Friday, May 18, 2007

Stepping Out At Speed

I am not a big fan of statistics and statisticians. They seem to drain the life out of ideas and creativity and focus on what has been, rather than what could be. I have even been known to call number crunchers 'research vampires' to their faces! And yet every now and then, even the most rational minds can inspire and delight you. That was how I felt about a research report that announced the world is walking faster! Apparently teams of researchers with stop watches had been timing how long it took 35 men and women to walk a 60 foot (18.3 meter) stretch of sidewalk in 32 cities. The results? We’re walking ten percent faster than we were a decade ago, with men generally about 25 percent speedier than women. The city that leads this lifestyle acceleration is – probably to no one’s surprise given their amazing progress – Singapore. Copenhagen, Madrid and Guangzhou follow in that order. Cruisey old New York comes in at eighth, and in my home country New Zealand, Wellington is there in twelfth place. My advice to the speed freaks? Slow down and smell the coffee.