Friday, October 22, 2010

Air New Zealand YOU TUBE commercial

Funny short commercial titled "Bare Essentials" for Air New Zealand

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The man who turns lions into pussycats: The 'Lion Whisperer' takes a risky ride on fearsome animal.

Snuggling up to a fully grown male lion seems foolish enough. To then climb on its back is surely suicide.

But as you can see, Kevin Richardson enjoys doing just that – and insists his actions are perfectly safe.

The animal behaviourist claims he shares such a profound bond with the fearsome beasts that he can even spend the night curled up with them.

The 34-year-old runs a conservation park near Johannesburg in South Africa where he also keeps cheetahs, leopards and hyenas.

He befriends the animals by talking to them and treating them with ‘love and respect’ – to the extent that they consider him part of their pride.

Read more:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ME WANT: ONE man's $1billion 27-story new home

This is the extravagant £630m ($1bn) home built by a billionaire Indian tycoon to house his family-of-four in Mumbai.

With 27 storeys, Antilia will be home to Mukesh Ambani and features a health club with a gym and dance studio, a ballroom, at least one swimming pool and a 50-seater cinema.

Towering above the Mumbai skyline, the 37,000sq ft property is 570ft high and also boasts three helipads on its roof, space for 160 vehicles on its lower floors and nine lifts.

He will employ 600 staff at the property and his family will live in the top floors, where they will enjoy views of the Arabian Sea.

Mr Ambani has surprised many by constructing Antilia - named after a mythical island - as he built his business reputation as a private individual who avoided the flamboyance of India's ultra-rich.

The vast building is constructed from glass, steel and tiles and also features a four-storey hanging garden which is designed to keep the interior cooler in summer and warmer in the winter.

According to Forbes magazine, Mr Ambani is worth £18billion. He is the richest man in India and the fourth richest in the world.

The interior of the property, on Altamount Road, has been designed by a U.S. firm and has been described as 'Asian contemporary'.

Friday, September 24, 2010



Elephant Tracks

An elephant crosses a railway track, which runs through the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary in west Bengal.

Thursday, Sep. 16, 2010

Read more:,31511,2019772,00.html#ixzz10TboFpB8

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Horizontal Skyscraper

Designed by Steven Holl, the massive 1,296,459-square-foot Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, China floats above the surface using just eight legs. To give you an idea of how impressive this is: The building's as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

EVE ENSLER's Embrace Your Inner Girl

I'm a feminist. This sums up every reason why. Eve, of course, wrote The Vagina Monologues which I have yet to see in concert--I've only read the book.

At about 19 minutes short this lecture is worth every minute. Thanks to my friend Carla Tourin for sending me this amazing video. I sobbed my way through! Stunning.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cool photo!

Time Picture of the DAY
Odd Anderson / AFP / Getty Images

A polar bear dries off in the sun after coming out of the water in his enclosure at a zoo in Berlin.

Read more:,31511,2006018,00.html#ixzz0v5wIbLti

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ME Want: A 747 Wing house

Here's a short video:


On a 55-acre property in the remote hills of Malibu, Calif., an old Boeing 747 is taking on a new life as the "Wing House."
By Laura Doss
Architect David Hertz came up with the idea after his client Francie Rehwald said she wanted a curved, feminine-shaped home for her lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He started sketching shapes and aircraft came to mind.
By Laura Doss
"Why not use an airplane wing?" he recalls asking her. Rehwald, who co-owns a Mercedes car dealership and loves to recycle, didn't flinch.
By Laura Doss
That was about three years ago, and Hertz says the energy-efficient project -- chosen as "This Week's Green House" --- is now about six months from completion as builders finish interior work.

"It speaks to repurposing and reuse," Hertz says of the commercial aircraft, which was mothballed along with hundreds of other old planes in the California desert.

By Laura Doss
By Laura Doss
Hertz, who founded Studio of Environmental Architecture, a Santa Monica-based firm, says Rehwald bought the entire Boeing 747-200 for $35,000. She then spent extra to deconstruct it into pieces and transport it to her property.
By Laura Doss
Because it was so huge -- more than 230 feet long, 195 feet wide and 63 feet tall, its parts have been spread over seven different structures. The plane's wings form the main residence while the cockpit has become the "Meditation Pavilion."
By Laura Doss

The first class cabin deck is now a guest house, and the lower half of the fuselage, which formed the cargo hold, serves as the roof of the "Animal Barn" intended to house endangered species.

The process wasn't easy. The remote location necessitated a lot of infrastructure work, including an access road. Due partly to the unique nature of the structure, Hertz says 17 government agencies had to sign off on permits, a process that took about 18 months.

He says they had to register the roof of the house with the Federal Aviation Administration so pilots flying overhead would not mistake it as a downed aircraft.

Hertz, who's been involved in green building since the late 1970s, incorporated sustainable features such as an 11 kilowatt solar array. The house also has a cistern for irrigation, plenty of daylighting, non-toxic materials and highly efficient equipment such as a ductless LG heat pump.

"We've created strategic openings to promote cross ventilation," says Hertz, who is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an accredited professional with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

All this doesn't come cheap. Hertz says the home, which has about 3,000 square feet of interior space and 5,500 square feet of roof, will cost about $2 million.

Via Hertz's website: "The Main Residence will use both of the main wings as well as the 2 stabilizers from the tail section as a roof for the Master Bedroom. The Art Studio Building will use a 50-foot long section of the upper fuselage as a roof, while the remaining front portion of the fuselage and upper first class cabin deck will be used as the roof of the Guest House. The lower half of the fuselage, which forms the cargo hold, will form the roof of the Animal Barn. A Meditation Pavilion will be made from the entire front of the airplane at 28 feet in diameter and 45 feet tall; the cockpit windows will form a skylight."

Incidentally, the house is built on the site of designer Tony Duquette's eclectic Epcot-esque estate, which burnt down in the nineties. The property was formerly owned by famous designer Tony Duquette and still has many of the "recycled" structures that he installed, although the former residence was destroyed in a fire.

Check out this video:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

COOL photo! Greece Lightning

Petros Giannakouris / AP
Greece Lighting

A Bolt of lighting streaks across the sky over the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

TIME Photo of the DAy: Monday, Jun. 28, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

NEW Leaning Tower in Abu Dabai

Not so fast, Pisa! UAE lays claim to world's furthest leaning tower

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 7, 2010 1:53 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- Chalk another record to the United Arab Emirates' collection.

The Capital Gate building in the desert kingdom's capital, Abu Dhabi, has been certified by Guinness World Records as the "World's Furthest Leaning Man-made Tower."

How far does it lean? Nearly five times farther than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

The 35-story Abu Dhabi building has an 18-degree slope, compared with four degrees for the freestanding bell tower.

But unlike the tower in Pisa, the Capital Gate building has been deliberately engineered to slant.

Video: UAE tower gets Guinness record

The floor plates are stacked vertically up to the 12th floor, after which they are staggered over each other by between 300 mm to 1,400 mm -- giving the tower its lean, the owners said.

"It is a signature building which speaks to the foresight of the emirate," said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon al Nahyan, the chairman of the building's owner, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.

The mixed-use building will be ready for occupancy at the end of the year. It is featured in a new National Geographic documentary, called "Megastructures."

In January, Dubai -- one of seven emirates that make up the UAE -- unveiled the world's tallest skyscraper: the $1.5 billion, 160-story Burj Khalifa, which has a height of more than 800 meters (2,625 ft).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cool new building in China proposed

KPF Pen Chinas Future Tallest Skyscraper

Adding to their impressive collection of super talls currently being worked on in China is Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates design for Ping An International Finance Centre in the city of Shenzhen.

The scheme is being built by and for the insurance company that have lent their name to it as its new headquarters with the first eleven floors of the building serveing as a new shopping centre.

The building will reach a grand total of 648 metres in height making it the tallest building in the Peoples Republic beating Gensler's under construction Shanghai Tower by 16 metres. It also marks the latest part of the on going competition between Shenzhen and Shanghai for the tallest skyscraper in the country - something they have been battling away at since the early 90s.

The building height though reaches its pinnacle thanks to a an elegant spire coming off a tapering top quarter meaning that the Shanghai Tower will continue to have a taller roof.

Helping the structure are two super columns on each side of the tower that have been engineered by Thornton Tomasetti - these are required as the taller a building the greater the area that the faces of it can take up, and thus the greater the load that the wind can put on it. It's also for the purpose of reducing wind loading that supertall towers such as the Ping An IFC are usually aerodynamically styled.

If the Ping An IFC does go ahead, then the scheme is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AMAZING moms of the animal kingdom TIME photo essay

DLILLC / Corbis

African Elephant
The largest land mammal also has the longest pregnancy among mammals, averaging a staggering 22 months. Elephants usually give birth to one calf, who will rely on the mother's milk for four to six years. One would think that years of devotion to her calf and the protection of the herd would lead to a healthy adult elephant, but in reality, very few calves live to adulthood.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ME WANT the new Nissan Leaf electric car

From Wired:

(Wired) -- Early demand for the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle is strong, with 6,635 people reserving cars in just three days -- a figure that represents more than 10 percent of the Leafs Nissan will build in its first year of production.

Nissan started taking reservations for the four-door, five-passenger EV on Tuesday afternoon, and almost instantly people were signing up to get one. The Nissan Leaf, which will cost $25,280 after the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, rolls into showrooms in December.

"We had 2,700 reservations in the first three hours," said Dave Mingle, Nissan's senior director for customer management and business strategy. "It exceeded what we expected, though we knew from what the hand-raisers were telling us this is an exceptionally passionate crowd."

The hand-raisers he's referring to are the 117,000 people who registered at the Leaf website to get a place in line once the reservation system opened. Those who have made reservations paid $99 to make sure they're on the list when the Nissan Leaf starts appearing at dealerships.

Mingle said interest has been strongest in the "smile states" of the East and West coasts and the South. TheLeaf will be available only in selected areas to start -- California, Oregon, Seattle, Phoenix-Tucson and east-central Tennessee -- but Nissan plans to roll it out nationally by the end of 2011.

Not every car will be delivered in December, of course; they'll be delivered as they're available.

Nissan has the capacity to build 50,000 Leafs in the first year, but it is not yet known how many of those are slated to arrive in the United States.

Given that more than 3,700 people in Japan have reserved Leafs, about 20 percent of the first year's production is spoken for. EV advocates have said Nissan has priced the Leaf so competitively -- it's comparable to the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius -- that it could have trouble meeting demand.

That remains to be seen, of course, and Nissan isn't making any predictions. But it's pleased with the demand so far.

"It's been pretty fast and furious," Mingle said.

And by the way, Nissan insists the plural of Leaf, at least as far as the car goes, is Leafs.

Fun video. Carroll High School Powder Puff Cheerleaders

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SIGN LANGUAGE a great short film

This will cheer up your day. I love this bloke's sense of pride.

The film is 4:57 minutes in length

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cartier & America Exhibition in San Francsico

Okay, if you're a Northern Californian you've gotta go to the Legion of Honor to this exclusive one-time exhibition of Cartier creations for Americans.

Particularly the spectacular standout 3 pieces that were part of The Duchess of Windsor's collection: the Flamingo pin, the cabochon Sapphire Panther (my favorite of all of her jewelry pieces) and the bib thing-ie (above). These three pieces were part of the most famous and triumphant jewelry auction in history which was held in Geneva by Sotheby's in 1987. The sapphire diamond clip sold for $1,026,667. The ruby, sapphire, emerald, citrine and diamond Flamingo clip sold for $806,667 and the bib necklace sold for $605,000. That historic sale went on to raise a total of $50million. The Duchess of Windsor left her entire estate, valued at approximately $90million, to the Pasteur Institute in the second largest bequest in the Institute's history. All of which has been used to fund the Pasteur's research overthe last two decades which has included AIDS and other of our most pervasive diseases of our modern times.
The above is the famed Tutti-Frutti piece designed for Mrs. Daisy Fellowes. Other exciting pieces: Princess Grace's necklace and engagement ring on loan by Prince Albert II of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor's Cartier ruby and diamond necklace, and Marjorie Merriweather's Indian carved emerald brooch with one emerald dating from the Mughal era. GO see this exhibit.

The exhibition runs through May 9 (it was extended) so hurry. For more information, visit: cartier and america

I am President of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor Historical Society, Inc. If you're curious about the Windsors please check out the Society's website at

All photos above are courtesy of the San Francisco Fine Art Museum, except the black & white photos of the Windsors and the Duchess of Windsor Jewelry auction catalogue. These are from the personal collection of Mark Gaulding.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Can I go here? Cool new photo

I'd travel there for sure. Would you if you could?