Flutterby™! : Checkin' in

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Checkin' in

2004-09-10 00:09:15.204443+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Greetings from sunny Seattle (hah!). I'm staying at the W, which is appropriately pretentious. Got there via the bus for the whopping sum of $1.25 in roughly 20 minutes; I don't think you can get from the airport to downtown in a reasonable time in any other major city for that price. I'm connected via the good folks at Auricle[Wiki] internet and coffee bar on Pine somewhere up on Capitol Hill.

On the bus to the airport and while waiting at the gate I read Touching the Void. I missed the movie when it came through, and from the reviews I heard in the hiking group I think the book captures the situation much more strongly than the movie did. I now want to see the movie, but I don't think there's any way to convey the confusion, sense of desperation, or notions of survival in the visual form as strongly as the book did. For those of you who don't know the story, it's a recounting of two guys climbing a peak in South America, having an issue, and getting into a place where one of them decided he had to cut the rope to survive. The book is written by the guy who got cut loose, fell into a crevasse, was left for dead, and managed to crawl back down the glacier and over a boulder field to base camp with a mangled leg, partly as a way to assuage the conscience of the one who cut the rope.

Highly recommended, especially since recent life events have me re-examining some of my ethical structures. Nothing like "lifeboat ethics" in the real world to put things out there in black and white.

For the flight I zipped through The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World. Nothing terribly cosmic in it, but I've recently become enamored of the occasional reading of a book which restates the obvious just to make sure I'm thinking about such things. Since the book is about making sure that programmers don't forget that they exist in an ecosystem, especially when they're part of a larger development effort, it was a good book to read before the interview tomorrow.

I'm going to hang out in this area, see what other conversations I can get into, then wander down to the Convention Center bus station and catch transportation south to go hang out with Shawn for the evening.

Be good, and if ya ain't, name it after me.

[ related topics: Books Movies Ethics Software Engineering Seattle Public Transportation ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-10 01:52:56.572492+00 by: meuon

Although I have the book, I have not read it yet. The movie was great, made me want to read the book, just have not had enough time yet.

"Lifeboat ethics" - And those work in remote hiking/camping, caving, rock climbing.. may we never have to find out how strong our inner superman really is, or how we would deal with those decisions.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-10 14:18:52.918698+00 by: ziffle

"Life boat Ethics" - we don't live in life boats. We can plan ahead. Emergencies do happen, but they are not the norm. Plan ahead.

There is a bar in Mayberry, and above the bar they have a sign that says: 'Your failure to plan does not mean we have an emergency'. And so it is.

I would like to see these mountain climbers pay the full cost of their rescue by the rescuers. Maybe then they would be more cautious and it would not cost everyone else for their failure to plan. Or they would buy 'rescue insurance' which would be expensive indeed if they were out of their element and experience.


#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-10 14:44:13.752123+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, the particular situation was that there were no rescuers, they dragged their own sorry selves back down the mountain. And, yes, he traces the cascade of failures back to one simple cause, so, yep, it was preventable.

But the cascade lead to the necessity of several "me or him" style decisions, and seeing both parties look back upon those is instructive and reaffirming.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-10 19:07:58.27623+00 by: ziffle

Reminds me of the fellows who go to Iraq or wherever on their own and then they are captured -- and its trouble for everyone else to rescue them. Why don't they simply stay away?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-10 22:21:35.292488+00 by: meuon

Ziffle, I and other Flutterbarians take some unusual risks, but 'lifeboat ethics' also work in traffic accidents and other mundane, yet risky behaviors.

Still, I wish I could find one of the pics of me, hobbling out of the mountains of Mexico on a home made crutch after breaking my ankle..

#Comment Re: made: 2004-09-11 16:50:34.001864+00 by: Dan Lyke

I should also note that when I say "lifeboat ethics" I mean ethical situations that have been reduced to two or so people in such away that most of the moderating influences of society and culture have been removed: Two guys on a mountain, one or both may die or live, what are the responsibilities and rights of each; or another situation I don't feel comfortable going into publicly right now which involves decisions of possibly similar magnitude, but with at least one of the parties having impaired cognitive abilities.

Not just the old "drilling a hole in one side of the boat" example.