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2011 Archives

Faster And Faster

Excerpt

The following story is from the February 19, 2011, edition of National Public Radio. Peter Weyand, associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics in SMU's Department of Applied Physiology & Wellness, provided expertise for this story.

March 1, 2011

By Linton Weeks

It's not just the news that is moving faster.

Cars get speedier. The Super Sport model of the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest street-legal car on the planet. It can travel at more than 267 mph.

Trains are more rapid. In China, the Harmony Express high-speed train zips along at an average of more than 215 mph.

Humans run swifter. Scienceline, a New York University website, recently pointed out that in 1936, track star Jesse Owens set a human speed record for the 100-yard dash at a 21.7 mph clip. In 2009, Usain Bolt traversed the same 100 yards at nearly 28 mph.

How much faster can we run? Scienceline asked. Apparently, a lot faster. Peter Weyand, a researcher at Southern Methodist University in Texas, reports that humans should, theoretically, be able to move at 35 or 40 mph. And, with genetic modification, "radically faster," he tells the website. "If somebody manages the technical trick of having really fast animal fibers introduced and expressed, then all bets are off. Really crazy things would happen."

Such gene-doping, he adds, is just around the corner. And we are headed there. Fast.

 

Read more about Peter Weyand.

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