Friday, 26 August 2016

The Wonders of the Age …. Seeing The Future Now

'The Wonders of the Age' …. 'Seeing The Future Now' .... the sort of headlines World Fairs or Great Exhibitions would trumpet in the USA and Europe .....

So while those were the two countries that visitor would go to witness ‘The Wonders Of the Age’ …. nowadays it has to be China. 

Great Exhibition 1851 - All The Wonders Of The World.

For all its increasingly aggressive foreign policy, and its rigidly severe social controls at home, there is little doubting that China is going to be part of, if not the leader of the world’s future. India its near geographical and economic contemporary, I suspect, will fall short of this role because of its numerous social problems. These are so embedded into the culture (uneven education, inequality, corruption, caste issues, issues with women, endemic feudalism to name but a few), that it can only raise the standards for those in certain occupations.

China meanwhile, is a far more ordered society, and although corruption and inequality are major problems, there is no doubting that generally, the wealth of the population as a whole is rising. This means that innovation and a willingness to get things done (often at a cost to the locals) creates an atmosphere similar to that which must have existed in Victorian England or the USA, when the industrial revolution was fully under way.

Just as a small example of this possible future, and as this blog has already covered mountains being flattened …. islands being created, and other ‘wonders’ … on a smaller scale, I give you Chin’s new straddle buses and glass bridge crazes.

Straddle Buses .... The Future Here Now?

The buses are innovative, I give you that, but how practical they are we have yet to see ….. so far it seems the 72ft (21m) long and 25ft wide body bus has run only in Hebei province. They are 2m-high and actually called the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), but the idea is to allow cars to travel underneath them as it runs along a track. Like a subway, it can carry hundreds of commuters but as one engineer involved pointed out "The TEB has the same functions as the subway, while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway" …. Pretty nifty and definitely out the box thinking.

However not everyone is happy and there have been both criticisms and scepticism in about equal measure. 

As for the Glass Bridge and Pathways craze …. well its sweeping China. The Coiling Dragon path is in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan province, and a new section just opened. As you can see it’s not for the faint-hearted ...........
New Glass Pathways ... Set At Dizzying Heights

… The same park already offers tourists a glass bridge suspended over a 300m-deep valley, which is billed as the world's longest glass bridge. Poor little Britain has a bit of glass walkway on Blackpool Tower as it only offering.

Longest Glass Bridge In The World .....

So there you are if you want to see ‘The Wonders of the Age’ folks, there’s only one place to go ……… its now in the East.

Update June 2017: Sadly its been reported that the Straddling Bus has been abandoned .... a little bit of wonder has gone out of the world.


  1. Excellent piece! The Straddle Bus looks like something out of Judge Dredd's Megacity where there's so little room that larger vehicles continually drive around on auto pilot.

    1. You can't imagine them on our roads .... just not enough room, what with the cones, roadworks and general road furniture etc


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