What a Wonderful World!
Michael D. Thomas
mdthomas at mindspring.com
Fri Jun 14 13:10:52 EDT 2002
> Regardless, Mike Thomas is ITCHING to
> revamp his picnic script so folks can collaborate on other transport
> please email him hourly until he has posted the new script! ;)
Itching... yes... as if this brewery tour talk was a noxious weed. I must
scratch or fumigate. Perhaps both.:-)
Those that are interested in providing rides to people please contact me.
Ever in search of dovetails, and inspired by recent dialog about pollution and
the need for MT, I propose a thought exercise. We (may) have an instance of a
Carpooling Problem w.r.t the brewery tour. The Carpooling Problem is one of
coordinating adult humans and perhaps other sub-ordinate car poolers (dogs,
kids, friendly aliens, etc.). Could the Carpooling Problem be generally
addressed using Internet technologies in such a way as to lower pollution and
gain other benefits?
The script that I'm itching for attempts to solve a simple Carpooling Problem
specific to our brewery tour. You'll be able to see who is willing to lend
rides from where and what the destinations may look like. Though I'm
considering redoing it from scratch using XML and XSLT, it is conceptually
based on the picnic script of years past. That script solves what I term the
"Potato Salad Problem." How do you keep everyone from bringing Potato Salad to
a cover dish picnic? The picnic script allowed people not only to post what
they were bringing, but to also see what others were bringing. Thus, the
picnics have been largely self-organizing. (Except for the need for us to
secure funds to pay deposits on the picnic shelter. Required upfront money is
never elegantly self-organizing.)
The Carpooling Problem is far more interesting and much more socially
pertinent. The question: could the web (and possibly the Internetworkers
website) be used to make carpooling more feasible? An excuse that techies use
to explain why they don't carpool (or use MT) is that they
work deviant hours. But techie's hours are deviant from the general
population, not necessarily from other techies. Could some sort of web-driven
carpooling club work?
Maybe you could even have an XML-car (or a web-services-car,
we-love-old-movies-car, we-hate-SUVs-car, etc.) for those interested in
sharing time with others interested in those topics. For good and ill,
carpooling/PT doesn't only reduce pollution, it also increases social
interaction. As commute times increase, hours of our days disappear into an
activity void of social interactions and intellectual challenges. At least
with PT, you can do a crossword puzzle or maybe play a game of cards. I'm just
glad that NPR went to talk radio to make car time a little more stimulating.
Now, if I could just get my heads-up-display Internet Chess Club client so I
can play chess while driving.... "Rook takes Minivan in passing lane! The
queen in the convertible threatens to fork your knights, skewer your pawns,
and pin the bishop to the king!"
As with all of these pesky human-related problems, this isn't just a technical
question, but also a social question. Assuming that a web app could be built
to coordinate carpoolers, would anyone use it? Such a system would certainly
require a fairly large pool of dedicated and disciplined carpoolers.... What
social dynamics would have to be in place for you (or anyone) to participate?
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