The Hypotheticals

Saturday, November 10, 2007

abandoned blog blog

What if there were a blogger who trolled the web looking for blogs that had not been updated in a very long time and gathered them together in an omnibus abandoned blog blog? Just as the majority of species have ended in extinction, it's certain that the vast majority of blogs have ended in abandonment. Like a palaeontologist, this blogger could probe the skeletal code of every specimen to find its similarities to other blogs while tracing its links, both live and broken, to other sites. Like a coroner, he could probe the human factors such as sloth, loss of employment, acquisition of employment, or even foul play, that may have caused each blog's demise. And like a cleric, he could offer a few solemn words of benediction for each abandoned blog---even if no one else on earth, least of all the deadbeat blogger, had ever mourned its passing.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

avoid the ten dollar words

What if some private interest bought the English language and sent monthly bills to all consumers for every word they'd used in conversation, writing, or even talking in their sleep? As a rule, longer words would be more expensive than shorter ones as they require more resources to produce (ink, paper, bytes, etc.) and usually possess a greater sense of prestige. The same elevated pricing would apply to Latinate words and terms borrowed from foreign languages such as Weltenschauung or fait accompli. On the other hand, brand names for common objects could be discounted or even free to use, according to contracts between the owners of English and its various sponsors. Some shorter words would be more expensive; for example "I" would be more expensive than "me" because subjective pronouns convey agency. People who could not afford to use "I" would speak a parody of Tarzan's English (e.g. "Me hungry.") that would be emblematic their powerlessness.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

post 12: advice from everywhere, wherever you are

What if you had a website showing where you were at all times & featuring a live thread where anyone could post advice about your current environs? If you were walking down the street in Paris, a correspondent from Shanghai could alert you to a great Chinese restaurant run by her cousin just around the corner from where you're waiting for the light to change. You could check this thread regularly, or wear an ear piece so people could call you with especially urgent or personal advice. Of course, some people might be fucking with you.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

post 11: I'm sorry I lied to you, Gemini

What if there were a syndicated newspaper astrologer who was absolutely convinced of the truth of his craft, but who, out of sheer sloth, routinely made up the advice and predictions offered in his daily horoscope? Given the difficulty of producing an accurate, useful, and tactful forecast for each of the twelve astrological signs on a daily basis, the temptation to offer platitudes spiced with bogus predictions instead of genuine forecasts based on sound astrology could easily prove too much to bear, especially since there are no government agencies or professional organizations to enforce standards in the field. However, given this individual's unwavering conviction in the truth of astrology itself, it seems possible that his own conscience might eventually catch up with him. If at some point he took the time go back and calculate accurate forecasts for the previous weeks and months, he would probably see that the advice he had been offering in his horoscopes was not only misleading, but in some cases so contrary to the real astrological forecasts as to be positively dangerous and destructive. How could he begin to make amends?

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Monday, May 7, 2007

post 10: brain cell

What if each person on earth lived in a tiny cell furnished with nothing more than a toilet, feeding tube, oxygen vent, web-cam & Internet access? And what if each person's right to a continued supply of oxygen were predicated on the amount of traffic that his or her personal website could generate? If an individual's website didn't receive more than a hundred unique visitors per day, his or her cell would have the oxygen sucked out of it, leading to a dramatic real-time death on the Internet. Of course this spectacle would be likely to draw more visitors to one's personal website, but the spike in hits would come too late. It would be as if the rest of the human race were saying: We didn't find you interesting enough to keep you alive, but your public death in a vacuum chamber is something we'll take time to see.

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Friday, May 4, 2007

post 9: nice package

What if the FDA, in an attempt to combat obesity, mandated that the packaging for all food products must not only list its calorie content, but also compel the consumer to expend an equal number of calories just to open the package?

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