Monday, June 29

#26 - the international pastime

Some decades in the future, all existing professional sports leagues have collapsed. This includes the four major US organizations (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), those in other countries, and all international leagues (though the Olympics are still held every two years). Experts have suggested various reasons for the demise of professional sports, but attempts to revive any of the leagues have continually met with failure.

In response to the widespread public desire for a new professional league as well as an attempt to foster international goodwill, the United Nations has added the discussion of such a league to their upcoming docket. Though far from a sure thing, the hope is that these discussions will lead to the creation of a viable, sustained international league.

If everything were to go according to plan, the talks would result in the selection of a single sport. A governing body would then be elected and nations could apply to have a team represent them in the league. The UN at this point would no longer be connected to the league, each nation taking responsibility for the outfitting and managing of their team. Though it is expected (especially within larger countries) that smaller leagues, in which anyone could play, would spring up to act as feeders for the national teams, athletes on the these teams would need to meet some sort of eligibility requirements (similar to the Olympic Games).

You have been selected to serve as the United States ambassador to the UN panel for the professional league. Part of your charge will be to recommend a single sport for the league, and you will be given the opportunity to present your argument to the panel and the rest of the UN. Which sport do you choose to advocate, and why?

Tuesday, June 23

#25 - electronic history

You have reached the age of sixty-five, and although you are in good health, you have begun to ponder your legacy and what you will leave behind for your loved ones.

Over the past several decades, e-mail and social networking sites have remained viable entities. Whereas those in past generations would have a handful of letters, journals, or photo albums, by this time you have accumulated thousands upon thousands of e-mails and digital photographs. Not to mention any blogging you may have done.

You have already written a will, but you feel it is time to come up with some sort of plan for what personal information you would like your family or anyone else in the future to be able to access. Do you delete all of your old e-mails? Would you make albums out of the scores of photographs at your disposal? How would you decide who (if anyone) would receive access to these accounts? What factors might influence your decision?

In short, as you near the end of your life, what do you do with all of this personal electronic history?

Monday, June 15

#24 - past or future artwork

You wake up and seem to be lying on some sort of operating table. You are unable to fully sit up and take in your surroundings, but you can make out a group of shadowy figures watching you.

You are told by the strangers that you are in no danger and will not be harmed. However, you are have been drafted into a large scale experiment and your participation is apparently out of your control at this point.

The figures tell you that you will wake up tomorrow in your own bed, but you must first make a choice that will affect the rest of your earthly existence. You must choose between being able to experience either the art that you have already seen or heard in your lifetime or art that you have never experienced (which would include anything in existence that you have not yet experienced as well as things that have not yet been created). Your choice will extend to books, movies, music, and works of art.

So, in short, you will be left with the ability to experience just one set of artwork. Should you choose the artwork to which you've already been exposed, you will be forever cut off from anything new. New paintings would appear as blank canvases, books as a set of blank bound pages, music and films nothing but static. Should you instead elect to preserve the art you haven't yet seen or heard, you would lose all access to your favorite works. Though you would retain some memory of these things, an attempt to recreate them (say, starting a cover band or going to a dramatic reading) would prove futile. You would be left with only the fading memory of your favorite novels or songs, with no way to reference them. Even your own singing or humming would be (to your ears) muted if you were to try to produce a tune from the banished set.

The shadowy figures give you an hour to make your decision. If you have not done so before the hour is up, the choice will be made for you. Which set of artwork do you choose?

Monday, June 8

#23 - a nice place to visit

You have been pondering how to spend some upcoming vacation time. While walking down the street one day, you notice a travel agency and decide to stop in to get some ideas.

The agency is very clean and new, though not overly busy. You spend a few minutes looking at some maps, but are soon seated in front of a friendly travel agent.

After exchanging some pleasantries, you describe the reason for your visit. The agent listens intently, then leans forward and makes you a remarkable offer: an all-expenses paid, one-week trip to the (earthly) destination of your choice.

The catch is that after the trip, you will be metaphysically prevented from ever visiting that location again. Your specificity does make a difference. Were you to choose "London" for this scenario, you would still be able to visit other non-London areas of the UK at a later date (but would be confined to the city for this particular vacation week).

Though the travel agent cannot detail the ins-and-outs of how this exactly works, the small collection of documents you receive does not set off any red flags (you are not being asked for any deposits or commitments). The agent explains that the free trip is being extended to you in order to generate positive word of mouth for the fledgling agency. You are encouraged to mull things over and are told you may accept the offer anytime within the next week.

Should you take the agent at their word, where do you decide to spend the week?

Monday, June 1

#22 - final moments

One morning, while out and about running errands, you begin experiencing a host of weird sensations. Your forearms go momentarily numb. An intermittent tingling runs between your ankles and knees. The inside of your stomach occasionally feels ticklish. These events are evenly spaced out over a few hours, but by noon you are concerned enough to do a websearch.

To your horror, you find a respected medical site detailing your symptoms to the letter. Your condition is gravely serious, and the article states that when one's ears and nose suddenly go cold, an individual has only ten minutes to live.

Moments later, your ears and nose instantly feel as cold as ice.

Despite your best efforts, you are unable to find any mention of the cause or nature of this ailment, whether it be genetic, something you ingested, or whatever else. The condition appears extremely rare and almost nothing about it is yet understood. All you know is that you have less than ten minutes to live.

What do you do with the time you have left?