Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Tall Buildings and Detroit, Saturday Randomness

I just stumbled in from about 90 minutes of riding up and down Schenley park (does anyone know the elevation change from Phipp's Conservatory to the top of the park?), the last third of my ride in pretty heavy rain and sleet, and now I'm procrastinating wiping the bike down.

Surfing over to CNN, seeing if it had anything not to do with Pope John Paul II's death (about which, by the way, I'm no Catholic, and his papacy was not without its tragic flaws, but may God bless him anyway, he was a holy man in every sense of the word), and I found two points of interest.

First, I saw this sad news. There's nothing funny about the failure to fund the still productive Hubble in order to keep it going for another decade or so, but the headline on CNN's front page, "Hubble Headed for Deorbit," looked to me at first glance like, "Hubble Headed for Detroit." Which, upon reflection, might not be such a bad thing.

Second, Dubai plans to build the world's tallest mandmade structure, a tower of a height they are carefully guarding to prevent other firms from competing (a mock elevator at the sight, however, has a button for floor 189). This saddens me, because I had hoped that the Freedom Tower (approx. 1,7776 feet), which Moon's friend is a lead engineer on, would spend at least a little time as the tallest building in the world, a fitting tribute to the two towers that ought to still rank in the middle of the ten tallest buildings in the world, a conviction I espoused through my tears on September 11 -- that we had to build something bigger.

Still, though, the Dubaians are hard core, with their manmade atolls and such. CNN noted:

New York built skyscrapers because land was scarce; Dubai is doing it to get on the international map.

"It's image, clearly," said Richard Rosan, president of the Washington-based Urban Land Institute. "There is no practical reason for having a building this tall."

You have to respect their audacity and tribute to excess, even if we are paying $2.50/gallon at the pump to subsidize it.


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