Sunday, February 22

#8 - haircuts

You are at your doctor's office one afternoon for a checkup. Near the end of the session you are asked if you have been experiencing anything out of the ordinary. You respond by saying that you hair and scalp have been feeling sort of "tingly" lately. The sensation has been a minor annoyance over the last few weeks, and you can't recall feeling anything similar in the past. The doctor does not seem overly concerned, but takes a hair sample for testing to confirm that nothing serious is going on.

The results that come back from the lab are interesting to say the least. While your hair at present is growing normally and will continue to grow, it seems that somehow it has been altered in such a way that if cut, an individual strand of hair will never again exceed its new length. If a hair falls out or is pulled from your scalp, the follicle will still regrow the hair, but it will never grow longer than its most recently cut length.

The implications of this begin to sink in. If you were to buzz your hair, you would never again be able to grow it out any longer than that.

You pepper your doctor with questions, but there's not much else known about your condition (though it does appear that no other part of your body is affected, just the top of your head). Based on these developments, what is your hairstyle strategy from here on out?

Sunday, February 15

#7 - color

After experiencing a series of very painful headaches, you make an appointment with your family doctor to get things checked out. Because blurred or impaired vision usually accompanies these headaches, you are soon routed to an optometrist and then to a renowned eye specialist (due to the uncommon nature of the problem).

It is indeed a problem with your eyes. The specialist recommends an operation as soon as possible, before things get any worse. This operation will correct your vision and eliminate the headaches but will regrettably leave you unable to perceive colors. From here on out, the world will appear to you like a black and white movie.

There is a strange quirk though. If you choose, the surgeon will be able to preserve a single color of the visible spectrum that your eyes will still be able to see. This color will appear to you the same way it does today, with all differently colored objects residing in grayscale. The eye specialist urges you to be specific in your choice to ensure that they will be able to pinpoint and save the correct color. Simply saying "green" would not be an acceptable choice. What shade of green? Maroon and red (for instance) are considered separate hues, so the particular shade you indicate is important.

The surgeon gives you a week to consider this, but does not want to put off the operation much longer than that. How do you respond?

Sunday, February 8

#6 - hour 25

You notice that you've been feeling very well rested as of late, so you begin staying up a little later at night, which leads to an extraordinary discovery. It seems that at 2:00 am each night, time seems to halt for an hour (according to your watches and clocks). Everything resumes after this hour, but you realize you've been feeling more invigorated because you've been getting an extra hour of sleep every night.

Now, time hasn't actually stopped in the sense that everything is frozen. You observe the following things when you stay awake past 2:00:

You can still interact with your surroundings and the world at large. Traffic lights and electronic devices still operate, for example. Any object you move to a different place during the bonus hour will remain where you left it (rather than reverting back to its 2:00 am location). Your actions will not be erased as in the movie Groundhog Day, but will have any applicable consequences when things start back up.

The main change seems to be with people (and other living creatures). Anyone you come across during this hour seems to be in a very deep sleep. If you happen to be hanging out with someone, they always end up falling asleep at 2:00, waking an hour later, and unresponsive in the meantime.

So in essence, you (and you alone) have been given an additional hour each day. What do you do with it?

Sunday, February 1

#5 - solitude

A wealthy industrialist knocks on your door one day, prepared to offer you a million dollars to participate in yearlong social experiment. He gives you two options on how you can spend the next year to qualify for the money. Another individual of similar age and background has also been selected for this study, and will be enlisted in whatever option you do not choose for the purposes of comparison.

You spend the year alone on a deserted tropical island. A relatively impressive shelter (from a desert island perspective) exists on the island, with a decent mattress and running water. The island is free from both predators and poisonous plants. And though you will have access to different types of fruit trees as well as trapping and fishing equipment, you will be able to make special food orders once a month. Additionally, though you are separated from civilization in many ways, you will be free to write letters, which will be collected for speedy delivery once a week. Any messages addressed to you will also be be dropped off at this time.

You spend the year confined to a large glass case in the middle of Manhattan. The case contains all of the features of a small loft-type apartment. The bedroom and bathroom areas of your dwelling are hidden from the outside, but otherwise, you are in full view of passers-by and vice versa. You will be provided a weekly stipend to use as you see fit to place orders for food or other consumer products (and copies of the Sunday Times will be dropped off once a week). While in your glass house, you will be unable to communicate with those outside. No e-mails, letters, or phone calls. Someone could easily enough stop by the outside of your dwelling, but the walls are designed to prevent any transfer of sound.

Under either option, your health and mental well being will be monitored throughout the year. You will have checkups once a month and will be returned to society at large if you require urgent medical attention (though this will mean forfeiting the $1,000,000).

You will have a 24 hour phone connection to a concierge of sorts (who you have never met). This person can pass along any of your requests and will respond in case of emergency, but will not engage you in conversation. Attempts on you part to "chat" with the concierge will disqualify you from the study.

You will also be allowed to bring a packed suitcase to the island or the glass case, filled with clothes or other items you think will be of benefit during your 365 day seclusion.

Do you accept the offer? Which option do you choose?