Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

An ageist bike and a new mag

I drive an old man’s car – ie, with an automatic gearbox. However it is a car for old men who appreciate technology. The auto-box is light-years away from the power-hungry “slush pumps” of yesteryear and incorporates two conventional clutches which ensure very speedy changes up and down the six gears. If I flick the lever sideways I can change (and hold) gears manually, useful when travelling down steep winding roads.

Amazingly Honda now offer such a box for their heavier touring bikes. I admire Honda but this may be a step too far. An important feature of bike-riding, apart from a willingness to fall off every now and then, is the speed and ease with which one can change gear. A veritably sensual experience which even old men should not be denied. I foresee a mouth-foaming reaction from one biker who isn’t even old – Avus, are you there?

NEW TITLE Wired is a successful American magazine devoted to technology (plus Ideas, Culture, Business, according to the strapline). Now there’s a UK edition which, most recently, tests slim laptops, the ultimate chair, and “lawn mowers vs. sheep”. Major features include the search for dark matter, the physics of skateboarding, trials riding and free running, and an explanation of synthetic biology. Another major feature – which I avoided – explored Richard Branson’s greenness.

I like it because it slots in underneath pure science for which I lack the education. But I worry about its sustainability. The emphasis is cutting edge and I’m not sure there’s enough of that to go around. I hope it doesn’t lurch into history or repetition. A Christmas present?