Archive | September, 2011

Imponderable #19: Denver Colorado

30 Sep

September 30, 2011

In a nutshell, a convict serving a life sentence is suing the prison for saving his life.

I have some thoughts.

Daniel Self has made his thoughts about DNR clear to the prison. They are under not to resuscitate him. Self suffers from sleep apnea, a condition that causes him to stop breathing during his sleep and in this case led to his near-death.

He is in jail for murder and is serving a life sentence. A life sentence has no set ending but ends, obviously, when the inmate dies. The length of the sentence is not set. It can be years or days depending on the lifespan, so if the inmate dies the day after the sentence he has served the full term of the sentence. Self did not try to commit suicide, which some could argue is a way to circumvent life in prison. (I’m not sure I’d make that argument, but it could be made.) This was a case of someone dying (almost) of natural causes so take out any intent of avoiding his sentence. Like millions of others, the inmate made a perfectly legal DNR request, meaning no methods like CPR be used to revive him.

I doubt DNRs are posted on cell doors and I doubt the guards knew he had one. And remember- this was not in a hospital environment. I assume the guards acted fast and properly saving his life. No way would they be expected to wait around while someone checked to see if there was a DNR. If an error has to be made, I’d prefer it to be made on the side of saving someone’s life, not ending it.

Self is now suing the state. I am not sure what he is suing for. Money? I don’t know what his damages are. His release? That is interesting. It could be argued that when his heart stopped his life ended and he has therefore served his life sentence and he should be let out. Is it fair to save someone’s life and force him to serve possible decades more in jail?

This is almost the opposite of a death penalty argument.

Is it cruel and unusual punishment to save a man’s life only to force him to serve a life sentence in jail?

The question in Imponderable.

A New York Legend (2)

29 Sep

September 29, 2011

This New York Legend is fat-packed with semi-scientific suppositions and imaginary engineering.

Beneath New York City, far below the sewers, underneath even the roaring subway, runs a series of water tunnels stretching from the Hudson River to the west to the East river on the opposite shore. These man-made subterranean waterways were constructed almost 100 years ago. They radiate into and out of a large chamber nearly a full block in width, located directly below a particular building on 5th avenue.

The water rushing into the chamber is harnessed to create hydroelectric power, which is used to operate a massive turntable. This piece of engineering is aligned perfectly with the building’s central axis and is stabilized by and synchronized to three 100-foot gyroscopes, ensuring that the turntable is attuned to the Earth’s rotation.

The entire system is accessible only at one point, through a an ordinary looking and unmarked door at the end of a long but unremarkable corridor just off the building’s main lobby.

Most people can’t tell you what the purpose of the gyroscope is, and in fact nearly no one but a very elite few know of its existence, but if you find yourself in mid-town Manhattan at 4am on a particular morning in early May, you just might notice that a certain tall building seems to have slightly rotated in its foundation by exactly 4.675 degrees. And if you direct your gaze upward, you might notice that the building’s antenna lines up perfectly with a certain celestial object.

Can you say it isn’t true?

Keep watching the sky!

This New York Legend is another one from New York radio legend Long John Nebel’s back catalogue, with confabulation and obfuscation by yours truly.

An audio version of this legend first appeared just last week in the amazing FlashPulp website. Check them out for awesomeness and goodies!

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