Start Your Legal Career Of Right – Earn Admission To A Top Law School

If you are a prospective to law student this article will give you the inside track to gaining admission at a top school. These questions should help frame for you exactly what we will accomplish together in this article. Are you investigating possible law schools to attend by looking at catalogs and visiting each school’s websites? Have you spent money buying guide books, school ratings magazines and other materials? How about time spent online searching for the perfect school? If you answered yes to any of these questions than you have already invested yourself in the process of finding the perfect school. Now, you’ll master the law school admissions process.

First, you will need to carefully consider which schools are right for you. This doesn’t mean the schools that are closest to home, the easiest to get into or the one where your girlfriend is going. Nor should your search focus on just finding the schools that you think will accept you. Chances are, even if you have a mediocre LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, you will still be able to get into some excellent highly ranked schools. Take the extra minute and try and find the school that is the best fit for you. Going forward this will pay you back with interest.

Your acceptance at a top law school will be based on a killer application that sets your skills, interests and desires out to fill a specific need of a certain law school. For example, your passion about public interest law might carry great weight at a school like CUNY, because they are a law school built are public interest law. Thus, getting into top schools becomes more about finding out what types of students your favorite schools are looking for and then positioning yourself to fulfill that need.

How do go about identifying these schools:

Search Google News about the school. See what news is coming out of the school. Perhaps, one professor is dominating a field your interested in or their mock trial team is winning on the national level. If you find interesting, news worthy things going on at the school and then tie into them, you’re giving yourself a great advantage.

You’ll also be able to do some comparative analysis. For instance, if one of your top choice schools doesn’t appear to be making news at all or at least regularly you may want to think twice about going there. If a professional school like a law school isn’t making news that is probably a symptom of a mediocre faculty and a body of alumni who aren’t very successful with their practice of the law.

Stand alone law schools, meaning those that are not part of a larger university or college system, also merit special attention. A thorough Google news search will help you find out exactly what is happening at that particular school. Is it scandal ridden? Does it have a new dean every few years? Are students suing the school? Stand alone law schools deserve your special attention because of all of these questions.

Thus, from something as simple as a Google news search you will have armed yourself with very important and valuable information. Keep copies of what you find and build folders for each of the school’s you are pursuing. Be sure to send away for school’s catalogs early enough to give you plenty of time to weigh all your options. Put these catalogs in the same folders. This will make your planning and ultimate decision making process a lot easier in the long run. Go back to the clip files often and review them. Which school do you most want to be associated with? Why? Have any schools lost any luster? You’ll reap the rewards from doing such a comprehensive search. Those rewards will come in the form of the identification of a school that really interests you and you will be armed with powerful knowledge that will assist you in writing an application that will really be of great interest to the school.

Collective Consciousness – The Most Powerful Force of Law of Attraction

Collective consciousness is one of the subjects of sociology. Homogeneous groups of people, whether of religions, ethnicities, political parties, or nations will tend to adopt shared ideologies or social standards that permeate and govern their attitudes and behavior. For example, most Americans consciously acknowledge and value democracy as the most favorable form of government. And within a large homogeneous group, there will be subsets of collective agreement that interpret or apply the shared ideologies or social standards in various ways, or from a different perspective, hence we have conservatives and liberals and independents. The size and strength of these subsets can rise and fade within the larger cohort as attitudes and sympathies shift and adjust due to various influencing factors, some of external causes and some from within.

One of the well-known ideologies of Ronald Reagan – “Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.” – appealed to a subset of our collective consciousness that made him one of the most popular presidents among political conservatives. Reagan’s ideology was often quoted in the most recent Republican primary campaigns as well as in the national presidential campaign. It is, indeed, a mantra of a conservative collective agreement. Someone might disagree with its ideological absolutism, but there’s nothing covert about this political view.

Even if its specific social and political implications are less than obvious, the notion that less government is better government is a clear, overt position, IF it is indeed consciously understood for what it is. We are more likely to change our conscious agreements, if we intelligently observe and evaluate the consequences of our agreements. As a nation, the electorate majority may or may not decide to support this supposition. As a result of the publicity surrounding the recent banking scandals, public opinion appears to have shifted back to a need for more governmental intervention and regulation.

Unfortunately, we are not always fully conscious. And if not, we may too easily allow ourselves to be triggered into our “survivalist” collective unconscious.

The collective unconscious is not the content of sociological science. First observed and defined by Carl Jung, we are most likely to hear it discussed in the realm of analytical psychology. Jung referred to the collective unconscious as “a reservoir of the experiences of our species.” He believed that the human species has an active unconscious code or instinct developed over many thousands if not millions of years and embedded deeply in our psyches. It is not that much different in its origins and function from the primitive survival instincts of other living creatures. Aggressive “survivalism” is basic to our most primal nature, well hidden just under our “civilized” conscious surface. When feeling fearful and threatened, we can be triggered and converted into hostile actions against differing members of the human race. Given perceived threatening events, it is not difficult to capitalize on our primitive collective unconscious and then to incite a vengeful collective agreement to support of an aggressive attack on the perceived threatening peoples, even against a society or country that posed no real threat. We have a lot of evidence of this aggressive nature throughout history, and many adroit and powerful leaders have exploited it to their own end. Adolph Hitler is viewed as one of the consummate masters of the technique.

The events of September 11, 2001 created a political opportunity to incite a revengeful collective consciousness that became the driving force behind our invasion of Iraq, the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004, and support for many of the Bush administration’s questionable policies. Since “9/11” and our county’s international response to the events of that day, many of us became, with increasing intensity, “news junkies”, and hence, drawn into an unfortunate and self-defeating collective agreement that triggered a deeper, more primitive instinct. One of George W. Bush’s stated campaign goals was to “unite the country”. And he did. With the complying assistance of a media that thrives on bad news, the Bush administration triggered our primitive, survivalist collective unconscious through the escalation of fear and desperation in order to create the political capital for the support of the “war on terrorism” as well as the justification for some of the re-interpretations of our constitution and our agreements with the Geneva Convention.

As with most Americans, my personal “addiction” to the political news reached its highest point of captivation with the 2008 presidential campaigns and election. In retrospect, my personal vigilance of our political situation was fed by the frenzy of speculation that permeated our news media. My personal obsession with politics over the past seven years was driven to a great extent by my increasing concern with the consequences of the pathological level of fear and desperation being imbedded more and more deeply in our collective consciousness.

Were we being conditioned to consciously accept and expect worldwide conflict? Were we becoming psychologically conditioned to accept, and perhaps take for granted our hostility and aggression toward anyone with a different collective consciousness? Were we being conditioned to win “the war on terrorism” at any cost, including the forfeiture of our country’s longstanding values and integrity, even our own personal rights and freedoms? Were we being conditioned to expect, even initiate Armageddon?

Most of the commercial media thrives on bad news, because its producers and sponsors understand very well how we feed on the drama and how well it sells the “good news” offered in commercial advertising. The election of Barack Obama reflected a shift toward optimism and hope. But it did not take long for the media to shift its focus from the Bush drama and begin its amplification of the slightest potential controversy or conflict or challenge within Barack Obama’s next cabinet appointment or the Republican opposition to his economic recovery plan. One of the most audacious and influential of the conservative media personalities has arrogantly declared his hope for Obama’s failure as our country struggles to recover from the abysmal legacy of the previous administration that he, the media personality, supported. And the rest of the media swarmed to the story like ravenous sea gulls attracted to a bloated beached whale.

Are we we fascinated with obnoxious people? Are hooked on bad news? Are we addicted to, even anticipating the drama of a catastrophic horror story? Do we unconsciously want the excitement of a bloody fight or even Armageddon?

To often it seems that just as we begin our recovery from one catastrophe, some part of our fascination with anticipating the next misfortune draws us into a gaper’s block. For sixty years of my memory, seemingly every opportunity was taken by some hysterical evangelicals to revive the “fear of God” in all of us by pointing to the prophetic biblical signs of the inevitable certainty and proximity of Armageddon. The present perception of worldwide woe provides no exception to this opportunism. The History Channel recently got into the act and aired a series of programs on the “signs pointing to Armageddon”. Even among some of my new age friends, there wafts rather quiet, almost whispered speculations of the implications of the end of the Myan calendar in December 2012.

And then there’s “The Web Bot Project.” Created in the 1990’s to help predict stock market trends, this powerful covert technology “crawls” throughout the Internet in search of keywords that trigger an analysis of the content of a given site. It then feeds this content into a mega computer that theoretically taps into the collective consciousness of our world. The project was intended to look for, analyze, and highlight “tipping points” on how the world market might move in the future. Interestingly, the operators of the project began to notice that the program was predicting more than trends in the stock markets.

In June of 2001, three months before the attacks of September 11, the Web Bot Project predicted that within the next 60-90 days there would be a catastrophic, life-altering event that would affect the world at large. The Project has predicted, coincidentally similar to the Myan Calendar, worldwide calamity near the end of 2012. Theoretically, the Web Bot Project made its predictions based not on objective events or scientific trends but on a global collective fatalism. It might be a temptation to blame the Bot Project prediction for potentially inciting hysteria through “digital hyperbole”. The mega computer of the Bot Project has no vested interest in creating panic. It is our collective consciousness, our collective consumption of catastrophic drama and hysteria that is driving the prediction.

Are we doomed by our own worldwide collective fatalism? Are we self-condemned to create our own Armageddon?

During the seven years that followed 9/11, the collective consciousness of the American people gradually shifted away from support of the war and the oppression of Bush administration. This shift was tipped by several factors, especially those close to home including the administrations botched handling of the devastation of hurricane Katrina. The long-term contradictions of the declaration of “mission accomplished”, the revelation and controversy of potentially illegal interrogation techniques, the apparent loss of our national integrity on an international level, and the blatant violations of the constitution and the law painfully wore thin on the American people. Ironically, our over-saturation of the continuous bad news appears to have overloaded our consciousness. Perhaps similar to the Schick Shadle method of aversion therapy, our collective frustration and exhaustion with our fear-driven survivalist aggression left a bad taste for more of the same. In its place was spawned a heightened desire for a positive, hopeful, peaceful change in direction. Barack Obama became a national phenomenon, a dominant collective agreement. This shift reached its summit in the 2008 elections, clearly evidenced by a record number of previously disenfranchised voters willing to stand in long lines for “torturously” long hours, not even certain they would make the polling deadline.

Fortunately, there is a lot more positive evidence that our collective consciousness has shifted. A majority of the American voters came to disapprove of the war in Iraq, and we voted in favor of change in the presidential election. Even with continuing bad news about the economy and intensified conflict in Afghanistan, there remains among the majority a sense of renewed optimism and hope for withdrawal from the war and our recovery from the economic recession.

I started writing this commentary a month before the elections of November 4. Looking back, it is remarkable how much my personal sense of wellbeing and hope has soared. The significance of the results of this election reflects a renewed consciousness that reaches well beyond its political implications.

As Barack Obama gave his victory address to a crowd of over 100,000 people in Grant Park in Chicago and his inaugural address to nearly three million in Washington, D.C., the television cameras captured the emotions of hundreds of faces. These were truly heart-warming, joyful images. Many cried for joy for the victory of hope over the oppression of the last eight years, but many tears were shed out of an overwhelming relief from the oppression of a collective agreement that once condoned legalized slavery and racial bigotry. This presidential election was the greatest conscious milestone for freedom and equality in this country since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862-63. But even more significantly, the election of Barack Obama may represent the a significant shift in our collective consciousness, from our fascination with fear, drama, and dominance to a more positive spiritual alignment with nature, hope, peace, joy, acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Rhonda Byrne’s book and video, The Secret, first appeared in bookstores and online near the end of 2006. There appeared to be a coincidentally renewed interest in Wayne Dyer’s books and videos on The Power of Intention. Both received somewhat instantaneous attention. Oprah Winfrey interviewed several proponents and teachers of The Secret, making it the “talk of the town”. Almost immediately, everyone was talking about the power of attraction. Book and DVD sales skyrocketed. Law of Attractive support groups sprung up all over the country. It would be interesting to know just how many Americans created a “vision board” on their refrigerator doors or at the foot of their beds.

Less than two years after the release of The Secret in 2006, Oprah Winfrey co-produced an online study group focused on Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. In A New Earth, Tolle exposes the pathology of the “collective ego”, and he points the way to a worldwide evolution of a new collective awareness. If we closely examine Jung’s collective unconscious and compare his observations with Eckhart Tolle’s collective ego and the pain-body, there are some striking similarities, the most significant among them the degree to which our collective thoughts determine our perspective and consequential actions.

The Law of Attraction, most simply put, states that “thought become things”. But our collective thoughts generate not only things but also our peace and prosperity. Our collective consciousness can create entire realities. It creates poverty or prosperity, harmony or conflict, peace or war, heaven or hell. Awareness and focused positive thought are the keys to the most joyful and fulfilling of what we create.

If we are to create prosperity, harmony, peace, and heaven on earth, we first must be believe that we can. And we must shift our focus, our awareness on prosperity, harmony, peace, and the state of heaven on earth – not on fear, despair and catastrophe. This is not Pollyanna. We do, indeed, create our own reality, and the collective conscience is the most powerful application of the law of attraction. Among my more spiritually focused friends, there’s considerable speculation about an evolving spiritual “enlightenment”, a “new hopeful consciousness”. The fact that someone as popular and “household” as Oprah Winfrey would risk here enormous success on featuring such controversial philosophy as that of The Secret or Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now” is clear evidence of some kind of significant shift in populous trends. This is our only hope for our recovery from the worldwide distress and the conflicts that threaten not only our peace but our survival. We must engage in a deliberate and conscious spiritual process; that is, it must come from the deepest part of our souls, from that part of us that is universal Spirit – our source of and connection with hope, peace, and love.

Chuck Jennings has over thirty years experience assisting individuals make successful and meaningful life transitions through wellness, self-esteem, self-confidence, and spiritual recovery. He has helped thousands of individuals define and achieve career goals. He practices a holistic approach to life coaching. He believes that transitions through life issues must be addressed on multiple levels, including the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual levels.

Life Coach Chuck is certified by the Life Coaching Institute and is a member of the International Coach Federation and a contributing expert to SelfGrowth.Com. Chuck has been awarded his B.A., M.A., M.F.A., and a Diploma of Life Coaching. He has forty years experience as a university professor in the arts, as well as fourteen years administrative and managerial experience in the academic environment.

Chuck enjoys the challenges and adventures of life lived to the fullest. At the age when most persons might slow the pace of their lives, Chuck considers his life the most exciting and interesting. At 59 years, he changed his career, and he took on a life-long dream to become an accomplished and skilled pilot. His optimistic confidence generously spills over into his practice as a life coach, encouraging his clients to pursue their passions and to never assume a dream as unattainable. His life and what he offers his clients are splendid examples of the power of the law of attraction.

Highway Traffic Two: Collective Behavior

Traffic rates as one of the more annoying experiences of modern culture.  Highways have provided some relief from traditional traffic congestion, i.e. that occurring at stop signs and traffic control signals, but highways themselves have spawned new types of congestion.

This article explores that topic, i.e. highway traffic and congestion.  This is the second of a two part series.

The first of the series (titled “Highway Traffic One:  Collision Avoidance“) delved into one traffic characteristic, namely the maximum traffic flow a highway can sustain at different speeds.  We focused on two basic, but fairly universal, determinants of driver behavior.  A characteristic driver desires to go as fast as possible while 1) avoiding a ticket and 2) avoiding a rear end collision.

With those determinants, and a little math and physics, we built a quantitative model.  That model gave a “required following distance” and a “maximum sustainable traffic flow” at each of a number of speeds.

That modeling revealed a paradox.  As average speed increased, the sustainable traffic flow also increased.  In other words, our model indicated that a highway can sustain a higher traffic flow at moderate speeds (30 to 50 miles an hour) than can be sustained at the typical “heavy” traffic speeds (zero to 20 miles an hour).

Why then does traffic flow drop to the low range under extreme congestion, if the low range provides the worst flow?  What forces traffic to drop from highway speeds, i.e. 60 miles an hour, down to a standstill, if a highway’s maximum flow occurs in the 30 to 50 miles an hour range?  We likely experience this frequently, particularly as traffic merges at entrance ramps.

The key lies in the dynamic nature of merging traffic.  The first article, on maximum sustainable traffic flow, dealt with static, aka constant, conditions.  Vehicles traveled at the same speeds, and drivers maintained the same distances between cars.  We asked one question – at those constant conditions, what following distance would the characteristic driver set?

Entrance ramps create dynamic, aka, changing, conditions.  As cars merge, following distances change, drivers slow and accelerate, and different vehicles have different speeds.  These dynamic conditions can push traffic right past the speeds with maximum flow, down to the all too typical highway traffic crawl.

So let’s focus on that phenomenon, of how entrance ramps impact traffic flow.  We will do that first qualitatively, just describing what happens, then quantitatively with a bit of mathematical modeling.  In doing so, we will obtain a better sense of how the dynamics of entrance ramp merging cause traffic flow to degenerate to such low, and less than theoretically optimum, speeds.

Entrance Ramps:  Qualitative Look

Imagine traffic flowing at 60 miles an hour, with cars spaced on average 200 feet apart, with our highway two lanes wide in each direction.  From the first part of this series, we found that the characteristic driver had a required following distance at 60 miles an hour, of about 150 feet.  Thus absent any disturbances to traffic, our highway can sustain traffic at 60 miles an hour, given the 200 foot spacing, and our drivers should comfortably maintain their highway speed.

Imagine now entrance ramps.  We will have two ramps, one entrance ramp into the left lane (not common but certainly occurs) and a second entrance ramp into the right lane.

Now a set of two cars enters (one from each entrance ramp).  As they merge into traffic, these entering cars cut the following distances, front-to-front, of the trailing cars behind them on the highway, down to 100 feet.  The entering cars in many, if not most, cases are traveling at a speed only a fraction of that of the main highway flow.

As noted above, our modeling (in the first article) calculated a required following distance of just over 150 feet at 60 miles an hour.  Given our model reflects how drivers think in real traffic (i.e. the required following distance indicates a driver’s judgment of what is required to avoid a rear end collision), the driver of the directly trailing cars will slow down to increase the following distance.  This will be a quick deceleration, since not only will the following distance be insufficient, but the trailing drivers will find themselves quickly closing in on the slower-traveling entering cars.

What occurs then?  As this first set of trailing cars slow, a second or so later the next trailing cars slow, and another second later the third trailing cars slow.  This sequence of slowing creates a congestion pulse that ripples rearward as each subsequent set of trailing cars slows due to the slowing of the cars in front of them.  Now if only two cars are inserted (i.e. one in each of the two lanes), the cars will all sequentially accelerate back up to 60 miles an hour, and the merging causes just a transient backward ripple.

But what if another set of two cars enters behind our first set of trailing cars?  The first set of entering two cars creates a backward ripple that slowed the main traffic.  This second set of entering cars inserts itself into the ripple, further cutting traffic speeds.

We can see where this is going.  What if a third set of cars enters?  This third set further cuts down vehicle speeds.

So while the entry of one set of cars causes a transient ripple, we can see that the continual entry of cars increasingly slows traffic.  Traffic quickly reaches high congestion, and speed descends downward.

This scenario highlights what causes traffic speeds and flow to descend from a stable level at 60 miles an hour, right past the maximum flow range (i.e. between 30 and 50 miles an hour, where a highway can maintain the highest flows), down to bumper-to-bumper.  The cause lies in the sudden and unavoidable discontinuity at the merge point.  At that point, merging traffic abruptly cuts following distances, which triggers an abrupt slowing of traffic.   Vehicle speeds decrease right past the speed range of maximum flow.  Traffic flow can not stabilize in the maximum range since the merge dynamics push speeds down so quickly.

So while the highway overall, if vehicles were all at an ideal speed and separation, could handle more traffic, the abrupt changes at the merge point prevent traffic from settling in at those ideal conditions.

But do entrance ramps present us with an all or nothing situation?  For a given set of conditions, will the merging at entrance ramps always produce the same level of slowing and congestion?  Or rather can driver behavior improve (or maybe exacerbate) the vehicle speeds and traffic flow at entrance ramps?

Traffic Merging:  Impact of Driver Behavior

We have certainly seen, or directly experienced, how events unfold when a vehicle runs out of “runway” on an entrance ramp, and gets stuck, stopped, at the end of the ramp, with no further room to accelerate.  In heavy traffic, the driver will find no gaps for entry.  Having little choice, the driver will just jut into traffic, at a slow speed, cutting off traffic, and causing oncoming vehicles to slow, in cases severely and suddenly.

But if the driver wasn’t entering from a stop, the oncoming vehicles wouldn’t need to slow so much and so quickly.  The faster entry would allow traffic to maintain a higher speed.  So from this example we see that driver behavior can affect, possibly significantly, highway congestion.

So let’s look at this.  While many different driver behaviors can impact the level of congestion at merge points, we will focus on three major ones.  They are:

  • Speed matching
  • Velocity priority
  • Smoothness

Speed matching picks up on the example just mentioned, a vehicle stuck at the end of an entrance ramp.  As that stuck car enters, that merging not only cuts the following distance of the vehicle right behind in the main traffic flow, but the low speed of the merging car causes the following vehicle to close quickly.  That following car must slow sufficiently to compensate both for the reduction in following distance and the subsequent closing due to the speed mismatch.

If the merging car can match the speed of the main traffic flow, that merging still cuts following distances, but the speed matching means the following car does not close any further.  The following car can maintain a higher speed.

Velocity priority relates to which of two variables merging and trailing drivers react more strongly, specifically velocity difference (relative to the leading car) verses following distance (again relative to the leading car).

Consider two different merging drivers, both entering at slightly less than the speed of the main traffic flow.   One driver focuses more closely on the velocity difference.  Since traveling more slowly than the lead car, this one driver accelerates slightly upon entering the highway, increasing speed to that of the main flow, while letting the slight temporary speed difference build an increased following distance.

The second driver reacts, alternately, to the short following distance.  Since that distance has dropped well below the required distance, this driver, instead of accelerating, slows down to immediately lengthen the following distance.

We can clearly see the differing impact.  The first driver, by accelerating, keeps traffic moving, while the second driver, by slowing, triggers the following cars to slow.

Note however, velocity priority may not always be best.  If merging cars enter at very low speed, then a velocity priority causes trailing cars to slow to that low speed, instead of gradually compressing following distances to maintain speed.  So one approach does not fit all situations.

Smoothness means just that, how gradually, or alternately how abruptly, a driver responds to changing conditions.

At first look, one might conclude that fairly quick reactions would allow traffic to flow faster.  However, faster reactions can turn out to be counter-productive.  Why?  Strong, quick responses can cause a driver to over shoot their target for speed or following distance, or both.

An example helps.  Let’s say a driver sees that at a given point their following distance exceeds what they judge needed.  They accelerate quickly and strongly.  But in congestion conditions change often, and as the driver accelerates the leading car slows.  The quick acceleration, combined with the slowing of the car in front, causes the trailing car to close too quickly on the leading car, creating too short a following distance.  The trailing car driver now brakes quickly and strongly.  We can see where this leads.   The strong reactions cause continual speeding and slowing as the driver over shoots the speed and following distance needed.

Entrance Ramps:  Quantitative Look

Let’s model what we have just described.

Now in the first article, we assumed, and could assume given the goal of the modeling, that every driver traveled at the same speed and maintained the same following distance.  We could thus model one car, since that one car could represent all the cars.

Here, for entrance ramps, we decidedly can not assume conditions remain similar across vehicles and across time.  The merging cars trigger continual changes in vehicle speeds, distances and acceleration/deceleration.  And it is these very changes we desire to study and understand.

Our model must thus track each car, at each instant, for multiple variables, no small task.  To keep the model understandable, then, we will focus on the core interaction, the merging, and have just a one lane entrance ramp merging into a one lane highway.  True, actual entrance ramps can have more than one lane, and actual highways almost always have more than one lane.  The extra lanes, however, primarily add a different phenomenon, lane switching, which does influence merging impacts, but in a secondary way.  Our simplified one lane highway and one lane entrance ramp, while not all encompassing, will still provide sufficient scope to explore our focus, entrance ramp merging.

So how will we start?  We need some initial conditions, simple enough to comprehend but representative of actual traffic.  We will thus start the main traffic speed at 60 miles an hour, with 200 foot front-to-front distances.  The model will insert a merging car between each of the cars in the main traffic flow, at a speed at a percent (that we can vary) of the main highway traffic.  For “required following distance,” we will use the equations and relations from the modeling in the first article.  The model will have 160 vehicles, 80 on the main highway and 80 merging sequentially.

We now run the model, stepping sequential through time increments of about three-quarters of a second (with that increment representing how often a driver can adjust to changing conditions).  For each time increment, the model calculates each vehicle’s speed and location, as well each driver’s reaction to current conditions.

The driver’s reaction consists of how much they accelerate, or brake.  Critically, we can vary that reaction, since as noted above it is just that driver reaction we want to study.  So the model permits variation in the “velocity priority” from very low to very high, and in the “smoothness” from very mellow to very aggressive.  And as just noted, the model permits variation in the entry speed of merging.

What will the model tell us?  Many (many) traffic characteristics, but we will focus on four key items.  These four items relate closely to the frustration level drivers feel in highway congestion:

  • Lost distance, i.e. how much farther back does the 160th car fall due to congestion
  • Average minimum speed, i.e. what is the lowest speed on average for each vehicle
  • Acceleration intensity, i.e. how much acceleration/braking occurs
  • Time at less than 40 miles an hour, i.e. how much time across all the cars in the model

Let’s take a sample run.  Merging cars will enter at 80% of the highway speed, and drivers will exhibit a moderate priority on velocity, and a moderate smoothness.  We run the model for ten minutes (model time, so about 800 time increments; the model itself requires only a second real time.)  We find the following:

  • The 160th car losses 18,600 feet, over three and a half miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for about 86 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 20 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience 3 hours at 40 miles an hour or lower

Some comparison points will help.  In the ten minutes, at 60 miles an hour, absent the congestion, a vehicle will travel 10 miles, or about 52,800 feet.  So the 160th car lost about a third of the normal distance, and cars beyond that (not modeled) will lose more.  Accelerate or brake quickly means to do so at greater than 50% of the maximum braking or acceleration allowed in the model, and the 86 seconds should be compared to the total 600 seconds of the model run.

Could the drivers do worse?  Yes, with a lower priority on velocity, but aggressive acceleration and braking, still with the 80% merging speed, we find the following:

  • The 160th car losses 31,500 feet, almost six miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for about 125 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 8 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience just over 5 hours at 40 miles an hour or lower

Can then do better?  Yes, with a strong priority on velocity, but gradual acceleration and braking, still with the 80% merging speed, we find the following:

  • The 160th car losses only 13,000 feet, a bit over two miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for only about 18 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 28 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience about 2 hours 20 minutes at 40 miles an hour or lower

These results reveal amazing differences in congestion severity for different collective driver behaviors.   Thus, with the advantage of a relatively favorable merge speed (i.e. the 80% factor), driver behavior, specifically attention to velocity differences and gradual acceleration/braking, can reduce congestion.

What if the situation involves unfavorable merge speeds, for example a merge speed of only 30% of the traffic flow?  While driver behavior can ease congestion some, under any driver behavior congestion remains high.

  • The 160th car always losses at least 25,900 feet, almost 5 miles
  • Traffic always slows to 11 miles an hour or less for at least one point, sometimes zero
  • The collective delay always reaches four hours or more

Slow merge speed scuttles traffic flow so negatively that no particular set of driver responses can prevent traffic from descending, at some point, to a crawl.  So if merging drivers practice “poor” behavior, i.e. slow merge speeds, driver behavior in the main traffic flow can not  significantly offset that.

In contrast, as seen above, if merging drivers achieve a good merge speed (the 80% rates as good, in fact almost as good as a 100% merge speed) driver behavior in the main flow greatly impacts the level of congestion.

Practical Steps

While possibly interesting (i.e. the relation of driver behavior to congestion), can anything actually be done to alter or align that driver behavior to relieve congestion?  Is there hope?  The answer is yes, traffic engineers, to a degree, can coax drivers in ways to improve traffic flow.

Entrance Ramps Signal Controls – Given that merging traffic in general, and poor merge speed in particular, contribute greatly to congestion, controlling merging via traffic signals can partially reduce congestion.

We likely have seen such traffic signals.  These signals don’t stop traffic like a typical traffic light, but rather meter it, spacing merging cars or groups of cars several seconds apart.  This gives each car sufficient time and room to accelerate to highway speeds (i.e. getting to our model 80% and avoiding the 30%).  Ramp signals also spread out the overall flow of merging traffic to prevent short-term backups that can degenerate into larger congestion.

Ramp controls, while useful, provide only moderate relief.  Traffic on the main highway improves incrementally, in theory and often (but not always) in practice, but the improvement becomes offset in part by the delays drivers experience waiting behind red lights on the ramp signals.  Also, merging volume where two main highways cross (and where merging traffic volumes generally render ramp signals impractical) can backup traffic so severely that ramp signals at upstream local roads provide no gain.

HOV and Similar Restricted Lanes – Just like ramp signals, we have likely experienced these, i.e. special lanes for buses and/or high occupancy cars, or which are reversible to match rush hour traffic direction.  A twist on these lanes includes charging tolls, including variable tolls, to influence traffic flow.

In cases where these restricted lanes repurpose existing lanes, achieving some benefit generally depends on people changing to buses or cars pools, thereby reducing the number of cars.  Otherwise, these restricted lanes provide offsetting benefits, i.e. those individuals in a bus or multi-occupant car go faster, while single occupant vehicles go slower.

Note in some cases restricted lanes can create a benefit even without individuals switching commuting modes, by maintaining existing bus and car pool participation.  If buses and car pools did not have a privileged lane, individuals may revert back to single occupancy in a car.

For new highway construction, the added lanes often become specialized lanes.  The new construction can readily include advanced signaling, variable toll collection, specialized access ramps and other features to achieve maximum flow, and serendipitously good revenue collection.

Automated and Autonomous Vehicle Control Systems – With some presumptuousness, I will label this the engineer’s dream solution (note I am an engineer by background).  These systems relieve the driver from control (i.e. takes the wheel out of their hands) and use centralized and distributed algorithms and processors, plus real-time data collection, along with internal vehicle electronics and external highway sensors and transceivers, to guide individual vehicles and overall traffic via computer control.

As a typical example, these systems could and would group cars into platoons with inter-car spacing of just a few feet, and guide the platoons down the highway at typical highway speeds.  The potential?  If we look at the first of these articles, we see that at 45 foot spacing, ultimately achievable by these systems, a highway can handle up to 8,000 cars per lane per hour, an enormous increase in flow.  Achieving only half that capacity would still provide great flow improvements.

However, while such systems represent exquisite engineering challenges, and promise elegant and extraordinary engineering solutions, these systems traditionally have posed equally extraordinary problems.  These include cost (including public funding, which brings in politics), complexity (real traffic poses intricate and pesky nuances), implementation (revamping miles of highway for sensors and controllers), public acceptance (drivers like to stay in control), and vehicle equipment (auto manufacturers generally resist adding modules to cars which provide a public good but increase the car’s cost to the individual).

But developments not related to such systems have opened up the possibilities.  What are these developments?  They are many and multiple, including the rapid emergence of GPS devices, the explosive expansion of cellular networks, the continued increase in on-board vehicle computers, and most recently, the penetration and, importantly acceptance, of vehicle driver assistance modules.  The later, for example, can, without driver intervention, parallel park the vehicle, pre-tension seat belts, adjust headlights, start brake application, give blind spots warnings, detect collision threats, differentially apply braking to avoid skids, and on and on.

These developments provide breakthroughs on which to build area wide vehicle control systems.  GPS provides positioning and thus highways will need many fewer sensors.  With the driver assistance modules, drivers will be gaining acceptance of autonomous vehicle control, and the vehicles themselves will increasingly contain the necessary automated control systems.  Given its now ubiquitous presence, cellular provides an infrastructure for communicating with vehicles and between vehicles.

A decade or more ago, creating area-wide autonomous and automated vehicle control would require creating all the piece parts from the ground up, against possible skepticism from the public, concern from politicians and likely resistance from manufacturers.  Now the piece parts are to a greater or less extent appearing unaided.  These developments by themselves don’t represent a system, but do make creation of the system and its implementation a conceivable and realistic possibility.

So next time in traffic, envision a world say a decade from now where you will peruse the news or the video of interest on your internet eyeglasses or vehicle heads-up display while the traffic-controller-in-the-sky whisks you along smoothly but quickly down the highway.

The Reasons Why Family Is Important In Life

Family is the most important and valuable gift that god has given us. It is the first lesson in relationships with others. Family is really an important word. It means to feel secure, to have someone who you can count on, whom you can share your problems with. But it also means to have respect for each other and responsibility.

What family means to me is love and someone that will always be there for you through the good times and the bad. It is about encouragement, understanding, hope, comfort, advice, values, morals, ideals, and faith. These things are all important to me because it makes me feel secure and happy inside regardless of what is going on in my life. This is one of the main reasons why the family is important in our life. Here in this article it is important to emphasize on the importance of family in our everyday life.

Utmost Protection and Security

Family is important because it provides love, support and a framework of values to each of its members. Family members teach each other, serve one another and share life’s joys and sorrows. Families provide a setting for personal growth. Family is the single most important influence in a child’s life. From their first moments of life, children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs. Parents and family form a child’s first relationships. Family provides all members with security, identity and values, regardless of age. When a member of the family feels insecure or unsafe, he turns to his family for help. He learns about his sense of self and gains a foundation for the rest of his life. This foundation includes the family’s values which provide the basis for his own moral code. Spending time with family shows individuals the value of love, appreciation and open communication.

Following family traditions showcases the importance of family, as well. Family traditions are experiences that families create together on a regular basis, whether these involve holidays, vacations or even attending religious services together. Not only do these experiences create memories for years to come, they also give family members a stronger sense of belonging. Families bond together and make each member feel important.

First step of receiving basic values of life

A family is the first school in which a child receives the basic values of life. He learns good manners in the family. The morals and values learnt in family become our guiding force. They make our character. They lay the foundation of our thinking. I feel fortunate to be born in a family where values are inculcated in early childhood. Family is an important and strongest unit of society. It holds great importance in social life. A society is made up of families. Our family has been known for discipline and values. We give great importance to values and morals in life. Since our early childhood we are taught to respect the elders and love the children. We learnt the lesson of punctuality and honesty from our grandfather. It is due to the good education of our grandparents that we could excel both in sports and education. Since our childhood we have been put into the habit of rising early in the morning. This has a natural effect on our health and physical fitness.

Making a right choice in choosing the right life partner family values influences each walk of our life. It is high time that family values be protected and be treated as a tool to eliminate corruption, hunger, inequality, and crime and hatred in our society.

To shape a child’s future

The family is your blood and they are the people who accept you for who you are, who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what. The family is one and only place where your life begins and love never end. You may have lots of people in your life, but you won’t find a single person who cares the most exactly same as your parents. Some of you may not agree with me, but this is the truth that one day you will realize this by your own. A family is the only place where children study a lot after school. In school, teachers teach children about the subjects which will help them to find a good job in future. But in the home, Family teaches children about habits, discipline which not only help them to find a job but also help them to live a perfect life in future. So the family is very important for kids. When babies come out from mother’s womb, they see their parents first and thereafter they spent most of the time with their family until go to school. During that 3 or 4 years is really important for babies to get to know some basic habits from parents, sisters or brothers. So on that period, they get to know many things from family. None of you going to teach bad habits for your baby, I believe. Parents have to be careful in actions in front of their babies because your baby learns habits and discipline from you only.

This is one of the main reasons why the family is important in our life. This is one of the great advantages of family and none of us ever realize this at any time. You may have lots of friends or relations or office mates. They will definitely be with you in your happy times or any successful achievements. But, your parents or sisters or brothers are the only ones will stay with you in your hard and difficult times. Your parents are the only one who understands you much more than any other people do in the world. Because they are your creators and they are the only ones traveling with you from the beginning. So they understand your feelings and always there for you whenever you need someone abundantly. This is the power of family. There are many people can help you, but the family will help you whenever you are alone.

Helps building an ideal society

A perfect family is a great example of the whole society. Father, Mother, children all of them have to work in order to build a perfect family. If any one of them failed then the whole family collapsed. This happens very much nowadays. The good name of the whole family ruined by a single member of the family. That is really sad but nothing to do for that. But if every family member works hard and builds an optimal family, then they are a good example of that whole society. Family impacts very much in society and society impacts very much in the country. So an ideal country not only builds by the government but also each and every family member. So each family is the principal key to the society. This is why the family is important in our life.

Family values are a set of unwritten rules and codes that creates and helps build our perception, vision towards society and many things that we face in our day to day life. Strong family values can instill greater clarity in decision making regarding our life and leads to a relatively easier and more balanced life. Giving strong values as a parent not only protects a child but also create a civilized conscious citizen and help move society towards a more harmless tomorrow. Strong family values can help check all the moral and ethical corruption in various walks of life which otherwise ultimately contributes to inequality poverty crime and what not.

In today’s hard and fast world the most successful person are those who can take quick decisions about what they want from life. Family value that helps you distinguish what is morally correct and what suits your value system. Today the single largest task in hands of parents is protecting their children from outside influence which are majorly negative in nature. Injecting strong family values in child since childhood is one such measure that can ensure their safety in a time when direct supervision of child has become near impossible…

Strong source of spreading Love and Shelter

A family is like a nest. In it one can share laughter, joy, tears, successes, failures and problems. Everything becomes easier when you have someone to share. It is how we identify with others and how we view ourselves. It’s where most of us learn to trust or be trusted. It’s the longest and often times most valuable lessons on love and sacrifice, responsibility and organization of managing ourselves to meet the needs of others important to us. It is putting others before us. Family is not only about blood ties but about the love bond that exists whether friends colleagues, biological or adopted. It is respect and unconditional love No matter what. A family is the person who makes you smile when you feel sad. Your parents are like God, they always love you. The other thing is that a family is a very strong force that nobody can explain. Your parents are the ones that make you mad, but they always love you in the inside. If we didn’t have family, then who will care for the children? Nobody. A family is a forever thing that will be always on your side. Remember, there is always love, always.

Thanks a lot… Now I understand the importance of the family, but not all family are friendly to each family members. I don’t think all members will support each other since one person get married with the couple and is likely to change… Family should be our first priority, and love them with all our heart, as our choice, but getting good parents and siblings is a choice that is made by God and you can never demand it!

Thanks a lot for having a look at this article. The article is interesting to read and, in my opinion, a good way to remind people that they are people, not animals and realize the mere fact that we live in a society created by people brought up in families, not in caves or jungles.