The infinitely bad sneeze

Zack writes to me:

You’re in an airport, about to go through the security line. You sneeze, which delays you by two seconds. It doesn’t just delay you by two seconds, though; it also delays everyone waiting in line behind you. And everyone who will show up while the people currently in line haven’t gone through yet. In fact, if you assume that the queue is never empty, which even at 3 in the morning is true for the major airlines, we’re talking about arbitrarily large quantities of wasted time.

I believe that airport queues do eventually empty out, if only at 4 a.m., so is there any setting where this result might hold?  And if so, what is your obligation to produce infinitely good outcomes, say by cutting off your nose?  On the philosophical side, you might find this debate relevant.  By the way, here is Zack on ranking the babies.


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