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Futuristic Travel

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Futuristic Travel

I turn 50 this weekend, and I'm a little cranky. Not the turning 50 part--it's that I was clearly born too early. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, three-quarters of Americans believe that nearly instantaneous travel will be possible 1,000 years from now. How about that? You're sitting in Philadelphia, but you're thinking about Paris. And, bingo, you're there without having to endure flight delays!

The poll's respondents didn't say how people are going to travel without someone asking us if we packed our bags ourselves. Or whether we're still going to have to pay $50 for a cab ride from Charles de Gualle airport to downtown Paris. I figure that if I could hold on for another thousand years, scientists will have figured out how to implant a language chip in my brain so at last I'd be able to speak flawless French. Now that would be progress.

Does it mean future generations will miss out on the getting-there part? Probably not. Something will go wrong with the transporter machine every once in a while; it'll malfunction during rain storms or fog. Someone will put your bag in the wrong de-materialization chamber, and it'll pop up in Bombay instead of Boston, Athens, Georgia, instead of Athens, Greece. Call me clairvoyant, but I have a feeling even with instantaneous travel, there'll be a complaint desk.


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