If I Were an Engineer

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I was in an elevator today going down from the SEB site and I had an amazing idea.  One of the things that I hate about elevators is not knowing when it’s going to stop between my floor and my destination.  Just today as I got on, a woman went to exit the elevator but realized that it had stopped before her destination to pick me up.  The solution?  Next to the numbers indicating which floor the elevator is on, an up and down arrow-shaped light.  If someone on floor five presses “up,” it lights up the up arrow next to the number five in the elevator car; this way its occupants know the stop is coming.  For multi-car elevator systems, the light would only light up in the car that was going to stop at that floor.  Instant information for the elevator passengers.

A solution in search of a problem?  Perhaps.  But I think it’d be sweet.

Why “Wanted” Is Going to Suck

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Every time I see an ad for the movie Wanted, I get more and more angry.  One of its (horrible) premises is that the kid can somehow instinctually “curve” the bullet.  As in he can fire a gun and have the bullet travel in an arc.  Now, I’m willing to give up some physics in exchange for artistic license, but this is going too far.  In the preview, they show the bullet spinning as it curves.  Bullets spin in order to straighten out their path, in case you were born yesterday.

So why am I so against this movie?  Movies break laws of physics all the time, so why should I be concerned?  The issue is simple: stupid people.  When The Matrix came out, nobody was trying to stop bullets in the middle of the air because they knew they couldn’t.  I don’t have enough faith in humanity to believe that people won’t try “curving” their bullets.  Do I think this represents a serious threat?  No.  But I do think that the movie is dumb enough that the kind of people who go to see it are the kind of people who just might try.

On the Universality of Guitar Hero

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I was playing Guitar Hero III on my Wii with my mom today and realized that it was the first video game we’d ever played together. Some things are just universally fun.