An Internet of Things that act like red-light cameras

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Is it based on an eight-year old Daily Mail story?

I’ve always assumed that this sort of thinking was the secondary, long-term justification for extractive businesses. First, you save on short-term operating costs by denying responsibility for externalities that impact community resources like water and air. Secondly, you plan for the eventual marketing of purified water and air “products” when such resources are rare enough to support a “market” for these necessities.


It’s a natural fit.

From wikipedia’s article on rent seeking

Rent-seeking is distinguished in theory from profit-seeking, in which entities seek to extract value by engaging in mutually beneficial transactions.[6] Profit-seeking in this sense is the creation of wealth, while rent-seeking is the use of social institutions such as the power of government to redistribute wealth among different groups without creating new wealth.[7] In a practical context, income obtained through rent-seeking may contribute to profits in the standard, accounting sense of the word.

Given that a robot can be programmed to enforce a particular policy inflexibly, without the human weakness found in some bureaucracies, technological approaches can be gamed more effectively than human centered approaches that can potentially be recognized as absurd/


What a great… I mean terrible, what a terrible idea. Coincidentally, I just had a nifty idea for a new business. Anybody out there up on organic molecule sensors? (I assume the DNA sensor part is just hype.)

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If the concentration is high, you could get away with Raman. If low, go for long-pathway FTIR. If simplicity is required and rough fingerprinting is sufficient, go for ion mobility spectrometry. If you want the ultimate results and don’t care about space and cash, go GC-MS.

That’d be my take. Anybody to comment and suggest other/otherwise?

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Ramen? Yum!

A really simple sensor would probably do, to detect something almost every kind of garbage emits - ammonia or methane or something.


Maybe some gas-selective adsorption-desorption thingy based on a quartz crystal microbalance?

Get something suitable, e.g. a zeolite, that adsorbs the desired molecules at ambient temperature, and releases them at elevated temperature. Take a quartz crystal, coat it with this material, put into a crystal oven resembling a OCXO but with airflow through. Heat to stabilized temperature, watch as the crystal frequency falls as the sorbent is getting heavier. Periodically heat to higher temperature, to release the adsorbed crap.

This has a chance to not be much costlier than a regular OCXO and be possible to be produced in mass scale.

I was told there would be ramen.

If you’re looking for simple organic vapors, a photoionization detector is your low hassle solution.


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