8.26.2008

Dmitry Medvedev is no joker

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this guy just moved up the "I'm not fucking around" ladder. Granted I just invented the ladder but Dmitry Medvedev (DM) has gone from a casually dismissed technocrat hand picked to be Putin's puppet prez to an outright power mongering disciple of Putin-ocracy. excellent. Recently DM signed a decree formally recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and called on other states to follow his country's example. This decree was signed just 10 days after Russia agreed to a cease fire plan brokered by none other than the French president, irony much? Medvedev's bravado is a real trip.

Mr Medvedev said he had "taken into account the expression of free will by the Ossetian and Abkhaz peoples" and accused Georgia of failing over many years to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Loosely translated : While Mother Russia has used past transgressions of ethnic cleansing to tenuously justify this current invasion our real goal is to create a measure of instability in the region in order to boost the recent drop in oil prices on the global market. oh and don't forget the 21st century land grab. more coast line and complete control of Ossetia will allow for the upper hand in controlling the flow of black gold through the Western Early pipeline. More on that in a few paragraphs.

SOUTH OSSETIA & ABKHAZIA
BBC map
South Ossetia
Population: About 70,000 (before recent conflict)
Capital: Tskhinvali
President: Eduard Kokoity
Abkhazia
Population: About 250,000 (2003)
Capital: Sukhumi
President: Sergei Bagapsh

"Th(is) was no easy choice to make, but it is the sole chance of saving people's lives," he added. I think he means solidifying state owned oil firms delivery contracts.

International dismay at Russia's declaration came almost immediately. No surprise here, the only people who want to see a stronger Russia would be........just Russia.

President Bush said Russia should "reconsider this irresponsible decision" and "live up to its international commitments". thankfully Bush is an expert on invading sovereign nations.

"This decision is inconsistent with numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions that Russia has voted for in the past, and is also inconsistent with the French-brokered six-point ceasefire agreement which President Medvedev signed," he said in a statement.

"Russia's action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations," he added. I say so what. seriously who is Bush to speak on Russia's border expansion? the last time I checked the motherland used to own all this land and if Georgia can't defend themselves then they aren't really worthy of holding these territories. Think of it as a recall.

So more on this oil pipeline angle. 1st you need to know exactly where the Ossetia is.

The little Green blob is Ossetia. the next image is a blowup of the region and the pic with the horrible ms paint lines (via EIA) shows the approximate lining of 2 major oil pipelines. the Baku-Supan or "Western Early" pipeline handles 150,000 to 200,000 BPD. that's barrels per day. 1 Barrel contains 42 US Gallons. The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) has an output 10 times larger, more than 1,000,000 BPD.

Most people might not be too versed on the oil industry in Russia; in very blunt terms the state owns the biggest firms and has been very involved in firming up complete control of all oil fields in the region. All the while pushing out foreign corporations. I need to write a solo post on it especially since I'm drifting from the original message.

So the reason that all of these things are related comes down to the simple fact that Russia has invested itself into the oil market on an unheard of scale, outside of countries in the Middle East. And in doing so they have become tied to the prices and unforeseen fluctuations in the oil market as a result of such heavily vested state financial ties. To me it seems logical that Russia invaded Ossetia in order to create an opportunity to either take over the pipeline in critical regions or to simply destroy it. either of these outcomes will benefit Mother Russia's interests.

Instead of going to the source like the US did in Iraq, Medvedev and Putin decided to attack the distribution angle. Its more logical, closer to home and has a much higher chance of succeeding than any attempt at land grab in a source country would allow.

DM and Putin are willing to stave off any diplomatic repercussions that may result from an extended stay in Georgia. Ruskie reclamation of the break away regions will solidify oil interests and further extend control over distribution channels. The rest of the world can cower at the thought of a renewed cold war but it would make sense for Russia to continue on their path and remain two faced in front of world leaders. Their recent actions dictate they have no problem directly contradicting the peace plan recently agreed upon with Georgia. All told foreign interests are powerless to mount any credible threat of halting this current invasion. Russia is entrenching itself in Ossetia and unless the US & nato are putting feet on the ground there is no real hope of stopping Medvedev's expansionist designs.

DM has a clean & efficient website, didn't expect this http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/

quintessential ass covering quote

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"Because of technical and idiosyncratic oddities in the exact relationship between individual and state wealth, these estimates are perforce a blend of art and science," it added.
nice. cover those bases Forbes. The above quote came from an "in depth" story about rich kings and monarchies who increased their wealth over the last year. Real riveting shit........forbes link

8.25.2008

how bout some No Fact Zone linkage?

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i got a mention on no fact zone!

I sent them a scanned image of a Colbert '08 campaign poster that appeared in the recent Marvel Event Secret Invasion (#5).

cool.

here's a link to the post http://www.nofactzone.net/?p=5325

and the colbert poster


8.18.2008

Aurora User Interface

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Recently Adaptive Path presented a new browser concept which is being developed in partnership with Mozilla Labs. Aurora is an ongoing initiative to encourage designers and developers to contribute their own visions of the future for browsers and the Web.

The main goal of the concept is to represent users, places and virtual objects within a three-dimensional user interface (spatial view) while allowing for seamless interaction. Objects in Aurora's space aim to be intuitive and follow physical rules from daily life: users can grab, lift, pull, push and drop every feature seen on screen.

The interface is event-based as users and updates are displayed on the screen on demand; allowing for a fluid link between communication and collaboration in the browser space. Related objects are grouped into clusters which can be navigated using a dock at the bottom of the screen. The following video was released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license and is available on the Mozilla Labs site. Video Part 2, Video Part 3 [ via ].

8.13.2008

Urban Forest Wins Streetscapes in a New World Competition

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The international competition for a New Urban Streetscape in Beijing, China was organized by New World China Land Limited – one of Asia’s largest development corporations – in collaboration with Di Magazine, a leading architectural review published in Beijing. The designated site area divides New World’s recently built commercial center, located on Chongwenmen Street.

The key sponsor, New World China Land Limited, is based in Hong Kong, with a wide range of projects currently under construction - including commercial, residential, hotel and resort developments throughout the People’s Republic of China.

image

The competition brief described the design objective as a search for an environmentally responsible public space that would also propose a new paradigm for expanding the number and quality of parks, plazas and gardens in Beijing.

The SITE New York office was invited by WaHa Studio in Toronto, Canada (li Wang and Marc Halle) to head a Canadian/Chinese team of architects and landscape designers – including WaHa, Yang Yang and Ronghui Li – with the purpose of proposing a concept for the New World competition. This project is the result of a SITE New York and WaHa Studio collaboration.

Premises for the design approach:

The burgeoning growth of central Beijing has either destroyed or disrupted a large number of the city’s original one-to-three story residential neighborhoods – especially in the most vulnerable and historic Hutong areas. Large-scale developments have imposed an imbalance between commercial expansion and the maintenance of traditional communities. It has also increased air pollution, visibly exposed the gap between rich and poor, exacerbated the level of street crime and decreased the amount of leisure and garden space within the central city.

image

In addition to social, cultural, contextual and ecological considerations, the SITE/WaHa design approach to the New World Plaza has been based on Beijing’s radical contrast of scales – from intimate residential streets to massive commercial zones. It is our team’s view that one of the main values of horizontal surfaces in the cityscape is to use streets, parks, plazas and gardens as means of mediation between neighborhoods, building heights, economic levels and territorial functions.

Project description:

In designing the New World public space, the SITE/WaHa “Urban Forest” concept has been influenced by an observation that the existing site is roughly shaped like a growing tree, with a crown of extended branches. It can also be seen as similar to a river, with many tributaries, or linked to the cardiovascular system of a human body. In addition, since the entire Beijing street system is based on a classic grid, the paved areas in this design are used for a special iconographic significance. These horizontal surfaces have been dematerialized and fragmented into casual, ribbon-like patterns, reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy and landscape painting. While intentionally ambiguous, the plaza imagery is proposed as a nature-based and culturally referenced source of symbolism for a rapidly expanding metropolis.

This Urban Forest approach transforms the widest part of the site’s tree-like profile (facing Chongwenmen Street) into a major pedestrian plaza, surrounded by trees. Cast-in-place ribbons of concrete cover the walking surfaces, creating a tree/river/vein-like imagery. This arterial network circumscribes a series of irregularly shaped spaces, used for planting zones, water features, seating areas, earth mounds, and various paving materials.

image

As the main plaza narrows in width – passing underneath an East/West pedestrian bridge - its horizontal surfaces gradually metamorphose into a large mounded configuration. This raised area, proposed as a web-like structure in concrete with glass and landscape infill, shelters an arcade of small shops and restaurants. One of the principle innovations of this approach is the gradual transformation of a horizontal public space into a mountain-like building, which then returns to a ground-level walking surface after bridging over Lianzi Xiang Street. The main features of this concept – an evolution from plaza to architecture, inside and outside treated as simultaneous events, dense forest areas in the cityscape and an infinitely flexible paving design – are readily applicable to other parts of the city.

image

Both East and West corridors, for the entire length of the plaza, are covered with forests of trees and ground cover. The purpose is to create the visual and horticultural experience of urban woodlands, while simultaneously offering shaded sanctuaries for walking, recreational activities and relaxation in outdoor cafes.

At the highest elevation - where the walking corridor passes under the pedestrian bridge – this section serves as an overpass, spanning Lianzi Xiang Street. An escalator provides access from the bridge to the top of the mounded plaza, thereby connecting two distinct shopping zones. At the East end of the site, this walking zone gradually decreases in height and width, concluding with a tree-shaded avenue for smaller shops and eateries.

Contextual and environmental advantages

From a conceptual and philosophical perspective, the fragmented imagery of the Urban Forest establishes a selection of universal themes for Beijing. These iconic references are applicable to the New World commercial center, as well as other neighborhoods in the city’s future public space development. They also provide a source of visual and functional variety, a choice of elevations for people watching, and supplemental architectural enclosures for commercial enterprises.

The landscape palette for Urban Forest is selected from regional trees and ground cover. This choice also recognizes the four-season characteristics of Beijing in its use of ginko, persimmon, poplar, and savin trees.

image

There are a number of environmentally responsible features, including a “forest floor” paving and walkways made of permeable materials, with water salvaged by catchments at plaza level and on top of surrounding rooftops. The collected water is stored in cisterns under the elevated sections of the plaza. Additionally, Photovoltaic solar panels generate electricity for adjacent buildings and the pedestrian areas. This power source fuels virtual portals for ecological information nodes, located throughout the public areas. Park lighting is provided by L.E.D. “forests of street lamps,” in the form of randomly distributed, vertical clusters of tall poles, illuminated from top to bottom.

In summary, the horizontal surfaces and mounded configurations of the Urban Forest establish a universal (but also site-specific) concept - including a tree branch • river tributaries • vascular system • Chinese calligraphy • regional landscape imagery - for Beijing’s New World center. This iconography is expressed vertically and horizontally, physically and symbolically, experientially and ecologically.

clipse - zen (Maestro beat) and the album madness

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this is better than the entire album, good story on what happened to the Re-up gang to boot. The entire remix creation was essentially an unfortunate result of Sony's "short money" visions for the album according to Maestro.

So maybe there’s a reason that the new Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang album is so bad, after all.

Rumors circulated that the group had actually linked up with some solid producers while initially recording the album. But the label wasn’t willing to pay top dollar for the soundbeds that were already crafted, so all of the disc’s acapellas were handed over to production group Sleepwalkers, who went on to mollify their lyrics with subpar offerings. While this would make perfect sense to anyone who has heard the album, I still didn’t have any verification to such rumors.

But an AIM conversation with homie/HipHopDX Producer’s Corner alumnus Maestro (Lil Wayne’s “3 Peat,” “Kush,” etc., amongst other songs) was particularly enlightening. He’s related to someone who works with the group, and he said that he was given the original We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3 sessions to swap in his beats for the originals, . But he declined to work on the project after understanding the approach they were taking and seeing the paltry budget it had.

“Once I heard the whole shit was remixes, I backed away. I didn’t wanna disappoint the real Clipse fans who were in love with the original joints,” he admits. “I was fresh off three big checks from Wayne and the album release, and I was feeling myself. And they came waving very very short dollars”

He maintains that the budget for the album was so low that it was all but destined to turn out the way it did. “Not saying that there aren’t dope cats who don’t charge, but they didn’t have access to them,” he says. While he’s uncertain how many others were offered the gig after he was, the result is clear: one of rap’s most consistent, talented groups releasing what’s arguably the most surprisingly disappointing album of the year.

The album’s iTunes bonus track, “Zen,” is produced by Maestro, though. He did this song way after he was approached to do the album, after having a slight change of heart about the project after seeing the hype it had.

“The fans wanted [the album] bad, and all the shit I had in the pipeline was months away, so I needed something to keep my name out,” Maestro admits. He did the beat in 30 minutes and sent it in, but it was too late to make the physical CD release. “I had already fucked off the whole joint, and the official Sony release is still months away too, so I had to have something new hit the streets. I had other hot Weezy shit I could’ve leaked out, but I figured I’d hold on to that, and do a Clipse joint, because I had already been mentioning it in press, and I had to make good on my word.”

Maestro says that he and his relative actually fell out a bit because of the album situation, and that he regrets not taking advantage of the opportunity.

“He knew it would be a great look and a super lead-up to my joint on the Clipse album” he says. “But I admit, I dropped the ball, caught up in the Weezy hype. … I had heat and full creative control, but I allowed the business to get in the way of my art. It’ll never happen again, though.”

P.S.: Check out Maestro’s blog here. Dude has some interesting stuff on there, whether it’s his own studio experiences or general blogger banter. Also, a must-visit for aspiring producers - they can buy kits of his most popular beats and study them to step their own game up.


8.12.2008

usa straight to the nuts

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Ole Bischof of Germany (white) fights with Travis Stevens of the U.S. during their
men's -81kg preliminary judo match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,
August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA)

damn, the US has already stuck it to the French and now we're taking it to Germans. The rest of the world better strap up. Everyone will suffer the wrath of US sportsmanship.


8.10.2008

rip Isaac Hayes

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Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. He was 65.

A family member found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap. (Reuters)

people interacting

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8.06.2008

The Large Hadron Collider is nearly ready

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The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27 kilometer (17 mile) long particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is nearly set to begin its first particle beam tests. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is preparing for its first small tests in early August, leading to a planned full-track test in September - and the first planned particle collisions before the end of the year. The final step before starting is the chilling of the entire collider to -271.25 C (-456.25 F). Here is a collection of photographs from CERN, showing various stages of completion of the LHC and several of its larger experiments (some over seven stories tall), over the past several years. (27 more photos @ Boston.com's Big Picture) & the LHC main site




8.05.2008

crab cakes, ribs and cheerwine

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nothing says king like ribs and crab cakes for lunch. and the cheerwine brings it all together. a tier 1 approved meal

8.01.2008

Art "Money" Monk: Finally in Canton

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it must be said, Art Monk was the man. He's finally in Canton where he deserves to be after all these years of waiting for voters to recognize his greatness. I've never been a Redskins fan but there were 3 players that I always respected and enjoyed watching; Monk, Rypien and Green. It's great he's going in with Darrell Green but this should have happened years ago.

congrats Mr. Monk. you were Tier 1.

Here's one of Monk's classic games, the 1986 NFC Championship against the defending Super Bowl Chumps the Bears. Art had 2 TDs and a beast of a game.