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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The iPhone Now Officially Runs Doom


id's classic shooter has finally been (officially) ported to the iPhone. And thanks to oversight from John Carmack himself, there are a number of improvements that make it worth a purchase even for Jailbreakers.

In a blog post from May, Carmack says he loves that players port Doom to every device imaginable, but he's disappointed that there's rarely any real effort to build a new, functional control scheme on platforms without a keyboard and mouse. In other words, he'd rather that instead of everyone stopping at "Does it run Doom?" they ask "Does it play Doom?"

That's why he personally developed the controls for the iPhone version, and according to early reviews, the iPhone can now play Doom. Users are saying controls as good as you would expect from Carmack. Not to mention the other enhancements like 24-bit lighting.

Sure, you might have put the game on your jailbroken iPhone years ago, but graphical upgrades and tighter controls might make it worth the $6.99 admission price. [Recombu]


Send an email to Chris Jacob, the author of this post, at cjacob@gizmodo.com.

Gregory Itzin returning to Fox's '24'

Actor set to reprise role as villainous ex-president

By Nellie Andreeva

One of "24's" favorite villains, former President Charles Logan, is coming back.

Gregory Itzin, nominated for an Emmy for his role on the Fox real-time drama, has signed for a multiepisode arc on the upcoming eighth season.

The disgraced former president last was seen during Season 6 flatlining en route to a hospital after being stabbed by his wife, Martha Logan (Jean Smart).

At the opening of Season 7, FBI agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) told Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) that Logan is alive and under house arrest, but he never was heard from again.

In the upcoming season, sitting President Taylor (Cherry Jones) reluctantly enlists Logan to assist with an escalating international diplomatic crisis.

"The opportunity for these two remarkable actors to share the stage was simply too compelling to pass up," "24" executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon said.

The eighth season of "24" kicks off with a two-night, four-hour premiere Jan. 17-18. Set in New York, it features a retired Bauer unwillingly drawn back into the action after learning of a plot to assassinate Middle East peacekeeper Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor).

Other new cast members include CTU rookies Katee Sackhoff, Mykelti Williamson and Freddie Prinze Jr., who join Wersching and veteran Mary Lynn Rajskub.

guest BLOGSTAR 8 Things Disney Parks Have Banned

by guest BLOGSTAR

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by Alvin Ward

Disneyland may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but don’t think that means you can just waltz in and do whatever you want. In fact, Mickey Mouse’s theme parks have banned quite a few things over the years. Here are just a few of the things on which the Mouse has dropped his hammer.

1. Long Hair

Until the late 1960s, men could either have flowing locks or enjoy Adventureland, but they definitely couldn’t do both. According to Snopes, if a long-haired fellow tried to buy a ticket, a cast member would discreetly and politely inform the man that his hairdo didn’t jive with the park’s unwritten dress code before escorting him from the park.

2. Facial Hair

It’s tough to find a picture of Walt Disney without a mustache, but for decades it was even tougher to find a Disney employee who had a ‘stache of his own. Starting in 1957, workers at Disney parks were not allowed to have long hair, grow beards, or wear mustaches. (The underlying logic was that park patrons wouldn’t want to buy a $9 soda from some filthy bearded hippie or mustachioed Snidely Whiplash type.)

In 2000, Disney was having trouble drumming up enough manpower to staff its parks, so it relaxed the facial hair ban. Employees were finally allowed to grow mustaches, provided they kept them trimmed and groomed. Beards didn’t fare so well, though; they stayed on the forbidden list.

3. Blake Lively

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How could anyone not like the cute-as-a-button star of Gossip Girl? Disneyland apparently wasn’t always amused with Lively’s pre-fame antics. According to Lively, when she was six, she and her older brother used the old put-hairspray-on-a-friend’s-readmission-hand-stamp-to-transfer-the-stamp-to-their-own-skin trick. It would have been the perfect crime, except security nabbed the Lively kids right as they went through the park’s turnstiles and slapped the pair with a one-year ban.

4. Florida State Football Recruits

In June 2007, four Florida State football recruits met up for a little bit of fun. Instead of engaging in any of the myriad nefarious acts a group of 18-year-old males are known to favor, the players decided to go to Disney World, which seemed like the very last place in the world they could get into any trouble. Wrong. Park officials approached the men, all of whom were African-American, while they hung out in Downtown Disney and ejected them from the park for violating its anti-loitering rules. Security also hit the players with a lifetime ban from the park in a move that many Disney critics claimed smacked of racial profiling.

5. Costumes

costume-hamburgler-smallYou may want to dress up like Jack Sparrow for a day of riding Pirates of the Caribbean, but if you’re older than nine, forget it. Disney bans any costumes and masks on anyone who’s ten or older. Also listed on Disney’s park dress code: “Makeup that could be construed as part of a costume.” So go easy on the eye shadow—the fashion police might decide you’re shooting for a 19th-century harlot look and give you the heave-ho.

Similarly, the dress code bans “clothing that accentuates or draws attention to private areas,” a well meaning, if oddly phrased, choice. Here’s hoping Disney starts handing out unisex burlap smocks at the park gates to avoid any potentially accentuated private areas. [Image courtesy of reader Christopher Schwarz.]

6. Gallows

In early 2008, upstart English punk band Gallows was all set to open for Social Distortion at a gig at the House of Blues at Disneyland. The bill seemed like a good way to get exposure for a band that was starting to catch on stateside—or it did until Disney officials actually stopped to listen to Gallows’ debut record, Orchestra of Wolves. Once Disney brass heard Gallows’ tunes, they nixed the show due to the band’s occasionally offensive lyrical content.

While it seems odd to get upset at a punk band for being abrasive, Disney’s move wasn’t unprecedented. Just a few months earlier, the company had banned the metal band Machine Head from performing at the House of Blues for similar reasons.

7. Kids

Kids banned by Disney? You bet. In January 2008, Disney announced that children under the age of 10 would no longer be allowed to dine at Victoria & Albert’s, the ritziest restaurant at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Spa and Resort. The move made news, but Disney officials claimed that the AAA five-diamond-rated restaurant didn’t attract that many children in the first place. In addition to being pricey, Victoria & Albert’s only offered a fixed-price menu with kid-unfriendly offerings like caviar, so the restaurant only catered to a handful of young diners each year.

8. Segways

GOB-segwayGOB Bluth is going to be in quite a bind if he ever tries to ride his Segway into Disneyland. The company bans Segways from its parks, ostensibly because it’s tough to balance safety issues with the potential for having a fleet of two-wheeled vehicles rolling around the grounds.

The trouble here, though, is that a lot of disabled people use Segways in lieu of wheelchairs. These folks were understandably peeved that they couldn’t visit the parks using their preferred mode of transportation, and several of them filed lawsuits. So far it’s been tough for the Segway riders to get Disney to budge; earlier this fall, a federal judge threw out a class action lawsuit brought against Disney by Segway devotees. The ruling left an opening for further legal action, though, so this court battle may not be over yet.

Readers have brought up two other things that might not be welcome in Disney parks: Nikita Khrushchev and bubble gum. Alvin has added those stories…

Nikita Khrushchev?

kruschevDisneyland as a battleground for the Cold War? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what it became in 1959. That year, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev spent 11 days visiting the United States. He spent one day of the trip in Los Angeles, and the fierce orator wanted to see Disneyland. However, the LAPD and the rest of Khrushchev’s security detail were worried about his safety during such a trip, so they nixed the idea.

Khrushchev accepted the news with characteristic poise, which is to say he exploded. He ranted, “And I say, I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. But then, we cannot guarantee your security, they say. Then what must I do? Commit suicide? What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me?”

Gum?

Want to chomp on some gum while you’re standing in line at a Disney park? You’ll have to bring it with you from home. In an effort to keep chewed gum from being stuck all over the parks, none of the shops in any Disney theme park sells gum. Supposedly this innovation came from Walt Disney himself, who wanted to make sure that his guests could enjoy their visits without getting gum stuck to their shoes.

Marvel Comics Partners With Panelfly To Bring Mobile Comics To The iPhone

by Daniel Brusilovsky

If you are a comics fan, you are going to like this (unless you’re a print purist). Panelfly is partnering with Marvel Comics, one of the largest comic book companies in the world, to bring all your comic book fantasies to the iPhone. Marvel’s line up of comics is quite amazing — the original Spider-Man series, X-Men, X23, Age Apocalypse, and Iron Man. These titles are now being offered in the Panelfly iPhone application, going back to the very first issues. [iTunes Link]

If comics are to survive the digital age, they need to become available in electronic form. And that’s exactly what this partnership does. Until now, reading the original Spider-Man or Captain America on your iPhone wasn’t possible. For instance, Stephen Lynch, CTO of Panelfy, says that it’s almost impossible to get your hands on the original versions of some of these comics, but now with this partnership, you can read the very first issue of Spider-Man, X-Men, and Ironman on your iPhone.

The application is free, but each issue costs $0.99 to download into Panelfly’s reader. Now, if only Apple hurried up with that Tablet, you could actually read them in full screen.

In August, Disney acquired Marvel for $4 billion.

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Panelfly image
Website: panelfly.com
Location:New York City, New York, United States

Panelfly is an all encompassing comic resource, offering users a inline mobile store, complete library functionality, sequential panel navigation, bookmarking capabilities, and a unique page index menu. Learn More

Marvel Entertainment image
Website: marvel.com
Location:New York, New York, United States
Founded: 1988
Acquired: August 31, 2009 by The Walt Disney Company for $4B in Cash and Stock

Marvel Entertainment, Inc. engages in the licensing, publishing, toy making, and film production businesses with a proprietary library of approximately 5,000 characters. Its library of characters include Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk,… Learn More

Chad Ochocinco’s 10 Most Entertaining Bengals Moments

Posted by gibbs12

Inspired by Chad Ochocinco’s appearance on Letterman last week along with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s gallery of Chad, we bring to you Chad Ochocinco’s Top 10 Bengals Moments.

#10 - Chad’s New Bib

Heading to the crowd in Pittsburgh to throw a Terrible Towel at them after a Bengals victory in 2005.

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#9 - The More Gold The Merrier

Gold mohawk, gold teeth, and the shirt that started Chad’s impressive self-branding movement in August 2006.

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#8 - Thoroughbred Race

Racing a horse for charity to stay newsworthy in the 2007 offseason.

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#7 - Chad Claus

Playing Santa Claus after a touchdown in a 2005 Christmas Eve game.

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#6 - If You Have To Ask…

Begging the NFL not to fine him after breaking this sign out after a touchdown against the 49ers in 2003.

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#5 - The Introduction

Revealing his new name and persona on his jersey before a game against the Falcons in 2006. In order to be allowed to have the nickname on the back of his jersey, he had his last name officially changed in the following offseason.

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#4 - Pylon Putter

Playing putt putt after a touchdown against Baltimore in 2005.

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#3 - Unwelcome Leap

Jumping into the Dawg Pound after a touchdown against Cleveland in 2007.

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#2 - Riverdance

Doing the Riverdance after a touchdown against Chicago in 2005.

#1 - Friends In Enemy Territory

Coordinates a Lambeau Leap into the arms of strategically placed Bengals fans.

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Harvard launches iPhone app for swine flu


Posted by Elizabeth Cooney November 3, 2009 11:51 AM

Harvard Medical School's publishing arm has a new iPhone application for all things swine flu, pulling information from local and national health specialists, its own medical and business schools, and an outbreak locator, all downloadable from the iTunes Store.

Called the HMSMobile Swine Flu Center, it offers video guides for preventing infection, interactive tools to determine if an illness is likely to be swine flu, and advice for businesses dealing with illness, according to Harvard Health Publications. It also includes access to HealthMap's “Outbreaks Near Me” program, a real-time map of disease outbreaks developed by John Brownstein of Children's Hospital Boston and Clark Freifeld of MIT's Media Lab.

First-time mom plans to give birth live on the internet

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse

Lynsee, a 23-year-old teacher in Minneapolis, is expecting her first child any day now. And she's decided to share the whole experience, from the first labor pain to that final awesome push, with the internet.

Like many mommy bloggers have before, she’s been documenting every detail of her first pregnancy; unlike any of them, she’s been sharing the highs and lows with more than 900 Watch Lynsee Grow! readers at the Twin Cities’ Moms Like Me website, which will broadcast the birth from the hospital as it happens. Only Moms Like Me members will be able to leave comments during the event, though anyone with an internet connection will be able to watch the live feed.

“We wanted to document the pregnancy and create a one-of-a-kind memento for our baby to have forever,” Lynsee told the website's partner KARE-TV 11, which is also following her pregnancy (she requested that I not publish her last name, for privacy reasons). "You'll be at some of the doctor's appointments... You'll be there in the delivery room, tastefully, but you will be there.’’

Fresh off of the Balloon Boy saga, one may wonder whether Lynsee or her 24-year-old husband, Anders, is in it for fame or fortune -- or reality TV. But they're not. Though there are a few corporate sponsors on board and KARE-TV helped throw her a baby shower at the famed Mall of America, all gifts were donated to charity and Lynsee is not being compensated for her participation in the project, according to Twin Cities Moms Like Me site manager Cindy Chapman.

Moms Like Me representatives say that the goal of the project was to get more members to share and interact on the site. Many members are fans of A Baby Story on TLC, Chapman says, and she was hoping to take the concept a step further. "We have the perfect vehicle on the internet with taking the birth live -- something A Baby Story doesn’t do." She sent a private message out to the members of the Twin Cities' site, asking if there were any pregnant women who were interested in participating. Lynsee was one of about 12 who responded. “I emailed her right away and she filled me in on the project,” Lynsee told me. “I talked with my husband and we were excited about it!”

Of course, you can't log off when you're the one in labor. And you certainly can't script a birth. Viewers won’t see any graphic details -- an experienced camera crew will be at the helm, Chapman says, and a team of people will be monitoring the shoot as well as the online chat. Chapman, who will be at the hospital with Lynsee, says that there is a "massive crisis plan" in place.

In October, MomsLikeMe.com asked their members for their thoughts on the couple's decision to share their child's birth with the world. About 60 percent of moms said that they do not want anyone besides their significant other in the delivery room but, in another poll, the same percentage responded that they would be interested in watching a broadcast of a live birth. "You never know when you start projects like this, how they’re going to go,” Chapman says. "The response has been overwhelming, very supportive, very positive for Lynsee."

I’m sure that every parent reading this right now is having a mini-flashback to their first birth experience -- I know I am -- and wondering how they'd cope with having a camera crew in the room. But that’s not how Lynsee, a family and consumer science teacher, sees the project. “It’s so miraculous and special because each birth is different. If I were in a classroom, I would be teaching about childhood development, so I feel that I’m using myself as a textbook to teach others about pregnancy and delivery."

"I will also have all the support from the mom’s on the site while I’m having the baby. Just knowing they are there during labor means a lot to me," she adds. (You can read my entire interview with Lynsee here.)

As the big day approaches -- she’s due Nov. 19 -- Lynsee says she’s not having any second thoughts about broadcasting the labor and delivery live. “No – it’s the final part of the journey,” she says. “It’s the one big moment and the special part and it’s what I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone the most.”

Who was in the room when your child was born? And would you have let the internet watch?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

New Disney ship to have 750-foot water coaster ride, virtual portholes for windowless rooms

http://abcnews.go.com/

The Associated Press

Disney's new cruise ship will include a 765-foot-long water coaster ride and virtual portholes with a live view of the ocean for windowless staterooms.

This computer rendering released by Disney Cruise Line shows the AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long water coaster ride on the Disney Dream, a cruise ship expected to launch in January 2011. (AP Photo/Disney Cruise Line)
(AP)

The Disney Dream ship is scheduled to launch Jan. 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Fla., on a cruise to the Bahamas. It's the cruise line's third ship after Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, as well as its largest, with a capacity of 4,000 people.

The virtual portholes hang over beds in inside staterooms and stream live footage from video cameras mounted around the ship, with 24-hour views of the water and sky, punctuated occasionally by the appearance of a Disney character on the screen. Passengers have the option of turning the video off.

The ship's water coaster, called the AquaDuck, will send a two-person raft (with a picture of Donald Duck on it) on a flume ride around the perimeter of the ship's top deck, propelled up and down by water blasters. One loop of the ride juts 13 feet over the side of the ship, 150 feet above the ocean. The ride will take 90 seconds and will accommodate anyone 48 inches or taller.

The video portholes and AquaDuck are among a number of innovative features on the ship. Pictures in hallways will become animated as guests walk by; restaurant environments will change from day to night; kids can have conversations with animated Disney characters on a large plasma screen.

Asked to name his favorite part of the ship, Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said: "It's hard not to love that water coaster."

Paul Motter, editor of CruiseMates.com, said the AquaDuck will be the longest ride at sea. Motter said the just-launched Carnival Dream "is the longest now at 303 feet, but Disney's is a stronger concept using a raft and the water jets that push you upstream. Plus the extension over the side of the ship gives it a real 'wow' factor."

He said another ship, Norwegian Epic, due out in May 2010, will have an inner-tube ride called The Epic Plunge. "Obviously, water slides are becoming one of the big attractions on ships," he added.

Disney Cruise Line was passed over recently in awards given out by CruiseCritic.com for best ships for families (Royal Caribbean won the category). But CruiseCritic.com editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown was enthusiastic about the Disney Dream.

"Disney's ships were cutting edge a decade ago but have been surpassed, innovation-wise, since," she said. "So all this new stuff, this is fantastic! It's a great boon for the family market, though I do still believe, and Disney hasn't yet convinced me otherwise, that it's a better cruise for Disney fanatics and families with younger kids."

Bookings for the Dream's first cruise opens Nov. 9.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Got Vertigo? Terrifying Towers & Glass Balconies

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All of your instincts may be screaming for you to avoid looking down at all costs, but when you’re this high in the air, the view is just irresistible. Whether you’re clinging for dear life to a rickety wooden rainforest observation tower or staring straight down through a glass floor at city streets thousands of feet below, frighteningly tall spires and lookouts give us humans a look at our environment that our ancestors would never have imagined possible.

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

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(image via: shidairyproduct, ilkerender)

Do you trust a piece of glass about the thickness of two fingers to keep you from crashing thousands of feet to the ground below? Toronto’s CN Tower, which stands over 1,815 tall, offers stunning 360-degree views of the city – and a stomach-turning view straight down to the street through a glass floor.

Forest Tower, Schovenhorst Estate, Netherlands

forest-tower

(images via: Arplus.com)

The thoroughly modern Forest Tower is just as visually stunning as the views it provides of the conservation area at the Schovenhorst Estate in the Netherlands. The design includes spaces and features for various activities including peepholes, a climbing net and even a small performance space.

Willis Tower Skydeck, Chicago, Illinois

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(images via: Charlotte Speaks)

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to float 110 stories over Chicago, the Skydeck at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower is the closest you’re likely to get. With a glass floor and glass walls on three sides, these “glass balconies” provide unparalleled views that will give the acrophobic nightmares.

Bird Watching Towers, Ecuadorian Amazon

ecuador-birdwatching-tower

(images via: JackMaryEtc)

There’s no way to enjoy the birds of the Amazon quite like observing them from one of Ecuador’s many extremely tall bird watching towers – if you’re brave enough to climb them. But finally getting to the top and finding it twisted from the wind and held together with a string, like one traveling couple did, might be enough to sway your confidence in the structure’s sturdiness.

Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne, Australia

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(images via: EurekaSkydeck.com)

Like the Willis Tower Skydeck, Eureka Skydeck 88 in Melbourne, Australia offers views you just can’t get anywhere else in the city. But, it’s not for the faint of heart. 940 feet above the ground, “The Edge” is a glass cube that juts out nine feet from the building. It’s the highest public vantage point in a building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Korkeasaari Lookout Tower, Helsinki, Finland

Korkeasaari-tower

(images via: arcspace)

The shell-like wooden Korkeasaari Lookout Tower at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo mimics the large natural enclosures that the animals are held in, and is made of 72 long curved wood battens fastened with over 600 bolted joints. Ville Hara’s concept for the tower was the winning entry in a competition to design an innovative, artistic tower for the zoo.

Blackpool Tower ‘Walk of Faith’, Lancashire, England

blackpool-tower

(images via: Wikipedia)

With a design inspired by the Eiffel Tower, the 518ft Blackpool Tower in Lancashire, England was constructed in 1894 after Blackpool Mayor John Bickerstaffe visited the Great Paris Exhibition. Among its most popular features is the “Walk of Faith”, a glass floor panel added in 1998.

Burj Dubai Observation Deck, Dubai, UAE

burj-dubai

(images via: Dubai Chronicle, WeeklyDrop)

Set to become the world’s tallest free-standig structure, Burj Dubai will feature a 124th-floor observation deck called ‘At the Top’. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls will provide unobstructed views of the city, but anyone who’s not paranoid about being swept away by a gust of wind can venture out onto the open-air deck. This mixed-use tower is set to open in late 2009.

Killesberg Tower, Stuttgart, Germany

killesberg-tower

(image via: structurae)

This double-helix shaped tower in Stuttgart, Germany features what are essentially two gigantic intertwined spiral staircases suspended by cables around a central support. Getting to the top is no easy feat, but the reward is great.

Shanghai Expo Tower, China

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(image via: Expo 2010)

A 495-foot tall chimney at the oldest power plant in China is getting a dramatic makeover for the World Expo 2010. It is set to be transformed into an observation tower called the “Expo Harmony Tower”, its exterior wrapped with tracks and cars similar to a rollercoaster to transport passengers to the top. The entire former high-pollution plant is being revamped into an eco-friendly attraction that uses electricity generated by tide, wind and solar energy.

Glasgow Tower, Scotland

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(images via: Wikipedia)

The tallest tower in Scotland is also the only tower in the world that can rotate 360 degrees from its base to its top. It’s shaped like an aerofoil, or an airplane wing seen in cross-section, and has computer-controlled monitors that turn it in the wind to reduce wind resistance.

Green Observation Towers Concept

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(images via: HumanShelter.org)

Could we replace smokestacks with eco-friendly, green power-generating towers that also serve as public spaces with observation decks? Designer Michael Jantzen thinks so, and has created several designs that would do just that. The Wind Turbine Observation Tower has five wind-activated segments that rotate in different directions to produce energy, while the Eco-Tower is a public gathering space equipped with seven platforms and a custom wind turbine.

Cheongna City Tower, South Korea

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(images via: Bustler.net)

South Korea is getting a new landmark tower that will serve as the cultural hub and centerpiece of a large new town development. The 1,476-foot observation tower appears to jut sharply into the sky like an inverted icicle, with the second-highest observation deck in the world. It’ll also be pretty high-tech, becoming the world’s first “invisible tower” with a skin system that uses optical cameras to capture the views from the opposite wall and project those images on each part of the skin. This effect will make the tower itself seems to disappear when you’re inside, leaving nothing but sweeping views.

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