No Pun Intended

Posted in World, News, Language at 10:41 am by Administrator

Did you catch Indian Railway Minister’s remarks regarding the recent train bombing in India?

“This is an attempt to derail the improving relationship between India and Pakistan.”

Perhaps an unfortunate choice of words…



And another one gone…

Posted in Humor, Politics, World at 8:08 pm by Administrator


Early this morning the U.S. Military, acting on a tip from an informant, reduced the current final hiding place of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to very small pieces; thereby sparing us a new set of prison underwear shots. Seriously though, I’m glad they’re learning. Capturing Saddam alive was one of the biggest mistakes of the Iraq occupation. A 500lb bomb provides a certain immediate sense of closure that’s impossible with a long trial.

Someone has already set the bombing video to music. You can download it here. (Save to your own computer for best viewing.)

The Al-Zarqawi death photo reminds me of some other photos released by the military a while back. Remember these?


Foreign Skyscrapers and Local Flavor

Posted in World, Architecture at 12:32 am by Administrator

I have in the past been critical of some of the weird skyscrapers that have been built in (usually) foreign cities. These buildings may be ugly or at least strange looking; but I actually like that they are there. Wouldn’t it be boring if, no matter where you went in the world, the skylines all looked the same? 


Taipei 101 - Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei 101  Taipei 101 at night

Taipei 101 is one of the ugliest skyscrapers in the world. If it had been built in view of my house, I would seriously consider moving. That being said, seeing this building would definitely remind you you’re in Asia. I would prefer the world’s tallest building to be in the US, but at least it’s in free market Taiwan and not communist China.

Burj Dubai - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Birj Dubai render

When completed in 2008, Burj Dubai will be the tallest building in the world (see statement above). I actually find this building attractive (in an Emerald City of Oz sort of way). Still, I think it works better in the UAE than it would in the US. It just wouldn’t fit in with the other buildings in Chicago or New York.

Incidentally, the building bears superficial resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s proposed Mile High Illinois tower. It’s too bad I have no other reason to visit Dubai. This is one skyscraper I must see.

Burj Dubai construction photo  Burj Dubai under construction Burj Dubai under construction

Construction Photos (http://www.burjdubaiskyscraper.com/)

Kingdom Centre - Riyadh, Saudia Arabia

Kingdom Centre

I suspect Kingdom Centre is the result of a bet between architects as to who could design the strangest structure and con someone into building it. I’m not sure if it won (There are some strange buildings out there.), but it is definitely a contender. This may be the strongest evidence yet that  money can’t buy taste.

The building looks like some kind of carpentry tool. It would be fun, however, to fly a plane between its “claws” or bungee jump off the sky bridge.

Shanghai World Financial Center - Shanghai, China

Shanghai World Financial Center

I wouldn’t actually mind the Shanghai World Financial Center’s design if it wasn’t for that stupid hole. What were they thinking? Construction of this building began in 1997, but was suspended due to the Asian financial crisis. Work resumed in 2005 and is expected to be completed around 2008.


Speaking of which…

Posted in Politics, Money & Finance, World at 1:06 am by Administrator

Soldiers occupying natural gas plants in bolivia

Apparently as a sort of May Day celebration, Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales has decided to nationalize the country’s natural gas production. Declaring, “The looting by the foreign companies has ended,” Morales sent troops to occupy gas fields tapped by multinational companies such as Exxon-Mobil and BP PLC. Unless the foreign companies agree to sign new (extortionary) contracts within six months, they will be evicted. 

This is not altogether surprising. Bolivia is the most recent in a long list of countries to have been “returned to the natives,” and “the natives” always seem to do the same thing.

I suggest that ALL the foreign companies pack up and leave NOW (Burning their infrastructure would probably be too much to ask). It would be a short term loss but a long term gain. It’s likely Morales plans to seize them anyway as soon as the state owned gas company is ready to take over production. Compliance by the corporations would encourage every other Mugabe and Castro to try something similar (not that they don’t already).

It will be interesting to see if the existing companies choose to put up with this sort of extortion. I suspect they’ll go more by the numbers than by any sort of principle. Any bets as to the effect total nationalization would have on Bolivia’s natural gas production?

Note: Bolivia has not yet nationalized production of its most popular export, so the supply will likely be unaffected. Whew.