Archive | March, 2013

If a robo-car gets into an accident, who is responsible?

18 Mar

This question is taking over my life and I need to get it off my chest.

I’ve been following robo-cars for years and I’m very excited at their development.  It would be like having your own chauffer drive you around, except you don’t have to pay a salary, health insurance, or worry if he’s been drinking (robo-cars will also revolutionize the world of hard-core partying and drinking: who needs a designated when a car drives itself?  This better than a horse taking you home because you can get air conditioning!).  
But, I have a question.  When two robo-cars get into a car accident, who will be held liable?  Will it be the car company, the designer of the software, or will it be written off as the price of having one of these things?  I have no idea.
Another unintended consequence is, if a cop pulls a robo-car over, who gets the ticket?
I think I have too much time on my hands, but does anybody have any solutions to this? 

Memo to World: Why does reality suck so much my pragmatic charity ideas can’t work?

13 Mar

To: World

From: Chris
Re: Why does reality suck so much my pragmatic charity ideas can’t work?
I have been working on several charity ideas for a few years.  I want to start a charity, I want it to succeed, I want to help people.  My ideas have run from impractically stupid to…well…stupid.  Of the stupid ideas, these are the two best ones:
1) The idea to bet on a scandal outcome.  Originally, it would function a lot like a game of Clue: such as, I will take Bill Clinton, in the Lincoln Bedroom, with an intern.  It later evolved to simple betting on what actually happened.  Did he/she actually sleep with this person?  I thought it would involve something like a smartphone App so you could bet $5 that someone did something to earn bragging rights with your friends.  Imagine the number of bar arguments this could profit over.  The money would be funneled to good charities not run by insane morons (i.e. not run by me), such as Doctors without Borders.  
Problem: I can’t do it.  Look at what happened to  It was completely shut down because you can’t bet on certain things without lawful compliance from dozens of countries.
2)  A training program for teachers to help identify mentally ill children so they can get help…both the teachers and the children (I think babysitting 30 ten year-olds 9 months a year would drive anyone crazy).  It’s a simple idea: recruit psychologists to give power point presentations to teachers outlining early signs of children developing bipolar disorder, depression, etc.  The power point would also, most importantly, give tips on how to handle people with these disorders (the problem with crazy people is that, if you don’t know how to handle them, they drive everyone around them crazy).  
Problem: The rules and regulations guiding teachers are so strict it would make this process borderline impossible.  Not to mention, after researching how parents react, teachers have a powerful incentive not to confront parents that their children might be insane.  For the record, I now have new respect for teachers after researching this and reading horror stories about dealing with parents and kids.  Before I did this, I viewed teachers as state sponsored baby-sitters mooching off the government to practice an easy job.  Now, I view them as professional managers of children and, either, non-existent parents or helicopter parents.  It looks like a crappy job.   
My question is how can we live in world where simple things are impossible?  I mean, do we design institutions to make little things impossible to do, or is it just me?

I think Congress should all live in the same college dormitory

1 Mar

I recently read that freshman Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) purchased a $750k condo in DC.  As I was thinking about this, I got an idea that would help improve the relationships between the waring factions and perhaps raise the level of discourse–by which I mean comedy–in our nation’s capital.  

I think Congressman and Senators would all have to live in the same dormitory together.  And, much like how college dorms were Co-Ed, each hall would have to have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.  Think about it: not only would living and working in close quarters make them either like each other  more or it could led to fist-fits.  We could also have mandatory events, such as morning Yoga, Committee leaders could have pot-luck day, and who wouldn’t want to see the Senators and Congressman go on a midnight raid to go steal another halls best power suits.  
We could even turn this into a reality TV show!  It could be called the “Real Spouses of our Elected Leaders!” We could see tension and screaming among them, their spouses, and who is cheating on with whatever other housewife or intern.  
Cool idea, huh?
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