Morning Ethics Warm-up, 4/9/21: You Know, Caring About Ethics Is Not A Psychologically Healthy Place To Be Right Now…

1. I can’t mount the intestinal fortitude to even visit Facebook lately. I’m afraid I’ll snap and write something like, “You people are all such hypocritical assholes, at least 90% of you! For four years, you barfed out post after post mocking the President of the United States, attracting boats of “likes” and “loves” for every misspelled word, every exaggeration, every off-the-cuff dumb remark, and when the mentally-failing President you elected completely blows all trust and credibility in less that three months with material lie after lie, deliberate racially inflammatory statements, and outright stupidity “on steroids,” as he would say, your response is ‘Yeah, but what about Trump?’ You’re all a disgrace to your nation, your society, your various institutions of higher education, and basic principles of logic. To hell with you.”

This week, making a case for a fake infrastructure repair bill that appears to be just another pork-laden giveaway to favored Democratic constituencies, Biden said, among other things, “We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds, supersonic speeds, be able to figuratively, if you may, if we decide to do it, be able to traverse the world in an hour, travel at 21,000 miles an hour…Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane!”

The speed of 21,000 miles an hour is about Mach 28, or 28 times the speed of sound. The fastest commercial airplane flies at less than Mach 1. Remember the Concorde? A single fatal accident at that plane’s high speed was enough to kill its commercial use. All it would take is one crash of Biden’s miracle plane, where every soul on board was vaporized, and no one would buy another ticket. Think Hindenburg.

As for Joe’s magic train, it’s ridiculous. The Central Japan Railway Company is testing a train that can go a top speed of 374 miles per hour. The “bullet trains” in Japan operate at about 200 miles per hour. France has a train that has hit a top speed of 357 miles per hour. Biden’s train would go across the continental U.S. at an average speed that is 47 percent faster than the top speed of the fastest prototype trains that exist today—if there were no curves. But, of course, there would be As the New Yorker explained eight years ago:

To cope with centrifugal force, train tracks tilt on curves; the problem is that the train can only tilt so much before either it or the passengers inside tip over, so the curve must get larger and more gradual to safely carry a super-fast train. “Tracks rated for fifty miles per hour need almost no banking and can have a curve radius of fifteen hundred feet, while a train traveling at a hundred and twenty miles per hour needs a track with significant banking, and a minimum curve radius of more than a mile and a half.” A train track designed for a train going 550 miles per hour would have to have an absolutely gargantuan curve radius. Our current system and routes of train tracks would be completely unsafe for a train moving at that speed; it would fly off the tracks at the first curve.

And, of course, the Hindenburg again applies.

This is the kind of thing I developed the “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…” initials for: IIPTDXTTNMIAFB. The Facebook version would be “Imagine if President Trump said X that the Trump-Hating social media mob is accepting from Biden…” or IIPTSXTTHSMMIAFB.

2. Again: Derek Chauvin will either be acquitted outright, or his conviction will be overturned, or it will be travesty of justice. Attorney-blogger John Hinderaker has been watching the trial, and his observations are interesting. Here are some of them:

  • “The state preemptively showed the officers’ body cam videos that revealed, not just the last minutes while Floyd was being restrained on the street, but the 20 minutes or so that preceded. This was certainly a revelation to most or all of the jurors. Based on their answers during jury selection, they had all seen the famous last nine minutes that were posted on social media by a bystander, but had no idea of how George Floyd, big and strong and out of his mind on drugs, had battled police officers to a standoff, culminating in their acceding to his demand that he lie on the street rather than sit in the back of their squad car while waiting for an ambulance. Jurors also were probably surprised to learn that Floyd had been foaming at the mouth and complaining of not being able to breathe from the moment when officers came on the scene.
  • “George Floyd’s girlfriend was a key witness. The state tried to present her as a let’s-go-for-a-walk-in-the-park flower child, but it soon became evident on cross-examination that she and Floyd were drug addicts. This was the first time the jury learned that Floyd’s death may have been caused by a fentanyl overdose, not by police officers kneeling on him. In fact, Floyd overdosed on fentanyl in March, just two months before his death, and spent five days in the hospital. Perhaps he took just a little bit more, a fatal overdose, in May.”
  • “The state presented a parade of Minneapolis Police Department witnesses, including the Chief of Police, who threw Chauvin under the bus, alleging that he violated MPD policies in his restraint of Floyd. They were followed by use-of-force expert witnesses….Jurors may have been surprised to learn that there was nothing wrong with kneeling on Floyd on the street. That was consistent with MPD guidelines, and the experts agreed it was fine. Their complaint is that Chauvin and the others should have gotten off Floyd when he stopped struggling and grew quiet, and should have turned him over on his side. But there is no MPD policy that clearly states this. Rather, the Chief and other witnesses expressed their opinions as to how the broad, general use-of-force policy should be applied in this instance.”
  • “I am willing to believe that it would have been better practice for Chauvin and the others to get off Floyd at some point, but seriously: failure to get off a guy who is crazed with drugs and has been battling with officers for 15 minutes, and more or less winning, is murder? or manslaughter? I don’t think that is an easy sell.”
  • ” [E]mbarrassing testimony emerged yesterday. Two vehicles, the SUV in which Floyd, his drug dealer and a woman friend were seated, and the MPD squad car, were impounded and processed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. But white pills in those vehicles were left unchecked. Why? Because the BCA didn’t realize that drugs were a factor in the case. It was only in January, as a result of a request by defense counsel, that the BCA finally identified and tested pills in one of the vehicles that turned out to contain fentanyl–a lethal dose of which was in Floyd’s blood when he died.

Hinderaker concludes,

So, is there any chance that Derek Chauvin might be acquitted? …When this trial began, I doubt that any juror expected the prosecution to argue that whatever Derek Chauvin did was not the sole cause, or the primary cause, of George Floyd’s death, but rather a “substantial causal factor” along with a fentanyl overdose and other serious health issues. Will the jury be willing to destroy Derek Chauvin’s life and send him to prison on this theory?…That raises, once again, the question of whether Derek Chauvin can possibly get a fair trial. Everyone knows that if the jury doesn’t convict, and probably if it doesn’t convict Chauvin of murder, the city of Minneapolis will go up in flames. This is why the power of the state is arrayed so unanimously against him. Chauvin may have misjudged, may have screwed up, for four minutes on May 25, 2020. But he is being sacrificed to raisons d’État.

3. This doesn’t help either… A prominent Black Lives Matter activist and social influencer—you know, a moron; her name is irrelevant—announced on Tik Tok, “If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose.Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just sayin’.”

Just sayin’ here, most Americans don’t want their justice system to be extorted by racist mobs. Her video was taken down, but not before it had been downloaded and passed around by a million viewers.

I would love to give the closing argument in this trial. Shooting fish in a barrel…

4. Sarcastic observation of the Day: Yeah, this certainly seems like a sensible approach to fixing “systemic racism.” Princeton accepted to its class of 2025 1,498 applicants, according to numbers provided by the University. Less than 9% (129 out of the 1498) are white American males, and many of those are athletes. 68% are listed as “persons of color” and 14% identify as international students. 52% are female. 48% are male. 18% are white Americans of any gender.

Seems fair, don’t you think?

I think we need an encore! Take it, Frank Drebbin…

18 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-up, 4/9/21: You Know, Caring About Ethics Is Not A Psychologically Healthy Place To Be Right Now…

  1. #1 If I recall, the Concorde crash was the result of on runway debris being kicked into the fuel tank of the Concorde upon lift off. The debris fell off of the previous plane lifting off. The reason for the debris was improper maintenance of that plane. It wasn’t directly the fault of Concorde plane design or crew operation. But the Concorde was going to go to the glue factory anyways, since the planes were about 30 years old at that point, analog control equipment, larger crew size, meaning it was getting more and more expensive to operate those planes. The crash was a nail in the coffin.
    #3 This just in, after the Chauvin trial, peaceful protests intensified nationwide. Police nowhere seen, due to unpaid leave given following defund efforts. More news at 11!
    #4 Can the White Students Association file a suit for racial discrimination? /s

    • I do suspect that if they were still manufacturing and delivering Concord planes, a single incident would not have derailed them. In fact, the concords resumed service after the incident.

      However, as the planes were 30 years old and discontinued, the program would not have lasted much longer even without the crash. Flying a thirty year old plane, particularly at speeds that would tear an ordinary plane apart fresh out of the factory, would be irresponsible.

  2. #4 subtract from those demographics that year’s graduating class and you get a population sold the lie of government subsidized student loans.

    They’ve been bribed to vote a certain way now. Or maybe _extorted_ is a better term since the loan shark is promising relief from the debt collection goons.

  3. The US is now systematically implementing racist policies to discriminate against white people. I do not believe it is going to lead anywhere ethical.

    I already cannot watch the news because it is psychologically unhealthy. Reading the news is getting to the point where it is psychologically unhealthy. The internet is psychologically unhealthy.

    I’m really getting to the point where I think the only solution is to create little self sustaining communities that live with only the technology that existed in the 80’s and early 90’s. Make your own laws and ignore the rest of the country.

    • N.P.,
      I know of a few Christian churches who are working on building communities somewhat along those lines. They are fully aware that their faith, along with Western Civilization, is under attack, and they are determined to preserve both for their posterity.

      • They need to make sure that SloJoe’s nominee to head the ATF (or “AFT”, per Joe) doesn’t find out about them.

        • I actually did think of the Waco incident when I wrote that comment. I sincerely doubt that the totalitarians would be willing to leave people alone, even in small communities that could not pose a threat to them.

          I don’t care, though. The current state of the country is so stressful, that I would happily trade a period of peaceful freedom and happiness for an impending death by the FBI’s goon squad.

          I need to find one of these communities and move in.

  4. Commercial passenger air travel at Mach-28! Awesome. Will the passengers be required to undergo a preflight physical to determine if they can withstand the acceleration, and will they be required to provide their own g-suits?

    And trains? California still has not got the “bullet train” going between Fresno and Bakersfield, let alone San Francisco to Los Angeles. Hell, they don’t even own or control a physical right-of-way between SF and LA. Mu grandchildren’s grandchildren will see none of these (all 3).

    Jack how does one get permission to use your opening statement, or close paraphrase, on people who need assistance in understanding simple things. I don’t do FB, but participate in some groups with an unusual number of dunces.

  5. 2. I am all in for betting on “travesty.” And, no overturning, by any court. Riots gotta be in celebration, dontcha know?

  6. Remember the Concorde? A single fatal accident at that plane’s high speed was enough to kill its commercial use… As for Joe’s magic train, it’s ridiculous.

    As the saying is, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts”.

    That sort of crash never happened, not nowise, not nohow. What did happen was a crash on take off, at considerably lower speeds (and a lot of less visible policy decisions contributed to ending Concorde flights, too). And the train isn’t ridiculous either, technically rather than economically considered, unless you insist on doing it the wrong way.

    The biggest source of technical problems for travelling as fast as Biden proposes is that it requires a forced orbit, pushing downwards, as it is faster than a free low earth orbit. That is theoretically possible to achieve when travelling in evacuated tubes using magnetic levitation (which makes a non-ridiculous magic train possible), but is far harder in aircraft as they would have to do aerobatics at high speed to invert at the transition, or else have wings stable and controllable enough in both positive and negative lift (and never mind flipping the passengers upside down at every transition).

    For what it’s worth, the New Yorker is quite wrong in general there. It is only describing what happens with regular trains. The (very real) issues are very different with tilting trains.

    • As Johnny Carson would say in good humor, “Wrong, Pedant-Breath!” This is a matter of emotion and appearances, not physics. Hence the Hindenburg reference. Zeppelins had a very good safety record—even the fiery crash didn’t kill that many. It doesn’t matter how fast the Concorde was going, or why the accident happened. It was a total wipe-out, it was a unique mode of transportation, and the crash made it seem scary, so the hell with it. The same thing happened to Buckmister Fuller’s car prototype, the Dymaxion—one terrible crash killed it. With the space shuttle, it took two, but the results was the same. It is why the self-driving cars are doomed as passenger vehicles, even if they have a good safety record.

      This is more true now than ever, as Americans have been weenified into extreme risk aversion.

      • And I can tell you with equal humour that you – in a literal sense – don’t know what you are talking about. That is what I was trying to fix, in a friendly spirit.

        You presented ostensible facts in support of a thesis or theme. Yes, your thesis or theme was all about the emotional side. But you did try to back what you were getting at, and you got that wrong. Now you are trying to shift the goal posts by making out that the facts don’t matter, basically asserting “do not confuse me with the facts”. Only, you opened the door to that by bringining in faulty facts. If your “facts” mattered enough for you to cite them, they matter enough to be set right. If not, you shouldn’t have cited them as ostensibly authoritative in the first place. If getting it all right is pedantry, well, you shouldn’t have prayed any of that in aid at all.

        So you should* pull your socks up and either get your supporting material right or avoid using it altogether if it is not material to your thesis or theme. Even if your factual accuracy is trivial this time, it’s still no pedantry to try to get you to respect facts as not doing that is a bad habit that will come back to bite you in due season (see A.P.Herbert’s correspondence concerning “dehydrated socks” if you have time to spare).

        * Here, I write “should” in the engineering rather than the ethical sense.

        • But in this area, the facts DON’T matter, so I’m not going to argue about them. They are irrelevant when this phenomenon occurs. Your effort to cavil about them is a deflection and a distraction.The details of the Concorde—you may be right; I’m not interested enough to do the research—doesn’t change the fact that nobody needed to pay premium prices for a mode of exotic transportation for which there were perceived as safer and less scary alternatives. Nor did you address the other examples I provided. History tells us one terrible crash—maybe two— and it’s over. And if there might be an exception, it’s not worth the gamble.

          • Another example: When Air Florida had a spectacular winter crash in DC, hitting the cars on a bridge and making a hero out of a random guy who rescued some survivors from the icy Potomac, the line was toast. Part of the fault lay with National airport and the weather—it was a blizzard—but never mind: the name “Air Florida” and “horrible disaster” were linked in the public’s mind. In two years, it was bankrupt. You can argue, legitimately, that there were other factors, and there were, but the crash sealed the line’s fate.

  7. I suspect where #1 is coming from is discussions Elon Musk has had about the possibility of a “starship” being used as a ballistic missile people mover. It is most definitely not more fuel efficient, but transcontinental trips could be made in 15 minutes and anywhere in the world is possible in 30 minutes.
    The promise of starship is the turn around time is supposed to be measured in minutes.
    A mere few years ago the idea of landing and reusing a rocket was science fiction. Now space X is doing it monthly. I wouldn’t count them out on delivering on their promise.

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