Friday, March 21, 2014

"a swanky outpost of the James"

A striking new hotel under construction on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood will be a swanky outpost of the James, an upscale boutique brand in major urban centers.
The 286-room hotel at the southeast corner of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards is part of a $300-million complex under construction at the intersection. The development, known as Sunset La Cienega, will also have apartments, shops and restaurants.

"A Work of Art"

Geisel Library – University of California San Diego Campus



"over-the top Gothic statemen"

Opened in Bombay in 1887 on the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's ascension, the Victoria Terminus train station was an over-the top Gothic statement about the supremacy of the British Empire. That ended soon enough, but the station, now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, is still a landmark in the city, itself renamed Mumbai. Many Americans have been in it, at least via film: The climax of 2008's Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire, was filmed here.

An immense body of work

By the time of his death, William  Pereira had over 400 projects to his name. Among the structures he designed throughout Southern California were CBS Television City, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, and the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. He is also responsible for creating the monumental Spanish-inspired facades that defined Robinson's department stores for nearly 20 years, and he was the architect of Pepperdine University at Malibu, named by the "Princeton Review" as the most beautiful college campus in America. Out of his immense body of work, three have really stood out in the public mind: the master-planned cities of Irvine and Newport Beach, and the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco (shown above).

USC got its start with 53 students . . .

It was in this rough-and-tumble town of Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians, Europeans, Easterners, and Midwesterners— this pueblo of aspiration and of experiment—that USC got its start with 53 students taught by 10 faculty. They gathered in a two-story building perched on a donated parcel of land that the Los Angeles Daily Herald unenthusiastically described as “covered with a rank growth of mustard.” In those early days the school had no electricity, and students tended wood-burning stoves to earn part of their tuition. Transportation to the university was provided by horse-drawn rigs, including a horse-drawn streetcar that operated on a line established by USC’s principal founder, Robert Maclay Widney. Students had to follow specific rules of conduct that forbade them from leaving town without the permission of the university president, wearing firearms in their classes, and shooting jackrabbits from the platform of the streetcar.


Oriental DreamWorks is developing the Dream Center, an integrated tourism destination in Shanghai that will open in 2016.

The Dream Center, to be located in Zuhui Riverside, will include theaters, restaurants, tourist attractions, cinemas, waterfront hotels, galleries, studios and other commercial facilities. The visionaries plan to create an "Oriental paradise for all dream seekers." That could explain the proposed “Dream Walk”, the world’s largest IMAX theatre to be used for film premieres.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

" slowing global warming using fantastical technologies "

WASHINGTON — As international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions stall, schemes to slow global warming using fantastical technologies once dismissed as a sideshow are getting serious consideration in Washington.

Ships that spew salt into the air to block sunlight. Mirrored satellites designed to bounce solar rays back into space. Massive "reverse" power plants that would suck carbon from the atmosphere. These are among the ideas the National Academy of Sciences has charged a panel of some of the nation's top climate thinkers to investigate. Several agencies requested the inquiry, including the CIA.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada Flintridge, scientists are modeling what such technologies might do to weather patterns. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., a fund created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates — an enthusiast of research into climate engineering — helps bankroll another such effort.

"There is a level of seriousness about these strategies that didn't exist a decade ago, when it was considered just a game," said Ken Caldeira, a scientist with the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, who sits on the National Academy of Sciences panel. "Attitudes have changed dramatically."
Even as the research moves forward, many scientists and government officials worry about the risks of massive climate-control contraptions.

This rendering above shows a cloud-brightening scheme by scientist John Latham in which a ship sprays salt particles into the air to reflect sunlight and slow global warming. (John MacNeil),0,3602250.story