Every driven an electric car? Chances are you haven’t. But fifty years ago, New Scientist predicted that we’d all be using them today (28 October 1965). It was, we said, an “obvious solution” with “jerk-free speed control” and a “40-mile range”. You’d just plug the car in at home to recharge its battery overnight and, by the morning, you’d have between 5 and 8 hours of driving time ahead of you.
Of course, the 1960s was something of a golden era for the car – not that many people had one. Roads were uncongested, highways were replacing railways and independent transport was viewed as a sign of a modern democracy.
By the 90s the dream had soured a little and environmentalism was no longer seen as the preserve of the kooky. In the UK, the conservation agency English Heritage was protesting against motorway building, pointing out that the government’s plans would.
Conservationists aren’t the only threat to car culture. In 2002 we warned of the cat-borne brain-dwelling parasite, a distant relative of the . People carrying Toxoplasma reacted about 8 per cent slower than those free of it – which could be the difference between life and death for those out on the road. We reported that “humans with a latent infection are 2.7 times more likely to be involved in a car accident”.
“It didn’t matter whether the subject was a driver or a pedestrian, having the parasite made you more of a danger to other road users,” we went on. Have you got it? Toxoplasma infection generally goes undiagnosed, so keep your eye on the road.
(Image credit: PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
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