Life in the sloooow lane

April 06, 2011

I don’t know exactly why, but I guess I find this sort of depressing.

A wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal either heralds or laments – depending on your perspective –the end of the “age of speed”.

The basic premise is thus: Up to the 18th century, mankind was pretty much speed limited. Presumably short of a precious plunge off a cliff (world speed record holder – posthumous), we were going to top out in the (very) low double digits for miles per hour. A horse or two might add a bit of upward range but in general that had pretty much been the state of the art since - well - forever.

Then came the industrial revolution and it was speed-game-on.

For the last 200 or so years, mankind has been engaged in a game of velocity leapfrog. Until now.

For the last 200 or so years, mankind has been engaged in a game of velocity leapfrog. Until now. The last–fastest occupied vehicle was the single shot moon rockets at around 25,000mph. With the retiring of the space shuttle we’re basically to the 1960s… or as the article points out. Today, jet-setters are back around 600 mph, the same speed their grandparents reached on early jetliners 60 years ago.

Sigh… almost enough to make you to jump off a cliff.