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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Transformation Of The World’s Worst Building


Ryugyong Hotel 2011 Front View

Pyongyang North Korea Panorama

Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story skyscraper in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea renowned for once being dubbed the “World’s Worst Building” after having remained hallow for over 20 years. Construction began in earnest in 1987 and, if it had been completed as schedule in June 1989, would have been the tallest hotel building and the 17th tallest building in the world.

However, Ryugyong Hotel was not completed in June 1989. After the crumbling of the Communist bloc and the deterioration of the North Korean economy, construction halted after the outside of the hotel was complete. What remained for almost 2 decades was a window-less, empty shell of the hotel in the middle of Pyongyang, which media outlets called “The Worst Building in the World”,”Hotel of Doom” and “Phantom Hotel”. Below, one can see how the Ryugyong Hotel stood for these years:

Ryungyong Hotel Hotel of Doom Photograph

Pyongyang Panorama Ryugyong Hotel Picture

However, in 2008 construction resumed after Orascom — an Egyptian cell phone company — was given the rights to the hotel. After 3 years, the exterior of the hotel is now finished, with work progressing on the interior for a planned completion date in 2012.

Ryugyong Hotel Progress Picture

Pyongyang North Korea Skyline Photograph

Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' jacket sells for $1.8 million at auction

By the CNN Wire Staff
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" jacket sold for $1.8 million at this weekend's Julien's auction in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" jacket sold for $1.8 million at this weekend's Julien's auction in Beverly Hills, California.

(CNN) -- In an auction featuring memorabilia from the Beatles, Madonna and Elvis Presley, it was Michael Jackson who proved to be king.

The red and black jacket, winged shoulders and all, that the late pop star wore during his zombie-ridden "Thriller" video fetched a $1.8 million bid at this weekend's Julien's auction in Beverly Hills, California, according to the auctioneer's website.

The winning price was exponentially above the estimated bid of $200,000 to $400,000. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Shambala Preserve where Jackson's two Bengal tigers, Thriller and Sabu, have been living the past five years.

The jacket had been given to Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, the singer's longtime costume designers, to use as a reference for concert performances of the "Thriller" song. It includes an inscription to them on the jacket's lining, and the sleeve is signed, "Love Michael Jackson."

Its sale came exactly two years after the then 50-year-old Jackson was killed by a surgical anesthetic called Propofol, which a Los Angeles coroner ruled killed the singer in combination with several sedatives found in his blood.

The jacket wasn't the only piece of history from the late King of Pop that was part of the auction. The signature fedora Jackson wore during his Bad Tour was sold for $16,250, a handwritten note to friend Elizabeth Taylor went for $5,625 and a signed pillowcase fetched $3,584. And a bidder paid out $330,000 -- more than 10 times what Julien's had expected to get -- for one of the famous, shiny, crystal-covered gloves that Jackson wore during the 1980s.

"Michael Jackson has an unbelievable fan base," Darren Julien, the auction house's president, told CNN earlier this month.

Other pieces of history, from other members of music royalty, were also featured at the auction. While gold records and instruments were common items, others were more practical -- like Frank Sinatra's boots (selling for $2,500) and his 1986 Jaguar car ($19,000). as well as the U.S. Army-issued sewing kit of Elvis Presley's that went for $1,536.

The King of Pop's closest competition at the auction was the Beatles, which had a number of items for sale. A signed postcard from Liverpool's finest sold for $5,504 and Paul McCartney's bass guitar fetched $14,080. But oft-diminished drummer Ringo may have gotten the last laugh, with the cape he wore in the movie "Help!" selling for $37,500 -- about five times the estimate.

Check Out Disney and Pixar’s New Animated Film “Brave” In This Teaser Trailer (Video)

by: Greg Voakes

brave trailer - disney and pixar

Disney has teamed up with Pixar for a new animated film, and by the looks of it, it’s going to be another monster box office success. It almost reminds us of The Legend of Zelda, but the Brave protagonist is a little girl. Check out the trailer for Disney’s movie, “Brave”.

Brave trailer:

Uploaded by on Jun 27, 2011

Become a fan of Brave on Facebook:

Official Brave Website:

Brave coming to US theaters June 22, 2012.

12 oldest continuously inhabited cities


Ancient city

Photo: plastic_buddha/iStockphoto

Old as the hills

Cities that have stood the test of time have more than just the scars of history; they show the influence — positive and negative — of human civilization. The oldest cities in the world boast beautiful architecture and amazing stories, yet remarkably few ancient cities stand today. There is some disagreement about the historical record, so we've added a few cities to this list because of the area's religious or cultural significance. Here's our list of the 12 oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. (Text: Bryan Nelson)

  • Damascus, Syria
aerial shot of damascus
Photo: jasminam/iStockphoto

Damascus is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, with evidence of habitation dating back at least 11,000 years. Its location and persistence have made the city a nexus for civilizations come and gone. Today its metropolitan area is home to about 2.5 million people, and in 2008 it was named the Arab Capital of Culture.

  • Jericho, West Bank
aerial shot of jericho
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Fortifications unearthed in Jericho dating back to 6800 B.C. confirm that it is the earliest known walled city, and evidence of other habitation in the area dates back about 11,000 years, which means it is a serious contender to be the world's oldest city. Incredibly, Jericho has remained inhabited — and dry — throughout history, despite its location well below sea level. This fact also makes the city the lowest permanently inhabited site on Earth. Today 20,000 people call Jericho home.

  • Aleppo, Syria
aleppo on a bright, sunny day
Photo: seyr-ü zafer/Wikimedia Commons

Evidence of habitation at the current site of Aleppo dates to about 8,000 years ago, but excavations at a site just 25 kilometers north of the city show the area was inhabited about 13,000 years ago. That means that Aleppo and its surrounding region is the oldest known human settlement in the world. The city is first mentioned in cuneiform tablets from roughly 5,000 years ago, where it is cited for its commercial and military proficiency. Because of its location between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia — it was also the end of the Silk Road that passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia — Aleppo was at the center of the ancient world. Today it remains the largest city in Syria.

  • Athens, Greece

the parthenon in athens, greece
Photo: brento/iStockphoto

The ancient home of philosophy and the birthplace of Western civilization, Athens boasts a history of habitation that goes back long before the days of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The city has been continuously inhabited for at least 7,000 years. The oldest known human presence in Athens has been dated to between the 11th and 7th millennium B.C. Today it remains a sprawling metropolis, and its Acropolis still stands, overlooking the landscape.

Argos, Greece

high view of argos, greece
Photo: Karin Helene Pagter Duparc/Wikimedia Commons

An urban settlement for about the last 7,000 years, Argos is in competition with Athens to be the oldest city in Europe. The city has long been powerful — its commanding position in the fertile plain of Argolis has earned it a powerful position, though it has a history of neutrality. For instance, the city refused to fight or send supplies during the Graeco-Persian Wars. Perhaps that's part of the reason the city has withstood the test of time.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

high view of plovdiv, bulgaria
Photo: Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Plovdiv was originally a Thracian settlement known as Philippopolis to the Greeks, and was a major city for the Romans. It was also ruled by the Ottomans for a time. The beautiful city has a rich history dating back millennia. Evidence of habitation dates back 6,000 years. Today it is still the second largest city in Bulgaria, and it remains an important economic, cultural and educational center.

Byblos, Lebanon

view of byblos buildings on a hill, taken from the water. boats and cars in the foreground.
Photo: Giorgio Montersino/Flickr

Though there is evidence of settlement as far back as 7,000 years ago, Byblos has been a continuous city for about 5,000 years. According to the ancient writer Philo of Byblos, the city had a reputation in antiquity of being the oldest city in the world. Interestingly, the English word for "Bible" is derived from "Byblos," because it was through Byblos that papyrus was imported to Greece.

Sidon, Lebanon

shore and city buildings in sidon, lebanon
Photo: eutrophication&hypoxia/Flickr

Inhabited for at least the last 6,000 years, Sidon was one of the most important Phoenician cities because of its location as a crucial port on the Mediterranean, a locale that also led to the city's conquer by a revolving door of the world's great empires, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Ottomans. Today about 200,000 people call Sidon home.

Rayy, Iran

rayy, iran
Photo: Ensie & Matthias/Flickr

Located within the Greater Tehran metropolitan area, Rayy (or Rey), Iran, has evidence of habitation dating back 8,000 years, though it has likely been continuously occupied for about 5,000 or 6,000 years. The city retains a wealth of historical monuments, such as the 5,000-year-old Cheshmeh Ali hill and the 3,000-year-old Gebri castle. It was a deeply sacred city to the Zoroastrians.

Jerusalem, Israel

Photo: UgurDemir/iStockphoto

Jerusalem is one of several cities to have sprung up between 4-5,000 years ago in the thriving Levant region, but it holds a unique place in history as the nexus of several of the world's great religions. For that reason, it is home to a wealth of spiritual and religious sites. Unfortunately, Jerusalem's Old City has also been added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger due to modern-day urban development, tourism and cultural turmoil.

Luoyang, China

Fengxian Temple
Photo: Valmol48/iStockphoto

A number of ancient cities were first being built around 4,000 years ago in the Mideast and Europe, but Luoyang stands out from that time period as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Asia. Located on China's central plain, Luoyang is the oldest city in the country and is one of the Seven Great Ancient Capitals of China. It has been in habitation since Neolithic times, with a continuous habitation for at least 4,000 years. Located at the intersection of the Luo and Yi rivers, the city was considered to be the geographical center of ancient China.

Varanasi, India

varanasi india buildings and boats on the ganges river
Photo: Ken Wieland/Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu legend, Varanasi is more than 5,000 years old and is considered the oldest city in the world, though evidence of habitation only goes back about 3,000 years. This more modest date indicates Varanasi is among many ancient cities to appear around the first millennium B.C., and it is still the oldest city in India and is considered the holiest city in the world to Hindus. Its location on the banks of the sacred Ganges River also contributes to its prestige as an important site of pilgrimage.

Bird's-eye view: Seagull 'steals' video camera and shoots footage of its soaring flight above French Riviera

ByDaily Mail Reporter


The term bird's-eye view has never been more appropriate.

A video has emerged of a seagull supposedly 'stealing' a video camera and carrying it off through the skies.

With the camera recording at the moment of lift off, the feathered directer accidentally records a video of its flight over Cannes in the south of France, home of arguably the world's most famous film festival.

Steven Seagull: This feathered film star stole a video camera and inadvertently shot a video of its flight over Cannes in the South of France

Steven Seagull: This feathered film star stole a video camera and inadvertently shot a video of its flight over Cannes in the South of France

Shot from above: The seagull recorded its flight to the top of Cannes Castle, capturing images of the roads and streets below

Shot from above: The seagull recorded its flight to the top of Cannes Castle, capturing images of the roads and streets below

The video begins with an unseen cameraman creeping through the garden of a large house at night, and then placing the camera on the ground.

An inquisitive seagull walks up to the camera and seemingly lifts it up with its beak, before flying off.

The cameraman can be heard making his protests with a rather feeble 'Hey. HEY!' but is not glimpsed as the gull files up above the streets and houses, with cars visible on the roads below.

After a short flight - punctuated by some rather amusing honks and squawks from the seagull - our star comes in to land on top of a building.

The gull pokes around at the camera with it's beak, turning it over a few times, before it settles on a view of another building with a fellow seagull visible - perhaps the leading lady in seagull circles.

The pair have a brief squawking session before the camera fades to black.

I'm ready for my close up: The seagull casts a beady eye over its shiny electronic booty, while in the background is a tower on which he soon finds a friends

I'm ready for my close up: The seagull casts a beady eye over its shiny electronic booty, while in the background is a tower on which he soon finds a friends

'Seagull stole my video camera in Cannes France. I found it on the castle wall, where I had to climb,' wrote opica1983, the YouTube user who posted the video online.

The question of quite how opica1983 knew where there camera had come to rest is unanswered.

One also has to wonder what the original cameraman was doing prowling around in the garden of a large house at night in the first place.

The video is entitled 'Seagull stole GoPro', which refers to the brand of camera.

GoPro make small cameras that are often used by sports people, sometimes mounted on helmets or even attached to surfboards to capture video from unusual angles.

The company has previously marketed its cameras with viral videos, including a snowboarding and surfing short that has so far been watched more than 3million times on YouTube.

In fact, GoPro has made something of a name for itself in that area and has previously been praised for its viral video advertising by the likes of Mashable, the internet and social media news website.

Perhaps after seeing the success it has enjoyed in viral videos the company has decided to spread its wings into viral video advertising.

Or perhaps there actually is a seagull out there with a desire to be in the movies...

Space Saving Vertical Minigarden

edible wall, green building material, green wall, living wall, space saving, sustainable building material, vertical garden, vertical planting

Minigraden. Designed by Quizcamp.

Take a look into a courtyard of an apartment building or on the fire escapes and window ledges and you’re likely to see plants. People are desperate for greenery in their lives, and will use any space available to cultivate even the smallest garden. At my apartment, we have a planter on the fire escape and some herbs in small pots on the kitchen window sill that are constantly being knocked over by the wind. Efficiency of space is critical for all things city related, which makes the Minigarden all the more necessary and amazing.

Minigarden is a vertical gardening device that is modular to be easily adjustable for many circumstances. The modules can be stacked and connected to be single, back to back, and wall mounted. For the more ambitious gardener, Minigarden offers a irrigation system to make the process flow smoothly. The unique drainage system directs excess water through a series of plates and grills to keep the plants from being overwatered.
Minigarden offers environmental benefits in a number of ways. It is a primarily a source of fresh produce or herbs, but is also a great way to use compost and even promote thermal insulation. A well placed vertical garden on the exterior of a building can reduce the need to heat or cool a building. The black or white Mingarden modules are made from a tough durable copolymer polypropylene plastic, which, according to “The Green Guide” #77, The Green Guide Institute, are safe and do not leach chemicals.
About the Company: Minigarden is a brand within the Quizcamp Company, based out of Alentejo. Created in 2005; Quizcamp is a Portuguese agro-alimentary company which works to intervene in the entire agriculture to table process. They are involved in a series of parallel businesses such as beekeeping; mycoculture; tourism and the MiniGarden.

via Urban Gardens