This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.
It’s not about the nail. Will you stop saying that the problem is the nail?
YOU THERE Today’s examples of the irritating internet habit for pointing its finger and making irritating, arrogant assumptions:
Really? My favorite movies? You know that, for sure? Here's an example:
Not only dd I not know what it was, making it a rather ineffective movie poster, it's not one my favorite movies. The rest are all here. See if you can guess what they are before you look at the name.
Speaking of movies, a brief detour before we return to the YOU headlines of the day: posters for the worst movies shown at Cannes this year. You have to admit this one looks intriguing:
That's a real movie. It is about exactly what you think it is about. A tornado that has sharks in it. Stars John Heard, for whom I feel so very, very bad.
Anyway, back to the headlines that use YOU to make you click, even though they contain ridiculous postulates. From Atlantic Cities:
What’s wrong with this? Simple: I’m not blase. But if I wanted to be blase, I would. Don’t tell me I can’t be blase. Here’s the story:
Architects and record-keepers had been waiting for months to learn the status of Broad Group's "Sky City," a 220-story skyscraper that was supposed to be built in just 90 days this winter in the Chinese city of Changsha. Thirty feet higher than the Burj Khalifa and constructed of pre-fab modules, the prospective tower languished in government-approval limbo.
The wait is over: the title of world's tallest building really will be transferred from oil-rich Dubai to this mid-sized provincial Chinese city. Last week, Broad Group announced it has received approval from the Chinese government and will break ground on the project in August, though according to Quartz's Lily Kuo, Broad Sustainable Building has pushed the building's schedule to a more modest seven months.
As it happens, I’m not blase. I’m curious about several things.
* Whether it will be completed at all
* Whether it will fall down sooner, rather than later
* Whether it will have any archtectural merit whatsoever (suspicion: no)
* Whether the inhabitants will eventually form a hive mind with all bodily cycles synced, and telepathic communication enabled
The concepts are straight out of old scifi mags and wild-eyed futurists. There will be parks - in the sky! People will live work and play in the same shiny tower, with pristine countryside stretching out for miles beyond! Here's the lifeless prison summed up in the promotional video:
In case you don’t want to watch the inspirational video, some screenshots:
That's a rather parsimonious amoung of green space for 220 stories' worth of sun-starved occupants, who will possibly turn into soft hairless weevils after a few generations. Architecturally, it's dull - but what’s the point of ornamentation after 100 floors, eh? Tthe visionary CEO behind the company - which is branching into construction after a successful run as an air-conditioner manufacturing company - has grander plans.
Last year, speaking with Reuters, Zhang cited the Sky City plan as an environmental panacea, whose modular construction is merely a means to facilitate the inevitable densification of city life. The future of human existence, he seems convinced, lies in higher density. Sky City could reduce the transportation needs of 30,000 people to a hundred elevators. And what if it were not alone in a field, but surrounded by other arcologies, housing friends, neighbors, other businesses?
What if? You’d never go see them, that’s what if. And can you imagine living on the 180th floor and having a dog who needs to go out? Again? You were just out.
But the creators of this Human Storage System plan to go over 600 stories. Is he serious? From Quartz:
"One hundred percent! Some say that it’s sensationalism to construct such a tall building. That’s not so. Land shortages are already a grave problem. There’s also the very serious transportation issue. We must bring cities together and stretch for the sky in order to save cities and save the Earth. We must eliminate most traffic, traffic that has no value! And we must reduce our dependency on roads and transportation."
The article’s author notes:
So, is Zhang about to be the 21st-century reincarnation of Le Corbusier, advocating revolutionary densities and self-contained super-blocks but with a transit-oriented perspective colored by climate change?
Perhaps. But it’s worth noting that Corbusier’s concepts are sterile and inhuman, disconnected from the vibrance and messy dynamism of actual cities. We tried these. They failed.
But that’s just racism talking, of course. From the Atlantic Cities comments:
LoL, u white monkeys are just a bunch of sore losers eating sour grapes. When the Americans went to the moon, you expect everyone to say cheers to the greatness of the white men's egos and their so-called civilization and her achievements but when you're clearly losing the race to the Chinese, you disrespect other peoples & cultures and their achievements. If it had been the Americans doing the exact same thing, I'm sure the comments here by the biased & prejudiced bunch of comments here would have been entirely different.
While we are certainly obliged to be schooled on racism by people who use the term “white monkeys,” the skepticism on this matter has more to do with the wisdom of compacting so many people into a prefab box utterly disconnected from the physical world and a preexisting urban environment. It's a technological achievement, yes - the modular technique is ingenious, and applause for the bright lads who figured out how to stack hive-homes that high. That will make housing in cities more affordable. Eventually they might even figure out a way to make them beautiful.
PRODUCTS A nifty collection of old packages, including the bygone brilliant idea, canned cigars.Don’t miss the link to the word of Paul Rand, a marvelous designer who engrained a preference for simple modernism among boomer children with his Colorforms packaging.
CONTROVERSY NO. IT’S NOT. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care that the inventor of the things says I’m wrong. It's a hard G because "graphical" has a hard G and the G in GIF stands for Graphical and I don't care what anyone says.
Have a grand three-day weekend - see you back here Monday with Memorial Day material. Including "8 Things YOU don't know about Memorial Day." Really.
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