Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

A modest proposal regarding turn signals

with 7 comments

I am just back from a brief shopping trip, during which I don’t believe I saw any vehicle signal a turn. I got to thinking. Cars now are replete with computers and connections, so events can be triggered by the state of the car. I suggest that the steering wheel be modified so that if the cars turns and no turn signal is activated, the driver receive a short, sharp shock. This may cause a temporary spike in the popularity of driving gloves, but perhaps enough people will be influenced so that signaling turns would become the norm instead of the rare exception.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 November 2012 at 11:02 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

7 Responses

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  1. I love it….BF Skinner would have been proud. Of course, his kids wound up completely mental. Serenity now…insanity later 🙂


    2 November 2012 at 5:37 pm

  2. Completely and totally false, and I’m surprised that you would repeat such a canard. See, for example, this Snopes report. I read somewhere on the Web a response at length from one of the daughters, who both had happy and successful lives.


    2 November 2012 at 6:00 pm

  3. Cars following a route on their GPS could certainly have the signals triggered by the GPS.

    the wife

    2 November 2012 at 7:59 pm

  4. I’m glad you pointed this out, as I had never actually read any reports about Skinner’s kids, either positive or negative – didn’t even know he had any; I was just making a joke, but I can see now that in the context of the snopes piece I was perpetuating – unintentionally – an urban legend. BTW, I started my career as a Behaviorist; guys like Skinner and Hebb were my idols. I studied under D.O. Hebb at McGill.


    4 November 2012 at 3:01 am

  5. I was very intrigued by the B.F. Skinner urban legend, so I did some further digging. It appears that Skinner was the victim of sensationalistic extrapolation of the real experiences of the children of J.B. Watson, the founder of Behaviourism. It turns out that Watson’s family life was a nightmare with his his kids and grandkids affected by suicide, ostensibly the result of his years of trying to use behavioural techniques in their upbringing. A very interesting read, including some discussion of the unfair Skinner legend:


    4 November 2012 at 5:30 am

  6. Interesting article on J.B. Watson. All that was totally new to me. I did know about the Skinner’s “Baby Tender”, though, having at some point read an article that Skinner wrote about it. One feature not mentioned in what I saw on-line is the sheets: rather than having a bottom sheet that would have to be changed when the baby got it wet, they made a very long continuous “sheet”, with rollers at foot and head. When the baby got the sheet wet, while the baby was being changed, the sheet was simply rolled up until the part over the mattress was fresh and dry. When the roll was finally exhausted, it was taken and washed and a fresh roll installed: easy, quick, and a sheet that could immediately be “changed.” As you can see from the various on-line descriptions, the Baby Tender was actually a pretty good idea.

    The notion that Skinner somehow destroyed his children’s lives has been around a lot, and there is simply no truth to it. When you read accounts by the daughters themselves, it’s clear that they are intelligent, productive, and happy individuals. I think my strong reaction is about the injustice to them more than to Skinner himself.


    4 November 2012 at 7:55 am

  7. And I suspect my own unconscious perception about Skinners’ kids may have been absorbed through some casual reference I may have read in passing years ago, and yet it stuck subliminally. Goes to show you the power of rumor!


    4 November 2012 at 5:12 pm

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