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Take It To The Limit

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

As a child (okay, as an adult, too), I suffered from extreme motion sickness. Cars, buses, boats – anything that moved, really – would set my stomach swirling.

I anointed many a random front yard on car trips and shut down more amusement park rides than I care to remember. Even now, the first thing I look for when I board an airplane is that special bag.

So I immediately took to this Popular Science article by NOVA scienceNOW correspondent, Jake Ward. He explains that the fundamental limit to all forms of travel is not technology, but humans. We’re flimsy creatures – our bones break easily, our bodies need oxygen constantly, and our inner ear is a mercurial beast.

Take It To The Limit-lateralacceleration.jpg
Please fasten your seat belts

We can make planes, trains and automobiles faster and manipulate them as we see fit, but the rub is that we can’t really improve passengers’ (oh lowly humans!) ability to withstand the technology. Sadly, it doesn’t look like I’ll make it to space anytime soon. And that special airplane bag isn’t going anywhere, at least not for me.

Want more Jake? Watch his NOVA scienceNOW piece on Plasma Rockets online!