Thursday, November 10, 2005

Meaningless records

In a particularly pointless effort, Boeing has flown a new 777-200LR Worldliner jet 13,423 miles from Hong Kong to London, setting a new record for a commercial airplane (though not a commercial flight; the plane carried just 35 passengers -- pilots, Boeing engineers and an international assortment of journalists, all of whom had been carefully weighed with their luggage). The Earth’s circumference is approximately 40,000 km. So you can get from anywhere to anywhere in about 20,000 km. This airplane is flying an extra 1,500 km just for the heck of it.

There are some records that just don’t matter any more, and this is one of them. It’s as if someone had followed Magellan’s ship around the world, and then sailed another 50 miles at the end.

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