News roundup: Apodments + 520 funds, delays + We live in a computer world

Some things that happened this week:

Apodments: About a hundred Capitol Hill residents showed up at an East District Council meeting Monday night to protest land use loopholes allowing micro-housing developments, aka apodments, to be built without the City’s usual design review. DPD Director Diane Sugimura and City Councilmember Richard Conlin attended, answering questions from the sometimes rowdy crowd. While the leaders indicated concerns about needing better regulations, there was no indication that affordable apodments would be banished from Seattle’s building codes. CHS covered the meeting and has closely followed this density issue in the past. Could these projects show up in Montlake? With UW and soon light rail nearby — indeed they could.

520 Funding: Governor Gregoire floated a possible transportation package this week that would help fund “maintenance” projects, presumably including the unfunded west half of 520 through Seattle. Also, wheels are in motion for tolling I-90 starting in 2016, with WSDOT now planning community outreach in the coming year. The State expects I-90 tolls to generate up to $1 billion that could help fill 520’s $1.4 billion gap.

Oh, and an admission that pontoon construction problems could push the new floating bridge completion date past 2014.

Computer World: A team of UW physicists say they can develop a test to determine if our universe is actually a computer simulation set up by our predecessors.

The concept that current humanity could possibly be living in a computer simulation comes from a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford.

With current limitations and trends in computing, it will be decades before researchers will be able to run even primitive simulations of the universe. But the UW team has suggested tests that can be performed now, or in the near future, that are sensitive to constraints imposed on future simulations by limited resources.

Yes. Read the rest here.

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