Thursday, November 16, 2023

We're Not Going Faster

While internet is getting faster, humans aren't.

For millennia, the fastest humans could move on land was about 4 mph. That's the speed of a human or an animal walking. And you could probably do only 20-30 miles per day depending on your stamina or your animal's abilities. (If the animal was pulling something such as a wagon or chariot, it probably was limited even more.)

Then came the train which started out at about 10 mph. More than double walking but still slow. Yes, now they are trains that do 300 mph. 

Today, the fastest mode of travel is the jet airliner (ignoring fighter jets and private jets that are much faster but not available to the general public). They go about 550 mph. And they have since the early 1960s. In 60 years we haven't sped up much at all, especially since the Concord was grounded.

And to be honest, flying is so uncomfortable and inconvenient, I won't fly unless I have no other choice. Last time I went through a TSA checkpoint, I was so molested I thought he should have bought me dinner first.

But why aren't we going faster? There's Elon Musk's hyperloop which might be as fast at 300 mph and more convenient than air travel. And some guy says he can make a Mach 5 (3,600 mph) airplane. That's 3,700 miles per hour!

The problem is, the faster you go, the more problems you have. The SR-71's top speed is still classified but is thought to be in excess of Mach 3 (2,200 mph). And it's a very specialized airplane with a titanium-skinned fuselage. The heat built up from friction with the air is a huge challenge as speeds climb over Mach 1. 

I'd like to be able to travel faster than 550 mph. I'd also like to travel in comfort and convenience (you know, like in a car). Maybe I'm asking too much.

What do you think about the speed we travel? Do you want to go faster? Let me know in the comments below. 

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