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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 15th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

INTERNATIONAL, THE ONION
Dubai Debt Crisis Halts Building Of World’s Largest Indoor Mountain Range.
JANUARY 14, 2010 | ISSUE 46•02

 www.theonion.com/content/news/dub…

DUBAI—Representatives from the emirate of Dubai announced with disappointment this week that its recent debt crisis has forced developers to halt construction on the city’s long-planned 22-mile-long indoor mountain range. (Planners continue to take future reservations for the mountains’ 9 and 10-star hotels.)

The culmination of a decade’s worth of ambitious and expensive building projects, Dubai’s estimated $100 billion debt officially brought work on the artificial mountain range to a stop on Tuesday.

“This is a very sad day for the emirate of Dubai,” Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum told reporters at a press conference held inside the gold-plated anti-gravity chamber in his palace. “Although I believe it is the basic right of all who visit us to be able to scale to the top of a 15,000-foot-tall manmade snowcap, these tough economic times have made it an impossibility. Never before has our proud municipality faced such a grave crisis.”

Added Sheikh Hamdan, “The time, I’m afraid, has finally come for us to tighten our jewel-studded belts.”

With only seven of the planned 19 peaks completed and the artificial glaciers only partially frozen, the real estate firm Nakheel now says the landmark Alps Dubai development will miss its planned April 2011 opening date, and with it, the controlled volcanic eruption that would have commemorated the event.

“Everything had been progressing right on schedule,” said project manager Zayed Kemaar. “The plate tectonics were almost in place, we were getting good vulcanism, and we had helicopter-loads of marble and schist arriving every day from Switzerland. We even had herds of pure-white albino bighorn rams standing on five of the peaks. Then, of course, the bottom fell out, and now we barely have the money to keep the air conditioning on.”

Added Kemaar, “It just goes to show you that, when the economy is down, vital infrastructure projects like this are always the first to suffer.”

A number of Dubai officials have even speculated that the cornerstone Jabal Khalifa mountain, which, at 27,100 feet—not counting the 300-foot-tall Lebanese-cedar log flume atop the casino at the summit—would have been the sixth-highest peak in the world, may have to be canceled entirely.

“At this rate, we may be forced to dip into the vast diamond mines we installed in the center of the city last February,” Kemaar said.

Across the city there are signs of how deeply the overall economic climate of Dubai has been affected. Thousands of VIP tables sit empty, Lamborghinis clog dealership lots, and, with many unable to afford the usual imported pet foods, the streets are filled with starving stray snow leopards and feral peacocks. Empty glass tubes, once intended to contain seawater in which the city’s fleet of nuclear commuter submarines would travel, hang forlornly 30 stories overhead.

As the emirate reels from the news of the mountain range’s suspension, developers and government officials alike remain stymied on the best course of action for resolving the debt crisis and resuming work.

“Maybe this cold hard dose of reality is what Dubai needed,” said Sheikh Hamdan, adding that he remained “hopeful” his mountain range would one day be completed. “Maybe it’s time for us to pull ourselves up by the straps of our handmade custom-fitted patent-leather Italian boots and put our slaves back to work. Only through ingenuity, perseverance, and forced labor can Dubai get back to being Dubai again.”

“And mark my words,” he added, “We will still put a man on the artificial moon we’re building by 2025.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We spent half a day in Copenhagen with the Philips of Denmark company and saw their terrific inroads in European bulb exchange industry that is now practically eliminating incandescent lamp bulbs and even the conventional fluorescent. They gave me as a present one of their bulbs – a 7 Watt  50-60Hz bulb that provides in Europe at 230-240V light  like our 100W bulb – an 80% saving on energy input. The bulb works also in the US at 110V but obviously provides much less light. Anyway, the super in our building was all in owe when he saw the bulb that provides warm shade light and does not look like the contraptions sold now in the US that are being rejected by people because of the light color and contorted shape.

I also took a tour of an environmentally active neighborhood of Copenhagen and their climate conscious community businesses are actively promoting the exchange of bulbs to the Philips LEDs. No wonder that Philips was a main backer of the City of Copenhagen “Hopenhagen” festivities and the meeting of the world Mayors.

I intended to write all that up in length, but did not get yet to do it, when this morning I found in my e-mail the following that was picked up by my friend from the days we fought the global forces of oil – at the UN – to bring to attention that the world needs a future not based on oil – Dr. Harris Schoenberg. We see even the Phillips MASTER GLOW LEDbulb MV is not the latest and best. There is already in the works some new organic paint that will be LED activated and no bulb whatsoever! Just let lose the scientific sense of good people that want also to make a buck, and we will get the convenient answers we need – just put in cages those that tend to keep us chained to the old and scream murder when we want progress.

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THE UPDATE: Our posting about LOMOX has become one of our most-read postings of 2010 and we have even been asked by entrepreneurs to establish for them the contact with the LOMOX Corporation. As we are not in this sort of business, we will nevertheless attach to this post one such show of interest in the hope that it does reach LOMOX anyway.

Also, we were made aware that there may be two methods of applying this ingenious wall cover – there is a method using the material as wall paper that contains the active ingredients, and that several floors in the new “Burj Babel” – that is the Burj Dubai / Burj Khalifa of Dubai tower – are rumored to be covered with this new material, and there is this newer futuristic paint.

———

From The Times of London
December 30, 2009

Glowing walls could kill off the light bulb: Organic LEDs could kill off the light bulb, first created by Thomas Edison.

Ben Webster, Environment Editor

Light-emitting wallpaper may begin to replace light bulbs from 2012, according to a government body that supports low-carbon technology.

A chemical coating on the walls will illuminate all parts of the room with an even glow, which mimics sunlight and avoids the shadows and glare of conventional bulbs.

Although an electrical current will be used to stimulate the chemicals to produce light, the voltage will be very low and the walls will be safe to touch. Dimmer switches will control brightness, as with traditional lighting.

The Carbon Trust has awarded a £454,000 grant to Lomox, a Welsh company that is developing the organic light-emitting diode technology. The trust said it would be two and a half times more efficient than energy saving bulbs and could make a big contribution to meeting Britain’s target of cutting carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020. Indoor lighting accounts for a sixth of total electricity use.

The chemical coating, which can be applied in the form of specially treated wallpaper or simply painted straight on to walls, can also be used for flat-screen televisions, computers and mobile phone displays.
As the system uses only between three and five volts, it can be powered by solar panels or batteries. Lomox, which will use the grant to prove the durability of the technology, believes it could be used in the first instance to illuminate road signs or barriers where there is no mains electricity.

Ken Lacey, the chief executive of Lomox, said that the first products would go on sale in 2012. “The light is a very natural, sunlight-type of lighting with the full colour range. It gives you all kinds of potential for how you do lighting,” he said.

Although organic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been available for several years, Mr Lacey said that concerns over cost and durability had prevented further development. He said that Lomox had developed a much cheaper process and discovered a combination of chemicals that were not vulnerable to the oxidation that shortened the operating life span of other types of organic LEDs.

Mr Lacey said the technology could be used to make flexible screens that could be rolled up after use, or carried into a presentation, for example.

Mark Williamson, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust, said: “Lighting is a major producer of carbon emissions. This technology has the potential to produce ultra-efficient lighting for a wide range of applications, tapping into a huge global market.

“It’s a great example of the innovation that makes the UK a hotbed of clean technology development.”

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The Attachment to Lomox and others:

Dated: 6th January 2010

Sub : LED PAINT
Dear Mr. Jawetz,
I found the article on LED PAINT development by LOMOX, Wales very interesting. I am ex Philips and have some knowledge of the lighting market. Since leaving Philips I founded Mishanti Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd. We have implemented over the years a number of cutting edge technology projects that have been successful.

We have been recently approached by a well known Middle East investor willing to fund viable projects. Substantial funding is possible.
We were thinking of a Solar Energy Project along with LED. The article on LOMOX shows the advantages of LED paint over the conventional LED.
We would be interested to discuss with LOMOX possibility of tie-up in respect of further funding and promotion. As we all know, it requires great deal of investment to take a product from Lab to market.
I shall be grateful for your help in starting a dialogue with LOMOX, Wales.
Best Regards & Happy New Year

N. Roy

Director
Mishanti Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.

8, Camac Street, 5th Floor, Room no. 11
Kolkata – 700 017
India
Phone : 91 33 2282 2299 / 2282 6905
Mobile : 9831289873
Mail :  mishanti at cal.vsnl.net.in

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 16th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from Arabian Business, December 16, 2009

Dubai set to debut new 200mph supercar.

by Andy Sambidge on Tuesday, 15 December 2009
motion-supercar_thumb
FAST CAR: The Motion supercar which is to be unveiled at the Dubai International Motor Show.

A new supercar, capable of a top speed of more than 200mph, will be launched by its US maker at the Dubai International Motor Show, which starts on Wednesday.

Kepler Motors, founded by world speed record holder Russ Wicks, will unveil its Motion supercar at the show, the company said in a statement.

Only 50 Motions will be produced with ownership going to a small, exclusive group of individuals, some of which may come from the Middle East region.
Each vehicle will be hand assembled and deliveries are set to start in 2011.

The Motion will be able to reach 60mph in under 2.5 seconds with a top speed over 200 mph, the statement added.

“We’re delighted to host the worldwide debut of the Kepler Motors Motion at the Dubai International Motor Show,” said Wicks.

“The region has a passion for ultra high performance, limited edition supercars, and presents the ideal platform to showcase the advanced technology and innovative features of the Motion.”

The Motion features extensive use of carbon fibre composite materials for its chassis and body in a bid to keep weight to a minimum.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 30th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Persian Gulf cities have proved more able to build expensive facilities than to actually lure production to the Middle East, as economic efforts run up against their traditional values.Persian Gulf cities have proved more able to build expensive facilities than to actually lure production to the Middle East, as economic efforts run up against their traditional values.

Still in Development: A Film Culture in Dubai.

Published: August 30, 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — When the heiress Paris Hiltontraveled here in June and July to audition female friends for her show “My New BFF,” her producers had access to state-of-the-art studios and a government eager to import a touch of Hollywood glamour to the Middle East.

Glen Wilson/Warner Brothers Pictures
“Syriana,” a 2005 film with Matt Damon, left, and Alexander Siddig, is one of only two Western movies to be partly filmed in the United Arab Emirates.

Mosab Omar/Reuters
Producers had problems when Paris Hilton went to Dubai to audition women for “My New BFF.”

But to adhere to the region’s Islamic norms, many of the ingredients in reality TV were taboo: there would be no drinking, no cursing, no dramatic displays of affection. The producers thought about filming a scene at a water park, but passed on the option of dressing the contestants in religiously appropriate swimwear.

Dubai, its rival Abu Dhabi and other Persian Gulf cities face enormous hurdles as they try to diversify their economies by fostering creativity and becoming entertainment capitals. Chief among those hurdles: they operate under Islamic law. Hollywood does not. So far, the oil-rich countries have proved more able to pay for fancy media productions and to build expensive film facilities than to actually lure production to the Middle East, as economic efforts run up against their traditional values and censorship.

This month Dubai rejected the producers of the “Sex and the City” sequel, who wanted to set part of the film there. The government cited moral reasons for the decision. “Body of Lies,” a thriller about fighting terrorists, was turned down in 2007. For now, some of the region’s specially constructed studio lots lie mostly vacant, visitors say.

Michael Hirschorn, an executive producer of the Hilton series, left Dubai impressed by what he called a “media community truly eager to embrace the international marketplace.” But that community, he said, has been hampered “by cultural norms and standards that make a lot of international production difficult to impossible to pull off.”

Some of the other hurdles are logistical. For instance, local requirements for full-time work visas mean that the country lacks a robust freelance market to support productions. Jamal al-Sharif, the executive director of Dubai Studio City, which was founded in 2005 to stimulate the regional film industry, acknowledged that “a vital ingredient for building the film industry is access to talent.”

Despite the drawbacks, the region’s ambitions to house world-class centers for creation and production cannot be written off, partly because of the sheer sums proponents are willing to spend. Last fall, Imagenation, a subsidiary of the government-run Abu Dhabi Media Company, invested $250 million each with Participant Media and Hyde Park Entertainment and $100 million with National Geographic Entertainment to finance feature films. Work on the first phase of Abu Dhabi’s own media production zone, one geared toward television, is under way.

Abu Dhabi’s most expensive joint venture to date is a two-year-old one with Warner Brothers that was said to be worth $1 billion. This month, “Shorts,” the first Warner Brothers film financed partly by Abu Dhabi’s feature film arm, opened in theaters in the United States. It earned a disappointing $6.6 million in its opening weekend.

So far, “Shorts” is the only film to come from the joint venture: the partners have not announced any more films, feeding speculation that the authorities in Abu Dhabi are rethinking their Hollywood ambitions. But Edward Borgerding, the chief executive of Imagenation, said in an interview that he was sure “we’ll make another movie with Warner Brothers next year, and the year after that.”

In a statement that cited the “world economic climate,” Warner Brothers was more circumspect. It said it was working with Imagenation to ensure that the companies’ business objectives were mutually aligned.

National Geographic is making more progress with Abu Dhabi. Adam Leipzig, the president of its entertainment division, said the partners plan to make two or three films a year for the next five years. Their first acquisition, “Amreeka,” is scheduled for release in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 4, and their first co-production, “The Way Back,” finished filming two months ago. The partnership expects to make more acquisitions at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

The investments by Abu Dhabi are part of a wider push to establish the emirate as a cultural center. Like other Middle Eastern cities, the emirate has invested money and personnel in creating the infrastructure for media production. One year ago it announced a content creation center, which it dubbed Twofour54, and in September its first editing centers and studios will open on the outskirts of the city, said Christopher O’Hearn, the general manager of DMA Media, a consultancy that helped create the hub.


Holding a notepad while meeting in a hotel lobby in Abu Dhabi, Mr. O’Hearn sketched out a grander vision for a production center, now in the early planning stages. “It’ll be the sort of facility that a producer from London, L.A. or Sydney can walk into and say, ‘This is very familiar,’ ” he said.

Warner brothers Pictures
“Shorts,” a Warner Brothers film financed partly by Abu Dhabi’s feature film arm, opened this month in the United States.

But to carry out the production plans, Mr. O’Hearn and others say, the region needs a skilled pool of creative workers.

In an interview, Mr. Borgerding said that a skilled labor force “doesn’t exist here in sufficient numbers yet to put the productions together without flying in a lot of people and putting them in expensive hotels.”

A new training academy is working to change that.

Back in Dubai, Tim Smythe, the chief executive of Filmworks, said the tax-free emirates also lack “incentive packages or rebates” for producers, so the only advantages are the locations.

Dubai Studio City’s facilities have been used in 26 feature films, mostly from gulf countries and Bollywood. To date, “Syriana” and “The Kingdom” are the only Western films to be partly shot in the emirates.

While expressing confidence in Dubai Studio City’s objectives, Mr. Sharif said, “We do realize it may take a while for us to really make a mark at the global level.”

In rejecting the request from the producers of the “Sex and the City” sequel this summer, Mr. Sharif said, the authorities took into account “the multicultural fabric of the society and its perceptions.”

According to a government official familiar with the script, its plot lines — with the women coming to Dubai, spending money lavishly and cavorting — were perceived to reinforce negative stereotypes about the region.

Even more than the staff issues, enduring issues of censorship may be the most stubborn hurdle for the gulf region — even if, as Mr. Hirschorn jokingly said, “our government censor turned out to be a really nice guy.”

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