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A Stoplight for the Progress Bar Generation

Illustration for article titled A Stoplight for the Progress Bar Generation

Progress bars aren't always accurate, but at least they're there, giving us hope, curing our angst, and mostly, diverting our attention from the fact that whatever it is, it isn't done. And soon, they will invade the meatspace.

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We already crane our necks to see the perpendicular streets' lights cycles through, so the Eko stoplight concept, intended to let drivers know if it's ok to shut off their cars to save gas at a light, won't really change a whole lot. But it would set a precedent, a standard, and a model for everything else: I want progress bars on my toaster, my pizza deliveries, my teapots, my dryer. No, scratch that: I need them.

And if you think about it, our innate desire to see the bar creep forward (or around, as it were) runs deeper than our slow entanglement with computers. I mean, what is a line if not a progress bar made of people? What about a sliced loaf of bread? A growing child? And oh god, clocks. This is too much for a Monday. [Yanko via Ubergizmo]

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DISCUSSION

i'm not really sure what they're trying to accomplish here. depending on who you believe, you need to stop the engine for longer than a typical light to save any gas, since starting the engine requires more gas than idling.

also, i think there's a pretty fair consensus that from an emissions standpoint, turning the car off for even a couple minutes is worse than leaving it idle. catalytic converters require really high temperatures (1000+ degrees F) to work efficiently at scrubbing the bad stuff out of car exhaust. shutting the engine off for even only 30 seconds or a minute will allow the converter to cool to a point where you'll be emitting more overall NOx and carbon monoxide while waiting for the converter to heat back up.

many cities are currently wrestling with how to implement local green ordinances in regard to delivery cars/trucks being left idling while parked. common sense would seem to indicate that you should shut off a delivery car/truck (for example) while parked, but some sources are indicating that you'd need to shut the car/truck off for anywhere from 5-15 minutes to create a net decrease in emissions.