We all feel that the pace of life is getting faster and faster. But exactly how much faster?

A latest research found that the walking speed of city dwellers worldwide has increased 10 % in the past decade...

What does this mean? People are walking faster, so what? Do we live better lives? Let's check it out.

The faster, the better?


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The faster may not necessarily be the better.


Schnell: Hey, Rover, can you walk a bit faster? You are really being a “rover” now. Come on and hurry up!

Rover: Why do I have to hurry up? What’s the point of walking so fast? People’s walking speed has increased by 10 % in the last decade, but the world hasn’t changed for the better. Indeed, it’s become much, much worse. See what scourging sun we have this summer? That’s called global warming! I dare not imagine the summers to come. We’ll be burned down to ashes!

Schnell: ……

Rover: Why this silence?

Schnell: I am stunned.

Rover: Stunned by what?

Schnell: By what?! I just wanted you to walk faster because we are going to be later for Prof. Grim’s class. Don’t you forget what he said, “One minute late, one point minus.” He’s just merciless!

Rover: Yeah, that old fellow is not called “Grim” for no reason. However, his class is eight o’clock tomorrow morning.

Schnell: Is it? Oh my god. What’s wrong with me? Old Grim is just making me stressed-out. But you are still overreacting. There’s no need to complain about global warming.

Rover: Did I say anything about global warming? I can’t remember at all.

Schnell: You did. You started by saying that people are walking 10% faster than they did ten years a ago.

Rover: Oh yes, that was a research done in 32 cities. The result was compared with a similar research done in the late 90s. So the researcher declared that he discovered a 10% increase in people’s walking speed.

Schnell: Alright, people walk faster, so what? I think this research is rather meaningless.

Rover: No, it isn’t. Walking speed is a good indicator of the pace of people’s lives. For example, if you walk faster you are less likely to help others, and you also tend to have higher rates of coronary heart disease.

Schnell: But we need to get more things done. People walk faster out of necessity, not by choice. To excel in today’s highly competitive commercial environment, efficiency is absolutely imperative.

Rover: “Getting more things done” is a seductive mindset. But it’s also insidiously dangerous. Excessive focus on what you accomplish will surely make you lose the real point of living. We live to enjoy life, and we need time to do that. You can’t appreciate anything in your life if you don’t have time to do so.

Schnell: Very well said. But given the large population in the big cities, if people don’t walk briskly there would be “pedestrian jam” every where. Besides, walking fast is probably the only exercise most white collar workers do. As a simple form of aerobic exercises I think it should be encouraged.

Rover: I doubt how many people speed up for exercise’s sake. I admit that there are benefits from management of time in order that more may be accomplished. But there is also value in the introspection possible only from a more leisurely pace.

Schnell: ……

Rover: Why this silence?

Schnell: Whatever you say, I am going really fast now.

Rover: Why? Can’t you get my point?

Schnell: Yes, I got it. But this is an emergency. I…

Rover: You what?

Schnell: I need to squeeze the lemon



rover (n) 漫遊者
coronary (n) 冠狀動脈
scourge (v) 鞭打,使痛苦
imperative (adj) 必要的,極重要的
stunned (adj) 大吃一驚的,嚇傻的
seductive (adj) 誘惑的,吸引人的
merciless (adj) 無情的 ,殘酷的
mindset (n) 心態
grim (adj) 無情的,嚴厲殘忍的
insidiously (adv) 暗中為害地
stressed-out (adj) 過度緊張的
briskly (adv) 輕快地;迅速地
overreact (v) 反應過度
introspection (n) 內省,反思
indicator (n) 指標
squeeze the lemon (ph) 小便的含蓄說法



Times:Modern Life: it's one step at a time, only much quicker

The Age :Urban striders shift into fast lane

NY Times :The 8th fastest walkers in the world


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編輯:黃山耘;滕 偉

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