get a huge number of moving parts working in conjunction, and if one's out of whack right off the lot, then another is going to start messing up, and another, and another. Even new, the car's constantly breaking down. I figure that if you've got a flying car, you're going to have half again at least as many moving parts as your every day land-based car. And probably more. More to go wrong, in my book.

And then there's the problem of upkeep. There are a lot of cars out there that because of age, or the financial trappings of the driver, or just the sheer negligance of the owner, that are liable to fall apart at any moment.

Now, it's one thing to have these accidents-waiting-to-happen driving around on the road. They break down? You pull them off to the side of the road. And if they cause an accident, the chances are slim that they'll do anything more than take out another car or two.

However, if you've got a Flying P.O.S. out there flying around when its wings suddenly fly off because Jimmy Joe Cottontongue forgot to change the hydraulic fluid, you've suddenly got a missile hurtling towards a random target somewhere on the ground below.

Personally, I'd rather not be sitting down to watch Seinfeld re-runs on the holovid and have a 2038 Mercedvrolet Flymobile crash down on my head, crushing me, the holovid and my Soylent Green Cheetoes in one fell swoop, all because Jimmy Joe couldn't be bothered to put more than 11,000 Astrobucks worth of plutonium in the flux capacitor.
Not to mention that if every Average Joe has a flying car, pretty soon we'll just have two traffic jams, one on the road, and one in the air. Though at least both of them, in theory, wouldn't be quite as bad.

Len on 08.29.04 @ 04:00 PM CST


Replies: 1 comment

on Sunday, August 29th, 2004 at 9:12 PM CST, bryan@dumka.com">Bryan said

Yep, without massive amounts of control these things would be littering lawns all over. I lived near Montgomery Field, a general aviation airport in San Diego, and we had private planes landing on the streets every couple of years.

Then there are the unintended consequences. We just had a major meeting of manufacturers of wireless controllers at Eglin AFB. The Air Force is testing a new communications system and it turns out that the guys who make the wireless garage door openers, vehicle controllers, etc. have been using an Air Force frequency.

When the Air Force turned the system on doors were going up and down, cars were locking and unlocking, alarms were going off. Imagine flying along and the aerocar decides to become the terracar at 10K feet.

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