hacker emblem
jaegerfesting
Search | Tags | Photos | Flights | Gas Mileage | Log in

Traffic Rules

Started: 2005-05-11 13:04:08

Submitted: 2005-05-11 13:08:40

Visibility: World-readable

You approach a traffic light at the helm of an arbitrary road-certified motor vehicle. The light is dark; no power is reaching it and no signal is visible. Do you:

  1. Speed through the intersection, secure in the knowledge that you're on the main road and everyone else can wait for you?
  2. Slow down enough to remain cautious of your surroundings but glide unabated through the light?
  3. Treat the intersection as a four-way stop?

I'll leave the answer as an exercise to the reader and simply observe that four of the five traffic lights I passed through on my way back from lunch just now were dark. The first one I pulled up to went dark, started flashing red, and went dark again within ten seconds as I approached the intersection. Oddly enough, the one fully-functioning light was in the middle of my route back to the office.

Show me your code and conceal your data structures, and I shall
continue to be mystified. Show me your data structures, and I won't
usually need your code; it'll be obvious.
- Fred Brooks, _The Mythical Man-Month_ (paraphrased)