Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Physics and Transportation Speed

As is well known, the increase in transportation speed characteristic of most of the 20th century came to a halt a few decades ago. This is usually expressed in terms of “What happened to yesterday's dreams?” or even “What happened to yesterday's reality?” To be more specific, there's the common rhetorical question, “If we could put a man on the moon, why can't we put a man on the moon?” (with similar questions about the Concorde, etc.).

From a physics standpoint, you can think of speed as proportional to the square root of energy divided by mass. Since per capita energy use has continued to increase over most of the past few decades (even if not at the pace of the 1960s) and per capita mass use has, if anything, declined, we should expect speeds to continue to increase.

I suspect the stagnation is more illusion than reality. I think average speeds have continued to increase, but the ability of our society to concentrate energy in just one nation or just one project is disappearing. A couple of decades ago, William Gibson said “The future is already here—it's just not very evenly distributed.” Since then it has gotten better distributed.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.