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Chaos and Your Everyday Traffic Jam 477

Posted by timothy
from the could-often-be-my-dad's-nutty-driving dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What causes these mysterious traffic jams that continually appear throughout the day for no reason whatsoever? Is it simply the fact that most people just don't have a clue how to drive? That's very possible, and in reality there are so many variables involved in something like a traffic jam. But is it possible that the entire traffic jam could be both the continuing and end result of a chain reaction set in motion by a single driver who was in too much of a hurry?"
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Chaos and Your Everyday Traffic Jam

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  • by P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) (1012109) <math.induction@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @05:12AM (#17374704) Homepage Journal

    From TFA:

    So the next time you find yourself stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, it's very possible that the jackass that caused it is already at home watching the latest episode of American Idol[...].

    I like the idea of a single blameworthy agent to bear the brunt of my hideous imprecations: a Christ of traffic, if you will; except I'm the Romans, and it's Mel Gibson's Passion all over again.

  • by johnw (3725) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @05:16AM (#17374718)
    Only three comments and already the site seems to have been totally jammed up by a single Slashdot article in too much of a hurry.
  • by giafly (926567) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @05:34AM (#17374790)
    From the article: "The 'butterfly effect' leads to a conclusion that if a butterfly flaps its wings ... that small disturbance in the chaotic motion of the atmosphere could create a chain reaction"
    America doesn't need a war on terror [slashdot.org], it needs a war on butterflies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @06:08AM (#17374904)
    We need to come up with a way so that all drivers are in their own domains, and therefore there will be no chance of them colliding with eachother. I suggest the following:

    Car Sensing Misguided Asshat / Collision Diversion (CSMA/CD).
  • by Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) <patrik.vanostaey ... com minus distro> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @06:16AM (#17374930) Journal
    I've nearly forgotten what traffic jams are like.
    It's like waiting in front of a traffic light. Except there are no lights, especialy no green ones. And a lot of people can't make up their mind about which direction they'll take after the lights and switch lanes accordenly.
    It's not the waiting that's so troublesome about a traffic jam, nor is the fact your boss will be very angry about you being 3 days late for work. It's the seeing other people's weird-car-habbits that's truely painful.

    Luckly there are a few ways to make it less painful:
    1) Bring your wife. Get her head in your lap. Remember to "read" a map or newspaper at the proper time. Nobody wants to see your face at that particular moment.
    2) Bring your kids! Yelling and screaming is very good to get oxygen in your system and the kicking might actually get your lower back pain to disappear. People tend to pay a lot for such a massage.
    3) Portable TV! Makes your waiting in the jam a painless affair. Might, ofcourse, make you the cause of the next traffic jam.
    4) Laptops! Pass the network cable from car to car and have a mobile LAN-party!
    5) Cellphone: Ask the number of other people in the jam and have conversations. Now you can ask what the h*ll he was thinking and discuss why he should stay the f*ck on his lane.
    6) music intruments! They call it jammin' right?
    7) Mexican wave ... with sound!
    8) strip poker with car parts! A El Cheapo car with the hood of a ferrari, now wouldn't that rock?
    9) Bring candy and beer! Instant party! Would suck if you're picked to be the sober driver. Thought bringing drunk friends home was bad? Think how bringing 12,000 drunk strangers home would be like.
    10) Disassemble your car, climb over the fence, down to the street below with as many part as you can carry. repeat as necessary. reassemble the car. Takes some time, but you'll be home quicker anyway.
  • by arikb (106153) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @06:25AM (#17374956) Homepage
    For the longest time a friend and I have theorized about the reasons for those traffic jams. We've reached the inescapable conclusion that they are the results of a conspiracy.

    Don't go your heads a-shaking now. It's really obvious. The oil companies make a bundle of those traffic jams. Every day just before rush hour a small fleet of inconspicuous unmarked vehicles, driven by selected elderly, are leashed upon the major freeways. They are trained to drive in such a pattern that makes it impossible for other cars to bypass them. Soon enough the traffic jam forms. Millions of cars are burning precious fuel while standing still, and the oil barons go cha-ching.

    Denying it doesn't make it go away.

    -- Arik
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @08:07AM (#17375274) Journal

    Around here, the closest thing to a traffic jam is me. Even the old people think I drive too slow.
    Wow, that must be pretty embarrassing considering you live in an Amish community.
  • by Stele (9443) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:40AM (#17376224) Homepage
    The construct that causes all of this trouble can be seen here [google.com] (along with some Google wierdness in the construction of the image).

    I looked this morning and there was barely any traffic! I think you're exaggerating.

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