Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Time flies. Pretty literally. The trusty BBC website had this image today - which brought back some of my recent conversations with Enoch.

Having finished 5 years of his life - Enoch is interested in many a thing. Recently it is all about firsts. The other day the question was - what was the first car like. Was it small? As small as a toy car? When was the first scooter made?

This evening I was asked: what was the first shop? When I confessed I didn't know what the first shop was, the second question followed: what was the second shop? A simple economic history followed - but as Enoch's dad, I really have to wonder at how quickly things change - and also how certain things don't - or at least not as quickly.

Take the picture above - from the first mechanised flight to the rise of the jet airliner took about 50 years or so. But since then, we basically have had the same technology. Enoch saw a clip of a 'space plane' which may offer 'space tourists' a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to earth - but that is really not pushing the limits much more. We are not really talking about flights that take us around the world in 5 - 6 hours - for instance - something that rocket propelled aircraft may be able to do. Then again - the road to the airport (or space-port) is quite likely to be blocked with traffic of a more humble kind - so the huge extra amount of money that any of these technologies would probably entail (at least in the first part) would hardly be adding much utility.

When was the first airplane?

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