1116: "Traffic Lights"

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Quicksilver
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1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:21 am UTC

Image
Alt Text:"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."
ooooh, an animated gif. Traffic lights aren't really bad until construction work is taking place D:

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rhomboidal
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:25 am UTC

And it still makes more sense than my neighbors' Christmas displays.

sherlip
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby sherlip » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:26 am UTC

So much to focus on. The arrows the light up make me lol. And the blue. And every light yellow and red and green and turning across every lane. Someone is gonna die.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ShadedKnight » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:29 am UTC

I didn't even watch this for very long at first, but just watching the first couple of frames had me laughing for some reason.

Sifle
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Sifle » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:33 am UTC

I have a Deuteranomaly (Green weak) color blindness, causing green traffic lights to look white. Only the actual traffic lights look white though. Images of, or representations of green traffic lights always still look green. I also live nearby an upside-down traffic light, where white- I mean green is at the top, and red is at the bottom.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Himself » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:34 am UTC

According to David Letterman, the purple light means "up to you."
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derjsot
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby derjsot » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:02 am UTC

Himself wrote:According to David Letterman, the purple light means "up to you."

Isn't that the yellow light?

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jsd1982
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby jsd1982 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:05 am UTC

At first I thought it was a binary clock and the frames were being generated server-side and pushed down to the client in a never-ending stream... I also considered some level of javascript trickery swapping out parts of the image based on the client's clock.

Alas, it's just a regular animated GIF with about 30 frames. I'm somewhat disappointed. I mean the concept is cute and all, but I expected a little more from the "discovery" phase.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby whomever1 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:06 am UTC

When the light turns blue,
What in the world are you going to do.
Sometimes,
You got to relax your mind (Jim Kweskin)

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:11 am UTC

No fear, the same engineer who designed http://xkcd.com/277/ designed this too.


It all works out.

He programmed the lights so that they would align perfectly during every Transit of Venus. You can go then.

FormicaArchonis
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby FormicaArchonis » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:38 am UTC

Ah, traffic lights. We have one here that goes Green-Yellow-Red-Yellow-Red-Green, like it's messing with you.

I find myself reminded of an old "Robotman" (or "Monty") comic where they go to a foreign country and Monty rents a car. Robotman objects on the grounds that they don't know the local traffic laws, but Monty silences him with "a car's a car" or some such.

Last panel, at an insanely complex traffic light, they have this exchange:

Monty: "I don't care what happens, next time the light turns purple I'm gonna floor it."
Robotman: "You mean 'Dashboard it.'"

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Linux0s
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Linux0s » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:45 am UTC

Randall, these are the lights on your router. Put the bong down a minute, ok?
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby gormster » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:46 am UTC

I don't know why but I feel like this would've been funnier if the signals were actually in a possible combination?

Also this is what train signals are actually like.
Last edited by gormster on Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:47 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:47 am UTC


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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Himself » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:48 am UTC

derjsot wrote:
Himself wrote:According to David Letterman, the purple light means "up to you."

Isn't that the yellow light?

That's probably why they stopped using purple lights in most places. It got redundant.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby mochafairy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:50 am UTC

This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!
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johndoughy
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby johndoughy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:55 am UTC

When the light turns green you go.
When the light turns red, you stop.

But what do you do
when the light turns blue
With orange and lavender spots?

-Shel Silverstein


I feel like traffic lights(and all circumstatial traffic rules) in heavily urbanized areas end up so convoluted their only purpose is to serve as a kind of Plato's Cave scenario. There are even instances when the rules are uniformly disobeyed by everyone without pause or legal repercussion, like they are tapped into some innate migratory instinct I didn't get.


I always rant to my wife that there is really no need for anything other than Yield signs.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ashes1032 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:58 am UTC

I lost it when one of them turned purple.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Twasbrillig » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:04 am UTC

Re: alt text
"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."

It seems as if Randall's description is fairly straightforward. Forward green arrow means no turns, 'no turns' is redundant but a reminder, and the red light is the intersection light. He'll have to post a picture.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ConMan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:06 am UTC

mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

I'll see your Michigan left and raise you a hook turn, whereby to turn right (in a country where they drive on the left-hand side of the road), you move into the left-hand lane, then when the light turns you pull out into the intersection and sit in front of the lane going straight in the direction you want to go, and wait until the light in that direction turns green.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Tova » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:36 am UTC

Twasbrillig wrote:Re: alt text
"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."

It seems as if Randall's description is fairly straightforward. Forward green arrow means no turns, 'no turns' is redundant but a reminder, and the red light is the intersection light. He'll have to post a picture.


It seemed simple enough to me, too. But I suppose his confusion and subsequent decision to pay it forward gave us a comic, so hey.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Tucatz » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:55 am UTC

Randall, is this on Laburnum around the intersection with Malvern? If so, this is to keep the idiots from turning up the exit ramp from Malvern and doing a faceplant into a large truck.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Tucatz » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:56 am UTC

Sifle wrote:I have a Deuteranomaly (Green weak) color blindness, causing green traffic lights to look white. Only the actual traffic lights look white though. Images of, or representations of green traffic lights always still look green. I also live nearby an upside-down traffic light, where white- I mean green is at the top, and red is at the bottom.


Sounds like you live in Tipperary Hill in Syracuse NY. That's the only place I know of with an upside-down light.

Ekaros
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Ekaros » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:57 am UTC

Are those on different lanes? Why on earth someone would arrange them that way... Inevitable crashes... My thoughts on picture...

Yeah things are bit messy sometimes... Good thing that here there is usualy only up to 4 lanes...

olge
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby olge » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:09 am UTC

I took my sailing certificate two years ago and had to memorize all the vessel lights for the exam. Today's strip triggered a stream of associations ;-)

http://www.bosunsmate.org/seamanship/lights.php

(scroll down for "Vessel Restricted in Her Ability To Maneuver conducting underwater operations where an obstruction exists"; you'll get the picture :-)

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Iulus Cofield
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:13 am UTC

What, no blinking yellows?

LtBrenton
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby LtBrenton » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:16 am UTC

Honestly if I came up on this IRL I'd just treat it as if all lanes were flashing red - get in lane for your turn, stop and enter with caution :P

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ryzvonusef (1151717) » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:43 am UTC

Courtesy of reddit, here is an frame-by-frame blow up of the gif, so view and analyse at your own pace :D

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby zukenft » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:53 am UTC

the "no left, right, or straight sign" needs to be an avatar icon.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:00 am UTC

who needs traffic lights when you can have round-abouts....

round-abouts that have traffic lights on them part way round :| ....

also I just noticed the bird moves :)

Thibaw
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Thibaw » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:04 am UTC

The frequency of "fancy" episodes of xkcd is increasing. Where is this going?

bothunter
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby bothunter » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:19 am UTC

ConMan wrote:
mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

I'll see your Michigan left and raise you a hook turn, whereby to turn right (in a country where they drive on the left-hand side of the road), you move into the left-hand lane, then when the light turns you pull out into the intersection and sit in front of the lane going straight in the direction you want to go, and wait until the light in that direction turns green.


I thought "hook turns" were a standard way of driving here in Seattle... Of course, we do it without signaling and without warning.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby tjunction » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:47 am UTC

I forget, that despite being the world's largest western civilisation, you Americans still can't get simple things like traffic lights and road signs right. Four-way stops too. Electricity plugs are another thing.

Comics like this make me love living in Britain, where things like traffic lights and road layouts and plugs were standardised using logic and reasoning.
(Of course, that was in the couple of decades after WW2 - it seems we too have given up on logic and reasoning these days :-()

r3loaded
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby r3loaded » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:49 am UTC

American traffic engineers - going out of their way to engineer a complex traffic light solution when a good old British-style roundabout would have sufficed :D

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Paulmichael » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:55 am UTC

Sifle wrote:I have a Deuteranomaly (Green weak) color blindness, causing green traffic lights to look white. Only the actual traffic lights look white though. Images of, or representations of green traffic lights always still look green. I also live nearby an upside-down traffic light, where white- I mean green is at the top, and red is at the bottom.

I have the exact same thing! Luckily I can tell the white/green light apart from yellow and red. I never had a name for it before now, thank you. 8-)

Gyrate
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Gyrate » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:14 am UTC

The first time I encountered this while driving, I had a minor freakout before realizing that it was supposed to be an artwork and not a traffic control device. Perhaps the middle of a traffic circle was not the best location for it...

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby OP Tipping » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:22 am UTC

That bird obviously didn't see the "no terns" sign, ahthank you.

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Iulus Cofield
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:22 am UTC

bothunter wrote:I thought "hook turns" were a standard way of driving here in Seattle... Of course, we do it without signaling and without warning.


That's because Driver's Ed in Seattle is a course on how to do whatever you want without getting hit...most of the time. The amount of car shaped dents in the I-5 guard rails is pretty staggering.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby silverkitty » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:42 am UTC

I like traffic lights I like traffic lights I like traffic lights
but only when they're green

Tucatz
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Tucatz » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:28 am UTC

r3loaded wrote:American traffic engineers - going out of their way to engineer a complex traffic light solution when a good old British-style roundabout would have sufficed :D


Clearly you've never been to the United Arab Emirates. The roundabouts are sheer mayhem here. Not a day goes by that I don't curse the Europeans for introducing them to the Emirates.


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