Sunday, November 29

#48 - a large building

In recent years, the nearest large city has been trying to decide what to do with a domed stadium within city limits that has remained unoccupied for some time.

After running many projections and estimates, the city is wary of selling or auctioning the site, fearing that the offers would end up being only a fraction of what it cost to construct the arena. Instead, they have set up a contest to find a new owner. Applications were submitted in advance of a random drawing, and whoever's application is chosen will inherit the site, with the stipulation that 10% of any profits (before taxes) made from the use of the land will go to the city. The winner will also be responsible for any annual property taxes.

Back when applications were being accepted, you submitted one almost as a lark. You did not include a full-fledged business model with your application, but somehow, it advanced to the final drawing stage and you were notified of this a couple of months ago. Since then, the entire ordeal had been filed away in the back of your mind. However, the day after the drawing, you are notified that you have won the stadium and land!

The arena is currently on a large lot (that served as a parking lot for fans). It is very accessible, both by highway and light rail. Also, if used as a stadium for a concert or sporting event, it can seat around 70,000.

What do you do with your new dome?

Sunday, November 22

#47 - sea rescue

You wake up alone in a sailboat somewhere in the ocean. You had taken the boat out with a couple of friends, one of them relatively skilled at sailing, but they are now nowhere to be seen. You have no idea how much time has elapsed since you began to sleep (or otherwise went unconscious), and no memory of how you came to find yourself stranded.

As you take in your surroundings, you see a larger ship nearby. Then you noticed a uniformed man hailing you. The two of you are close enough to communicate vocally.

He asks who you are and you respond with your name. You tell him all that you can remember about the sailing trip with your friends, finally asking if he can help you. The man takes a moment to assess the condition of you and your craft, and sighs.

This man identifies himself as a crew member on a very unique vessel. The ship is transporting a number of compromised secret agents to a secret island. The island contains a peaceful, self-sustaining society, but the agents on the boat (and those already in the island community) are considered by those in charge to be too dangerous to leave unattended. They have accrued too much information.

The uniformed man indicates that to his eyes, your craft looks to be in pretty bad shape. His vessel is not going to change course (taking you back is not an option), but he offers you a choice. You can go aboard his ship and proceed to this mysterious island, or take one of the ship's rescue boats and try to make it back home on your own. If you choose the island, you would never be able to leave or communicate with the world at large. Otherwise, existence would be made as pleasant as possible for you. You would have an occupation, but it would not be cumbersome, and the island is stocked with most of the creature comforts you are used to. The spies there are not being punished so much as kept from communicating sensitive knowledge or data.

As for going it alone, your new boat would be equipped with both a sail and motor. You would be provided with supplies and rudimentary navigational tools, but the crew would not be able to show you a map or your exact location (and risk indicating the island's location). You would merely be given a heading to follow (as best you could).

Your choice is between a comfortable but secluded life amongst strangers and a longshot attempt at finding your way home across an unknown amount of ocean. Which option do you choose?

Monday, November 16

#46 - your funeral

A courier visits you one day while you are working, dropping off a relatively thick 9x12 mailing. When you remark that you haven't been expecting any sort of special delivery, the messenger replies that the package came from an unknown source.

After the messenger leaves, you open the envelope to discover a number of 8.5 x 11 sheets bound together. The top page is marked "FUNERAL TRANSCRIPT" with your name underneath.

A note is attached to this bound document, and reading the note sheds some degree of light on its contents. This is a script of your funeral, a line by line account. It is based 100% accurately on the actual event, whenever in the future it will take place. However, it has been altered in such a way that reading it would not indicate the exact identity of any of the speakers, or the year that the funeral occurs. You would likely be able to determine the general time period (and thus a ballpark age of death), but all specifics have been blacked out of the document.

In order to verify the authenticity of the transcript, the note directs you to the inside cover of the bound pages. There, you see an insignificant fact about yourself of which nobody else has any knowledge. This does not give you much to go on, but you have no way of explaining how this fact is included. You begin to sense that the document may be legitimate.

Though many details will be missing, reading the transcript would likely provide you with a sense of the overall course of your life. The main question you have is whether this account of your funeral represents your inexorable destiny, or if it is simply based on the general direction of your life as it stands today (and can be impacted by decisions you make in the future). On this matter, the note is silent.

Knowing nothing else, do you read the transcript or not?

Tuesday, November 10

#45 - three wishes

While coming home one day, you notice an old aluminum can sitting on your front yard. Seeing no nearby places to dispose of the object, you bring it inside to throw it away.

Once inside, you take note of the its relative good condition, despite being a can of a long defunct brand. You rub the aluminum a bit to clean off the only piece of mud that you see, and seconds later a great deal of colorful smoke issues from the mouth of the can.

After a few more moments, the smoke has gathered and formed into a recognizable shape... it's a genie!

The genie seems pleasant enough, though not overly talkative. He states that you have three wishes.

When, remembering the genie education of your youth, you ask if there are any rules associated with the wishes, the genie shares the one rule (besides wishing for more wishes, which will not work and does not seem to amuse the genie). You may not wish for anything that will directly conflict with or override the free will of another individual. This seems fair, but also limiting. You wouldn't be able to make someone fall in love, and a world peace wish would be problematic to say the least. You couldn't use a wish to land yourself a job, though you could wish for a good interview performance.

As you reflect on this, the genie shares his one other main limitation (a result of him being merely a sodapop genie, which you gather is sort of like the minor leagues of genie-dom). Any wish not made within the week cannot be used. In one week he will travel to some other place and any unused wishes will expire.

How do you use your three wishes?

Wednesday, November 4

#44 - the human race in (moving) pictures

NASA is preparing to launch a space probe that will gather information from the far reaches of the solar system. Since the craft will eventually leave the solar system and continue on towards distant galaxies, it will be equipped with a multimedia device similar to the Voyager Golden Record, an archive of information about the human race and life on Earth (in the event that the probe is someday discovered by extraterrestrials). While the Voyager records were limited to sounds and images, the disc for this new probe will contain two hours of video footage.

You have been selected to serve on the final selection committee, the group that will decide which video clips make the final cut.

As a member of this body, what recommendations do you make as to the content of the disc? Do you push for any specific footage to be included?