Speed: In depth

    Speed has to do with how much energy you put in to it and the resistance that acts against it whether that resistance is air or water. The concept as explained in the documentary is of a paper plane. When one blows on the plane, the air underneath the plane is the one that lifts the plane up as it creates more pressure than the wind blowing on top of the curve. In-terms of the sailboat, the wind actually drags sailboat forward. A traditional sailboat absorbs much of the wind resistance, rigid carbon fiber wings on the other hand deflects this wind resistance works pretty much the same way as the paper airplane. The airfoil beneath the sailboat allows water to flow faster through it than the rest of the boat which lifts the boat out of the water reducing resistance to energy. According to a research done on sprinters, every sprinter spends about the same time (0.3 seconds) to re position the limbs. And though one may not notice, sprinters often push on the ground or hit on the ground harder to maintain momentum. The greater the force, the faster one propels – a difference between professional sprinters and high school tryouts. Its the same as riding an exercise bicycle at home. One may not notice but after a few seconds leaning forward to accelerate and start the bike, one simply focuses on maintaining that momentum caused by putting pressure on the paddles with your foot. Similarly, on a bicycle one generates as much as 350 watts power to ride that bicycle. It is just as much as lighting up “7- 50 watts light bulbs”. Though, this speed may be increased with the same amount of power if the bicycle were redesigned. In a “Recumbent bike”, one travels as fast as 25%, as this bike has a “wind resistant” design.

      Speed is also a great factor in logistics. Package delivery routes for courier companies are often solved using algorithms  and algorithmic software. Just like a GPS, courier dispatch often use computer softwares that calculate fastest route for as many as over a 100 locations in a matter of seconds. This saves couriers time and gas not to mention the much slower depreciation of vehicles that picks up less miles and maintenance. Such algorithms may also be used in loading airplanes… Moving cargo is one thing but moving information itself faster is another!  Stocks were originally bought and sold in person via a broker like an auction but now the same auction happens within seconds  in the comfort of ones home on his computer. High frequency trading involves buying and selling stocks within seconds with large volume. This high frequency trading is another example where “Time is money in a very real way”. Since even thousandths of a second could mean a difference of millions of dollars in profit. Though one may think fiber optic is the fastest way for information data to travel, light in fiber optic actually travels 0.5 seconds slower  than a microwave between microwave towers since light in fiber optic is slower than light in air.

 In conclusion, speed is an important currency in life. Designing products based on speed or using lighter material can play an important role in logistics and economy in general.


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