The Need for Speed

The drive to get things done faster is no new thing. Civilisation has marched to the beat of an ever more rapid drum since at least the days of
Napoleon. Here’s (quick) history of haste.
? Early 1800s: Steam is harnessed for speed on land and water. Some warn of crushed bones from travelling at more than 50kph.
? 1830s: Old World visitors marvel at speed of US society. It is said of the average New Yorker: “[he] always walks as if he had good dinner before him, and bailiff behind him”.
? 1875: Telephone heralds an era of instant long-distance communication.
? 1876: Wind up alarm clock removes most excuses for being late to work.
? 1890s: Heyday of the bicycle brings warnings of “bicycle face” Ñ permanent disfigurement caused by high-speed pedalling.
? 1899: Leisurely 3:4 time waltz is elbowed aside by racy ragtime of Scott Joplin. Ever faster music will follow: jazz, boogie woogie, rock, disco, punk, and finally techno which red lines at 200 beats per minute.
? 1913: Henry Ford introduces the production line cutting car assembly time to just two hours.
? 1914: Serbians used to slower diplomatic pace miss an ultimatum deadline from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and World War I begins.
? 1937: Dale Carnegie shows time-strapped people How to Win Friends and Influence People fast.
? 1953: Carl Swanson launches the TV dinner for people in hurry to relax.
? 1971: Faster pacing shrinks TV ads from one minute to 30 seconds. Furious 15-second sales attacks are in the wings.
? 1973: In the US, startup Federal Express puts parcel delivery into overdrive.
? Mid-1970s: High-revving cocaine replaces laid back marijuana as drug of choice.
? 1980s: Scientists find it necessary to invent the nanosecond Ñ measure of time lasting one-billionth of second.
? Mid-1980s: The fax speeds up document delivery.
? 1988: sound bites of US presidential candidates drops from 40 seconds to 10 seconds.
? Late-1980s: The cellular phone introduces way to get interrupted while in the middle of anything, anywhere.
? 1990s: Email is lapped up by those without the time to fax.
? 1992: US study reveals 38 percent of people are “rushed” all the time.
? Late-1990s: Business lunch shrinks to 36 minutes, according to US magazine Fast Company.

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