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Monday, April 20, 2015

Suburbia

Suburbia
I used to be appalled by suburbia - endless rows of houses, all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look the same. But recently I've come to realize that houses are just basic shelters. People have building houses for thousands of years and we've got the process down to a science, especially in the last couple of hundred years. They might not be architectural marvels, they might be lacking in character or charm, but they are solid, durable structures that will protect you from the weather, and they will do it for a price you can afford. The things that people put their energy into, color of the paint, color of the roof, the lawn and whatever landscaping they do, all that is just trimmings on the basic structure. Shoot, the floor plan is just a bit of flash. The only thing that really counts, as California Bob reminded me, is the metrics: the square footage, number of bathrooms and bedrooms. The nicest thing about houses is that they are quiet, well, as quiet as your immediate family is. No neighbors walking across your ceiling, no hooligans blasting heavy metal till 3 in the morning. Dull, boring and comfortable.
    It's still a bit disconcerting to see how far suburbs have spread across the landscape. It's no wonder traffic has become so congested. I really think we could use a new model for suburban living, but as long as land on the outskirts of town is cheap, and people are willing to spend the necessary time in their cars I don't see that things will change. Self-driving cars are going to insure that we continue on this same path. Replace your windshield with a big screen TV, talk out the front seats entirely, replace the rear seat with a lazy boy, and shoot, you wouldn't even have to go home, you could just crawl around in traffic all night long. In the morning you could go back to work. So you smell a bit, your co-workers will just have to suck it up. Or get some of those smell blocking chemicals. Latest thing from the chemical industry.

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