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Sidewalk Schools

Safety in numbers with pedestrian shoaling
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Pedestrians, through study and practice, should mimic the behaviour of schools of fish and flocks of birds. Groups walking on the pavement could thus avoid pickpockets, purse-snatchers and panhandlers. A family could more easily keep together in a crowd, and a herd of tourists would never miss a member or the plane home.
FarmerJohn, Jul 21 2002

Land Shark http://ultrawarp.co...cards/landshark.jpg
Chevy Chase on the prowl [thumbwax, Jul 21 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Flock Defense http://www.stanford.../Flock_Defense.html
more info on deterring predators; that must be some kind of record, thumbwax, a link within 90 seconds of posting! [FarmerJohn, Jul 21 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       the appearance of a shoal is used to deter predators - the sheer numbers and synchronised movement of a shoal can confuse predators into thinking that the shoal is in fact one large fish. between you and me, I think bumped heads account for a very high fatality rate.
po, Jul 21 2002
  

       The only way pedestrians and motorists are going to be safe from their mutual idiocy, is when pedestrians use skywalks and motorists use the roads.
Besides, do humans have the sensory abilities to shoal? maybe some sort of comedy office experiment could be used.... hhhmmmm
The_Englishman_Abroad, Jul 21 2002
  

       //Groups walking on the pavement could thus avoid pickpockets// Wrong. A pickpocket could make a killing infiltrating such a flock. I'm presuming that a schoal would walk closely-- unless the world's streets are redesigned. Moreover, each schoolmate would be a suspect.
watermelancholy, Jul 21 2002
  

       This is no ordinary mingling mass. This is harmonious movement, a swerve in unison here, a collaborative three steps backward there. A predator wouldn't have a chance picking out a prey much less a prey's pocket/purse from inside or outside the flock.
FarmerJohn, Jul 21 2002
  

       According to last week's New Scientist magazine, guinea pig sperm forms shoals, but mouse sperm forms chains.
pottedstu, Jul 22 2002
  

       Sounds like country line dancing.
waugsqueke, Jul 22 2002
  

       As long as every other pedestrian 'shoals' out of my way when I'm walking down the street I'll consider croissant for this idea... But if they act like mindless sheep (as opposed to supra-intelligent fish!?), getting in my way like so many farts in a breeze then it'll be so many fishbones for you!
Jinbish, Jul 22 2002
  

       I like the idea of navigating through a city following the rules of flocking birds:

1. don't touch each other.
2. Follow the direction of the nearest people.
3. Stay as tightly packed as possible.

I'd like to see people swarming through Hyde Park with the same seemingly random movements as starlings at dusk.
namaste, Jul 22 2002
  

       I'm giving it a neutral. only workable if enacted on a global scale. I'm somehow imagining peoplebusses-- some leader of the flock would stop and call out, "Main Street! Who's headed to Main Street?" and the like.   

       Two other flaws. People might go to a thousand different places, and that's in a suburban area. Moreover, people like independence. Thanks.
watermelancholy, Jul 22 2002
  

       Schoolkids in my neighborhood spread out intentionally to make all the cars wait longer. (They're mean!)   

       About forty-tofifty kids all at once, getting off the train. Could get across in 7-8 seconds; instead, 30-45 seconds or longer. Ain't no motivation that'll get 'em to move, except slowly creeping forward and revving hell out of the engine...
Grog, Sep 17 2002
  
      
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