Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday June 17 2007

Engadget is not for everyone, and most of it, frankly, is not for me.  Too many small objects the shape and size of chocalate bars which all look much the same and are usually called letters instead of names, either for mobile phoning or mobile music listening, or both of course.  (I have a bog standard mobile, which more than suffices, and when travelling, I read.) Plus, larger boxes for playing computer games, into which I am not.  But every so often engadget has something that pleases me greatly, so I keep going back there on the off chance that today will be another such day.

This for instance: Computer uses webcam to play Pong with itself.  I love the sublime, onanistic pointlessness of it.  Plus, I actually understand approximately what is happening.

Or this?  An oval bit of the outside of a brand X modern building has been cut out and made to rotate.  Only in Liverpool.  Well, actually, I wouldn’t have expected it anywhere.  It’s the kind of thing I enjoy, provided I had no part in paying for it.  Fat chance.

Or, how about this car?  Which, so far as I can make out, is some kind of TV series toy which has been brought to life.

And then there’s this, which I only saw while checking if there was any more engadgetry to feature here, to get it all over with:

image

That picture bigger, and further details (including a video), here.  The claim is that this thing, in which each floor can rotate independently, will actually generate enough power to run itself, from the wind.  Well, it does get windy up towards the top of towers, I suppose.  But the plan is to put one of these in Dubai.  But how windy is Dubai?  Maybe very, I wouldn’t know.  But wouldn’t Chicago, the Windy City itself, be the logical place for a wind-power tower?  Just asking.

Perhaps because some of the versions of this tower in the picture above look like the snap has been taken out of the structure, so to speak, it rather reminds me of this, which I got to the night before last night but didn’t at the time see any reason to mention here, from here.  Not that I need a particular reason for what I mention here.

ENGADGET LATEST: Blu-ray discs are rotting!!!!! Hurrah! because I back the other one.

Who said that architecture is music standing still?
I like it to remain still.

Posted by Tatyana on 17 June 2007

My God!  What a bloody nightmare.  Imagine getting back to the office from a lunch at which you had had a couple of drinks.  Even if you hadn’t had a couple of drinks, can you imagine trying to work in that mess?

Posted by Verity on 17 June 2007

The “carbon footprint” (whatever that spurious and undocumented concept might really mean) of the bill for the extraction of the highly-rare and super-expensive transition Metals needed, in dozen-ton quantities per bearing, for each of the two bearings for each FLOOR, not to mention the SHAFT, will be...............enormous.

Even if it was “Chrome-Moly” and nothing else (really really crude and sooooooooooooo 20th-century, and these towers shown would then start to oscillate dangerously in 10 years of turning) I am not sure that we could profitably extract enough Molybdenum per year per tower, to not cause the price of simple machine tools at B&Q;not to go through the roof.

Great idea, fine in theory, could be done, but would fail in inside 20 years in practice. The Banks would not wear it as they would need >20 to get their mooney back, and the towers would have to be taken down before then. look at the Chunnel, and that is a project for which the all the technology was even very well understood before we started.

Also, I oculd not work in such a building; I would come back from a normal lunch and have to vomit out of the window - assuming it would open.

Posted by David Davis on 18 June 2007

Also, how would you know which way to go to get out of the liftshaft, to reach your office, without going through the ladies’ Room?

Posted by David Davis on 18 June 2007

And how will you change worn bearings?

Posted by David Davis on 18 June 2007

Brian, what’s the problem?

You used to be all against acrhitecture that was bigger than people, saying it was socialist! This stuff certainly is. it will drive poor mad drunk ordinary humans batchy.

Posted by David Davis on 18 June 2007

Dave,

To the best of my knowledge I have always loved skycrapers, hating merely the bodged anti-commercial rehashes of them perpetrated by the likes of Le Corbusier.

What I liked and still like was and is spontaneous architectural orders, but American skyscrapers are a fine example of that, and so I have always said, to the best of my memory.

Yes, got it.  Libertarian Alliance Cultural Notes No 3 (1983): Freedom, Order and Architecture, with a subheading on page one which reads “The Skyscraper Cluster”.  It’s all in there.  Nowhere do I say there that all big buildings are socialism.  Why would anyone say anything so crazy?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 18 June 2007

Also, just because I link to something, that doesn’t necessarily mean I completely agree with it.  It just means I find it interesting.  As it happens I do quite like the idea of a skyscraper with independently rotating floors. Whether I would like to live in such a place for real, I don’t know.  Much might depend on whether I controlled the rotating, with communally coordinated floor dancing, so to speak, only on special, pre-announced occasions; or if I was at the mercy of a central choreographer all around the clock.

I say: let the market decide.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 18 June 2007

OK Brian, maybe I mis-remembered. Nearly 25 years and so on!

I too have no problem with skyscrapers, as they were so perfectly described by the Late Great C R Tame, in the way only he could string words, as “a shining example of Mankind’s Triumph over the shitheads.” (Chris’s words, not mine - while on holiday with him and Judy in 1979 in Cornwall! This phrase should be in his biography, and I do also know an independent witness to this statement who is alive and very rich!)

But I do not like this one here!

Posted by David Davis on 18 June 2007
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