New Yorkers who want to be somewhere they are not are always in a rush, especially when taking the subway. Observations of a New Yorker giving directions demonstrate that they frequently have more than one route to a given destination, and choosing the optimal one is a non-trivial task.
From the Essex/Delancey station, one can take either the M train or the F train uptown to almost any station in Manhattan along this particular line. However, the trains arrive on different platforms, which are separated by a long stair case. It is impossible to observe both platforms simultaneously, and there is no automated indication of which train will arrive first and therefore reach a given destination fastest.
Commuters have devised a novel solution. Between train arrivals, passengers will cluster around the stairs separating the two platforms. As soon as there is more than one passenger, they will evenly distribute themselves along the stairs, re-calculating in O(1) time whenever a new node is added. When a train arrives on either platform, the nearest passenger, or edge node, signals the next node by glancing slightly in the direction of the rest of the passengers, and the message is similarly propagated throughout the network, allowing everyone to board the first train to arrive.
The result is an optimal, low-latency, low-overhead solution, built on existing hardware, following the primary rule of the subway: never make eye contact or speak to anyone.
And it’s a magical little reminder that New Yorkers, whatever our reputation, are good neighbors. Smart too.
Today, I decided that it would be cool to have an elimination tournament of “Frat Pack” movies. Films would be judged, two at a time, by a panel of judges to be selected by me. The winning film would be rewarded with a mention on blog.chirls.com. To qualify, a film must have at least two of the following actors: Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughan, Jack Black. Films directed by Wes Anderson are ineligible, as are films whose titles begin with “Meet the.”
Other highlights: made breakfast, changed sheets.
Here’s one more from the same guy.
I’ll tell you a secret, man. Before I started this job, i had a dream that i got this job! Not this job, specifically, but I dreamed that I worked with architects. Ok, there are no architects in this office. But it’s like that.
The following is an excerpt of a conversation I had with…err…the conversation someone in the office had with…himself. This is all true. This transcript is almost verbatim, but not perfect, as I can only type so fast. It picks up in the middle, and the gentleman went on quite a bit longer, but this is what I managed to record. He didn’t seem to notice that I was typing the whole time he was talking, and he doesn’t seem to know how to use the Internet. So I don’t expect him to find this.
Did you know that the Pentagon (and they ADMITTED this!) gets a lot of ideas for the wars and stuff that they do from the movies in Hollywood? And it goes the other way too. So stuff in movies is all true. That’s how you know that people really do hear voices in their heads all the time, and that’s what causes them to commit crimes. ‘Cause it’s in the movies.
Don’t you hear voices? I hear voices. Not like human voices, but you know that someone or some thing is there telling you stuff. Like, when you sleep. What was that movie with Tom Cruise? That famous movie; I always see the commercial. It was like a big dream, but it seemed so realistic. The one with Larry Fishburn. The Matrix!!! That’s the one. When I saw that, I didn’t know what was real and what was unreal. That part blew my head off! But I didn’t see part two.
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I ran into Steve Martin in a book store today. He didn’t remember my name, but I could tell he recognized me. He said he hasn’t gotten around to reading my screenplay yet. I think I’ll send him another copy in case he lost it or something.
What a nice guy.
This morning, I noticed a drug store security guard zooming in on women’s rear ends with the security camera. What a job!
A few days ago, I accidentally set my hair on fire. I blew out a blue Essence de L’eau scented candle that had served its purpose, and I gave it quite a bit more breath than it needed (no small feat for me these days). The extra wind (shut up) forced a spark into my hair, and more than a little blue wax on to my face. I guess the flame combined with one of the many, many ingredients in the expensive, personalized cocktail of gels and creams that I must apply every day to get the unique “Chirls Look.” It was like having my own personal Backdraft (shut up).
My adoring fans will be pleased to hear that one of the dozen or so Colombians in my apartment managed to put me out before any extensive damage was done to my long, flowing, golden (and by golden, I mean muddy brown) locks. And I successfully avoided a major “Phantom of the Opera” situation. The bandages should be coming off soon, and I can get back to modelling.
I can’t help but think that this is exactly the kind of accident that is notorious for giving mild-mannered scientist-types like me super-human powers. It would be hard to tell in someone already as uniquely strong, capable and invincible as I. And if anything, I’ve been feeling a bit less of an übermensch than usual. But I’m pretty sure I detected a couple gamma rays in the blue wax on my nose. I’m thinking the exact correct balance of fire combined with blue wax will allow me to shoot some kind of hot, blue, sweet-smelling liquid out of my head at my enemies. Or maybe some kind of psychic ability to seek out rooms in need of a little Essence de L’eau.
So far, nothing yet. But I’m holding out for some kind of laser vision. Or at least a pair of antennae. I’ll settle for anything that’ll make crime-fighting easier so I can spend more time at home playing my new 8-bit Nintendo.
Today, I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt that said, “I survived the blackout of 2003.”