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Archive for November, 2009

4-D Twister

Friday, 20 November, 2009 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Remember Twister, the game that ties you up in knots? What about a 3-D version, where instead of a mat on the floor with coloured circles, you have holographically projected coloured spheres suspended at various locations in mid-air? How cool would that be?

From here it’s just a small step to 4-dimensional Twister, which is where the real fun happens!

Gummi worm insalata & twinkies and coffee

Wednesday, 18 November, 2009 | Posted in Cafe by David Morgan-Mar

Gummi worm insalata & twinkies and coffee
mezzacotta Café patron Panpear writes:

I had stopped at the mezzacotta Café for brunch one day, and spotted this menu item. I asked what ‘insalata’ meant (salad, as it turns out), and ordered right away. There was a choice for real fruit or gummi fruit in the salad, but I chose gummi because it already seemed unhealthy in the first place, so why bother trying to make it healthy? Overall, everything was delicious and sugary; I would definitely recommend it.

Traffic congestion smoothing

Thursday, 12 November, 2009 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

We were discussing how unfair it is that sometimes you’ll get stuck in traffic for longer than seems reasonable, while other drivers in other lanes manage to creep ahead. Or how when traffic is bad some evil people will do sneaky things like using an inappropriate lane and then trying to cut in, to the frustration of the people doing the right thing and waiting patiently in the correct lane.

But on the other hand, maybe the person cutting in has spent hours in traffic already and actually deserves to be given an easier ride, while the people waiting have only been stuck for a really short time.

So we realised the answer is to have a big digital display on each car, which starts at 0 every time you set out on a trip. It counts the number of minutes and seconds you’ve spent sitting still in traffic. Then whenever a question of priority comes up, right of way is given to the car that’s been waiting for the longest.

Who gets to merge first? The person who’s had the most delayed trip so far! If there’s a queue of cars waiting at a blocked intersection, cars with large wait times are allowed to sneak up and cut in – as long as they don’t cut in front of anyone who has been waiting longer. Can’t get fairer than that!

This would smooth out travel times for everyone and make the roads fairer and less frustrating! Everyone wins!

Lift buttons

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Coming back from buying lunch across the street today, we entered the lift and proceeded to go through the routine of pressing the buttons for floors 5, 6, and 7, since we each needed to return to our desks briefly and we are spread across those floors of our office building. We lamented the fact that the process of floor selection was so incredibly inefficient, requiring us to hit three separate buttons to indicate what floors we needed the lift to stop at.

DMc pondered the idea of having 128 separate buttons, each one wired to tell the lift to stop at a different possible combination of the 7 floors in the building. For example, button 74 might tell the lift that people want to get off at floors 2, 4, and 7. All you need to do is calculate the value of 21+23+26 to get the correct button.

And then we realised we could make this incredibly cool idea even simpler to use, if we just renumbered the floors, so instead of having floors 1 through 7, we have floors 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64. So all you have to do is add up the numbers of the desired destination floors, and press the button with the number corresponding to the sum!