Prius – the perfect drive-by vehicle

The area around WTC 7 where I work has one of the densest concentrations of Toyota Priuses in New York: a lot of them were purchased by the governmental agencies. Whole blocks near Centre street are filled in the followng manner: Prius, Prius, Prius, rusty Dodge Ram, Crown Vic, Prius, Prius, Prius. Yesterday I was almost run over by a Prius double parked near an intersection: it started moving, but it did not register with me because it made no sound at all. Modern cars are very quet, but they all vrooom when starting up, and you kind of epect that from a parked car. This made me remember a scene in The Weeds, where gang leader U-Turn buys himself a Prius because it’s a great car for drive-by shooting: very quiet in electric mode, great for sneaking up on people.

The Pigeon Washer

I ducked into the Hidden Starbucks to get a sandwich and a Venti Quad Iced Latte for lunch, then sat down outside on the parapet of the weird little plaza to eat. There were a few salariemen and women sitting on the curb, eating, drinking coffee and smoking. But once I got up to return to my cubicle, I noticed something very strange. See, there was this woman sitting on the parapet, and she had a blue plastic bucket with soapy water and a washcloth. In her hand she held a particularly gnarly sick pigeon. She was giving the pigeon a bath. Unless she’s washing the poor bird for food (hey, you never know), Nikola Tesla, who lived and worked close by would have approved.

Worm Sign!

Every day around 3:40 a red suv drives by our building. It probably has a giant set of speakers with trumendous bass output. We know it passes by because it produces a strong thumping sound that resonates with the walls of the skyscraper. It’s not very loud but feels very weird.

As long as sandworms do not appear I guess we are Ok. But on the other hand what if that is not a sound system but a Tesla oscillator?

Two and Four-legged Bomb Protection

JWZ posted a link about a trained hawk that attacked a Chihuahua in Bryant Park. The hawks were used for scaring away pigeons. The hawks were well fed, but still tried to kill a pigeon or two. And of course they could not pass up Mexican food. Yeah, it’s tough to be a lap dog in NYC. If the swans in Central Park won’t get you, the hawks in Bryant Park will.

Of course ratbirds are annoying and a health hazard, but in this case we are talking about the exact spot where Tesla fed pigeons. These are the descendants of Tesla’s pigeons! I guess he’d be pretty pissed about the hawks.

So now it looks like the hawk program will get canned because of the stupid lap dog. That’s too bad – trained hawks are pretty cool. Too bad I didn’t know about the hawks before, or I would have taken pictures. In fact I think I saw the hawk dude in the park, but I thought that he was in for a renaissance fair or something.

Hawks are not the only critters that keep New Yorkers safe from bombs. On my way to work I pass up a guy with a bomb sniffing dog standing in the area where trucks are unloading in the building where I work. In fact, there are a few of these dogs around. I wonder if they found a single bomb.

More of Deadprogrammer’s Aspirations

I want to become rich in one of the most honorable ways possible – by inventing something. The first step that I took in that direction some time ago is writing down ideas into a notebook.

The notebooks is kind of special. It’s an NYPD style memo binder that I bought from DeSantis. Interesting to note that the NYPD binder is 4×8, but regular one is just 4×6. It took me a while to find correct paper that would fit the notebook, but I found out that the reporter’s notebook available in all stationary stores fits. I just had to remove the wire spiral. You know, the most amazing thing about this notebook is that cops manage to stuff it into the back pocket of their pants. I thought about buying some uniform pants (they look like dark dress casual pants, but are probably very comfortable and durable) but it turns out that you can’t buy them without a cop’s id.

But I digress. Inventing. Right. Well, sometimes I stumble upon companies that are already doing what I was thinking about. Maybe some of my ideas are actually not without merit.

I had an idea bout billboards beaming advertising to PDAs. I made a note in my log about making a cheap beaming module that could be used in subway ads. A blinking light would attract one’s attention, and if the passenger would point a palm pilot towards the ad, a coupon would be beamed down. I did a bit of searching, and it didn’t seem that any company was doing that at the time. That was a few years back, when I got my Palm III. The first company to actually do this (I think, I am not sure though) was Streetbeam. Today there are many more companies that make beaming booths, beaming nodes, etc. Wide Ray is just one of them.

Later I was thinking a lot about wireless power transmission after reading a book about Tesla. Tesla had his lab illuminated by wirelessly powered fluorescent lights. Why not power devices that don’t need that much juice, like cell phones and PDAs wirelessly, I thought? I was also thinking about magnetic fields in trains. Could it be possible to recharge a Palm Pilot or a cell phone from an induced current somehow? My hate of wall warts (12 volt transformers) is also well known. I was thinking for a while about a system of modules that would allow using one power cable to charge multiple devices. The system would involve a modular “multicradle” that would allow to store all devices needing powering neatly on the desk. This Friday I’ve read about a British startup that is going to produce a very cool wireless charging solution. That is going to be so cool.