Admittedly it’s arrived 20 minutes late and is closely followed by two other futures, but what else would you expect from a bus?
Beijing’s most recent traffic jam stretched for an impressive 100km. Converting this to temporal units, that’s the equivalent of nine days! That’s 216 hours! That’s almost as long as it takes to get served at the Post Office!
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Chinese government is seeking innovative solutions to its transit troubles. The latest suggestion – a bus on stilts - which sits astride the traffic-ridden lanes is not only a triumph of lateral thinking, but genuinely futuristic1.
As a student of geography, I'm aware that certain dating techniques (particularly radiometrics) require a fixed timescale for calibration. The most widely-used, “Years Before Present”, designates the 1st of January 1950 as ‘the present’.
Using this scale, we're living 60 years after present.
So, in a way, the future arrived six decades ago.