Archive for February 7th, 2011

February 7, 2011

Andreas Gursky

gursky

Andreas Gursky (b. 1955) is a German visual artist known for his enormous architecture and landscape color photographs, some ten feet or more wide, and most employing a high point of view. As of early 2007, Gursky holds the record for highest price paid at auction for a single photographic image. His print 99 Cent II, Diptych, sold for GBP 1.7 million (USD $3.3 million) at Sotheby’s, London. Before the 1990s, Gursky did not digitally manipulate his images.

In the years since, Gursky has been frank about his reliance on computers to edit and enhance his pictures, creating an art of spaces larger than the subjects photographed. Visually, Gursky is drawn to large, anonymous, man-made spaces—high-rise facades at night, office lobbies, stock exchanges, the interiors of big box retailers (See his print 99 Cent II Diptychon). His style is described by art critics as enigmatic and deadpan. There is little to no explanation or manipulation on the works. His photography is straightforward.

February 7, 2011

Doha

tornado tower

Doha [doh-hah] (Arabic for ‘the big tree’ or ‘the sticky tree’) is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it has a population of around one million. Doha is Qatar’s largest city, with over 80% of the nation’s population residing in the city or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic center of the country.

Much of Qatar’s oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is home to the headquarters of the country’s largest oil and gas companies. Doha’s economy is built on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries, and the Qatari government is rapidly trying to diversify the Qatari economy in order to move away from this dependence on oil. As a result, Doha is currently experiencing a very large boom, with the city developing very rapidly.

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February 7, 2011

Antilia

antilia

Antilia is the name of a twenty-seven floor personal home in South Mumbai belonging to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire Chairman of Reliance Industries (India’s largest private sector conglomerate). The home is staffed by 600 full time employees and houses Ambani, his wife Nita, their three children, and Ambani’s mother. Indian media frequently reported that Antilia is the world’s most expensive home costing US$1 billion. It is named after a mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean. The building is situated on a 4,532 m2 (48,780 sq ft) plot at Altamont Road on the famed Cumballa Hill South Mumbai, where land prices are upward of US$10,000 per square meter.

The structure was designed by U.S. architects using principles of Vaastu, Indian traditional geomancy akin to Chinese feng shui, to maximize ‘positive energy.’ No two floor plans are alike, and the materials used in each level vary widely. The home includes: 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of living space; parking space for 168 cars; a one-floor vehicle maintenance facility; 9 elevators in the lobby; 3 helipads and an air traffic control facility; a health spa; a theater with a seating for 50; multiple swimming pools, three floors of hanging gardens, and a ballroom.

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February 7, 2011

Ryugyong Hotel

ryugyong

The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-floor skyscraper under construction in Pyongyang, North Korea. Construction began in 1987, but was halted in 1992 due to the economic disruptions that afflicted the country following the fall of the Soviet Union.

The hotel stood topped out but without windows or interior fittings for the next sixteen years. Construction resumed in April 2008, under the supervision of the Orascom Group of Egypt, which has invested heavily in the North Korean mobile telephony and construction industries.

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February 7, 2011

Guy-Cry Film

brians song

A guy-cry film is the masculine version of the chick flick genre, a film that addresses a male audience, but has strong emotional material. Sports films are important to the guy-cry genre, but sports action is not necessarily essential to qualify a film as a genuine guy-cry. Some notable sports films that could be defined as guy-cry would be Field of Dreams, Rudy, Brian’s Song, and The Wrestler.

While it may seem that ‘guy-cry’ is a neologism, it is a genre that has been around for many years and is now receiving critical attention from scholars and trade publications. Early popular guy-cry films date back to the early 1970s with films such as Five Easy Pieces and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Important themes to the guy-cry genre are concepts of brotherhood, sacrifice, loyalty, and family.

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February 7, 2011

Full-Spectrum Light

Light therapy

Full-spectrum light is light that covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared through near-ultraviolet, or all wavelengths that are useful to plant or animal life; in particular, sunlight is considered full spectrum, even though the solar spectral distribution reaching Earth changes with time of day, latitude, and atmospheric conditions. ‘Full-spectrum’ is not a technical term when applied to an electrical light bulb but rather a marketing term implying that the product emulates natural light.

Some products marketed as ‘full-spectrum’ may produce light throughout the entire spectrum, but not with an even spectral distribution, and may not even differ substantially from lights not marketed as ‘full-spectrum.’

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February 7, 2011

Bordeaux

Bordeaux

A Bordeaux [bawr-doh] wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of south eastern, France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. 89% of wine produced in Bordeaux is red (called ‘claret’ in Britain), with notable sweet white wines such as Chateau d’Yquem, dry whites, rosé and sparkling wines (Crémant de Bordeaux) all making up the remainder.

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February 7, 2011

Meritage

meritage association

Meritage is a proprietary term used to denote Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the French region’s legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers license the Meritage trademark from its owner, the California-based Meritage Alliance. Most Meritage wines come from California, but there are members in 18 other states and five other countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Israel, and Mexico). Many people, including some wine experts, Frenchify the word ‘Meritage’ by pronouncing its last syllable with a ‘zh’ sound, as in ‘garage,’ but the Meritage Alliance specifically states that the word should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘heritage.’ The Meritage Association was formed in 1988 by a small group of Napa Valley, California vintners increasingly frustrated by regulations stipulating wines contain at least 75% of a specific grape to be labeled as that varietal.

As interest grew in creating Bordeaux-style wines, which by their blended nature fail to qualify for varietal status, members sought to create a recognizable name for their high-quality blended wines. A red Meritage must be made from a blend of at least two or more of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot or Carmenère, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend. A white Meritage must be made from a blend of at least two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend. Although not stipulated by the licensing agreement, the Meritage Association strongly recommends that wineries label only their best blend Meritage and limit production to no more than 25,000 cases.

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February 7, 2011

Stanford Torus

stanford torus

The Stanford torus is a proposed design for a space habitat capable of housing 10,000 to 140,000 permanent residents. It was proposed during the 1975 NASA Summer Study, conducted at Stanford University, with the purpose of speculating on designs for future space colonies. The concept of a ring-shaped rotating space station was previously proposed by Wernher von Braun and Herman Potočnik.

It consists of a torus, or donut-shaped ring, that is 1.8 km in diameter and rotates once per minute to provide between 0.9g and 1.0g of artificial gravity on the inside of the outer ring via centrifugal force. Sunlight is provided to the interior of the torus by a system of mirrors. The ring is connected to a hub via a number of  spokes, which serve as conduits for people and materials travelling to and from the hub. Since the hub is at the rotational axis of the station, it experiences the least artificial gravity and is the easiest location for spacecraft to dock.

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