Dumbest idea I've even heard in my life

  • Thread starter Curl
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  • #1
Curl
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Check this out:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/innovation/01/19/smart.roads/?hpt=Sbin

Tell me if this is anything more than retarded. I don't mean to sound insulting, but this cracked me up, that's how sad it is. There are so many problems with this, I don't even know where to begin. I'm speechless. What do you think?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
╔(σ_σ)╝
831
2
It's about time! How, exactly,is this idea dumb ?
 
  • #3
JaredJames
2,745
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Well given the materials, it's gonna cost a fortune. And that's before we get to the technology.

If it's overcast, the system won't generate much heat. If the temperature then drops low enough to counter this small amount of heat production, the snow will build up, rendering the system useless.

I nice idea, but I'm not sure how viable it is. Far too many problems to overcome.
 
  • #4
╔(σ_σ)╝
831
2
Well given the materials, it's gonna cost a fortune. And that's before we get to the technology.

If it's overcast, the system won't generate much heat. If the temperature then drops low enough to counter this small amount of heat production, the snow will build up, rendering the system useless.

I nice idea, but I'm not sure how viable it is. Far too many problems to overcome.

For sure, the guy who has designed this contrapment must have ample evidence that it will work. He must also have considered these factors; that's what validational experiements are for!

I don't know the full details of this device so I believe it would be ignorant on my part to completelt discredit the idea.

Besides, as long as the money needed to purchase this system would be equivalent to the cost of snow removal over 5-10 years I think it is worth it.
 
  • #5
JaredJames
2,745
22
For sure, the guy who has designed this contrapment must have ample evidence that it will work. He must also have considered these factors; that's what validational experiements are for!

I don't know the full details of this device so I believe it would be ignorant on my part to completelt discredit the idea.

Besides, as long as the money needed to purchase this system would be equivalent to the cost of snow removal over 5-10 years I think it is worth it.

If you read the article, he hasn't even tested what temperature they'd need to output in order to function. This is all just some idea at the moment.

Remember, you have to include the cost of maintenance and replacement - including digging roads up for utility works - which isn't cheap with current roads.

I'm not discrediting it, simply outlining the various problems that need to be overcome.
 
  • #6
Curl
758
0
ROFL, this idea is so retarded is sad.

1) Glass roads? Glass is brittle. If you lay it in plates, there will be dislocations and cracks forming. Asphalt is dumped out of a truck and rolled. How do you make curved roads out of glass? Crests and hills are everywhere, and so are turns, banks, etc. How do you patch up this when it cracks/chips? With asphalt its easy. How do you ship all this material to build large roads? What happens when it rains and you slide off?

2) Laying solar cells underneath? Really? That is just completely stupid. Why spend the extra money when you can use a desert to put your cells on, it is much much more economical than laying it underneath roads. You might as well put them on the side of the road. The problem with cells is that they are expensive and weak (aka crap), the problem is not that there is no space for them.

3) The best one for last: Heating up roads and melting snow. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! TEARS OF LAUGHING!!!!
If there is enough energy from the sun to melt the snow, why doesn't the sun melt it directly? Even if cells were 100% efficient this would be a dumb idea. Looks like somebody believes in perpetual motion and free energy BS. He should lose his license.
 
  • #7
JaredJames
2,745
22
1) Glass roads? Glass is brittle. If you lay it in plates, there will be dislocations and cracks forming. Asphalt is dumped out of a truck and rolled. How do you make curved roads out of glass? Crests and hills are everywhere, and so are turns, banks, etc. How do you patch up this when it cracks/chips? With asphalt its easy. How do you ship all this material to build large roads? What happens when it rains and you slide off?

Brittle like bullet proof glass and windscreens?
2) Laying solar cells underneath? Really? That is just completely stupid. Why spend the extra money when you can use a desert to put your cells on, it is much much more economical than laying it underneath roads. You might as well put them on the side of the road. The problem with cells is that they are expensive and weak (aka crap), the problem is not that there is no space for them.

Roads where you get snow aren't generally located around deserts. Well, most roads aren't around deserts. In the UK for example, plenty of roads, no deserts.
3) The best one for last: Heating up roads and melting snow. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! TEARS OF LAUGHING!!!!
If there is enough energy from the sun to melt the snow, why doesn't the sun melt it directly? Even if cells were 100% efficient this would be a dumb idea. Looks like somebody believes in perpetual motion and free energy BS. He should lose his license.

Because snow is white and reflects the suns energy. By converting to electric and heating under the snow, it acts in the same way as the elements in your car windscreen.

Nothing about PM or free energy here.
 
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  • #8
╔(σ_σ)╝
831
2
If you read the article, he hasn't even tested what temperature they'd need to output in order to function. This is all just some idea at the moment.

Remember, you have to include the cost of maintenance and replacement - including digging roads up for utility works - which isn't cheap with current roads.

I'm not discrediting it, simply outlining the various problems that need to be overcome.

The article was probably written by some guy who knows nothing about these kind of devices and also at reasonable level for the layman. It says nothing about the operation tempreture but I don't think it is reasonable to assume they haven't tested it out.

Sure they are probably going to be problems but at this moment not much has been said about the complete workings of this "device".

One of the problem I can think of is that installing and building this thing would be very complicated. They would like have to build it on scene and take the road out of commission for a reasonable time.

However, I don't think that is enough to label it a stupid idea as OP stated.
 
  • #9
JaredJames
2,745
22
The article was probably written by some guy who knows nothing about these kind of devices and also at reasonable level for the layman. It says nothing about the operation tempreture but I don't think it is reasonable to assume they haven't tested it out.

Article said:
The heating elements would work "like in the rear window of your car," said the inventor, who intends to experiment with temperature settings during the next stages of the development process.

"would work" implies they haven't built it, only created the concept. We know the concept works because of car windscreens.

"intends to experiment..." implies they aren't entirely sure what temperatures are required for use / are available.
╔(σ_σ)╝ said:
Sure they are probably going to be problems but at this moment not much has been said about the complete workings of this "device".

Because it's only a concept in someone's head by the look of it.
One of the problem I can think of is that installing and building this thing would be very complicated. They would like have to build it on scene and take the road out of commission for a reasonable time.

It causes chaos when asphalt roads are out of commission for minor works.
However, I don't think that is enough to label it a stupid idea as OP stated.

I certainly wouldn't call it stupid, but I don't think it's the most thought out idea I've seen recently.
 
  • #10
Curl
758
0
Brittle like bullet proof glass and windscreens?


Roads where you get snow aren't generally located around deserts. Well, most roads aren't around deserts. In the UK for example, plenty of roads, no deserts.


Because snow is white and reflects the suns energy. By converting to electric and heating under the snow, it acts in the same way as the elements in your car windscreen.

If the snow reflects it, then how will the solar cells, which are UNDER THE SNOW, going to capture it?

Logic fail.

And the energy thing is dumber than the hamster-well generation idea. If you're not in a desert, then a coal power plant will give you the same energy for 1/1000000000000000000 of the cost.
 
  • #11
╔(σ_σ)╝
831
2
"would work" implies they haven't built it, only created the concept. We know the concept works because of car windscreens.

"intends to experiment..." implies they aren't entirely sure what temperatures are required for use / are available.


Because it's only a concept in someone's head by the look of it.


It causes chaos when asphalt roads are out of commission for minor works.


I certainly wouldn't call it stupid, but I don't think it's the most thought out idea I've seen recently.

I didn't complete the reading because not all the text was displayedon my mobile device. :'( Thanks for clarifying that.
 
  • #12
JaredJames
2,745
22
If the snow reflects it, then how will the solar cells, which are UNDER THE SNOW, going to capture it?

Logic fail.

I pointed this particular issue out earlier. But you said "If there is enough energy from the sun to melt the snow, why doesn't the sun melt it directly?" - my response was why the sun wouldn't simply melt the snow and how the system could (if given the same energy - solar to electric to heat).
And the energy thing is dumber than the hamster-well generation idea. If you're not in a desert, then a coal power plant will give you the same energy for 1/1000000000000000000 of the cost.

What? Where are you pulling your figures from? You do realise you don't need to be in a desert for solar. Heck you can heat your water from solar in the UK quite efficiently most of the year.
 
  • #13
╔(σ_σ)╝
831
2
If the snow reflects it, then how will the solar cells, which are UNDER THE SNOW, going to capture it?

Logic fail.

And the energy thing is dumber than the hamster-well generation idea. If you're not in a desert, then a coal power plant will give you the same energy for 1/1000000000000000000 of the cost.

You realise that it doesn't snow all day in the winter and also the summer, right ? Hence, some energy could be stored.

I am not saying this is how things are but from my experience is usually snows overnight and that is usually when most of the accumulation takes place. When it snows during the day, cars usually do a good job of keeping the road nice and slushy due to the friction between the road and tires.


However, charging such a big device when cars are constantly blocking it's energy source is a problem.
 
  • #14
Proton Soup
142
1
If the snow reflects it, then how will the solar cells, which are UNDER THE SNOW, going to capture it?

Logic fail.

And the energy thing is dumber than the hamster-well generation idea. If you're not in a desert, then a coal power plant will give you the same energy for 1/1000000000000000000 of the cost.

you don't care if it's got snow on it, because you hook it up to the grid. what else are you going to do with all that power the rest of the year?

putting heat tracing in a roadway sounds easy enough. the rest of it sounds like a materials engineering nightmare that would cost a fortune and be unreliable.
 
  • #15
Jack21222
187
1
Curl, want to hear a really dumb idea?

I propose a heavy, giant metal tube that will not only fly through the air, but safely carry hundreds of human passengers AND their belongings!

Completely nuts, right?
 
  • #16
russ_watters
Mentor
21,627
8,745
It's about time! How, exactly,is this idea dumb ?
How is a solar powered flashlight dumb?
 
  • #17
russ_watters
Mentor
21,627
8,745
Curl, want to hear a really dumb idea?

I propose a heavy, giant metal tube that will not only fly through the air, but safely carry hundreds of human passengers AND their belongings!

Completely nuts, right?
Yes, but if you put wings on it, it'll work great!
 
  • #18
glueball8
344
1
They stole my idea!!:mad: :uhh: :tongue2: :biggrin:

They could use solar paint and just paint it right on the road...
 
  • #19
stevenb
700
6
When this idea fails, the next guy will propose to build a special low-cost roofing over all the roads. He will say that the roof will keep the sun, snow and rain off of normal roadway allowing it to last much longer. He will remind everyone that the cost of the roof is cheaper than the previously proposed rip-up of normal road and laying of solar cell roadway, and the risk is lower because roofs are standard and proven technology, barring a few minor accidental cases of snow-collapsed roofed buildings.

OK, which government agency do I submit my proposal too? :smile:
 
  • #20
NeoDevin
306
2
How is a solar powered flashlight dumb?

It's not if it includes some method of storing the energy.
 
  • #21
Curl
758
0
What cracks me up the hardest is that this fool thinks he found an ingenious place to put his solar cells, as if the Earth is running out of surface for them.

Also its funny how ignorant people are about solar cells, they think they exist therefore we can cover up an ocean with them, as if they're made of dirt. Even if the industry can crank out solar polymers faster than humans crank out feces, it wouldn't be enough to do jack.
 
  • #22
NeoDevin
306
2
The important thing to remember when considering this design, is that the road doesn't have to be heated all the time. Only when there is snow/ice on it. As long as there is some mechanism of storing the energy (or depositing and withdrawing energy from the grid), this seems to me like it should work. Basically the whole time the sun is shining, you collect the energy, then when it snows, you heat the road only long enough to clear it. It seems to me that, given the high albedo of snow, and the (relative) efficiency of collecting energy with solar panels, this should be fairly straightforward technology to design and implement. Modern glasses are more than strong enough for the job, and as long as the roads are built in segments (with flex/break lines), and maintained, there shouldn't be a significant problem with wear. Perhaps sections could even be designed to be easy to lift, allowing for easier laying of utilities/pipes/whatever under the road if needed.

Whether this would be more or less economically viable than just installing a bunch of solar panels in the middle of nowhere and hooking them up to the grid, and installing conventional heated roads is up for debate (and/or more economical than clearing the snow with conventional snow removal methods). If his proof of concept/prototype works out, then the next logical step would be a cost/benefit analysis comparing this to existing methods of snow removal, including all maintenance costs associated with each technology.
 
  • #23
Phrak
4,254
2
Where it snows, all roads should be Teflon coated and tilted 15 degrees to the right or left. The snow just slides off.
 
  • #24
NeoDevin
306
2
  • #25
Phrak
4,254
2
Cars too?

I'm working on that little problem.

What if tires were made of cheese wheels? Nothing seems to stick better to a Teflon skillet than cheese.
 
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  • #26
mugaliens
183
1
Where it snows, all roads should be Teflon coated and tilted 15 degrees to the right or left. The snow just slides off.

So would the cars, but hey, if the snow is the only thing you're concerned about, it's a winner.
 
  • #27
mugaliens
183
1
What? Where are you pulling your figures from? You do realise you don't need to be in a desert for solar. Heck you can heat your water from solar in the UK quite efficiently most of the year.

Can't here, even though we get quite a lot of sun here in Colorado. I designed the cheapest possible solar water heater (less than 1/4 the cost of commercial units for the same output), and the payback period was still more than 10 years. I made more financial sense to keep paying for natural gas while investing the funds in the S&P 500, so it was a no-go.

One thing I've long since learned about most writers in popular media is that they're writers, not scientists.
 
  • #28
JaredJames
2,745
22
Can't here, even though we get quite a lot of sun here in Colorado. I designed the cheapest possible solar water heater (less than 1/4 the cost of commercial units for the same output), and the payback period was still more than 10 years. I made more financial sense to keep paying for natural gas while investing the funds in the S&P 500, so it was a no-go.

One thing I've long since learned about most writers in popular media is that they're writers, not scientists.

I live in a South Wales valley (famous for rain and more rain)...

Anyhow, the council have recently gone mad installing solar panels and solar heating systems on the houses. From what I've seen of them, they give a fairly good (so far as solar goes) output - particularly the electric side of things which did show a reduction in electric bills.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you they're fantastic and work all year round because that's BS and my own preference is against them. However, for 6 to 9 months of the year they do give quite a good saving in bills.
 
  • #29
Jimmy Snyder
1,031
19
Dumbest idea I've even heard in my life...

Sounds to me like you've lived a short life so far. What about f = ma? Einstein's still chuckling about that one and he's been dead for half a century.
 
  • #30
EnumaElish
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,322
124
I haven't seen the link in the OP but it seems like it proposed multiple ideas related to:

1. Road construction materials
2. Solar energy capture
3. De-glaciating roads through heating

AFAIK, 3 is the "heated runway" technology currently used in airports, being applied to roads.

Re 1, glass beads mixed with asphalt are already being used in paving.
 
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  • #31
leroyjenkens
590
48
Maybe they should have thought about the snow problem before they built a city in a place where it snows so much.

The idea is just so stupid. It's one of the most impractical ideas I've ever heard. How many roads would they cover? Just one, or all the roads in the city? Is snow really that bad that you need to change out all the roads in a city for it? Why not just make the cars better able to drive through it?

And I'd also love to see how good your traction is on wet glass.
 
  • #32
OmCheeto
Gold Member
2,219
2,685
What cracks me up the hardest is that this fool thinks he found an ingenious place to put his solar cells, as if the Earth is running out of surface for them.

Also its funny how ignorant people are about solar cells, they think they exist therefore we can cover up an ocean with them, as if they're made of dirt. Even if the industry can crank out solar polymers faster than humans crank out feces, it wouldn't be enough to do jack.

bolding mine

Actually, they're made of sand.

I like the idea of heated roadways, and considered this a few years back. I work on a fairly steep hill and have witnessed 6 buses jack-knifed trying to go down the aforementioned hill. Melting the ice and snow from at least the steep sections would not be that expensive.
 
  • #33
Newai
27
1
How about salt sprinklers in dangerous spots, like curves and hills?
 
  • #34
Curl
758
0
How about salt sprinklers in dangerous spots, like curves and hills?

nah that's too simple.

we need a 4 million dollar, alien-tech bulletproof flexglass roadway with 17 layers of nano-tech UHMW synthetic polymer optical grids and computer chips to do the same job done by petroleum waste and salt.
 
  • #35
Proton Soup
142
1
what we need is research to build carbon decatubes that we could drive inside of
 

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