According to what one of my son’s classmates’ mothers told me recently, texting and driving claims up to 3.2 million lives every years in the United States. Now, there’s talk of an app that could stop the highways from becoming rivers of blood.
While there are all sorts of ways to theoretically prevent people from doing the text-and-drive thing, mostly based on using the GPS bundled with most modern phones to measure speed, one group of researchers has come up with a better idea. Scientific American reports that
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are studying how software on a cell phone could analyze keystrokes to determine when that phone’s user is distracted while composing and sending text messages…
After evaluating the sensitivity of the keystroke entropy indicator against the number of keystrokes recorded, the researchers found they could accurately and relatively quickly identify when a test subject had been both texting and operating the simulator. They found normal texting took on more rhythmic patterns.
Oh yes, I think a lot of us have sent that special someone a text composed in a rhythmic pattern. Let’s make sure we keep the airwaves open for those, even if they are composed while driving.
On the face of it, this seems to be the most sensible idea yet, since it addresses the disease — distraction — and not the symptom — a phone in the vicinity of an automobile. There are two downsides, however. The first one is that it actually punishes people for taking a moment to check the road ahead. If you just put your head down and focus on your text, your phone will work right up to the point where you hit that stopped schoolbus.
The other, more dire difficulty is that it encourages people — and by “people” here I mean women under the age of 40 — to put even less thought into what they text. I mean, just taking a moment to reconsider one’s word choice can set the thing off. You all know what I mean right?
Your humble author: So, I was thinking about you the other day. The forceful softness of your lips. The way your laugh resonates like a cathedral bell, forged in an ancient cellar by a monk with perfect pitch. The muscular, equine curve of your perfectly formed hips.
Woman who in actual life is a perfectly literate and reasonable executive: lol thats hot so r u comin over 2 c me or wat
Your humble author If this is Prince responding to this text, I just want to express my sentiment that you completely phoned-in “Graffiti Bridge”.
Could it get worse? Let’s hope the nice people at PNNL get too distracted by something else to finish this project.