How low can you go?

Last Saturday, the fastest sprinter in the world, Jamaican Asafa Powell, beat all-comers at the Jamaica International Invitational meeting in Kingston. Even so, he had wanted to go even faster and blamed the starter for making them wait too long, claiming that “It was the worst start I have ever got in my life so far.” (Read more…)

I’ve long wondered about how much faster sprinters can go. There’s been a regular decrease in time over the last century, although the curve is slowing as the time differences become smaller. Since the introduction of electronic timing, for example, each new record has been less than 0.05 seconds faster than the previous record. Maurice Green’s record stood for six years before Asafa beat it, by 0.02 seconds.

World record progression 100m men

Source: Wikipedia

Statistically it has been calculated that at this ever slower rate, by 2100 the record will have only gone down to 9.52 seconds. Intuitively, however, I can’t help feeling that the progression will continue to the point of running the 100m in 0.00 seconds.

Blade runningFollowing this thought, have you seen the ad for the new Gillette Fusion razor? It’s the one with six, yes six, blades: five on one side and one on the back for those awkward places that five blades cannot reach. I knew this was coming (as did the Onion, 18 months ago). It was as inevitable a progression as the sprint records. The Economist’s graph shows that, by current projections, we may have a razor with 14 blades within the next few years (Read more …).

I remember the TV ads for earlier multi-bladed razors, where the hair would be progressively sliced ever shorter with each passing blade. In the Fusion ad, in contrast, there are no hairs at all, only a fine blue contoured matrix. I guess it’s intended to show the scientifically designed, contour hugging features rather than the fact that the man is already clean shaven. I guess also that idea in the earlier ads was rejected as being just too implausible, with the hair popping back up four times before it’s actually cut short enough to fly a jet fighter. It would also be a little too close to the bone, as it were, as in the Saturday Night Live sketch where the last extra blades start shaving off layers of the face!

Aïe!

  • http://www.madbull4.net/weblog/ Mad Bull

    Six blades?! Wow… I have got to get one!

  • Ria

    The refill packs for the Mach 3 can cost around US$36 (example); by the time they reach 14 blades the refills might cost as much as US$168!

    Growing your beard again might be a cheaper option, MB.

  • http://loxias.wordpress.com Loxias

    Hoho, great one.

    And as ever, numbers and graphs explain everything — as if!