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Tag: business

Are you a fancy individual who hates being delayed in elevators by lowly commoners, yet can’t justify putting in your own personal elevator? This new “executive fingerprint override” elevator button guarantees faster elevator transit.

The issue:

Imagine this situation:

You are a high-ranking member of the royal family. One day, you drive your expensive sports car to your downtown office, park it in the garage, and head to the elevator. You get in, and press the “6” button, to take the elevator to your sixth-floor office.

But as soon as the elevator doors close, you notice that 5 other people in the elevator have already made floor selections before yours—the buttons for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are already lit up (Figure 1).

Now, even though the other people are only peasants, you still have to stop on all five floors before you can go to floor six!

Surely this situation has happened to all of us. Read on for a solution!

Fig. 1: Left: A standard elevator panel (it might be European, since it has both a “G” and a “1,” or perhaps the illustrator made a mistake). Right: if the buttons for floors 1 through 5 are lit up, a person who wants to go to floor 6 would have to stop at all five intermediate floors. . . until now, that is.


In order to solve this problem, we introduce new “override” fingerprint sensors: one for each each elevator button (Figure 2).

Someone with authorization can put their finger on the on the override sensor for their desired floor, and the elevator will travel to that floor first (additionally, the elevator will not stop to pick up any passengers on the way).



Fig. 2: Each floor button has a fingerprint sensor next to it: if a high-ranking individual presses the fingerprint button, then all other elevator actions are cancelled, and the elevator goes directly to the desired floor. Fingerprint sensors are shown as separate buttons for clarity, but the sensors could also be directly integrated into each button.

As an example, if (A) the elevator is on floor 1, (B) buttons for 4, 6, and 8 are pressed, and (C) the high-ranking individual wants to go to floor 7, then the elevator will do the following:

  • Go directly (up) to floor 7. This is where the high-ranking individual wanted to go, so the elevator skipped floors 4 and 6.
  • Then, resume its normal behavior, as if the buttons for 4, 6, and 8 had just been pressed.
  • Since the elevator was traveling upwards, it will go to floor 8 next.
  • Since 8 is the top of the elevator’s current route, it will now become a “down” elevator.
  • Now that the elevator is traveling downwards, it will go to floor 6 and then floor 4.


This system could also be used to give priority to various individuals; for example, what if both a duke and an earl use their fingerprint overrides—clearly the duke would have priority. Some cases may be less clear; does a baron outrank an archbishop? Undoubtedly, a complex set of rules would have to be included in the unlikely event that multiple high-ranking individuals entered an elevator at the same time.

PROS: Allows the rich and powerful to project their power in a new and unusual manner.

CONS: May cause a proletarian revolution to break out, which would have negative ramifications for the individuals who would make use of this elevator system.

Motel-on-the-Move: The incredible secret to affordable housing in every city! Why are you still paying rent or a mortgage?


Housing is incredibly expensive in many major cities.

Some people try to cope with high housing prices by living in their cars.

However, it is generally illegal to sleep in a parked vehicle. Additionally, there are often restrictions on vehicle height for parked vehicles.


None of the caveats above apply to a moving vehicle.

The “Motel-on-the-Move” is a standard tour bus that has been converted into a mobile housing development. By partitioning the bus along its length (like an old railroad sleeper car, or a Japanese capsule hotel), somewhere between 8 and 48 miniature housing units could be fit into a single bus.

This bus would constantly drive around the city, on a set route, to accomplish two goals:

1) By avoiding parking, the inhabitants would not be in violation of city ordinances prohibiting habitation in vehicles.

2) By traveling through the city, the bus-dwellers could obtain door-to-door service to their places of work. The bus’s route could be optimized for the specific inhabitants.

Additionally, there might be tax implications; perhaps the bus could spent part of the year in locations with lower tax rates, allowing the residents to potentially benefit from reduced income tax rates.


Fig 1: The “Motel on the Move” would be a converted tour bus that would constantly drive throughout a high-rent city. Each door here in the diagram (blue doors on the “ground” level, yellow doors on the “mezzanine”) corresponds to a single extremely cramped studio apartment.


Fig 2: A hypothetical floor plan for each unit. A): A bed that can be folded against the wall. B) A convenient window-side chair for reading. C) A window to the outside. D) Apartment door. Opens directly onto the street. E) Extra space for shelves and/or folding tables. F) A drain in the floor. Area “F” doubles as an extremely-low-flow shower. G) Toilet. H) Sink, above the toilet, for maximum space efficiency. A shower head on a flexible nozzle would also allow for showers to be taken in the F-G-H area of the apartment. Resident water usage would have to be strictly limited due to space and weight constraints on the bus.


Fig 3: Units could be crammed together vertically by taking advantage of the fact that a 7-foot ceiling is not absolutely necessary across the entire unit. Above, a red unit is stacked on top of the blue unit. In the blue lower unit, the low-ceilinged area on the left would contain a bed (like the bottom bunk on a submarine). In the top unit, the bed would be on a “platform” (really the ceiling of the blue unit) on the right.


The cost of running a bus 24/7 and paying for a driver (or scheduling the residents to drive it) might offset some of the rent savings.

PROS: Could stimulate the automotive industry. Capsule hotel industry can serve as a template for obtaining venture capital funding.

CONS: Ecologically questionable.

One weird plan to eliminate crime by using business plans

The issue:

There are a number of crimes that make no sense from a cost/benefit analysis standpoint.

Example: armed robbery of individuals on the street: this involves a high chance of 5-10 years in prison, but the maximum payoff is probably around $500. Expected value: strongly negative.

Even a bank robbery typically has a paltry total take (perhaps one year of income per robber), yet still has a high chance of resulting in arrest.

The theory: fewer crimes would be committed if the prospective criminal actually weighed the benefits and risks of the to-be-committed crime.

Proposal: prospective criminals should be encouraged to write up a “Crime Business Plan” in which they detail their proposed crime, the benefits that they stand to reap from it, and the potential negative consequences.

The method of encouragement is as follows:

If a criminal has written up and submitted a “crime business plan” to the city, and that criminal is also convicted of the crime described therein, then the sentence is reduced by 50%.

(E.g., 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine becomes 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.)


In pictoral form:


Fig 1. Crime business plan is written up. On a scroll, apparently.



Fig 2. Crime business plan is sent by mail to City Hall, where it is registered and filed away for safekeeping.



Fig 3. After the crime is committed, the criminal is caught, convicted, and sentenced, but the sentence is reduced by half.

Case Study:

Mr. X wants to steal a safe. He writes up a plan, indicating that he assumes the safe will have 1 million dollars in cash in it, and that the chance of detection is only 5% during the burglary, and 1% afterward. (He plans to be very careful about spending his windfall.) He shows that the expected value of the crime is POSITIVE for him.

After writing up the crime business plan, he mails the letter to City Hall, which accepts it, sends him a confirmation code, and files it away.

Later, Mr. X commits the crime, but is immediately caught and goes to trial. He defends himself admirably but is convicted and sentenced to 14 years in the salt mines.

However! Now he exclaims “But I filed a crime business plan, to show that this was a well-thought-out idea!” The court will verify that the described crime in the filed-away business plan was in fact the one committed, and his sentence will be reduced by 50%.

Why this is a great idea:

By heavily incentivizing individuals to ponder their crimes, they could:

1) Be less likely to commit crimes of passion (Example: “I’m so mad, I’m going to kill you—but first I have to file the paperwork in triplicate and wait 6 to 8 weeks!”)


2) Be less likely to commit crimes that have a strongly negative expected value (Example: robbing a fast-food restaurant).

and perhaps

3) Be less likely to commit certain premeditated crimes (“I’m going to beat up my neighbor for putting his fence too close to my property! Wait, while I was researching my crime business plan, I discovered that I can actually take this case to arbitration and resolve it that way.”)

Or they might just turn to white-collar crime!

PROS: Might result in less crime. The business plan aspect will employ legions of lawyers who would have otherwise turned to crime in desperation.

CONS: Other countries might become jealous of this new legal system.