January 14, 2013
Information In America Moves 33,480,000 Times Faster Than It Did 200 Years Ago (Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik)
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 14, 2013 8:08 PMIt's a map of Post Roads, roads built and maintained for the primary purpose of giving mail carriers access to the country, as required by the constitution. This map is from 1804, and shows a surprisingly well-developed network of roads. What we're really looking at here, aside from being the great-grandfather of our national highway system, is the Internet of the early 1800s.The post road network was how almost all information was exchanged in the US at the time. Like today, you could send an email, though the "e" then stood for "equine" and it was just mail and I've exhausted the possibilities of that stupid bit of wordplay. But you get the idea.If we go along with the now/then speed computations I did with travel with information, and really, we may as well, the numbers get nice and ridiculous. Let's say a fresh, well-trained postal horse could run at 20 MPH, which means that's how fast one page of information (say, a one-kilobyte letter) could travel. A one kilobyte email travels at, oh, the speed of light, basically, so that's close to 670 million MPH.So, that means information now travels at 33,480,000 times as fast. I hope everyone now appreciates just how damn quick we are now.