The futurists at NASA are working on flying cars.
Who would not want to escape the traffic jams that beleaguer the 50-mile daily commute by hopping aboard a private vehicle at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at work, fresh and friendly, at 8:00?
That is the vision of the personal air vehicle division (PAVD) of the vehicle systems program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The IQ-laden brains at PAVD are quick to acknowledge, however, that their dream will not assume material shape for at least another generation—or, put differently, until they have been burned, mixed with ordinary flesh, deposited in an urn, and placed on the mantle of a house of the future.
We at MJTT modestly suggest that the Langley lads and lasses spend their waning years observing their children and/or grandchildren prepare for the next Olympics. We have a better idea.
Our premise is that the PAVD has not sufficiently considered the implications of its dream: air congestion, air vehicle crashes, the cost of pilot training, and of course pollution.
Our own solution to the commuter problem cuts to the chase. We propose nothing more than the total re-engineering of the subway system.
This simple but brilliant solution is built on the old-fashioned idea of gravity, which was first noticed and formulated by Isaac Newton, who was rewarded for his discovery by a knighthood and a long life, bestowed on him respectively by a British king and a Christian God.
Consider this. On going to work, one descends into what appears to be an ordinary subway station. One enters the car in the usual manner. The train takes off—downhill! In twenty minutes, one exits the car, enters an elevator, and soon finds oneself at street level.
Then, after work, one serenely descends into the subway station from which one had emerged nine hours and change ago. One enters the car in the usual manner. The train takes off—downhill! Again! And in twenty minutes, one exits the car, enters an elevator, and soon finds oneself at street level, at exactly the spot from which one had left at 7:30 a.m.
How is this possible?
By what might be called the Myles Junior Principle (MJP). Imagine the common playground piece of equipment, the see-saw. Image two children of similar weight, perched on each end of that see-saw. Now imagine the two playing a game using a single marble, shuttling it back and forth by mutually raising and lowering themselves.
The analogy is exact: the marble represents the subway car; the legs of the two children represent the power agents.
Details of this down-to-earth but masterful idea will be considered in my next column.