#680

12:54 am, Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted after following a steady schedule for so long. I keep meaning to blog, but then I realize that I need to go to bed or Brett distracts me by queuing up an episode of Jeopardy! on the TiVo or I have to run some errand or etc., etc. Procrastination and all that, you guys know how it is. Plus my computer is still pretty unstable since I neglected to purchase a 24-to-20-pin adapter along with the new power supply (and am thus forced to keep using the old unreliable one).

Have you heard that Battlestar Galactica is spawning a spinoff series? I’m quite surprised — it’s not even in its third season yet. The new series (Caprica) sounds, if possible, even better than BSG. It takes place fifty years before the original. Kinda reminds me of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes; a prequel that chronicles the rebellion of a non-human serving class. But, of course, robots trump apes in coolness, so Caprica wins.

Saw this quaint homophonic signature somewhere on Slashdot:

Real eyes
Realize
Real lies

A little googling revealed it’s a song by some heavy metal band called Machine Head. First I’ve heard of them, but Wikipedia compares them to Slayer and Metallica, so I guess they must be fairly well-known.

I had this really amazing hamburger at Red Robin yesterday. They call it a “Royal Burger.” It has a fried egg and bacon in it. I don’t think many people would think that sounds like much of an improvement, but trust me — it’s fantastic. Before that lunch I had been decrying Red Robin’s food as overpriced and of only slightly better than average quality, but I’ve definitely changed my mind. They really make a great burger. Oh, and speaking of burgers, there’s a little place on Pacific Highway that has huge, delicious ones for about the same price as the big fast food chains — Burger Time. Don’t confuse them with “Burger Express” two blocks south though; their stuff is on the same level as McDonald’s, but without the speed and uniform quality. There’s still one nearby non-chain burger place I have yet to try: Herfey’s.

This ethics/philosophy BBC article has some interesting hypotheticals. Here’re my answers: No, yes, yes, yes. The first one is supposed to be an analog for abortion, but it’s obviously flawed — first, it assumes all women take the simple, obvious precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancies (i.e. because you weren’t kidnapped due to your own stupidity or carelessness). Secondly, the burden is exaggerated: You have to stay in bed for nine months (whereas pregnant women are relatively free up ’till the last stages of gestation). Thirdly, the Music Appreciation Society is flagrantly, deliberately wronging you and feelings of revenge likely skew respondents’ answers (“Kidnap me and a force me to live like an invalid for nine months? Screw your violinist!”). It seems odd to me that they worded the hypothetical with a pro-abortion bias when a few simple scenario tweaks could have made the question much fairer.

I’ve been working on the rules for next year’s IMBC — here’s a sneak peek of what I have so far. Pretty detailed, huh? No gray areas in these puppies. Keep in mind that none of that applies to the current competition. IMBC 2007 is gonna be great… no silly voting with personal squabbles affecting participants’ status in the contest, rules for special contingencies, sub-sections and sub-sub-sections to clarify nebulous verbiage… I want to make these so specific and detailed that a second version will have to be written just for people who can’t be bothered to read all eighteen pages of protocols and regulations.

Can you believe all of these are CG? “Vertical limit” is especially realistic.

4 Responses to “#680”

  1. JediBear:

    My answers were all in the negative. Everyone dies sometimes, and it seems as though the Maestro’s time has come. He wuoldn’t save me, and so I’m not going to save him. Still, I agree that the analogy is flawed here. An accomplished violinist cannot be taken as an analogue for a human foetus (most people will find a moral difference between the two, though the difference will vary,) as well as the other things you mentioned.

    (Of course, I take a pro-choice stance in any case, I find the right-to-life argument logically flawed and entirely nonpersuasive.)

    In the remaining cases, I am asked to commit murder in order to save five people who probably Had It Coming anyway. Trolleys travel on tracks. If you’re on one, you deserve anything you get.

    The cave situation was a little harder. Frankly, I find the presumption that I let anyone else go first to be wholly fallacious, but assuming an analogous situation could be found, I am still being asked to commit murder. Letting people (even myself) die I can live with. Killing a man because he’s too big to fit through a hole? That’s just sick.

    Now, if we were talking about some kind of kill-or-be-killed situation…

  2. hjo3:

    Re: Had It Coming: I think it’s in the spirit of the hypothetical to assume that the people on the tracks are there through no fault of their own. Like, they’ve been tied to the tracks by a madman or something.

    So in the cave scenario, if the fat man had wedged himself there deliberately you’d have no problem blasting him to bits?

  3. JediBear:

    well, no. Of course not! Especially considering he cut in front of me…;)

  4. Hecatomb:

    My answers were no, yes, no, yes. That third one was tricky; the indirect killing of an innocent by pulling a lever is a bit different than directly pushing a man to his death. Besides, most people would see this as a tragedy in action, one they could do nothing to prevent, and would not look at the fat man and think “good trolley obstacle.”

    Now, although I believe that ethically, I should not push the fat man, I would push him anyway.