“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.” — Benjamin Franklin
“I have so much that I want to do. I hate wasting time.” — Stephen Hawking
I have always fantasized a technology that can transport people instantly anywhere like the Star Trek transporter. Imagine that you can be anywhere you want instantaneously: you won’t have to worry about where you live, how far is that from work or school. No time is wasted traveling. However, just imagine that people popping up everywhere or being beamed away in the middle of a room–that’s unnerving. Or the conversation of “what is with your elephant nose? Oh, a teleporting accident.” Not to mention that bad guys would have a field day every day or people would probably never die and clones everywhere.
Furthermore, it would blow my golden rule out of water. I have this rule that I have to work with 10 mile radius of my house; thus, I would draw a circle on map centered on my house and only look for jobs within the 10 mile radius. The reason being that I don’t want to waste my time commuting and also gives me the option of biking to work. Now we could live and work anywhere. What a breakthrough! But that’s hundreds of years away assuming it is even possible so my golden rule is safe, for now.
Back in the reality of 2017, in Taiwan, they have a highspeed rail. The last time I was in Taiwan, it still took a couple of hours to travel from Taipei to Taichung at a minimal regardless the transportation choice (even flying as well, counting check-in.) Since then they built the high speed rail and I was looking forward to ride it. It can suppose traveling up to 186 mph, shorten the time from Taipei to Kaohsiung to just one and a half hour. from 5 hours. It was one of the must do for me. And I wonder what it would do to my golden rule.
I like to travel by train because they have a set schedule and one can just show up at the train station, buy a ticket then get on the train in just a few minutes.
It is the choice for us, the last minute travelers. The ticket vending machine did not like my credit card for some reason so I had to use cash. Luckily it wasn’t too expensive, about 750 NT ( 25 dollars) for adult and 50% for child 12 and under. They have reserved and non-reserved seats (only 25 NT cheaper). We got the non-reserved seats and went down to the platform as a train just pulled in.
The orange/white pointing nose of the train right away gave the impression that it can go fast, with its nose knifing through the air, parting the invisible sea. It is functional and aesthetic. The ride was smooth and quiet AND it was fast but I didn’t feel it. It was quiet enough that we could talk in normal voice. It was smooth enough to write normally. It was fast enough that if I saw something I wanted to take a picture, even with my iphone in hand, by the time I switched to camera, it was already too late. I first tried to use Runkeeper to track its speed but soon realize that it was too fast for the Runkeeper. I switched to use Strava and it was able to keep up with the speed and showed speed around 185 mph. I was happy that I was at Taichung under an hour from the time we purchased the tickets. That was impressive and I love it. I am proud of the fact that Taiwan has one.
There is the Marchetti’s constant which states the average time spent by a person commuting each day is one hour. Anything longer can become an issue. And it claims this was the reason how a community grow, from distance that can be covered on foot, to horse/bike, to car, to subway. It is close to my golden rule as I base the distance on how long I willing to commute which is 30 minutes. And now with high speed train, does this implies anything within 100 miles can be considered as a city? Maybe to some extent but I still like my golden rule of 10 miles radius over 30 minutes commuting as commuting is not free and it is not like you can be there at any whim without a cost. Not even hyperloop can change that. High speed rail is great though, especially when you don’t have a choice and need to travel; and, it saves time.