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Old 2016-05-01, 19:29   #1
jasong's Avatar
"Jason Goatcher"
Mar 2005

3×7×167 Posts
Default Would you give up your cat ownership if it increased your potential virility?

Been thinking about self-driving cars and how much space the average car takes up.

You ever take a good hard look at how much car there is relative to the person driving it? Most of the time there's one person in the driver seat. Then you have an empty passenger seat next to them, and a backseat behind them and the passenger seat that goes all the way across. Then there tends to be even more stuff behind that, a spare tire and maybe something like golf clubs or a box of clothes they've been playing chauffeur to for no good reason. And then the engine has to be strong enough to drag all that around.

But what if we rented cars as we needed them? You going out for a night on the town, just get a self-driving golfcart size thing that's actually more powerful than a golfcart because it's the frickin' 21st century for gosh sake. And don't worry about a designated driver, the fewer humans driving the cars the less likely it is that we'll have an accident. I think most of the computation used in the driverless cars today is to deal with drivers like my mom, who don't intentionally drive bad but tend to overreact to stuff.

Most of the unused space on the road is because of the reflexes of the average human being, we need like 3/4ths of a car length for every ten miles per hour just so our foot has time to receive the command to hit the brake. Makes me wonder if we could improve that by giving a person's head the ability to brake a car. Maybe a good verbal command, like"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!" or,"Oh, fuck!" stated in a fearful way would alert the car to re-examine the terrain.

One of the biggest things that affects a city's ability to grow is it's transportation system. New York and most(all?) mega-cities(cities with over 10 million people) have public transportation available to their residents. This is something that American cities in general badly need. America is a huge sprawling place relative to it's population, but that just means that it's transportation solution will need to be unique. We need to examine our laws and ask ourselves questions like,"How deep down does the average American landowner own their property?" "If transportation is right next to someone, but they can't hear it moving around, does its nearness matter?" I'm thinking of subway systems right below people with that last one. "Does a landowner have the right to dig down to the roof of underground government-built transportation if their intentions are honest, like if they want to make an underground room?" I would imagine a room would weigh less than a bunch of random dirt, so it might be a public service if they don't royally screw up.

What do you guys think? And, yes, I'm a rambler. A wanderer of my own mind.

Last fiddled with by jasong on 2016-05-01 at 19:32
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Old 2016-05-02, 07:35   #2
Nick's Avatar
Dec 2012
The Netherlands

175110 Posts

Here in the Netherlands, many people don't own cars but belong to clubs from which you can rent one cheaply for special journeys. Many people simply use a bicycle to get to work, including members of parliament, university chancellors, etc. And those who live too far away for that often use public transport.
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Old 2016-05-05, 04:26   #3
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Jun 2011

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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Here in the Netherlands,...
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Old 2016-05-05, 10:58   #4
Brian-E's Avatar
Jul 2007
The Netherlands

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To be fair, we do have our share here too of able-bodied people who have never heard of travelling more than 50 metres in anything other than their private car.

Today, 5 May, we celebrate freedom in this country because it is the 71st anniversary of the country's release from the Nazi occupation in the second Word War. I remember some years ago Femke Halsema, at the time when she was leader of the leftwing green party Groenlinks, talking about "freedom" and what it means to different people. Her definition of "freedom" for supporters of the Liberal party (which is distinctly right of centre here) was the freedom to park their 4x4 vehicle on the pavement.
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Old 2016-05-06, 03:22   #5
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Jun 2011

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Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
To reply to myself, yes, I will give up my own car if transportation would be in this part of the world as good as in other parts of the world, or if convenient way to rent a car for short periods of time would be provided locally (by the factory, by local government, private companies, etc).

This reminds us we had to work in China/Guangdong for few years at the end of the last century, where they provided bikes for everybody in the town (supported by local government and by the local industry - which was 3 or 4 foreign-own average-sized companies). We could take a bike from a well-defined place, go with it to job (about 800 meters from where we lived) or drift around the town, market, etc, and at the end let the bike in other well-defined place. Very few people owned a way of transportation, and generally, you could take a bike found on the street and ride it to the nearest well-defined-place-for-bikes, and they will thank you for bring it in. Of course, nobody tried to steal a bike, or if someone tried, few little chinese guys (from the public, not employed by "the company") would catch him later and break his legs. Easy. BTW, did you see that italian movie with the bike? Very good one! Must to see!

Here we own two cars, but one is quite old ('95), not suitable for long trips, and yet, during our April (Songkran) holidays this year, we have been visited by relatives from our country, we were more people than you could put in (or on) a single car (and fatter! , big crazy farangs, not small and delicate like Thai/Asian people ), and they stayed for a month, and because we decided that it would be more fun to travel around (we did, ~5000km in April) in a single car, instead of splitting the people in two (which would also rise questions about how to split and who to drive), we rented a "big car", where we could fit everybody, and luggage, and we paid for it about 1000 euros, for 30 days, totally, in 3 families (with kids, i.e. we paid a third of this sum, the relatives also contributed, by their own will). And it was fun! A lot of it! For example, we traveled from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang in a single day (1200km, I was driving alone! We started 2:00AM and reached Koh Chang ferry at 4-5:00PM, with break for lunch, smoking, coffee, and including a flat tire which took us about 2 hours to fix at a rubber workshop on the way).

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2016-05-06 at 03:44
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Old 2016-05-12, 03:22   #6
The Carnivore
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Jun 2010

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No, I would not give up my cat ownership if it increased my potential virility. Here's why:

However, I might give up my car ownership if it increased my potential mobility, depending on:

- how much the car rental/Uber/car club alternatives cost
- how long it takes to get access to a car when you need it
- availability, quality, and affordability of mass transportation in the area

The really cool thing would be self-driving cars. You could get into one when you're drunk or exhausted, sleep the late night/morning away, and safely arrive in a different faraway city when you wake up. Pair that invention with a humanoid robot, and the car could be picking up groceries, dropping off mail, and running other errands while you're at work or asleep.

Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
To be fair, we do have our share here too of able-bodied people who have never heard of travelling more than 50 metres in anything other than their private car.
It depends on context. I've run a 6:04 mile at 2300m elevation, and I'd happily run another one for the challenge. But I've also waited a lot longer than six minutes to get a parking spot a bit closer to the mall.

Last fiddled with by The Carnivore on 2016-05-12 at 03:28
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Old 2016-05-12, 08:30   #7
mackerel's Avatar
Feb 2016

23·5·11 Posts

A "car on demand" system is something I had thought about too. In essence, it would be like a taxi of today. How long would it take to get to you? How much will it cost? I would say both are significant factors. I'm not sure removing the driver would remove that much cost to a cab ride, and with various overheads everything else will still cost to run.

So I'd boil it down to two things: cost and convenience. If I want to go somewhere right now, I can just jump in my car. I don't need to book ahead, or wait while it arrives. There might be extra cost at the far end to consider, e.g. for parking.

Whoever runs these systems, they will at some point need to decide how many cars they have available to maximise their revenue. It might even be in their interested NOT to provide a good service, if they go into surge demand pricing when everyone needs to travel at the same time. More cars would mean more cost, and less income.

Offsetting that is the cost of car ownership. I had worked it out for my last car, but I can't remember the exact figures I ended up with. In a quick fresh estimate now, the cost per mile of owning and running my last car, with fuel, bills, servicing, depreciation, insurance... all costs, is in the ball park of US$0.60 a mile. Can any on demand service beat that? I doubt it. That was a lower cost but big car I owned from new, kept for 8 years. It was bad at fuel economy, and was high insurance. Since then, I've changed to a smaller car. The fuel economy is at least double the last one. Insurance is lower. Overall running costs are lower. Fuel costs have gone up a bit, but nowhere near enough to outweigh that. I'm also very low mileage as a car user anyway. In my current car I'm doing perhaps 4000miles/year average. My last car might be closer to double that as it included more work travel too. So the cost per mile might work out a bit differently depending on the balance between mileage (mainly fuel) and other costs.

Thinking more, there is one factor I haven't entered here. If I was riding in a car as opposed to driving it, I could potentially be productive and do other things. What is my time worth? This might make it more interesting for longer trips in particular, as they would also more likely be planned ahead.

There are some trips I don't make now because I would find driving for hours too tiring on top of everything else I do, but if I was driven, I do think I would do more of them.

I do see a future where car ownership changes, but I think that day is still quite far off. A hybrid usage model might make sense. I'll keep my small car for local trips so I have maximum flexibility and availability, but only use an on demand car for long trips or if I need to transport bigger objects which I can't in my new smaller car that I would with my old bigger one.

Oh, some might have noticed I've not mentioned public transport at all. Due to where I live and the bus routes, it is basically unusable if your time is worth anything. My trip to work takes under 10 minutes by car. If I were to get a bus, realistically that would be a 10 minute walk to where I can get the right one, perhaps 10 minute travel time also, and another 5 minutes walk at the far end. Factor in waiting for the bus, it'll take over 3 times longer.
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Old 2016-05-12, 12:40   #8
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"Jane Sullivan"
Jan 2011
Beckenham, UK

277 Posts

I don't own a cat. I've got a couple of budgies, though,
I don't want to increase my virility; in fact, I'd rather keep it at 0%, thank you very much.
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Old 2016-05-12, 14:55   #9
xilman's Avatar
May 2003
Down not across

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Originally Posted by BudgieJane View Post
I don't own a cat. I've got a couple of budgies, though,
I don't want to increase my virility; in fact, I'd rather keep it at 0%, thank you very much.
I quite understand. Nubility is much more appropriate for you.

Three cats and four chucks here.
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Old 2016-05-12, 18:40   #10
Batalov's Avatar
Mar 2008

2·4,787 Posts

Nubilesse oblige, as they say in some parts of the world!

I would never give up my cat to increase his nobility. I value my right to torture him with random acts of kindness too much.
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Old 2016-05-22, 02:00   #11
MooMoo2's Avatar
Aug 2010

29316 Posts

Speaking of cat ownership, I was vacationing in Germany with my parents a few years ago. We visited the home of a man that was a close friend of my dad when he was in college. The friend lived with his wife and their cat. After a while, they struck up a conversation with me.

Them: What would you like to have for dinner, Moo?

Me: Bratwurst would be nice. Pork schnitzel also sounds good.

Them: We're vegans, so we don't have meat.

Me: Really? I know you have meat here; I've seen it earlier.

(couple is confused and looks at each other)

Them: No.... There may be some bits of meat in a soup that someone gave us earlier today, but we're donating it. In any case, the meat isn't enough for even a small kid.

Me: You have enough meat for at least two of us, but it might take some time to prepare.

Them: Then where's the meat?

I pointed to the cat.
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