Wednesday, April 22, 2020

An Apt Analogy?

   A jumbo jet is cruising at full speed some 40,000 feet above the surface of the earth. The flight is smooth. The pilots are then suddenly ordered by a handful of armed passengers – the air marshals, we might call them – to shut off all of the engines.
   The goal of this unprecedented policy is to rid the aircraft of some genuinely dangerous debris that it recently encountered. Some well-meaning other passengers, upon noticing this debris on the surface of the plane, argued that stalling the plane as quickly as possible offers the best – really, the only – hope of ridding the plane of the debris.
   When its engines are stalled, the plane, of course, immediately goes into a mad tailspin. It hurtles dangerously toward the ground. “Don’t worry,” the armed passengers, who have now assumed great power, tell their fellow passengers. “We know that this tailspin is unpleasant, but it’s necessary for the safety of all of us. And we’ll restart the engines in time to get our aircraft eventually back on a smooth course. Trust us. We’re following the best scientific counsel.”
From comments:
I notice the scientific counsel has also changed during the plunge. At first it was to plunge until just enough debris is removed so that the plane's wings are not so overwhelmed that it can't maintain lift. Now we for some reason must continue plunging until there is zero debris on the wings, never mind the risk of soon not having wings to which debris can stick.


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