History of the world’s tallest buildings

Here’s a video showing the history.

Dubai Creek Tower, likely to be completed 2022, perhaps should not be included as it’s a tower not a building.

The world’s tallest artificial structure is the 829.8-metre-tall (2,722 ft) Burj Khalifa in Dubai (of the United Arab Emirates). …

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an organization that certifies buildings as the “World’s Tallest”, recognizes a building only if at least 50% of its height is made up of floor plates containing habitable floor area.

Structures that do not meet this criterion, such as the CN Tower, are defined as “towers“.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Rise and Fall of the American Empire – Wade Davis

UPDATE – Deanna Kreisel posted a rebuttal to the Wade Davis article:

The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

Wade Davis is a Colombian / Canadian professor of anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.

One brilliant man.

A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.

In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …

No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …

In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.

When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich. 

In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. … 

COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.

As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.

… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. … 

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country.  …

The Unraveling of America

 

If Trump were gone tomorrow, the USA is still screwed because of FOX News and right wing media. And the GOP.

If a vaccine were available tomorrow, half of Americans would refuse to take it.

Wade Davis:

… even should Trump be resoundingly defeated, it’s not at all clear that such a profoundly polarized nation will be able to find a way forward. For better or for worse, America has had its time. …

BAYONNE, NJ – MAY 3: A wind blown American flag at the Tear Drop 9/11 Memorial flies over the skyline of New York City as the sun sets on May 3, 2020 in Bayonne, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

U.S. Federal minimum wage SHOULD be $20

One huge and unsustainable dynamic of the U.S. economic system is the growing gap between rich and poor.

That’s going to reverse direction. One way or another.

BEST would be the Democrats taking power. And effecting a small part of the changes they’ve claimed to want.

Worst would be another 4 years of Trump stupid, incompetent and wasteful corruption.

Read No Mercy / No Malice – What We Leave Behind

I support free trade

Free trade is one way to ensure efficient use of resources.

In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold liberal economic positions while economically left-wing and nationalist political parties generally support protectionismthe opposite of free trade.

So when you see Trump impose tariffs, know that he’s a protectionist. And nationalist. Not a fiscal conservative.

Since at least 2005 there’s been increasing distrust in ‘globalisation’. We ended up with idiots like Trump making decisions, his unsuccessful trade war with China, for example. Both sides lose in trade wars.

Expect everything to get more expensive and/or unavailable as free trade continues to decline.

Singapore is the #1 ranked nation as of 2016 in the Global Enabling Trade Report published by the World Economic Forum.

It is made up of four sub-indexes:

  1. Market access
  2. Border administration
  3. Transport and communications infrastructure
  4. Business environment

USA is #22. Canada #24.

Trade with Singapore

There is a broad consensus among economists that protectionism has a negative effect on economic growth and economic welfare while free trade and the reduction of trade barriers has a positive effect on economic growth and economic stability.

One bit of good newsUSMCA Free Trade Agreement will come into effect soon. That’s NAFTA 2.0 with minor tinkering of auto exports, steel and aluminum tariffs, dairy, egg, and poultry markets.

The agreement also provides updated intellectual property protections.

 

The End of October by Lawrence Wright

The Kongoli virus in the book is much more deadly than COVID-19.

Kongoli kills hundreds of millions. Leads to world wars.

But, for the most part, readers are shocked at the many parallels between this fiction and COVID-19.  

It’s a cautionary tale. And an excellent book.

The central figure is an American microbiologist named Henry Parsons. His personal story is engaging.

Henry tries to discover whether Kongoli arrived naturally like past viruses, or if humans (Putin) had been experimenting with bioweapons.

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and fellow at the Center for Law and Security at the New York University School of Law.

In 2007 he won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. A book about Islamic terrorism.

The End of October is fiction.

Wright’s fictional tale is about a mysterious virus that starts in Asia, sweeps across continents, cripples the health care system, wrecks the economy, and kills people worldwide.

Enlarge this image

“I knew from talking to all these medical experts that something like this was going to happen,” Wright says. “They all knew it. They just didn’t know when.”

Wright began writing the novel in 2017 and turned in his final draft in the summer of 2019.

This Is ‘Creepy’: Lawrence Wright Wishes His Pandemic Novel Had Gotten It Wrong

Wright had started thinking about this plot line after Ridley Scott asked him what kind of disaster could cause what happened in the Cormac McCarthy novel The Road.

Netflix is among the studios considering making The End of October a film.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

 

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I really enjoyed these 3 books by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari.

Like Bill Bryson, he can make academic subjects interesting and lively

Critics call it sensationalist infotainment.

He is a simplifier. I like his frequent analogies to well known references.

There are endless interesting factoids.

Critics complain he gets some facts wrong by over-simplifying.

In Sapiens he postulates that humans now rule the earth because of our ability to organize and coordinate in large numbers.

Bees, ants and other species cooperates even better, but they are too inflexible to evolve. And have comparatively small numbers.

We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation.

TED

He feels humans will continue to evolve, likely into some computer / human hybrid.

Click PLAY or watch his TED Talk on the topic on YouTube. (17min)

My favourite podcasts 2020

During COVID-19 many of us have more time to listen to audio. Here are some of my favourites.

Search for them by name on your preferred podcasting platform, if interested.

Online audiocasts are as old as the internet.

But we have the silly, unintuitive name podcast because Steve Jobs called the Apple device an iPod.

BBC journalist Ben Hammersley first suggested the name “Podcast” (a portmanteau, a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast“) it in early February 2004.

I try to call the audio only version “audiocasts“. Leo Laporte still uses the term “netcast” for both audio only and video podcasts.

Dave Winer is most often credited as the inventor as he decided to include new audio functionality in RSS 0.92.  Dave demonstrated it worked on January 11, 2001 by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News weblog.