Friday, September 23, 2016

Self-Driving Cars: Star Trek or the Rise of the Machines?

Not the best car choice, except maybe for off-roading

I hope future models won't be identical. I want a green or orange one.

I would love a self-driving car. Driving is often not fun for me. The angles are all just right to aggravate arthritis pain in my hands and feet. Add to that brain-fog, which makes me take wrong turns driving to familiar places, and the exhaustion that sets in after any exertion.

For two years, I had a chauffeur, kind of. My oldest son drove me to and from school because his high school was only half a mile down the road. It was wonderful not to put my hands on the always to hot or too cold steering wheel. Plus, I could knit in the car.
Those men look at her like she's doing something wrong! Sexist, right!

But my son is all grown up now and driving his own way and time to work. My youngest son doesn't drive. A self-driving car would be great for him too.

I imagine taking road trips by myself, letting the car do the hard work while I enjoy the scenery or a good book.
I prefer books with fewer pictures. 

A lot of people are worried about self-driving cars. The movies we grew up with give us a mixed message about their intentions.
The most advanced self-driving car

I don't think I've seen any of these movies.
Herbie and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang only want to help, but Christine and other scary Christine clones want us dead. But all those cars work by magic or demonic possession.
Haven't seen this movie either.

We need to think about technology. Movies help us with that too. I'm hoping that cars of the future will work like those in I Robot. People give a destination and are taken there safely. The cars have enough artificial intelligence to navigate and avoid obstacles. They are machines without feelings or agendas.
Nice shape  Boring Color

Which brings us to another fear. Machines that are programmed to be too smart. According to scientists, that is a long time away. They also claim that good programming will keep robots on task. But it's hard to ignore the Terminator nightmare--machines that take over because they don't need us any more. However it's good to consider an optimistic view of the future. In Star Trek the Next Generation, the Enterprise becomes self aware, and after a few communications issues, boldly goes back to work.
How do you start a Star Trek  fight? Find someone who doesn't agree that  STTNG is the best Star Trek  series.

A more realistic concern these days is how to regulate who can travel independently in self-driving cars.    Can I send my car, without me, to pick up takeout? Would a car be an acceptable designated driver when its human has been drinking?  I can imagine parents sending kids to play dates and soccer practices by themselves. It might not be a bad idea, if/when the cars are that reliable. But I would hope that for the first decade or so, there would be a modified drivers test, to prove that the driver knows how to operate the vehicle and is at least at a responsible age.


My knitting was all over the place this week. On Sunday, I intended to crochet. My scrap yarn was all tangled. As I rolled it into balls, I started seeing color combinations and sorting them for hats. Then I had to knit a couple. If I have enough yarn left over for mittens, they will show up in my shop.

The strings aren't a quirky fashion choice. I just haven't finished the hats. If you look closely, you'll see strings on my new sweater too.

 I also worked on a lovely Christmas present made of alpaca. I had a few problems. First, My needle broke. This happens to circular needles. The joint between metal and plastic eventually flexes too many times.
I lost stitches part of my mind.
Fortunately, I had an extra just like it, but it was already in use.
That inspired me to finish the orangey hand-spun sweater I've been working on. I'm going to keep it.
This was a short photo session. Notice the rain drops. We like those out here in the desert.

The alpaca shawl pattern includes a knitted lace stitch which can be pretty complicated. I want to use it on the new square shawl I'm designing. But this pattern is worked side to side, while the square has to be knitted "in the round."  Also, the written pattern is knit on the bias, so I have to figure out how the stitch works straight up and down. It took some trial and error, but I got it. I'll make an infinity shawl in that stitch to get it memorized.

It really needs work because I somehow screwed up even while I was reading the pattern. I don't know how I did it, especially since I only did it one one side, but it means carefully unpicking an hour's worth of work.

I have nothing new to put up for sale, but you can find some great Christmas gifts  in my shop.


Better. We have health insurance. I think. I will try to use it next week and find out. We still have the 28th hanging over us when we find out if my husband keeps his job. Also, I would love to be more productive, but can't seem to get to sleep at night or get going in the morning. This article about fibromyalgia is worth looking at.


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