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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Pneumatic-Tube Zone  
  The portion of a city that is served by direct tubes to each dwelling.  

The logistics of the city were quite advanced; delivery was accomplished without human intervention.

They leaped out on the floor. Again there were no people. No bawling speakers. No gongs. Only the open mouths of pneumatic tubes, an endless row of them, each marked with its destination...


(Tube Station from 'Mechanocracy' by Miles J. Breuer)

Out there was a row of trucks with laundry packages dropping into them from overhead chutes. They were automatic trucks such as are used for making deliveries beyond the pneumatic-tube zone.

From Mechanocracy, by Miles J. Breuer.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

The idea of using this kind of tube on a larger scale for transportation of people rather than things was quite popular. Compare to the shorter range bounce tube from Robert Heinlein's 1956 story Double Star. See also the single vehicle tunnel from Foundation (1951) by Isaac Asimov, the submarine tube from An Express of the Future (1895) by Jules Verne, the sub-Atlantic tube from Ralph 124c 41 + (1911) by Hugo Gernsback, the vacutubes from Double Star (1956) by Robert Heinlein and the public tubes from The Houses of Iszm (1954) by Jack Vance.

The concept of pneumatic tubes as a means of delivering freight was not created by science fiction authors; it was originally proposed by George Medhurst, a London businessman in the early nineteenth century. Pneumatic tube systems were commonplace in the first part of the twentieth century in large buildings, or interconnected locations like hospitals. I occasionally worked in a hospital tube room in the early 1970's; it was used to take doctor's orders to remote locations like the pharmacy, as well as send (carefully wrapped) blood samples to labs for analysis. It was effectively a way station.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Mechanocracy
  More Ideas and Technology by Miles J. Breuer
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