Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Addicted to Speed?

Leo Kelion, Technology Desk Editor for BBC News, released a story this morning about Francois Gissy, who achieved a record-setting 207 miles per hour on a bicycle enhanced with rocket propulsion. His goal is to reach 250 miles per hour. However, anyone who read this story beyond the introduction quickly discovered that just about everything Gissy did involved putting his own safety at considerable risk (and "considerable" may be an understatement). Gissy himself even called the experience "scary." Apparently, it was not scary enough for him to persist in trying to reach his goal.

This may bring a whole new semantic interpretation to the phrase "speed freak." Back in the dark ages of my student days, that phrase referred to that particularly kind of drug addict who was hooked on "uppers." It is clear that each stage of Gissy's experimental runs has left him with a "high." It is also clear that each such "high" compels him to go after another one that is "higher." While I have no objection to Kelion reporting this as a technology story, I have to say that this may be the ultimate story about the consequences of the dogged pursuit of a technological goal that probably will have little impact on society (unless you wish to take into account Gissy's next of kin).

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