Azara Blog: The bicycle comes top in a survey

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Date published: 2005/05/07

The BBC says:

The humble bicycle has won a UK national survey of people's favourite inventions.

Listeners to BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme were invited to vote in an online poll looking at the most significant innovations since 1800.

It was an easy victory for the bicycle which won more than half of the vote.

The transistor came second with 8% of the vote, and the electro-magnetic induction ring - the means to harness electricity - came third.

Despite their ubiquity, computers gained just 6% of the vote and the internet trailed behind with only 4% of all votes cast. There were more than 4,500 votes cast in total.

People chose the bicycle for its simplicity of design, universal use, and because it is an ecologically sound means of transport.

The survey also asked participants which innovation they would most like to disinvent.

GM foods came top of this poll with 26% of the vote, followed by nuclear power with 19%.

By contrast, the technology most would like to see invented was an Aids vaccine.

These kinds of surveys are a bit ridiculous, but what the heck. For those who do not know, Radio 4 is the station for the middle class. "You and Yours" is one of the worst programmes on Radio 4 (with the "Archers" and the "Food Programme" being worse), whose main purpose in life seems to be financial pleading on behalf of various special interest groups (some deserving, most not). It is on at midday and that right away tells you who listens to it: the non-working middle class (e.g. lots of "Tory housewives"). So a fairly narrow view of the world. As confirmed by the opinion that GM foods are bad but an Aids vaccine is good. It's much the same technology being applied in both cases, although the so-called environmentalists have managed to demonise its application for food but not (yet) for medicine (they know they would be on a public relations loser there, although one disaster could change views).

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