today's Guardian. What's slightly less cool is that this article says the plane could be ready to fly in as little as twenty-five years. What's even less cool about it is that I read an almost identical article in 1980 about a plane that had a lot more backing than this current proposal. No, if you ask me, designing supersonic passenger planes is a lost skill of the Seventies. My parents were lucky enough to fly on Concorde once (and survive!). For the rest of us, we've basically been flying in 747s (or variations on the theme) for forty years now and it's not likely to change any time soon. Honestly, I don't know why I bothered reading Scientific American and watching Tomorrow's World as a teenager. The only huge breakthrough since then has been in computers, and that was the only one they didn't predict.
Updated: Also, Em and I were chatting the other day about how in 1980 we were twenty years away from being able to generate unlimited, pollution-free electricity from Hydrogen Fusion. And we were also twenty years away from being able to distribute that electricity using commercial room-temperature Superconductors. Sadly, in 2008, we're still twenty years away from both of those things. Which is a shame, because if the plans from 1980 had panned out, we wouldn't have to worry about catastrophic climate change.