Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, June 19, 2003





The persuit of SPEED
by Ehsanur Raza Ronny

To survive in the Wild West one had to be the fastest draw on the land. Of course, only one person could be the fastest so everyone else had to go down in an undignified heap of bullet holes. Survival depended on speed. Even in much earlier times when man walked with big clumsy steps and did not even have a loincloth, speed was of the essence. Wild cats, dinosaurs and irate cavewoman were incentive enough for a cave-husband to run fast. Everything depended on hustle and bustle. Slowing down is the same as ceasing to exist.

Of course, speed is not just about running for dear life. It has permeated into more or less everything you do every single day. Take for example the cave dweller in the first paragraph who we left running away from his angry wife. Some rock or apple must have fallen on her head at some point of the pursuit and an idea was born. With the flame of brilliance flickering over her prehistoric hairdo she chipped away at a stone and created the wheel. She then probably rolled it down the hill and crushed the caveman. Later during the funeral she probably thought of adding the wheel to the base of her suitcases. It would become easier to drag the huge collection of furs she had through the airport. Other people added wheels to their furniture so they could rearrange the décor without too much hassle. Still others added it to their shoes and the roller disco was born. The wheel became an object that made life more convenient. Adding it to everyday immovable objects allowed you to speed up your chore. You could do much more much faster. And this seems to be the maxim of life.

Doing things faster means you have more time to do more. The wheel was not the only thing that rolled people towards this direction. As technology advanced people wanted to do more as they had a larger option to choose from. Okay, so not everyone wants to do more but they sure want to have the option. Nowadays everything is multi functioning. You get a printer that can make calls, fax, copy, resize and heaven forbid, print as well. You get single kitchen units that can dice, cut, grind, mash, mush and crush.

One of the most worked on devices is the telephone. It can send and receive your e-mails and entertain with games while waiting for the date to show up. The phones can even make a musician out of you by allowing you to practice your skills at ring tone composition. And finally, after all this, if you want you can even call other people.
All this indicates to a disposition for an easy life. Convenience is the key word here and convenience is what we are fed right from the beginning of our lives, literally. Baby cereal now only requires adding water. Watching out for baby poo is a tough job so put them in nappies. Once you get older there is fast food and you are as slow as you can chew. School years mean going to coaching centers that teach you English in 30 days or less. Office years bring about the need for clip-on ties. Mid-life crisis introduces removal of 10 pounds of tummy fat in 10 days. Here we have speed again.

Everyone wants everything RIGHT NOW! Actions need to happen in a snap. Internet allows you to talk to people without even stepping out of your home. Sure, you never see the person but at lest things are happening in a flash. No one writes anymore using old-fashioned paper because e-mailing is faster. Cell phones offer SMS messaging so you can send messages in stunted words. Communicating in complete words is not necessary because it takes too long. Cassettes and CD players do not just forward, they fast forward. And isn't it annoying to get on an elevator that does not have a button to close the doors? You have to wait the entire 3-5 seconds.

Our lives are now governed by this single-minded attitude towards speed and it is not just about saving time. Soon after the cavewoman created the wheel some wise guy named Watt created the engine. Added together and the car was born. People traveled faster than they could have imagined. It gave them more time to do more when they reached their destination. Swimmers shave their body to create a more aerodynamic structure. It saves them milliseconds. For a few thousand dollars you can fly a Russian Mig in Russia. Its one of the fastest planes a civilian will ever get on. Speed is the new high and I am not talking about the tablet.

People need to make their day to day activities more convenient. Their lives need to be more meaningful with more to do. Speed is the answer here and it is an addiction. Your whole life becomes a blur with the promising lure of convenience. Doing so much so quickly leaves you so much time to do even more. But in the end you still end up needing more time. We sleep and relax less than we used to 50 years ago. People communicate with more people but somehow it is less meaningful. 100 people on your MSN list cannot all be given proper attention. Family get less time because they are all too busy watching so many shows on so many channels. Even love has lost its Shakespearean beauty of patience. Arguments require discarding the relationship altogether because fixing problems take too long. Get a new mate.

In this new age technology rules. It's here to make our world a better place. We whiz off to work in fast cars and make hundreds of short calls on our super functioning phones. A meal is readymade and eaten while we flip through the 100 plus cable channels. We sift through the mails but the internet is too slow. It takes almost 5 seconds for the pages to download. Life whizzes past while everyone is engrossed in their go faster gadgets. Speed thrills but is this what we really want?



By Synergie

It hasn't yet been two full weeks since summer vacation started and I'm already sick and tired of it. When classes and exams were, it was traumatizing but somehow time passed unnoticed. But now that they're not, I somehow have pathetically come to miss them. Besides, how much can a person do in Dhaka? Watch TV, browse the net, go shopping, eat out, talk on the phone, hang out with friends and then watch TV again. The cycle's just too typical. Well, on one of my typical cycles on browsing I came to find some sites that seemed cool. I'm sure you're gonna love ém. They're original.
Let's start out with:

Never could even imagine that such a thing existed. But hey, it was actually there looking me right in the face. A dictionary for swearwords! But why? Well, the answer is pretty obvious. When you do it- you should do it right. This comprehensive dictionary of English slang (as used in the UK) with good articles and research facilities is a must-surf if you're going to recently have to exchange speech with an eccentric teenage Londoner. It'll keep you equipped. Plus, it'll prevent all those red underlines from popping up on you're word documents every time you write a revenge letter ;-).

Primarily starting out as a kid-site, yucky.com has definitely broken the age-barrier by its attractively grotesque means. Find out how to turn milk into slime or how much you know about worms yucky lives up to its name. Essentially this is an excellent fun-site that helps kids earn science and biology. There are guides for parents on how to control their kids from not turning into the Pee-Wee Herman and get the best out of this site. The site also provides links to recommended sites.

Apart from all the animated sites, this stands out inimitably because of its arrogant displays. There are great pictures of animals, sunsets and mountain scenery to choose from. Surprise someone by sending one of these unique cards and make their day.
That'll be all for today. Next time I'll be giving you traces of the official as well as unofficial sites that'll be sure to give you only authenticated Harry Potter updates. So, it's chao for now!


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