Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “transportation cost”

Transatlantic transportation costs in 1937

1937 Hindenburg disaster shown on cover of magazine in 1950. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A Niche in Time: “One of the Worst Catastrophes in the World” by Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc on 9/26/17 describes the May 6, 1937 Hindenburg Zeppelin disaster than ended the age of passenger flights on rigid airships. More in a moment on the ticket prices for transatlantic travel.

Several factors led to the end of rigid airships. The disaster took out half of the Zeppelin fleet, the U.S. blocked export of helium so the German company had no choice but to use (and would have continued using) explosive hydrogen, fixed wing aircraft were emerging as an alternative (specifically the then-cutting edge DC-3), Zeppelin travel was more expensive than ocean liners, and the disaster destroyed public confidence in the Zeppelins.

Check out the full article for more details.

According to the article, here are some tidbits on the cost of travel to cross the Atlantic at the time on the luxurious, faster airships and slower cruise ships:

Read more…

Technology changes overtake the iconic Boeing 747

Boeing 747” by allenthepostman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

United will make a big deal of its final flight of a 747 on November 7 with retro uniforms for flight attendants, a stylized ‘70s menu, and entertainment fitting the era.  Forbes reports on  9/19/17:  The Boeing 747 Came In With a Bang And Now It Will Go Out With One.

Delta’s final international flight of a 747 was on September 7. Their final two domestic flights of the 747 were for evacuation of people in advance of Hurricane Irma.

Article describes the launch of the 747:

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Amazing news in the wide open frontier of space exploration

Falcon 9 booster a fraction of second before successful recovery. Now *that* is rocket science. A few minutes earlier it was 120+ miles up in the air moving away from the recovery site.  “Orbital Test Vehicle 5 Mission” by SpaceX is in the public domain (CC0 1.0)

Lots of fun articles in the last two months describing the wide open frontier of space exploration.

  • Ghana puts their first sat into orbit. Yes, Ghana. Very cool.
  • In the GPS world, Japan gets another sat in orbit and an Indian launch fails.
  • SpaceX may have more launches this year than Russia and one commentator thinks SpaceX will be dominant in the launch market for decades to come

7/8/17 – Behind the Black – Ghana launches its first satellite and 223 Live News, Ghana’s first Space Satellite enters Orbit – A cubsate built by university students in the western Africa country was launched from the ISS. The small satellite will take pictures of the country in low- and high-resolution. It will also be able to broadcast the national anthem and other music during national events.

Ghana is the first sub-Saharan country to get a satellite in space.

The sat went to the ISS on June 10 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.

How cool!

7/24- Popular Mechanics – Why the First True Spaceliner Will Change Everything – The beautiful DC-3 reduced the time for coast-to-coast travel.

Before the DC-3, it took 25 hours and 15 stops for fuel and repairs to cross the country. With the DC-3, there were only 3 stops for fuel.

Read more…

Drop in cross-country travel time using a DC-3

Another post has a comment on how much the DC-3 shrank travel time to cross the country. Here is a description of how much that beautiful bird cut the time:

7/24- Popular Mechanics – Why the First True Spaceliner Will Change Everything – The beautiful DC-3 reduced the time for coast-to-coast travel.

Before the DC-3, it took 25 hours and 15 stops for fuel and repairs to cross the country. With the DC-3, there were only 3 stops for fuel.

(A video of DC-3s in a 2013 flyby follows, if you are interested.)

Read more…

Travel time from New York to California and back in the 1850s

State of the art travel in the 1860s. Star of India sailing ship in San Diego harbor. Photo by James Ulvog.

State of the art travel in the 1860s. Star of India sailing ship in San Diego harbor. Photo by James Ulvog.

The time it took to travel from the east coast to west coast in the mid-1850s is described in American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ronald C. White.

The book is fantastic, by the way.

The time for transit from New York to Washington and back home is described. For comparison, I’ll repeat the timing for a trip by William Sherman described in another book, which I mentioned a while back.

Here are the transit times:

  • 43 days – New York to San Francisco via Isthmus of Panama – 1852
  • 51 days – San Francisco to New York via Panama – 1854
  • 198 days – New York to Monterey, California sailing around Cape Horn – 1847

West-bound trip

Lieutenant Grant’s unit was transferred from Michigan to the Washington territory.

At the time, there were three options for the trip. First was overland via the Oregon Trail. Second, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America. Third, portage across the Isthmus of Panama.

His unit went the Panama route.

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Long distance travel times now and 100 years ago

Standard travel in 2016. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Boeing 747. Standard method of long distance travel in 2016. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Max Roser sent the following tweets on January 7:

Max Roser ‏@MaxCRoser [1 of 2] Travel times from London in 1914

 

State of the art travel in 1912. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

H.M.S. Titanic. State of the art long distance travel in 1912. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

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Time to cross the Atlantic – 500 year history

Replica of a state-of-the-art warship in the 1800s. That is how you could get across the ocean quickly back then. Photo of San Diego Maritime Museum by James Ulvog.

Replica of a state-of-the-art warship in the 1800s. For a couple hundred years, this is the technology you would use to get across the ocean. Photo from San Diego Maritime Museum by James Ulvog.

For a thumbnail overview of the radical reduction in time it takes to travel long distances over the last 500 years, look at the time to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to America, provided by Robert Bryce in his book Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.

He points out at location 1582 of the Kindle edition: Read more…

The dramatically improved efficiency of dramatically increased amount of travel in America over 40 years

The workhorse 737, along with all other commercial jets, have improved their efficiency tremendously over the last 40 years. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The workhorse 737, along with all other commercial jets, has seen improved efficiency over the last 40 years. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Robert Bryce dives deep into the astounding technological and economic advances of the last 200 years as he ponders Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.

Yet one more reason the neo-Malthusians are wrong in predicting imminent collapse, according to Mr Bryce is

..that we are wringing more and more value out of the energy that we consume.

Consider that in Read more…

Transportation costs dropped 95% in the 1800s

There are a lot of data points on travel cost and travel time during the first half of the 1800s mentioned by Allen Guelzo in his fantastic book, Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President.

Here is the most amazing part:

Overall drop in cost to transport freight with canals, steamboats, and railroads (location 641):

  • 95%

I want to accumulate some of these tidbits since I’m amazed at the radical change created by technology.

Transportation time and cost

Consider:

Travel by stagecoach: Read more…

45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s flight to the moon landing — – 60th anniversary of 707’s first flight

July 20, 1969 is the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I vaguely remember watching. What an astounding accomplishment for humanity and the U.S.

Two fun articles:

July 15, 1954 is the day the Boeing 707 took its first flight.  The decisions made after the first flight revolutionized air travel.

Read more…

Increase in speed of travel in 1800s

The time you have to invest getting from here to there is a major cost of travel. We are so astoundingly spoiled today since we can end our day anywhere in the U.S. starting from anywhere else. Within 24 or 30 hours you can get to just about any country on the planet.

We have to work to remember that  speed is a relatively new development. For most of human history the huge time needed to get from here to there was a severe limit on travel and commerce.

A post in Mother Nature Network, How fast could you travel across the U.S. in the 1800s, highlights maps that show travel times to get across the country.

For perspective, the maps are dawn in terms of travel time from New York City. I pulled together some of the travel times to show the improvements in speed.

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Cost of travel by air has dropped a lot over the last several decades

Graph the inflation-adjusted cost of air travel over the last 33 years – it looks like a straight line down until a couple of years ago and then a slight increase. Average ticket prices today are about 60% of what they were in 1980. Cool.

Mark Perry graphed the data from Airlines for America in his post, Even with baggage fees, the “miracle of flight” remains a real bargain; average 2011 airfare was 40% below 1980 average.

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In terms of hours labor it took to pay for a stamp, what was the cost to send a half-ounce letter cross-country on the Pony Express? Would you believe about half the cost to send yourself across the country now?

While touring the Wells Fargo Museum in San Diego, I enjoyed their description of the Pony Express. Of course I had to convert the cost of mailing a letter to now.

According to the museum, the Pony Express ran from April 1860 to October 1861. From April 1861 until October, Wells Fargo ran the Pony route west of Salt Lake City. However, they set the rates and printed stamps for the entire cross-country run.

Wells Fargo reduced the rate to $2 per ½ ounce and then cut the rate further to $1 per ½ ounce.

In terms of average pay of the time, that is equal to about half a ticket to fly from Missouri to San Francisco today.

Let me explain.

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Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part two

So what was the cost for cross-country travel by stagecoach in the 1870s?

I previously mentioned some of the fun exhibits in the Seeley Stable and Wells Fargo museums in Old Town, San Diego.

Putting together several of the information displays gives this information:

The Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach run from St. Louis Missouri to San Francisco, California covered 2800 miles.

The fare was $200. 

Travel time was 24 days. That means the overall average travel speed was 3½ or 4½ miles per hour including changing out the horses and rest stops.

Let’s convert that into weeks of salary

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Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part one

What did it cost to travel by stagecoach from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1871?  How does that compare to today?

The Seeley Stable Museum and Wells Fargo Museum in Old Town, San Diego offer fun examples of 1800s transportation. Carretas, cargo wagons, Mud Wagon stagecoaches, and Concord stagecoaches.

I picked up a lot of fun information while touring those museums a while back.

Read more…

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