Monday, 21 December 2009
Progress Becomes Stasis
There goes Eurostar then - yet another example of something that, when it's working, works spectacularly well, and when it's not working... Well, when it's not working it enters a state of total systems collapse - locomotive power, lighting, heating, air conditioning, water supply, and, to cap it all, even the most basic communications (never Eurostar's strong point), all gone. The accounts of what went on under the Channel are truly horrific, and many thousands are still living through the worst kind of travel nightmare. And why? Because Eurostar's highly sophisticated state-of-the-art trains found themselves unable to cope with a sudden shift from extreme cold into relative warmth. Water got into the electrical systems, and, since the whole shebang (like so many shebangs) depends on those electrical systems, every single function collapsed. It's yet another example of how progress, in the form of technological ultra-sophistication, can tip over into catastrophe and stasis, from the most seemingly trivial cause. Here, as so often, it was the weather, that ever unpredictable, ever surprising phenomenon. As extreme winter cold once again grips Europe and North America, and the curtain falls on the Copenhagen farce, how long will it be till we hear the first talk of a new Ice Age?