What that road ever did to the two of them, we may never know.
Anyway, we’re taking a break from asphalt assault to do a little more book signing. Yeah, you got that right, dudes.
We’re headed out into the public to deface more pristine copies of A Dude’s Guide to Babies with our sloppy, hand-signed names.
This time out, we’re being hosted by the lovely folks at Alphabet Soup Gifts & Monogramming. I know, it doesn’t sound like a place that would want to have us stop by there for several hours.
However, one of the things they specialize in doing is monogramming baby clothing and blankets and such like that. Ah, noooowww it begins to make sense, yeah?
So, we’ll be at Alphabet Soup, 3900 Colony Road, Charlotte, from 11 am until 2 pm today, Saturday, June 1. If you’re at all familiar with Charlotte, the store is in the same shopping center as the Taj Ma Teeter. By which I mean it’s across the street from the South Park Mall, between Colony Road and Morrison Road.
Alphabet soup is snug right up next to the intersection of Colony and Sharon roads.
So we’ll be there for a good bit of the late morning and early afternoon.
Why not stop by the store and say hello to the two of us? Or even throw peanuts at us? Your choice.
Cars are on my mind these days, dudes. I think it might have something to do with my middle little dude, Zippy the Monkey Boy, going through the stereotypical teenage boy lust for anything automotive.
Seriously, the kid is a walking stock teenage character.
Whenever a good-looking car rolls past us as an intersection, he starts spouting off all about the car’s engine strength, the speeds it can reach, what kind of handling it’s got. . . All that stuff. To make matters worse, he’s started to infect the youngest little dude, Hyper Lad. Now he’s starting to point out all the fast cars rolling down the highway of life.
Which brings us to today and Tom Cochrane, who’s telling us that Life Is A Highway, no matter what you might have heard otherwise.
One of the things I love the most about the intersection of portable audio formats such as iTunes and the iPod and pop culture is that it allows me to listen to podcasts of shows that I normally wouldn’t be able to sit still for. That is, there’s some great shows that I can never be in the car for, but I can get them — for free — later and listen to them whenever I want.
One of the best of these shows is Radio Lab, out of a public radio station in New York City. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, Radio Lab is like This American Life, but for science nerds. One of my favorite episodes came out of their second season, in which Jad and Robert examined moral choices.
During the podcast, the hosts talk about a fascinating thought experiment. Imagine you’re standing on a bridge over some railroad tracks. On the tracks below, there are five people working on a side track. Unfortunately for them, there’s a train coming and you can tell that something’s wrong, that the train will go down the side track and kill the men. However, there’s a lever right below you that will divert the train away from the men, saving their lives.There’s a problem, though. The only way, the only way you can move that lever is to push the guy next to you off the bridge, hitting the lever, and saving the five men below. Would you do it? Sacrifice one life to save five?
They also cover an alternate scenario. The five men are still in danger. However, there’s a button you can push that will divert the train. If you push the button, though, the train will go onto another track, where it will kill a man working alone there.
In either scenario, you will save five lives at the cost of taking one life. The moral math is exactly the same. The only difference is, do you use your own hands to push a man to his death or use you hands to push a button — death at one remove — to doom one man?
Perhaps not so oddly, most people who get put to this question, will — if they chose to save five lives at the cost of one — would push the button, rather than push the man over the railing. The results are the same. The only difference is the method.
I know this sort of thing is never going to happen, dudes. Moral choices like this are much different in the lab than they are in real life. However, I think what we’re seeing here is that doing something distasteful like that would be much easier at one remove. That is, if our actual hands didn’t have to touch the actual person who would die.
What does that say about us, that we’d be more comfortable the farther away we are from our actual physical choice? One thing I think it does is explain how people can sit in nuclear silos with their fingers on the button.
Anyway, here’s that entire Radio Lab podcast. Give it a listen and we’ll be back tomorrow with more on moral choices.