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zero sum voyeur housing

apartment-dwellers get no curtains, but set their window polarization however they like.
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Ah, the subversive thrill of seeing and being seen! Starting with highchair peek-a-boo, we humans get quite a kick out of spying on eachother and tempting others to do the same. So why not move into a whole neighborhood of like-minded Rear Window fans? Tell me more, you furtively whisper?...Ok, the idea is that two big apartment buildings face eachother, with huge bay windows in all units. Curtains are banned by popular decree, but residents can fine-tune the linear polarization on their windows to any angle they like. You will be able to see into the windows of anyone across the street with polarization set roughly opposite to yours. The catch, of course, is that they'll see into your windows likewise. It'd be an intriguing experiment to see how a large array of (fully sighted) window owners would set their windows. Would a stable pattern emerge (e.g. everyone setting their polarization equal, for full privacy for all)? Or would cheaters consistently break up any such incipient pattern by setting their windows to peek mode, stirring things up anew?...
n-pearson, Jun 11 2003

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       Most apartments in NYC don't have curtains already. (Most apartments in NYC also have telescopes or binoculars by the window. I wonder why.)
DrCurry, Jun 11 2003
  

       change the word *ban* to *experiment without for a day or two* :)   

       is your camera primed, curry? send me some sunset shots <grin>
po, Jun 11 2003
  

       I don't think the author's advocating curtain-banning as a matter of public policy. Rather, it's a proposal for a limited residential experiment.
snarfyguy, Jun 11 2003
  

       I agree with [snarfyguy] so I'd like to see the caveat that curtains be allowed. Some simply won't want to participate or won't want to participate all the time. (The author doesn't seem to realize that anyone could match polarization with someone else and sneak a peek.)   

       If one were keeping score, I imagine most windows would be set the same as that cute blonde on the 4th floor.
phoenix, Jun 11 2003
  

       I thought this was going to be something about a house which you can live in rent-free as long as you keep all the doors and windows open and don't mind strange men in dirty macs leering in on you from the branches of a tree across the road (and paying for the privilege). But maybe that's just the way my mind works. That reminds me, I must get my raincoat drycleaned sometime soon...
lostdog, Jun 11 2003
  

       To opt out, merely install a motor that continuously rotates your window polarization at random rates and direction of rotation.
krelnik, Jun 11 2003
  

       ...or a second polarized pane at 90 degrees to the first.
silverstormer, Jun 11 2003
  

       Of coures if you go with silverstormer's you could just brick up all your windows
PiledHigherandDeeper, Jun 11 2003
  

       // You will be able to see into the windows of anyone across the street with polarization set roughly opposite to yours. //   

       You have that wrong, I believe. You mean to say "set roughly the same as yours". Opposite in terms of polarity means meeting at 90 degrees to - and when opposing polarities meet, ya ain't seein' nothing. To see through, you need anything but opposite polarities.   

       I presume you're talking about perfectly round windows that justs rotate in their sash.   

       Complete privacy for all seems likely not possible under this scenario, as there are only so many different opposing polarity angles (a 180 degree range) that would effectively block light of sight.
waugsqueke, Jun 11 2003
  

       Love an idea that refers to Hitchcock's Rear Window. The idea also stands on it's own. But, what do you mean by linear polarization (I only have a sketchy idea of this (esp. since reading the last post of [waugs...]) -- I'm not very "scientifical". Please explain in terms a reasonably intelligent (non-"scientifical") layperson could understand.
thecat, Jun 11 2003
  

       Re. the orientation issue, I was trying to formalize my intuition that if your window is polarized at 45 deg. clockwise, then a same-polarity window facing you is actually 90 deg. off relative to yours. But of course that doesn't get the general case; I guess if you want to screen out a window across from you set at angle x from vertical, then maybe set your angle at y such that sinx ~= cosy. (got it wrong the first time, waugs ;->
n-pearson, Jun 12 2003
  

       I don't know what that means. To block the view of a particular window, you'd just rotate yours until you couldn't see into the other one, meaning your polarization is set perpendicular to theirs. However there's bound to be someone else with their window set the same as your new setting, meaning there'll likely always be someone who can see in.
waugsqueke, Jun 12 2003
  

       Btw, thecat, linear polarization is filtering light so that only waves with a particular range of axial orientations (roughly, think of the various flat planes in which an oscillating jumprope could be oscillating) are transmitted; skylight tends to have an overall bias in its polarization, as does light reflected off of nonmetallic surfaces like the top of a lake. Next time you're at a photo store, pick up a couple of polarizer filters ($8-15 each), and play around by looking at things through one or both of them while rotating it/them. If your computer (or watch) has an lcd screen, too, you'll see a particularly strong effect when you look at it through a rotating polarizer filter.
n-pearson, Jun 12 2003
  

       [lostdog] That's VoyeurDorm.com...
phoenix, Jun 12 2003
  

       Thanks n-pearson.
thecat, Jun 13 2003
  

       I'd want a little house (like on that Dido video) just between them (with no polarized panes) so I could just see anything and everything :D
Ossalisc, Mar 01 2004
  
      
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