2012-04-25

飄香之城5

曾堯角落:飄香之城 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


今天大家抱怨城市急速發展人多車多
不斷增長無法控制的排放成頭痛問題

百多年前城市初現急速發展人多馬多
不斷堆積無法清理的馬排放叫人頭痛

臭氣熏天路人掩鼻低頭慢走步步為營
怎辦怎辦幾十年後豈不馬糞淹沒城市

哈哈科技萬歲馬達取代馬馬路變車路
馬後排糞成為歷史車尾噴出縷縷輕煙


In the burgeoning cities of the nineteenth century, the vast number of horses presented city fathers with an unexpected problem. In the 1880s there was an estimated 150,000 horses in New York City, assuring public and private transportation, and their 'emission' amounted to some 540,000 tons of manure deposited on the city streets. This led prophets of doom to predict that by the 1930s, the world's major cities would be buried under a think layer of horse dung. The great dung crisis, however, evaporated when the automobile replaced horse-drawn vehicles at the turn of the twentieth century.

(Eric Chaline, Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History, p.81)

The myth: A 19th-century Member of Parliament predicted that, given the rate of growth of traffic, London would be six feet deep in horse manure by 1910.

The "truth": The details vary with almost every telling: the doom-merchant is a politician, scientist, city planner, or journalist; the doomed town is London, or various cities in the USA, or a particular famous street such as the Strand; the predicted date of the catastrophe ranges from the turn of the century to 1950; and the depth of the dung goes from knee-level upwards. The underlying message, though, is consistent: forecasting through extrapolation is risky, because it can't take account of technological revolutions.

(Streets of Dung: Did the Victorians really think London would turn into a sea of horse manure?)