Last night, on the treadmill at the gym, I watched a bit of a National Geographic Special on the maglev train that connects Shanghai’s airport with its city center. Most of it was about the engineering challenges of the project, and the many small dramas of solving them. At the end of the piece, we viewed the train from above as it rushed away on its elevated guideway, while the narrator said something like: “But the future of the maglev train is very much in doubt.”
That explained the déja vu I was feeling. At some point long ago, I’d heard those words — “its future is very much in doubt” — in that same firm and resonant baritone, as I watched a cheetah — the world’s fastest land mammal — running into the distance from exactly this camera angle.