Carrier pigeons are diligent workers,
And some have been honored as heroes!
But, sadly, technology changed their careers,
With the messages, now, ones and zeroes.
Information now moves over fibers and wires,
At the speed (so they tell me) of light;
And people accustomed to speed such as this
Aren’t impressed by a pigeon in flight.
But intertubes clog, and cables will jam,
And data gets stuck on its way;
Uploading a file takes forever, it seems,
With the fastest computers today.
A firm down in Durban, South Africa, thought
That their ADSL seemed too slow.
Would a pigeon be faster? They planned out a test
So the firm could empirically know.
Thus, Winston the Pigeon was all loaded up,
Four gigs on a flash memory stick,
From Howick to Durban, about sixty miles,
His job was to get it there quick.
They started the clock when they opened the cage,
And a regular upload as well—
Would bird or technology first cross the line?
The experiment, surely, would tell.
Winston the Pigeon first circled the square,
Then was off at full speed for the coast!
In sixty-eight minutes, brave Winston was there
But of course, he was not one to boast.
In about one more hour, the data were loaded,
It looked as if Winston had won!
But wait—check the status of ADSL,
And they found…only four percent done!
Now Winston the Pigeon is over the moon;
He’s faster than broadband, no less!
But technology marches; the internet, now
Must compete with the Pony Express!
(second link–BBC coverage–includes video of the race!)