Sunday, January 6, 2013

Things Are So Much Better Now - "Travel Times in the 1800s" Edition

Happy New Year, everyone!

I took a nice long vacation over the holidays to give the grandparents plenty of time with the Babycrat - I hope you all had a very Merry Christmahanakwanzika and Happy New Year too.

In addition to taking a long time off, I've been working on some personal tech projects, which have taken a little time away from blogging. That means I've got a bit of tech fever on the brain, so my next few posts may be somewhat tech-centric - like today's post!

Although I find much wrong with the world today and have tons of ideas as to how to improve the world and society in general, I also find it helpful and encouraging to look at how life used to be, in order to remind myself that now really is the best time to be alive ever in the history of humanity.

Today's example of how it's the best time to be alive ever in the history of humanity: travel times.

A scant two hundred years ago, it would have taken me about a month to travel from Washington, DC to my hometown in Tennessee - the below maps show how long it took to get from New York City to various destinations in the eastern half of the United States:


Railroads had made a huge dent in travel times by 1930, when a person could travel across the country in less than 4 days - amazing!


[Original map source - Flowing Data.]

And now, I can fly to Los Angeles in just a few hours, or to Europe in half a day - fantastic.

So, yes, as angry and frustrated as I get with the world today, it sometimes good to step back and remember - it could be a whole lot worse. I could have been born in 1750.

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