Sunday, November 8, 2009

countdown to stupid

If life was like the movies, in order to capture all the bombers in the world, Homeland Security would only need to track the sale of large digital timers that beep a red countdown to zero before the blast goes off. There could only be a couple of reliable companies for this product so the feds only need follow their sales and our problems with terrorism are over.

In movies, SF, thrillers, and mysteries are all guilty of overusing this corny and really outdated device. "The explosives are ready, Bob, but I haven't finished designing the oversized timer." Give us a break. Even bombs strapped to chests have these stupid clocks on them like a bomber has to let their victims know how many seconds they have left.

Here's a SF twist. What if we all wore digital countdown devices wired to our quantum biorhythms that told us when we are going to die? Imagine it starting at 90 years and beeping it's way along. You start smoking and it drops a couple of years. Cancer? Suddenly you have 5 years. Go into chemo, it adds another three.

You're walking home and it drops to 10 minutes. Realizing you're 10 minutes from home, you imagine a killer is waiting there. You cell 911 and tell the cops to meet you there. On your way there, you get hit by a bus and die on the way to the hospital on the 10 minute mark.

Would it convince us to live healthier lives? Not likely. No more than the disconnect Americans seem to have between gun violence to guns.

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