Technology is Applied Magic

A few hours ago, Rebecca and I were walking through the Schwabstrasse S-bahn stop in Stuttgart, and as we reached the escalator to go up, we felt a cold wind coming down from the street level.  I was wearing only a short-sleeve polo shirt and a pair of light pants, and so we stopped to put on warmer clothing.  Only a few hours earlier, we were having paella on a warm Malvarrossa beach in Valencia, Spain.

As we were putting on our jackets and gloves, Rebecca made a comment that reminded me of one of Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
She observed that we had not been outside since stepping out of our friends' car and into the Valencia airport, and had we instead taken the Valencia metro to get to the airport, we would have been able to step underground in downtown Valencia and then return above ground in downtown Stuttgart, having not been outside and exposed to any sort of weather or natural light the entire distance across three countries. We were completely comfortable in the clothing we wore in the warm Valencian weather up until the point of reaching the Stuttgart street level, and that to me is amazing.

So I was pleasantly surprised as I came across this image while catching up on some of my RSS feeds:

Transit Map of the World’s Transit Systems

It’s a great little drawing, based on the London Tube map, that shows all of the worlds metropolitan mass transit systems either currently in existence or in the works.

The culmination of our technology, ranging from efficient metro systems to air travel to client control systems, is indistinguishable from magic for nearly everyone who’s lived before the 20th century (and even for certain people living in the 21st century, for that matter).

Image via strange maps.