Friday, May 23, 2008

CHEAP, SAFE HOUSE DESIGNED FOR QUAKE-PRONE AREAS



When thinking about the recent earthquake in China, and the tragedy of Myanmar, I was reminded of the work of an old friend from Cambridge who was working on the problem of affordable, safe, mud-based houses, boats and such, at MIT. At the time he was showing, in his thesis, how one could use mud and chickenwire to create said homes and boats. I think he already knew what the future was going to bring.

Doing a simple search, I found this related article on some of his more recent work, which needs to be embraced and multiplied.

EXCERPT:

Mr Sultan told Dawn that he had designed mud houses that could withstand a 8.5 intensity earthquake - one point higher than the October tremor which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

Mud houses could be highly resistant to seismic forces if modern architectural techniques are used in their construction.

“Iran did nothing good by putting a ban on building mud houses after the Bam earthquake. I can prove that Iran’s decision was unwise,” he said, claiming that his building techniques would be best for Iran, Turkey and other countries located in dangerous seismic zones.

All the building materials - mud being the basic - required for the house he designed are indigenously produced and could be put together simply. That makes the construction cost of the mud house very low, he said.


MORE

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Liveblogging the Dance of the Davids : The American Idol Finale

I agree with Jeffrey Feldman. Enough with the war metaphors.
So tonight, there is no battle. There is a dance. Davids like to dance.
Davids dance with all their might.

The duet of the Davids was the first good thing of the night. The first piece really made you think that someone was torturing the contestants into banal atavistic conformity.

Seal did a duet with the lovely lady I had banked on to win. Hot.
Hotter than the Davids, frankly, but what the heck. They will all make in excess of one hundred dollars.

Jason Castro did a lovely version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelluia, or however you spell it. His best ever.

More banal conformity. Less pipes and timbrils. Less wild ecstasy.
...and Donna Summers, who sees, nay, looks, fantastic!
What brand of oatmeal is SHE eating? She spares the segment from dying a cruel death.
I don't approve of some of the dancing. No place for toilet humor.
Oh well, now Donna is leading the caravanserai down into the pit of forgotten disco.
Where is Radiohead when you need him? Does George know no mercy?

I don't believe this. A commercial!! Were we forewarned? No!!!

Australia's Michael Johns and Ireland's Carly Smithson are doing "The Letter". Not exactly Gorecki's Third, but not bad either. Certainly not evil...although at one point it looked like they were looking upon one another's genital regions, or therabouts. Playbacks will tell.

Jimmy Kimmel jokes about tipping Sanjaya, who is laughing in the audience, then rips into Simon, who is valiantly defended by host Seacrest who compares Kimmel to a Ship or cocktail lounge comedian. ABC vs FOX.

Ryan, I mean Bryan Adams then appears out of nowhere, thinking he has been everywhere.

So far, it is very, very, very, very, very, day before the day before yestermillennium. Cut to ape man.

The Davids are thinking: "Get me the Hell outta here!" and "Here, you can have it!"

Jordin Sparks in Disney World.

David Cook does "Sharp Dressed Man" with ZZ Top. Talk about facial, hair!
These fellers have been growing since they were born practically, and were never told that it was quality, not quantity...although the Supreme Court is likely to reverse that decision.

Wow! Graham Nash and Brooke White singing "Teach your Children".
Not a dry ice in the how.

Times passes.

I'll tell ya what. If something interesting happens, I will rouse and write.
hell, it's free.
Can't believe we're only halfway through...

Well lucky me! What a moving and timely performance by George Michael...who really does know how to pick 'em. Sorry to say I don't know the name of it, but I do know that it will take on a life of its own, and become a major hit, if it isn't already.



Paula was in tears, as were a goodly number of other bipeds in the vicinity. Hundreds!

OK...results...

David...COOK!

Yay! Justice is served.

"John the Maverick" or "Out to Pasture"