People love breaking records but sometimes they try to break the wrong kind of records. Certainly breaking a world record usually means learning something but with learning you have to prioritise. It is better to learn to read than it is to learn how to disguise horsemeat as beef. Both are, of course, useful occupations but reading is more important. So it is with record breaking. For some reason a group of British engineers have their hearts set on breaking a world speed record for a car.
They are designing a vehicle powered by a Eurofighter typhoon jet engine, which they hope will reach one thousand miles an hour or more this year or next year. They have found that Hakskeen Pan in South Africa has the kind of land surface to enable this car to reach those speeds and are busy designing the vehicle. They call the vehicle the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car.
I am sure that a great deal of skill and engineering is involved. They must get the body shape right, make sure that they can slow the car down safely, make sure that the driver is not killed in some unfortunate accident, use the right materials, figure out which wheels and tyres are best and all sorts of other complicated things.
I just cannot see the point of this. Perhaps the engineering will throw up some new important discovery that will benefit humanity, but I doubt that. This seems to me to be self indulgence of the worst kind. No one will be able to use a car that goes at a thousand miles an hour.
The project claims to have an educational purpose. This is what the Bloodhound people write on their website:
“The BLOODHOUND SSC project is unique when compared to other ground breaking engineering ventures in that all the information about the research, design, build and testing of the car is available to teachers and students, and of course to anyone that wishes to visit the website. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) provided a very positive audit report on the first year’s progress, proving our activities and partners were delivering inspirational programmes and achieving our aims. We must now build up the momentum, rapidly growing our curriculum resources and recruiting more schools and colleges to the project.”
I think that it is a question of priorities. The project has its uses in this world where energy is at a premium and when the whole of humanity is threatened by rapid climate change almost certainly caused by human activity, but those uses are as helpful to humanity as the ability to mix horsemeat with beef. It can be done, but why on earth should it be done?
The Bloodhound SSC people would spend their time more usefully in designing a car that can travel at a thousand miles a gallon (or even a litre) than travelling at a thousand miles an hour. It is a nonsensical project which appeals to the worst kind of vanity and I fail to understand why public bodies like Universities and the Army spend public money on it.
Filed under: carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming | Tagged: a thousand miles an hour, bloodhound ssc, bloodhound super sonic car, car spped, cars, education purpose of Bloodhound SSC, eurofighter typhoon jet, mixing horsemeat with beef, one thousand miles, world speed record |