|Quoting SlamClick (Reply 15):
Every possible argument in favor of humans moving faster than the wind is based on a conceit we can no longer afford.
I realise that this has sort of been covered above, (and I note that the military would probably disagree with your point of view, though whether we actually need wars is of course an entirely separate philosophical question), but I would like to take it a step further.
Why are we so intent on flying meatbags around to attend a conference? I asked this question 8 years ago of the Strategy and Planning people at HSBC (when I used to work for them) and was told that the technology couldn't take it. Well now it can. Perhaps there are certain things that are better done in person, but I reckon that accounts for a small percentage. The rest of it is that business trips are often seen as a perk.
I attended a meeting of 12 people on Friday where half of them had driven for 3 hours - each in separate cars because they started from their respective homes - to attend a half hour meeting. At the risk of sounding self-righteous, I suggested that the follow-up meeting should be done with a teleconference coupled with NetMeeeting. After all - we've already paid for that infrastructure. We did, and it not only was it more productive, so were all the participants for the remainder of the day because we didn't waste 36 man-hours - an entire working week
- shunting bodies around. Now exchange the cars for domestic flights - except where they had to drive to the airport of course.
I know that such an opinion won't be popular among the aviation faithful, but surely we can all see that unnecessary journeys are just adding to a problem that we need to fix. Not because I want to hug a tree, but because it's the sensible thing to do and it'll free up (fuel) capacity for flying stuff that really needs to be flown. And we can work on alternative fuels in parallel with that effort and all come out of this better off.
[Edited 2008-06-17 10:06:55]