A public suggestion to Delta Airlines

I flew with Delta a while ago, and the flight ended up oversold. I’ve heard that this isn’t the first time they had this problem, either, so I’ve sent them  a 2-step method to prevent it from happening again:

1. Count the available seats in the plane.
2. Only sell that many tickets.


On preparation for the Real World™ via being unpleasant

When students enter the Real World, they will probably experience hail.

This means teachers should whip chunks of ice at their students. To prepare them.

A new answer to the trolley problem, plus follow-up on likely outcomes

The problem: A train is going down some tracks, as trains do. I am standing many yards away. I can see the train, but I cannot get any nearer to it. The track the train is on will soon have it run over and kill five people, because they are tied to the tracks. But! I have a lever that will make the train go down a different track. However, that track has one person tied to it. What am I, a moral agent, to do?

The solution: I close my eyes and rapidly pull the lever back and forth. This takes my agency out of the question and leaves it to God. Since God is perfectly good, they will make the morally best decision.

The follow-up: My friend who knows a bit more about track-based transportation than I do pointed out to me that this answer leads to multi-track drifting. The front of the train will go down one set of tracks. The rear will go down another. Thus, this solution kills all six people.

If the tracks are too far apart, then the train will derail. Then the surrounding environment will determine what happens. If the tracks are in a secluded area, then nothing of further note will happen. If there are things on the train’s new, freer path, then the train will hit them.

Regardless, the train is unlikely to be usable again, thereby solving the problem once and for all.

Giving up on communication with the irredeemably useless

Sometimes interactions with large organizations go wrong. On occasion they will communicate in a way that resolves problems. Sometimes (like with UPS) they dig their heels into the ground and accuse everyone else of wrongdoing, including parties not involved. And in this week’s case, the USPS has been unresponsive, both locally and nonlocally.

I’m not sure if anyone reads these, but I’ve decided to just have fun with the ones that are irredeemably useless. Let the fun begin:


USPS Message

ASMS: Math

There are countless pictures floating around at any given time asking people to do a simple arithmetic problem. Usually the problem requires knowing the order operations are carried out in. Then an argument ensues in the comments, usually with some people sounding really sure that the order of operations only applies in the context of a class on the order of operations. (You could of course have an arithmetic that is strictly left to right, but the standard convention is what it is. Arguing that you’re ignoring the standard convention for the order of operations is as silly as picking a wrong answer and defending it with a nonstandard definition of the plus or times sign.)

I decided to make a somewhat better problem.

Better as in slightly more interesting. I understand the strategy: The comments and shares generated give a page a lot of exposure. People like their pages having exposure. Almost nobody even bothers with mine. But mine seems far less annoying. The few comments it does get are also far less annoying.

(For the curious, it’s a surprisingly easy problem thanks to the multiple choice. You know the cos(x) is sticking around when you integrate with respect to z. Then when you integrate with respect to x it’ll turn into a sin(x) and the whole thing will be a constant. So the third integration just multiplies it by 200. So you have some constant times the sine of something. B is the only option.


Annoying Social Media Spam: The logic-impaired

I haven’t posted one of these here yet, so I’ll explain: Sometimes I see a post floating around social media. More often than I’d like. If the post is stupid and I have an idea to edit it, I sometimes do so.

This one originally had an unborn child inside the character on the left with the arrow and text on the right pointing to it. Some people have replaced it with a tapeworm, but I figured that’s easy enough to defeat: tapeworms are not people. The body is something else’s body. So here’s someone else’s body you’re (probably) allowed to harm.

for the logic impaired fixed.png