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Posts Tagged ‘speed’

There’s a lot of discussion about speed these days – from the possible advantage of seconds that some users on the internet would get were broadband “net neutrality” to go away to the market-disrupting micro-mini-milli-second competition among “flash mob” stock traders to debates over the speed-up “bullet trains” might provide. It seems as if we are being dizzied by speed. Imagine, then, how Americans reacted to real speedup in the nineteenth century.

This musing is based on a few old maps that were posted on the web in 2012 and then went viral (e.g., here) in 2013. (That I am writing about them only now shows how un-speeded up I am.) Two of the maps are below. The speedup Americans experienced between 1830 and 1930 dwarfs anything since or anything that we know now or could know – short of traveling through worm-holes.

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