Culture Matters

Zulu cultureThe ever wise wiki states that the word culture “is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups” and that “humans acquire culture through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization, which is shown by the diversity of cultures across societies.”

Human cultural diversity never ceases to amaze me. It’s wonderful that there is so much diversity in the way people live, think, behave, work, relax, worship, and do those things they do. A monocultural world would have been not just boring but it would have been a danger to survival. The logic of life dictates that diversity is essential for survival. That said, I wish there was less diversity in some aspects of human culture — the tolerance of littering. Continue reading

Fast Trains

I find fast trains fascinating. Hence this little item caught my attention.

A Japanese magnetic levitation train has broken its own world speed record, hitting 603km/h (374mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji. The train beat the 590km/h speed it had set last week in another test.

Maglev trains use electrically charged magnets to lift and move carriages above the rail tracks.
Central Japan Railway (JR Central), which owns the trains, wants to introduce the service between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027. The 280km journey would take only about 40 minutes, less than half the current time. [BBC. April 2015.]

fast trains

japan maglev

I find it interesting that the BBC did not explicitly mention the French TGV in the list of fast trains. The “Eurostar” category subsumes the TGV trains. Anyway, the TGV are the only fast trains I have had the pleasure of traveling in. Here are a few facts about the TGV:

  • The LGV opened to the public between Paris and Lyon on 27 September 1981.
  • The TGV holds the world speed record for conventional trains. On 3 April 2007 a modified TGV POS train reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) under test conditions on the LGV Est between Paris and Strasbourg.
  • The TGV has carried over 1.6 billion passengers.
  • In almost three decades of high-speed operation, the TGV has not recorded a single fatality due to accident while running at high speed.