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the trolley problem, revisited

billy rubin

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the trolley problem, revisited
« on: March 24, 2020, 02:10:59 PM »
here in the states, we're at a real-life trolley problem.

there is a trolley hurtling down the tracks, with five billionaires riding in it. in front of it is a switch. you are standing at the switch. in one direction the track has twenty individuals sick with corona virus lying on the tracks. in the other direction there are two individuals sick with corona virus lying on the tracks.

you cannot stop the trolley, but you can switch it to either track. what do you do?

if you are a liberal, you switch the trolley to the track that only kills two individuals, because the greatest good for the greatest number is the optimum path.

if you are a conservative, you switch to the track that kills twenty, because it will slow the trolley down and preserve it from damage, and the shareholders will be protected.

if you are donald trump, you point out that the trolley is beautiful, it's a beautiful trolley, and that its speed is tremendous, that we've never seen a trolley go so fast before, and you take no responsibility for the problem, and the people asking questions about it are nasty, and the problem will go away when the weather gets warm, like a miracle, it will just disappear.

today the senate votes on a financial package to keep the lights on while the country gets sicker. we'll see what they agree on.


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Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: the trolley problem, revisited
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 02:46:06 PM »
The argument is that cars and guns kill more , but we don’t shut down highways or gun sales.  The response is that we have no immunity to Covid-19 , so if it infects everyone in the US, we will have millions of deaths.  China had it under control in 2 months (it appears).  We aren’t close to having it under control.

Icarus

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Re: the trolley problem, revisited
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2020, 11:05:14 PM »
Ah yes; Trolly.   The mention brings back some memories of my misguided youth.

I lived in Tampa Florida. It had a large system of rails and street cars running all over the city.  One of the stunts that we kids pulled, involved kitchen matches.  We would break the heads off the sticks and place the heads in a nice neat row on the trolly tracks. When the street car rolled over the match heads it would result in loud little explosions all in a row. This mischief was always done at night so that we would not be apprehended by sensible observers. 

In the absence of matches we would sometimes wait for the street car to stop to pick up or discharge passengers.  The kid stunt was to run to the back of the car and yank down on the rope that was attached to the trolley part.  That would immobilize the car and we kids would run like hell.  The street car driver would have to go to the back of the car and refit the little roller wheel on the overhead wire.  Some of the drivers went along with the prank good naturedly, others did not think it so much fun.

We could ride the street car for 5 cents.  If it did not go where we wanted to go we could ride to the end of the line and transfer to a different street car that did go where we wanted to go.  Transfers were free. Result was that we could ride the street cars, by using free transfers, all over the city for hours if we were of such a turn of mind.  Those things were noisy, had wooden bench seats, but they did not emit carbon pollution


billy rubin

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Re: the trolley problem, revisited
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2020, 11:25:03 PM »
sounds like the bakerloo i took to secondary school long ago


i would rather be ashes than dust