How research sometimes gets ahead of itself

By | April 3, 2010

You know how researchers sometimes make projections that not only sound implausible, but laughably so.

For example, Richard Wiseman cited the work of researchers who measured the pace of life in major cities across 32 countries in his book, Quirkology, which found that:

“In the early 1990s, the overall average walking speed in the sixteen countries was 13.76 seconds. In 2006, this figure had fallen to 12.49 seconds. Our global walking experiment suggested that people around the world are indeed moving faster than ever.

This increase has taken about ten years. Projected forward, the results suggest that by 2021 people will be covering the same distance in almost no time at all. By 2040, they will arrive at their destinations several seconds before they set off.”

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