what a fscked up world we live in ...
nothing more to say.
The ruler of Dubai has announced that the Gulf state is soon to build the world's first climate-controlled city, which will feature the largest area yet contained under a single transparent dome. The project is referred to by its organisers as "Mall of the World", and is intended to produce an city which can be traversed …
It was Abu Dhabi who bailed them out. Just waiting long enough to let Dubai sweat, so they'd know who was boss in future...
I know this, because due to censorship Saudi Arabia won't show the Flintstones movie, but Abu Dhabi Do...
Sorry, I couldn't stop myself. I'd best get my coat.
The larger the shopping mall, the more likely it is to reach 100% handbags and shoes. There's a mile-long mall running down the west side of Kowloon, and it's achieved about 95% designer goods. There remains one or two places to buy a biscuit. A thousand shops and not a single one is selling a 1lb box of galvanized 4-inch nails.
Re: The tallest building in the world, Burj
Dubai Kalifa. Last I read indicated that the function of city sewer pipes was being addressed with a fleet of trucks. Strange.
You don't need to be a sandal-shod lentil-muncher to think that this looks like a special way of achieving the improbable end result of doubling the environmental impact of oil - once through extracting and burning the stuff, and then again through squandering the profits on pointless vanity projects.
I see no problem with that - that's what money is for after all.
If you make money, you can spend money. Sure, it may not be the wisest thing in someone's eyes, but YMMW.
The problem comes when money is cheap - i.e. when you can go to a bank and get freshly printed shite from a central bank. Because that is taxation of the hoi polloi via tricks. ANd once money stops being cheap, your project goes titsup and all the resources that went into it have been squandared.
But that's exactly why Dubai are spending their wealth rather cleverly. Instead of spending it on ever-more lavish palaces for the ruling classes, they spend in on project slike this which cost a bomb now but which become revenue-generators independent of oil production. By the time the oil runs out they can sustain the economy through health tourism, retail tourism etc.
I'm not sure if long-run the numbers stack up especially if less people go when the novelty wears off / there are other similair places to go and/or the running costs become too much. But in the meantime, kudos for giving it a go.
Other nations *ahem* have/had plenty of oil/gas wealth but precious little to show for it
"So how would tourists get to Dubai once the oil runs out? Electric Zeppelin?"
"Dubai is on the coast.I'll let you fill in the details."
I presume you're suggesting people swim, given that a cruise ship uses around three times as much fuel per passenger km as a long haul jet.
"But that's exactly why Dubai are spending their wealth rather cleverly"
Actually it's most unlikely to be their oil and gas wealth, because Dubai doesn't have much in the way of oil and gas, although other emirates like Bahrain do (all part of the loose federation that is the UAE). And history shows that Dubai don't spend this borrowed money wisely, either.
So not only is the Dubai property boom a case of building your house physically on sand, but financially as well. Back in 2009 Dubai World came a cropper after borrowing shedloads of money for vanity projects, and some $24bn of debt was "restructured" down to around $14bn. As you'd expect, arseholes like Royal Bank of Scotland had big buckets of exposure to the Dubai property boom, so British taxpayers ended up bailing a load of the Dubai World debts out for idiot London bankers. In addition to the writeoffs by international lenders, Dubai was bailed out by the oil and gas wealth of fellow emirates Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Clearly property investors have learned nothing, banks have learned that the more stupid their lending decision, the more likely it is that they will get bailed out, and I think the same lesson has been concluded by the rulers of Dubai, so we're now back to business as usual.
Now, we can beg to differ, but personally I think that building a mercantilist economy and a global retail destination is actually a huge risk if people believe that oil will start to run out. How will people get there if there's no airlines or no affordable fares? And what's the point in zillions of square feet in retail space if the only customers are a handful of Russian oligarch's wives who flew in on private jets? Meanwhile, the other oil states are doing two far more sensible things - trying to build conventional economies to keep a fast growing and increasingly bored population happy, and using the surplus to buy relatively safe and diversified foreign assets.
As far as I know Dubai isn't just building mega-skyscrapers and vanity projects but also heavily investing in solar and working on a nuclear power station as well, they'll be OK for energy when the oil runs out.
I agree they might not be educating their children to look after any of the technical stuff that keeps life going, but if they can sustainably profit from other activities they can just continue hiring foreigners to do this work for them as they are doing now.
The "if they can sustainably profit from other activities" part is of course an unknown but at least they are willing to explore new concepts
Sorry, I lived in Dubai for 8 years, and if you think this kind of thing is spending money wisely, rather than in the rulers' own self interest, you're deluded.
There is nothing but worthless desert there, there is nothing sustainable beyond when the oil runs out. The locals have had oil money for 40 years, and they still cannot educate and instil a work ethic in their kids so they can fly their own airliners or engineer their own oil production. Why bother, when you can just pay foreigners to do these things? This is not Singapore or HK or China, countries that value education, hard work and doing things themselves, despite the great wealth they've come by. It's a lottery win, that they're busy frittering away and having a good time with while pretending their business people.
Wow, it's almost like someone sat down and thought "I wonder how I can use more energy". I'm sure it'll be amazing when it's complete but I'm not sure it'll be able to pull in enough money to be self sustaining. Perhaps I'm underestimating how many rich people there are in the world that want to fly to Dubai for a face lift. If I was running Dubai I would be pumping money into setting my country up as a leading producer of hydrogen and renewable power, something that will always have value.
"Wow, it's almost like someone sat down and thought "I wonder how I can use more energy"."
The energy is free for them. Pump up enough oil and you get plenty of gas. There's enough of that to make electricity (and hence de-sal water) effectively free in the Gulf States. Utilities cost a negligible amount.
It is interesting that it does sound absolutely horrific but I can't help thinking that the fact they are doing it in Dubai makes it seem that way. I wonder if they were doing this in Japan it might seem to be much cooler.
From the article - "Additional districts within the project will include .... a cultural celebration district " I'm guessing not many cultures will be celebrated. Can't imagine they'll be having a pride march.
This is like when they say: "We're building this massive skyscraper in London / Dubai / My Dong, and it is designed with environmentally friendly techniques approved by [insert name of highly respectable yet bogus smelling organisation] to dramatically cut its energy consumption" conveniently omitting that the construction and running of the thing will cause enormous expenditure of energy and environmental damage, which in most cases, but for the lining of the pockets of developers and their associates, could have been avoided.
As my respected cousin, Anonymous Coward, wrote a little higher, Dubai could really throw a trump card by producing masses of electricity / drinking water / hydrogen / what-have-you using the massive quantities of sunshine which they are blessed with. Or at least, build this indoor city to fleece the rich of this world but with solar panels all over it on heat insulation panels, with a narrow gaps between them to provide gentle sunlight below, so as not to waste the space or the energy. Now that would make sense.
I just had a work gig there, and it struck me as being in a city on Mars. You can't really step outside and inside the only thing to do is work or shop. It is a place for money, by money. Save for the slave-labour it is built with and runs on, it's a great place if you want to divorce yourself from anything real and meaningful. It didn't take me a moment to turn down the offer of a full-time gig there.
Summer's hell but during winter time the weather is actually pretty cool, from nov to march I must say it's maybe the best weather I did found around the world. Still, after a couple times around the desert and a couple of swims, everything became pretty much boring as you said. I did turn down an offer of a full-time gig as well. But maybe they just paid me not THAT much.
Of course you wouldn't want to work in Dubai. The place is traditionally highly stratified socially, with their rich upper classes lording over the common workers, while in Britain you could be working for a fraction of Dubai wages while the rich upper classes... oh wait, never mind, it's the climate, right?
This dome will be no better. I walked into a Dubai shopping centre. It was 40°C and humid outside, then I walked into a wall of ice. It was 18°C and dry inside. That was an almost painful transition. Although not as bad as walking back out through the doors into the heat was.
And I was there in October. In July/August it hits 50!
I woulda sworn an ex-employer's offices were set up that way.
Chilly in winter, but they kept it even colder in summer. It wasn't the servers, they were in their own room, but just stupid management.
Dubai? It would be an ok idea to diversify, if they could bother their own citizens to have the skills necessary to make money from those diversified businesses. Or at least be employed by them.
As it is, a few rich Doobies will scam money out of it, some expats will milk it, many more Indians & Bengladeshis will be treated abusively to build them. The average Dubai citizen will remain on their version of the dole.
Album Elephantum indeed.
"responsible for a lot of carbon emissions"
did Lewis really express concern about CO2? Must. Fix. My. Brain. ;-)
>>"did Lewis really express concern about CO2? Must. Fix. My. Brain. ;-)"
No, he said if global warming resumes. AGW skepticism isn't about pretending climate doesn't change, it's questioning whether human activity is the primary factor and, following on from that, whether models predicting future catastrophic change are accurate.
UAE relies on fossil fuels to desalinate the drinking water - when the fuel starts running short and water scarce it'll empty out in a heartbeat.
As stupid as air conditioning the desert is, it may be that putting a lid over the buildings isn't massively more inefficient than all the individually cooled buildings - they all lose their cool individually, but if the cooler air leaks into a contained space as opposed to hot streets, it may not be quite as stupid as it first appears.
"As stupid as air conditioning the desert is, it may be that putting a lid over the buildings isn't massively more inefficient than all the individually cooled buildings - they all lose their cool individually, but if the cooler air leaks into a contained space as opposed to hot streets, it may not be quite as stupid as it first appears."
It's a good point but it would only work if the whole city is built accordingly. Or will the 'outside' - the streets and communal areas be set at a higher temperature than the inside of buildings? So they still end up air conditioning the buildings separately anyway.
It seems that in most places people prefer a higher temperature outside than they do inside. (We go to hot places for their nice weather but still end up air conditioning the hotel rooms because we don't want that temperature when we sleep!)
As the human population grows, it's not so far-fetched to think that our descendants will need to turn to artificial environments once nature can't provide enough to support us all.
If the Sheik's dome in Dubai interests you, I'd recommend reading Steel Beach by John Varley. It's a fun piece of fiction, and everyone in the novel is living in domes on the moon. Any Earth-based natural environment is non-existent, although various biomes have been replicated in city-sized domed "Disneylands".
In other news, is there any way of harvesting energy from all those glass panels? Can you make them with tubes inside so you can run fluid through, then through a heat exchanger? Would take a lot of energy out of the rays before they get inside.
Hmm, going to have to look that up now.
You can get solar panels to mount on the side of buildings. But they're not transparent.
You could easily have a glycol and water mix wandering around tubes in the glass dome. I guess if you made the channels small enough, they wouldn't be too visible. You'd need a bloody big heat store though. Moden solar-thermal panels can get up to 300°C (although they're black) - so if you don't keep removing heat from the system they cook their own circulating pumps. This means when sized wrong they often have to go into shutdown in the hottest part of the day, and can't switch on again until the sun's gone down.
Isn't this just a clone of Las Vegas? There the hotels have light blue sky-ceilings instead of glass, but otherwise it's the same concept. Vegas has miles of shops, huge hotels, ample parking, a barely-used monorail, and no culture. Granted Dubai's version seems a little more controlled, but it's the same principle.
Las Vegas is a very 'different' place to anywhere else I have ever been to!
Wife and I, walking around the hotels taking in all the sights, as you do. Went looking for the canals - I thought I would get extra points for the romance!! - so I kept saying they must be on the lowest floor, I mean who would build a canal upstairs on the 3rd floor. come on, who builds a canal, with so many million gallons of water on the 3rd floor.... who does that?????
Sorry to the environmentalists who I know will hate it, but I think it's kinda cool. We've developed sufficient technology to air condition a desert such that you can stuff ski slopes in it, or allow people to wander about in the midday sun with zero risk of discomfort or death.
If, big if, MMGW/ACC are real, we're going to be spending a lot more of our resources ameliorating the impact. This then makes a good R&D project for things the west might need in 100 years.
If, big if, the oil starts to run low, UAE can always buy the latest generation of solar cells at that time, rather than buy some now and replace them again in 50 years for something that works well enough to be called efficient. I suspect though, that they'd go for nuclear in preference.
Well, one alternative is we burn all the oil and run out.
More realistic is that we replace burning oil with a better fuel(s) sometime between today, and the 30/40/50 years of reserves we know we have (depending on who you listen to).
In the latter scenario, UAE still have oil, its just that nobody uses it for much... Sort of like how they have lots of sand but that currently doesn't have much value.
I think you are closer to the truth than you realise! Or even the Sheikh realises.
A system that sucks a little value off to just a few people from every piece of sweat expended by any one who works for a living producing stuff quickly gets to the point where their is too much value in the skim to recycle it into productive investment opportunities.
Then what do you do with it? Hold it and the interest rates go down. That hits your previous investments. A lot of that is in banks who have already lent out as much as they can to the wage earners. So they are indentured to keep working to pay you back for the next 20 years. AND they have spent all the stuff you lent to them on today's and yesterday's consumption. So Can't fund more lending. The demand isn't there. Not that with capital ratio requirement rules in banking you actually need money to lend it! That's how you create the stuff in 97% of cases
The ONLY thing you can do is effectively destroy it to keep up the value of what you already have. It is obviously less painful if you can do it with flair!
A good war always worked wonders, space races, cold wars or highly speculative and expensive R&D as now in Dome City. The important thing is that whatever pointless thing you do it must need lots of stuff to do it. That takes lots of workers to pay with your money, that means wages, that means more consumption demands, that means more lending opportunities, that raises the demand for borrowing money... and VOILA! that helps keep interest rates up and the value of my previous investments and other holdings making up my wealth.
It's like letting off steam from a boiling kettle through a safety valve. Have you noticed how its always in times of relative peace that we get either the wipe-out business catastrophes, which call on you and I to contribute to lose some 'wealth', or the grandiose 'follies', expeditions and uncontrolled transfers of foreign aid (nice expensive weaponry being much more 'jobs efficient' than sack loads of food or agricultural equipment)?
You think solar cells will be cheap once the oil is gone? Everybody will need lots of them by that time, the chemicals and raw materials to make them rely on fossils, aand good luck getting your savings back from the banks. Nuclear works the same way, only worse: it takes a lot of fossils to chew up a mountain to extract the uranium!
Burj Khalifa: Cost USD $ 1.5 billion
One World Trade Center: Cost US$ 3.9 billion
I think the logic is sound. Build while its still cheap, make money later.
But our smug media clearly prefers other projects
A trillion on an unwinnable war, untold billions on spying on allies and own citizens, bailing out banks etc. Much better options judging by peoples reactions...
Burj Khalifa: Cost USD $ 1.5 billion, One World Trade Center: Cost US$ 3.9 billion. I think the logic is sound. Build while its still cheap, make money later.
The reason that Burj cost a mere $1.5bn was because it was built by very poorly paid immigrant labourers earning less than ten dollars a day (and when you check this out, you'll also come across the realities of immigrant workers' total lack of rights and protections in Dubai, and their servitude to employers).
Be careful what you wish for.
It will be, by default. The locals and westerners are rich and 'in', the majority immigrant labour would just know not to enter - it's not built for them, they can't afford anything inside it, much like homeless people going to Harrods. And anyway, at the bottom end they will tend to live in labour camps way out of the city with limited access to independent transport and work all hours.
Unaccountable rulers tend to self aggrandisement of this sort; but if you can't abide living anywhere but in your ancestral lands despite the unbearable climate, I suppose there's a certain logic to installing air-conditioning over as much of it as possible. The essential technology certainly exists, even if no-one so far has tried to enclose such a large area all at once. (Eden Project in Cornwall: about 250,000 sq ft total in two "biomes". Great Glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales: 15,300 sq ft under one glass dome.)
They'll have to let some poor people in, to tend to the rich ones.
Anyone who thinks Dubai is some a great place needs to read this
Dubai representative of course claimed it wasn't accurate, then later they said the situation had improved and the original article was no longer true.
I'm looking forward to watching Dubai collapse. They don't have their own oil reserves and are dependent on tourism and have been unable to pay back the loan from Abu Dhabi
I think the only reason Abu Dhabi is helping is that they don't want a revolution next door, seeing as how revolution tend to leak across boarders.
I think most of the bile here is based on incomprehension, ignorance and fear. For example the prat who has so much to say about the subject but is so clueless as to think the country of Bahrain is one of the states of UAE. If you want real shockery go to the slums in India. Nothing like that exists in UAE. Even Islam is relatively tolerant in UAE. But I guess people will just hate on all Arabs regardless.
Source: Lived and worked there on and off for 20 years.
"If you want real shockery go to the slums in India. Nothing like that exists in UAE"
Most assuredly does. http://goo.gl/181J4B - in the time I have worked in Dubai and AD I have witnessed both the slums of old (and new!) Dubai and the labour camps. And have witnessed the famous 49C weather kill people.
"Even Islam is relatively tolerant in UAE. "
No it isn't. It's hypocritical. They choose what to enforce and when - for their own means & benefits. They (The Emirati) are exceptionally good at looking the other way when it suits them.
There is some major differences between the law and its implementation.
Bullshit. Slums in india are VAST. Slums in UAE are non-existent. And emiratiis are no more hypocritical than most of the world. You wanna hate arabs? Pick on any other than the emiratiis esp. Dubai who are golden by comparison with the primitives in the rest of the region. You have no ffing clue.
...Dubai is a pressure cooker, one that's uninhabitable 6 months of the year! All the people flocking to buy property there at bloated prices are loony. I worked there as a tax free Expat, but I'd never live there for any other reason, and I'd never buy property there! People are asking questions about the summertime World Cup in Qatar hitting 50 degrees, but Dubai is no better. So ridiculous aspirations aside, the reality is if they don't put a dome over Dubai, it won't habitable in 50 years...
Dubai is a pressure cooker, one that's uninhabitable 6 months of the year! All the people flocking to buy property there at bloated prices are loony. I worked there as a tax free Expat, but I'd never live there for any other reason, and I'd never buy property there! People are asking questions about the summertime World Cup in Qatar hitting 50 degrees, but Dubai is no better. So ridiculous aspirations aside, the reality is if they don't put a dome over Dubai, it won't be habitable in 50 years...
...somewhere else? You know, some place where weather is actually suitable for humans all year long and you can live without completely *&^%$ing up the climate with your emissions, energy needs etc?
Seriously, just BUY AN ISLAND and fill it up with your (tempting, luscious, alluring) camels, people then just KEEP MAKING IT BIGGER, build it out, under nice climate - it's a much better way to piss away large sums of money on stupid things!
Just think about it: you could still keep your old Dubai as your cash cow with its oil output and horrible living condition while enjoying the New Dubai Island with its filtered, neutralized populace - hey, you could even split your slave labor between them, only bringing the rape-worthy 'domestic help' and 'service industry' hands to your new place (even less possibility for an outsider to get wind of what's going on there) and keeping the industry laborers, normally held like animals in containers, in your Old Country... doesn't it sound great?
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021