The Worst Idea in the History of the World

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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29 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    If cell phone conversations on planes are the price of freedom, then freedom can bite me.Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to greginak says:

      Headphones, my friend. Because some people have no consideration for their impact on those around them, we’ll all soon be flying with headphones or earbuds screwed as tightly as possible into our ears, creating tight little psychological cocoons for all our cross-country trips.

      But think of the upside…no more enforced separation from the OT!Report

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    Regardless of whether it’s a good idea, if it doesn’t affect safety, there’s no justification for the government getting involved. Airlines would still be free to ban or regulate cell phone use aboard their planes, just as restaurants are free to ban smoking in cities where the government hasn’t already arrogated that power to itself.Report

  3. Nob Akimoto says:

    Time for the Alamo Drafthouse to start an airline.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    If I may, why should we consider the person talking on the cell phone to be the “oppressor” in this situation? Or otherwise in the wrong? Sure, he might be disrupting your quiet. But why is that worse than your demand for quiet disrupting his intention to make the plane ride a productive one?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

      Suppose his plans were to scream in the face of the person sitting next to him for the entire flight, and mine included not being screamed at. Is the situation wholly symmetrical, or can we identify an oppressor?Report

      • greginak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Come on mike…Sean Hannity certainly flies first class.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think people who are looking to restrict the actions of other bear the burden of proof in why those actions should be restricted.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Give me your home number, and we can discuss this later. Say, 4 AM your time.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        kazzy, I’ve been looking and not finding for a nice summary of a scenario which gets to the heart of something you’re talking about here. The thought experiment is (I think) called the tuba and the piano. It goes like this: two people in a small space want to practice their musical instruments, one of which (the tuba) is so loud that the piano player can’t hear his own instrument when the tuba guy is practicing. Not so for the tuba player, tho: he can hear just fine whether the tuba guy plays or doesn’t play.

        The scenario goes on from there to talk about equitable solutions to the problem and whatnot, but the point is that someone who’s desires require another to refrain from acting are at a disadvantage in both realizing those goals as well as in the negotiation of them (tuba guy has more leverage since his desire to practice doesn’t require piano guy to do anything).Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        But I also think there is a tendency to privilege inaction — as the status quo — over action. Because the talker is at some point quiet and the opts to cease to be, typically drawing attention as the change agent.

        Fwiw, I’m not saying we should turn flights into no-holds-barred. Rather, I don’t think we should just assume one behavior is oppressive and the other is innocent.

        I see this happen in the classroom alot. Teachers will insist one group of children be quiet in service of another group, ignorant to the fact that they have now limited the effectiveness of the loud group.

        We share this world with others. We can’t always expect to get our way.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        We share this world with others. We can’t always expect to get our way.

        I think Stillwater’s point is that absent some rules, the tuba player/cell phone user can always expect to get their own way, whereas the piano player/quiet person can never expect to get their own way. So there’s an asymmetry that has to be recognized and addressed.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I understand that. I’m not arguing for a ruleless society or a might-makes-right society. But I do think that the goal should be a rule or set of rules that balances the competing needs. A lot of the arguments being put forth here seem predicated on the idea that the right to silence absolutely overwhelms the right to talk on the phone.Report

  5. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Let them, people will figure out pretty quick why talking on a cell phone on a plane is a bad idea when their battery is dead inside 30 minutesReport