Sunday, October 25
During your recent annual checkup, your physician scheduled a series of tests without going into a great deal of explanation. You went through these various tests, which seemed harmless (if a bit unusual). The results have since come in, and you have been asked to come back to the office to discuss them.
Upon entering, you are greeted somberly by your doctor, who is the bearer of bad news. You are suffering from an ultra-rare condition that has recently been termed "synapse fatigue". For whatever reason, your nervous system is overworked and needs to rest. For this to occur, your body will soon become paralyzed from the neck down (the doctor estimates that this will happen within a month's time).
The good news is that this period of paralysis will only last two years. After that time, your body should come back "online". Additionally, the doctor offers another wrinkle. There are groundbreaking drugs in existence that will allow you to delay your body's resting period for a very long time, though not indefinitely. The two year rest must be allowed to occur within the next forty years. If not, your body would likely shut down (despite any medications) and the paralysis would at that point be a permanent one.
The drugs in question would have no associated side effects. Also, because they are relatively new and because you would be among the first to use them, they would likely be provided at no cost to yourself.
It is now up to you to decide upon a course of action. What do you do? For what two year period of your life do you choose to accept paralysis?
Posted by Matt at 8:09 PM
Sunday, October 18
You are spending a quiet evening in a local coffee shop when you notice a circular, brightly colored object on the floor near your table. You pick it up for a closer look.
The object is green, similar in feel to a credit card, but in the shape of a disc. The words MIND READER are printed in block letters on one side of the disc, along with an 8 digit code. A toll free phone number is on the opposite side.
Curious, you call this number on your cellphone. After being prompted for and entering the 8 digit code, you are greeted by the voice of an automated operator, who states cheerily, "Thank you for choosing Mind Reader Incorporated. You have 60 minutes remaining on your card. Please remember that your selected individual must be in the same room with you, or within 30 feet. Should your proximity exceed this range, your connection may be lost. Whose mind would you like to read?"
You are taken aback, but sitting in the coffee shop alone and being unable to think of anyone else, you quietly say, "barista". You immediately start hearing phrases in the barista's voice over your phone, thoughts about the orders being filled as well as an exam the barista will be taking on Monday.
After around 30 seconds you hang up, feeling a bit uncomfortable. You look down at the disc and notice that a small "pie" slice is now orange instead of green, presumably indicating the amount of time on the card that you just used up.
You now have the opportunity to read the minds of other individuals for a total of 59:30. Those whose minds you read must be more or less nearby, and you can only hear their thoughts through your phone (though headphones and a laptop would be another option if you were using an internet application such as Skype).
Do you use this card in the future? In what situations might you do so?
Posted by Matt at 3:24 PM
Sunday, October 11
An envelope arrives for you in the mail one day bearing no return address. The envelope seems to contain something relatively heavy, and upon opening it, you find a thin sheet of metal, engraved and embossed.
Actually, it looks exactly like a "get out of jail free" card from the board game Monopoly (and a comparison you carry out later in the day confirms this). Your full legal name is on the back of the card.
That night, a story on these cards leads the nightly national news. Many other individuals have apparently received envelopes just like yours. The cards, around a thousand, began appearing all over the nation earlier in the week, and apparently at least one has already been put to use.
Two days ago, a North Carolina man was arrested while trying to hold up a bank at gunpoint. He had a card similar to yours, and when he presented it to the authorities while in custody, the police were inexplicably forced to drop all charges.
So, you now have in your possession a card that could avert any legal consequences stemming from the perpetration of a single crime. It cannot be used by anyone else, so giving it away or selling it would be pointless. How would you use the "get out of jail free" card? Would you use it? Would it have any impact on your life?
Posted by Matt at 11:17 PM
Sunday, October 4
You wake up in the center of a strange room. You lie near a rather spartan looking table and chair (a turntable and microphone on the table). You stand up to further orient yourself.
The venerable, worn furniture in the room stands in sharp contrast to the room itself. The floor, ceiling, and three of the walls are a spotless white. The fourth wall looks to be comprised of nothing but stacks of vinyl record album sleeves. You notice a note resting between the turntable and microphone that reads as follows:
You have been selected to participate in a most exciting project. You are to serve as a disc jockey! Though your participation is not voluntary, it should nonetheless prove to be an exciting opportunity. The only way for you to leave this room is to choose a record from the wall and play it on this turntable. The album will be broadcast in its entirety to the world's population. You may preface your selection with a short message (using the microphone), but this message may not exceed 30 seconds in length. Once the record has finished playing you will wake up in your personal place of residence. Your identity (beyond age and nationality) will not be revealed to those listening unless you wish to do so during your spoken introduction.
You walk over to the record wall and, after looking at some of the labels, name aloud one of your favorite albums. The entire wall seems to shift, as if it possesses dimensions far larger than what can be seen from the room. The motion accelerates, levels off, then finally slows in pace. When the records come to a stop, the album you named slips out a few inches from the rest of the sleeves in the wall, as if ready to be taken.
Your impression is that any musical album ever created is at your disposal. All you have to do is name an album, place it on the turntable, and possibly introduce your choice before playing it to almost 7 billion listeners. What do you select? Do you introduce your choice in any specific way?
Posted by Matt at 10:41 PM