This is neat. There’s a special kind of concrete called Topmix Permeable that acts like a giant sponge to soak up as much as 880 gallons of water per minute. The material permits water to drain through the voids to prevent the puddles you’d see created on ordinary concrete.
It seems like a practicable solution to prevent urban flooding and cars from hydroplaning on the highway.
There inevitably comes a time when our ideas, no matter how prolific, become extinct and get replaced by new ones. Just look at the emergence of autonomous cars. Writes former product head of General Motors Bob Lutz:
“The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.”
There will always be a niche of traditionalists that want hands-on control, just as people still prefer to read hard books, string a brilliant guitar riff, and think with their hands in writing analog.
But the volcano of ideas are all digital. As Lutz quips: “I think probably everybody sees it coming, but no one wants to talk about it.”
There is no cart, there is no horse, there is no wheel. As Steve Jobs once discovered in Scientific American: “The man riding a bicycle was twice as good as the condor.” Humans build tools to maximize efficiency.
Parking signs are intentionally confusing, especially in the cities. Take a close look at the rules and exceptions on the parking signs, and you’ll see things like:
Zone 2 permit holders only
Express pick-up: 15 minutes only
Monday-Friday: 2:30PM – 4PM & 6:30PM – 10PM
First, you have to squint and read the sign and check for the exceptions; then you have to interpret the day and the time. Sometimes signs on top of signs: one for the 3-hour parking, one for 2-hour parking, and one for all day parking. Sometimes signs are fifty feet down the block, and you miss it. Holy shit. So you ultimately take your chances and risk getting towed.
In New York, parking is a tax. On top of that, the signs are ubiquitous and ambiguous, so people fear to park at all. Residents and visitors walk and take public transportation instead.
Cities don’t want people driving. Thankfully, self-driving cars are on the way to eliminate the self-doubt. Once cars start talking to other cars and pay machines, the madness will go away. But for now, parking sucks. And on top of that, some cities don’t want you there in the first place.