Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dangers of Modern Technology

Earlier this evening I mentioned in my me-ander post that I really don't like all the remote controls for TVs, DVDs etc.  I like getting up, walking over to the machines to turn them on, change channels, volume etc. Those of us who care about our health know that just like every drop or lick of food has calories, we also know that every step we take burns those calories and makes us just that much fitter.

I remember when I first read about the plans to build the "chunnel," that underground underwater train track highway between England and Europe.  All I could think of was a claustrophobic panic.  What if something went wrong and people got stuck down there....?  When we lived in London, 1975-77, we went to France on some ferry.  It took a long time, but it felt as safe as anything could be.  That's except for when some drunken rugby hooligans began fighting near us and fell on me.  It was pretty dangerous especially considering that  I was at least seven months pregnant.

Tonight I read that four trains, carrying thousands of people, in that tunnel did get stuck.  Luckily, they eventually got out.

We made aliyah before the World Trade Center was built, and I remember reading about it, wondering how could people be rescued from something so high...  That's right, when the buildings were attacked, people went to the windows and up to the roofs expecting to be rescued, but there wasn't any way of saving them.  There shouldn't have been so many deaths.  Buildings that tall aren't safe.  There's no King Kong.

Just because something can be built, should it be?  Should there be signs up saying:
"The chances are that nothing will happen, but if it does, don't expect to be rescued."


josh said...

I've ridden that train several times. It's only about 20 minutes from one side to the other and the high-speed train actually slows down as it approaches the tunnel and is not going top speed.

I think I'd be with the people leaving the train, except... The distance from one side to the other is not that great especially if you are already halfway thru, except what happens if you are stuck on it as Shabbat starts? I twice been on the train that got to Paris with almost no time to spare before Shabbat. Once because of a train worker strike which blocked tracks around the country for short periods essentially screwing up the whole national schedule.

I think that pikuach nefesh would warrant leaving the train, but without taking anything on Shabbat. Then again, I try to travel with a spare portable Shabbat kit (candles , wine, salami and cake( just in case so maybe I'd stay. Wouldn't it be cool to do Karlebach Kabbalat Shabbat on the Eurostar.

Batya said...

Wow! Is it really that fast? I guess it's one of those fears that may seem worse from far away. Of course I have no idea if I'd ever have to make the decision.

josh said...

20minutes from one side of the tunnel to the other.

The English and French high speed trains are so wicked cool and I do not get excited about too many materialistic things. It allowed me many times to leave work Friday afternoon in one country and get to family or friends in another and avoid a Shabbat in a hotel or with strangers.

It seems that they've now shut it down because of bad weather in France.

Batya said...

Totally amazing. I guess it is all so different when you're there.