National Geographic : 1983 Jul
W ITH APOLOGIES to pioneers like Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, and Henry Ford, no one invented the automobile; it was sent to earth to modify the behavior of the human species. It is a magic chariot that transports us in comfort to whatever horizon we choose. In exchange for which, it controls our lives. Some who like to think of their home as their castle can spend more for a car than they do for a home. More than 40 million U. S. families have more than one vehicle. More than a million own a motor home. So I suppose their automobile may be their cas tle. Many sleep in them, eat in them, and some, I'm told, even make love in them, all to the music of a stereo that may cost more than the one in their home. Many Americans who lack a dining or guest room provide a room for their car. Few walk to a store, even if they shop with food stamps. The corner grocery has had to buy the rest of the block for a parking lot. To make room for the car and allow its swift passage, we have paved our land scape-at least 20 million acres are covered by roads. The shapes of our cities reflect the needs of the automobile. Americans who otherwise abhor regi mentation willingly carry at all times the national ID card, a driver's license. Try cashing a check without one. And heaven help you if you're caught running a red light without one-even if you're walking! We submit to this because the alternative is chaos, but there is chaos aplenty just the same. Traffic accidents take twice as many lives as do guns, knives, and all other weap ons combined. If a war cost our society the 50,000 lives taken each year by motor vehi cles, there would be a general cry to stop the slaughter, but we drive on. In some states those who like to drink and drive can do so without getting out of their car as they wheel into drive-in draft beer and liquor stores. The expense of maintaining our society on wheels is enormous-almost $70 billion an nually for new and used vehicles, more than $35 billion for insurance premiums. Where will all of this lead? Evangelists claim that the streets of heaven are paved with gold, but nobody's said what kind of automobiles-if any-are using them or whether a driver's license is required. EDITOR NAT©lO AL GIEOGfAPiallC THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICMAGAZINEVOL. 164, NO. 1 COPYRIGHT© 1983 BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY WASHINGTON,D. C. INTERNATIONALCOPYRIGHTSECURED July 1983 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot! 2 America's love affair with the automobilesparked decades of prosperityfor U. S. carmanufacturers,who now must meet fierce foreign competition. Noel Grove andphotographerBruce Dale chartthe milestones. Wales, the Lyric Land 36 Proud of their Celtic heritage and language, the Welsh celebratetheir misty realm in poetry and song. Bryan Hodgson and photographerFarrellGrehanfind nationalidentity strong in this Britishprincipality. China's Opening Door 64 SpecialEconomic Zones lure foreign plants, money, and know-how. JohnJ. Putman and photographerH. EdwardKim report on a touch of capitalism. Tanzania's Stone Age Art 84 PrehistoricAfricans hunt, dance, and sing in rock paintings thousands of years old. Anthropologist Mary D. Leakey traces and interpretsthe paintings. Photographsby John Reader. Arctic Odyssey 1oo In a walrus-hide boat,John Bockstoce retraces a greatEskimo migrationeastwardfrom Alaska. Photosby JonathanWright; paintings by Jack Unruh. Lost Ship Waits Under Arctic Ice o14A Diving team led by JoeMacnnis finds the beautifully preserved hulk of the 140-year-old Britishbark Breadalbane,sunk by ice off Beechey Island. Photographsby Emory Kristof. Life in an Undersea Desert 129 BarrenRed Sea floor reveals abundantlife -if you know where to look. By marine biologist Eugenie Clark and photographerDavid Doubilet. COVER: Phil Nuytten in a WASP suit is winched throughArctic ice, the first man to dive on the nearly intact Breadalbane.Photographby Emory Kristof.