X: Shots in the Dark

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North Americans adore any contraption that moves under its own impetus; they’ve harnessed every conceivable form of energy (and not a few inconceivable ones) to propel that most fantastic of their inventions, the private ground-effect machine. Steam and internal combustion compete with electricity and flywheels; there are fables of “hoverbuggies” run by enormous rubber bands, caged animals, charges of dynamite; and now, nuclear fusion. Secretly playing Prussian Ace in a cloud of turbodust or reading quietly while computers guide them along the Greenway at 300 miles per hour, they don’t care much about the power source. Within the portable privacy of their road machines, they have tapped a greater source of energy, the inner contemplation of a powerfully creative people, which is the source of all their lesser miracles.

—Alistair Brooke

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