Tony Woodlief | Author

Slow your roll, Science

The recent tragedy of a driverless Uber car killing a pedestrian in Arizona is raising questions about the future of this technology. I think we should ask some more fundamental questions, like where scientists get the chutzpah to work on driverless cars in the first place, especially when there are so many more important projects to which they could be applying their skills. With that in mind, here’s my Top Ten list of things I’d like to see Science get right before it sends more cars hurtling onto our streets:EtchASketch Inside Shown

1.  Please fix the fact that my kids can access the entirety of the Internet in the booniest of boonies using a broken Etch-A-Sketch, but all I can receive in the bathroom of my own damn house are texts from these very same children, asking why there’s nothing to eat in our completely full refrigerator.

2.  In a related vein, how about rigging some kind of electrical current apparatus into the refrigerator door handles, so they deliver a mild shock to anyone who holds them open for longer than a minute?

Boys at the fridge
The endless expedition

3.  And can we double that shock if the door-holder complains that the refrigerator is too full for him to find “the good stuff?”

4.  Speaking of food, how about inventing a mechanism to evenly salt fast-food fries, liberating us from the alternating sensations of decrepit potato and salt lick to which we’ve all become accustomed, here in these last dread days of creeping post-industrial collapse?

5.  Also, is there a governor you can install on my riding mower to stop my 13 year-old from accelerating whenever he sees a squirrel, a snake, a rise in the earth that might generate a ramp effect at high enough speeds, his brothers, etc.?

6.  On the subject of mowers and their associated fuel, and more specifically, these leaky-ass “environmentally friendly” nozzles, all I have to say is: Not your best work, Science.

7.  If you haven’t quite figured out Artificial Intelligence yet, I recommend you come meet my printer, because that mother$#!@! Is sentient and out to get me.

8.  Speaking of tech stuff, why are all my Google accounts saying I’m signed in as my ten year-old, and how do I change this, and most importantly, will fixing this mean I stop seeing ads for Infinity War?

9.  We’re in what, the 9th decade of indoor plumbing? And still all you guys can come up with to make the sink drain go up and down is a ball-tipped rod attached to a strip of plastic by a piece of bent aluminum. Maybe no more moon shots until you get that shit sorted out, fellas.

10.  Speaking of poor household fixture designs, why do storm windows and screens require enough fingertip pressure to cause permanent nerve damage before they’ll move? I feel like Archimedes would have been all over this.
Domenico-Fetti Archimedes 1620
The point is, you’re ignoring the stuff that matters, and trying to fix something most of us don’t want fixed. We didn’t ask for driverless cars. We like driving. Our ancestors liked driving. They liked it so much they loaded up their crap in covered wagons and rode across the prairies, braving cold and disease and natives who also, by the way, liked steering their own transportation. Nobody chartered wagons and took meetings in the back while someone else drove the horses. They held the reins themselves, because they were real men and women, and so are we—more or less, most of us, give or take a few.

But all that aside, you’re getting too big for your britches, Science. You’re trying to take over the traffic system when you can’t even keep the pages in my printer from crashing into each other. We need a little less Neil deGrasse Tyson and a little more James Dyson, is what I’m saying. Fewer star-seekers and more earth-tenders.

Or at the very least, some kind of tracking device that allows me to nail the next kid who tries to steal my phone charger.

On Key

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