2013年12月31日 星期二

2014年8月 (每823年才有一次)





更新時間 2013年12月31日, 格林尼治標準時間21:08

倫敦市長鮑里斯·約翰遜(Boris Johnson)說,這是慶祝2013年結束,2014年開始的最好方式。




· · · 13 小時前 ·

Wintry Wanderings Among Chelsea’s Ghosts

Favorite Place

Wintry Wanderings Among Chelsea’s Ghosts

Andrew Testa for The New York Times
A view of the Thames from Chelsea Embankment.

I’ve lived in some historic places over the years — Paris, Greenwich Village, Washington — but it wasn’t until I spent a winter in Chelsea a year ago that I felt as if I were inside a diorama. The ur-Chelsea, I mean: London, not the quarter of Manhattan that provided Joni Mitchell with inspiration for a song and, in the process, Bill and Hillary Clinton with a name for their newborn daughter. For historical voyeurism, London’s Chelsea is hard to beat, especially if you incline to artist-writer types, or as my late friend Christopher Hitchens would put it, “people of that kidney.”

Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Chelsea Old Church.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
“Chelsea pensioners” at the Royal Hospital.
Mark Twain is among the luminaries who have called Chelsea home.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
A residential street off the King's Road.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
The Surprise, a neighborhood pub.
Winter, I should add, is an excellent time for dead-celebrity stalking. In spring and summer, London thrums and buzzes like a hive. Pubs spill onto the sidewalk, tourists swarm (those Americans!) and the lush city parks that inspired the spare landscapes of Thomas Gainsborough resemble Woodstock re-enactments. Even residential Chelsea takes on the look of a Davos confab or world’s fair.
Immediately next door to our little rental flat on Embankment Gardens, a sweet little enclave hard by the Thames, was the Chelsea Royal Hospital. In May, it becomes the site of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. As splendid an event as it is, the very acme of the floral monde, I was glad not to have been a collateral part of it. The empty winter streets, brisk but never too-cold air, and golden afternoon sun made for superb and invigorating perambulations.
We were in London because my wife was studying for an advanced medical degree in tropical medicine. Every morning she would bravely tootle off in the dark to catch her bus and the Tube. I was a stay-at-home spouse, banging away at a novel, and feeling rather inadequate to the task, given the density of illustrious literary figures who once lived around the corner.
Every afternoon, when the day’s banging away was done and the larder of metaphors and bons mots was finally empty, I’d lace up my sneakers (trainers, as the British call them) and embark on epic walks, culminating with a rendezvous with my darling at the oyster bar at Harrods.
Yes, I know, Harrods: throngs of actual tourists (as opposed to, say, me) and that weird, creepy shrine to Diana and Dodi. Call Harrods a cliché if you insist, but the food courts on the ground floor are my idea of perfect heaven. And sitting at the marble counter with a glass of Sancerre and a dozen Kumamotos sure worked for my darling, after a long day of PowerPoint presentations on loa loa and other revolting filarial nematodes.
Having refreshed, we’d cruise the bright, gaily tiled food courts, gathering up whatnots for supper at home: Scotch eggs, fish pies, aromatic salamis and cheeses, dumplings, fresh-shot pheasant. The food courts are a gastronomic United Nations. On the way out, we’d dip down to the wine department in the basement for a bottle of claret, sherry, Chablis or whatever looked good (and cost less than £10,000).
Then came the mile-and-a-half hump back to Embankment Gardens in the dark, a goodish half-hour, through Hans Place to Pont Street, past Lillie Langtry’s old residence. You remember the “Jersey Lillie” — beauty, actress, muse, concubine to the Prince of Wales (among others). She sat for Whistler and traded quips with Oscar Wilde.
Where were we? Down Pont Street and right onto Sloane Street by the Cadogan Hotel, where Wilde was arrested by detectives for “gross indecency.” Down Sloane to Sloane Square, then west on the King’s Road, epicenter of 1960s Swinging London. Then zigzags down smaller streets and a tree-lined allée that in the late 17th century was the driveway to the Royal Hospital, and down St. Leonard’s Terrace toward Tedworth Square, where Mark Twain lived for a time.
Onto Tite Street, the home stretch, with a brief stop at the corner Tesco convenience store, for milk and a half-dozen newspapers, including the guilty pleasure of tabloids shouting “Gotcha!” at the latest naughty cross-dressing member of Parliament or Prince Philip for telling some derogatory anecdote about Princess Di. Bliss.
Down Tite, past Oscar Wilde’s house, and a few yards farther, John Singer Sargent’s, now homes to ordinary folks (no offense meant). We were groaning now under the weight of our Harrods-heavy backpacks. Looking down the street and seeing the shimmer of lamplight on the surface of the Thames brought a sigh. Almost home.
On the flight home in March after our happy three months, I made a list from memory of what names I remembered seeing on the blue plaques denoting that someone of eminence had once lived there. Some names are perhaps more boldfaced than others: Bram Stoker (author of “Dracula”); Handel and Mozart (you know all about them); Jerome K. Jerome (“Three Men in a Boat”); Dante Gabriel Rossetti (founder of the “Pre-Raphaelite” school of painting); Algernon Swinburne (poet and very naughty); Hilaire Belloc (“Jim, who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a Lion”); J.M.W. Turner (painter); Sir Thomas Carlyle (the Sage of Chelsea, whose manuscript of “The French Revolution” was inadvertently tossed into the fire by John Stuart Mills’s housemaid); Carol Reed (directed “The Third Man”); Henry James; T.S. Eliot; Alexander Fleming (penicillin) and Ian Fleming (no relation, I don’t think); Jacob Epstein (sculptor); Herbert Beerbohm Tree (theatrical producer of Oscar Wilde plays); Sir Thomas More; and, what do you know, Henry VIII.
If you search online, you’ll find dozens more Chelsea residents, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (something to do with music); Eric Clapton; Agatha Christie; Ava Gardner — well, it’s endless. There are some fun sub-themes, such as the two famous fictional spies who lived there: John le Carré’s George Smiley and Ian Fleming’s James Bond.
The Royal Hospital right next to Embankment Gardens is one of London’s really, really splendid pieces of real estate. It was commissioned as an old soldiers’ home in the 1680s by Charles II, and designed and built by Christopher Wren.
We often glimpsed the “Chelsea pensioners,” old men in scarlet tunics and military decorations. (Some female pensioners also live there.) There you’d be, in the checkout line at the Tesco with an armful of lurid London tabloids and your liter of milk, and suddenly you’d notice one of them behind you, bent with age, chest clinking with medals won at D-Day, perhaps, or Operation Market Garden. As an exercise in humility, this is hard to top.
Other sights in Chelsea give you pause to contemplate your place in the universe. A few hundred yards from our flat, west along Cheyne Walk, is Chelsea Old Church. Historians believe it was about here in 54 B.C. that Julius Caesar’s army found a place to ford the river on their way north. About 12 centuries later, a church was built here. Two centuries after that, the church had evolved into the chapel of the local landowner, one Sir Reginald Bray. Sir Reg is buried here in the family tomb. It was he who, after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, is said to have found the slain Richard III’s crown dangling in a thorn bush. He conveyed it to Richard’s successor, the Earl of Richmond, who became Henry VII, first of the Tudor monarchs and father of Henry VIII.
A few decades later (we’re up to the early 1500s now), the chapel had become part of the estate of Sir Thomas More, chancellor of England. Sir Thomas’s patron and friend Henry VIII visited him in rustic Chelsea. The occasion is beautifully and ominously recreated in the film “A Man for All Seasons.”
His Majesty liked Chelsea so much that he built himself a manor next door. Part of its wall can still be seen. As you know, Sir Thomas eventually found himself at odds with the king over certain theological principles, including wife-dumping. But Sir Thomas had always been realistic about his relationship with the king. As he told his son-in-law, William Roper, “If my head would win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go off.”
Henry did have his friend’s head “go off,” after which it was put on a spike on London Bridge, as a warning to others who might hold views discrepant from his majesty’s. Later, it was hurled into the river, and retrieved by Sir Thomas’s grieving daughter Margaret, wife of Roper. Its whereabouts is unknown. (Roper and Margaret are buried in the Roper Vault of St. Dunstan’s Church in Canterbury.) The little enclosed greensward next to the church, once part of Sir Thomas’s orchard, is designated Roper’s Garden.
So there, in one tidy spot on the banks of the Thames, is a completed sequence of English history: the tomb of Sir Reginald, who fought alongside the future Henry VII, father of the man who chopped off the head of the later owner of Sir Reg’s chapel.
Chelsea Old Church was almost destroyed during a night of particularly vicious bombardment in the Blitz. One of those killed that April 1941 night was a young mother, a Canadian named Yvonne Green. Yvonne had volunteered to stand fire watch in the bell tower. A plaque outside commemorates her sacrifice.
There are so many plaques. Another notes that the sculptor Jacob Epstein once had his studio in Roper’s Garden. To complete yet another circle: Here Epstein carved the sculpture at Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris that adorns the tomb of someone who once lived just a few blocks away, on Tite Street — Oscar Wilde.
I realize I’ve spent most of the time talking about dead people, like that kid in “The Sixth Sense.” So let me say for the record that Chelsea is not a mausoleum. It’s a vibrantly alive place. King’s Road may not be quite as swinging as it was in the 1960s, but it still hops to the echoing beat of “happenings” that went on there. Mary Quant sold her first hem- and eyebrow-raising miniskirts. John Osborne kicked off the “angry young men” movement of the 1950s when his play “Look Back in Anger” opened at the theater on Sloane Square. Diana Spencer and her fellow Sloane Rangers headquartered there.
One evening as my wife and I were lumbering through the gloaming, backpacks bulging with vittles and bottles of plonk, we weren’t paying attention and took an errant turn off Tite Street. But getting lost is one of the joys of wandering in Chelsea.
We found ourselves standing in front of a pub called, rather neatly, the Surprise. How could we not go in? The Surprise became our regular hangout, the nook to which we’d repair on cold winter nights, to sit by the fire and drink Guinness and chortle over the day’s tabloids.
Why don’t I not give you precise directions, so finding it can be your own Chelsea surprise. It’s there, and with a bit of luck, you’ll get a bit lost on the way.

Christopher Buckley’s book of essays, “But Enough About You,” will be published in May.

AMSTERDAM: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City

The City at the Center of the World

Russell Shorto’s ‘Amsterdam’

Amsterdam Museum
Amsterdam’s Dam Square in 1656, with the new city hall under construction at left.

The Dutch in the 17th century, Russell Shorto informs us at a characteristic moment in “Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City,” were on their way to becoming “the greatest shipping nation the world had ever seen.” Amsterdam’s canal ring was “the greatest urban feat of the age.” In fact, Shorto says, Amsterdam more or less gave us the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Enlightenment and the stock exchange (though Antwerp’s stock exchange building is 80 years older). The United East India Company, put together in Amsterdam, was “unique in world history,” Shorto writes. It “remade the world.” It “pioneered globalization and invented what might be the first modern bureaucracy.” It inaugurated “the beginning of consumerism, which, for better or worse, is surely a component of liberalism.”


A History of the World’s Most Liberal City
By Russell Shorto
Illustrated. 357 pp. Doubleday. $28.95.
Phew! That’s a lot for a city currently as populous as Columbus, Ohio; many places might pay handsomely to receive such enthusiastic support. In 2004 Shorto gave us his ­often eye-opening book “The Island at the Center of the World,” describing how the Dutch helped create Manhattan; now he fills in the other side of the story, and tries to show us that “liberalism was born” in Amsterdam, which “has influenced the modern world to a degree that perhaps no other city has.” This in spite of the fact that liberalism, as Shorto admits, “is a diffuse concept” and carries “seemingly opposite meanings in the United States and in Europe.” Economic liberalism, after all — the free-market capitalism to which he alludes above — is almost exactly what social liberals often deplore. If liberalism means both right and left, making money and not doing so, individualism and communalism, it’s perhaps no surprise that all roads in Amsterdam led to it.
The author’s method in his new book is to take us on a very brisk tour across the highlights of Dutch history, from the Golden Age and tulips to the legalization of squatting in 1971, from Rembrandt and Spinoza to John and Yoko staging a bed-in at the Amsterdam Hilton. Much of this has little to do with Amsterdam or with liberalism, but no matter: One minute we’re reading about the transformation of the herring industry, and four pages later about Martin Luther, whose theses “set off a tidal wave that rolled 400 miles due west and crashed head-on into the medieval town walls of Amsterdam.”
So much has to be packed into so little space that quite often one is left with the feeling of ingesting an entire turkey with every mouthful. Charles V, we are told, “had fought off Ottoman encroachments, sailed the Mediterranean in swashbuckling campaigns to rid the sea of pirates, personally sent off Magellan, Cortés and Pizarro on their voyages, managed Spain’s South American colonization, extended his dominion to the Dutch provinces, through Germany, and across Italy, and in pretty much every way worked to hold up the pillars of the medieval world order: monarchic power, domination by the Catholic Church, feudal land management, divine right, mercantile colonization and obedience to authority along the strict metaphysical lines of the great chain of being.”
Three pages later, just as you’re trying to catch your breath, you read, of Dutch power: “It was in the hands of herring merchants and cloth traders, men who owned soap works and timber yards and shipyards, the regents who sat on town boards, who were nominated to their governmental position by those same wealthy men of business, the members of the water boards of each community, and the dijkgraaf, literally ‘dike count,’ who had overall responsibility for the never-ending task of managing the damming and rechanneling of water, and which is still an important position in the Netherlands.”
The effect, inevitably, is of an old-style documentary, at once sonorous and excitable, that someone has mistakenly set on fast forward. And the long sentences are not exactly Jamesian. In a single chapter we have scales falling from the eyes, “a chiseled visage” and “the glories and writhings of the individual.” Indeed, in a single clause we get “chivalrous decorum, thudding hooves and roisterous bonhomie.” The looseness of the language seems to speak for an imprecision in the thinking. Philip II, we learn, “was a man of his time, preoccupied with the trappings of the past yet dealing with forces of the future.” I’m not sure if any man of any time could be described very differently.
Here and there, we are given interesting tidbits: There’s a nice capsule summary of Jan van der Heyden, the contemporary of Rembrandt, who invented streetlamps, founded Amsterdam’s fire department and was a painter of repute; and, as in his earlier book, Shorto tells us how a Jesuit visitor to Manhattan in 1643 counted 18 languages and dialects in a settlement with barely 500 people — though the facts were a little different before — and describes how the place was then called Amsterdam in New Netherland and featured gabled ­townhouses, two windmills and a canal.
The author grows more confident as he nears the present, when he’s drawing not from history books but from the testimony of those he’s met, like an 86-year-old Ausch­witz survivor who grew up with Anne Frank. Besides, he’s wise enough to concede that liberalism and tolerance are not the same thing, and that maintaining the second “would forever be a challenge” in the Netherlands. At the heart of his notion of Amsterdam’s liberalism is the principle of gedogen, which has less to do with turning the other cheek than with turning a blind eye. Thus coffeehouse owners must pay taxes on hash they sell, even though their goods are technically illegal.
This begins to explain how the “Republic of Amsterdam,” as some still call it, can flourish in what even Shorto calls a “bland monoclass” of conservatism and bourgeois values; it’s an island in the center of a nation, perhaps. At his best, Shorto’s primer to the town he’s called home for more than five years is “a reasonably pleasant combination of whimsy and stolidness,” to cite his description of the Amsterdam style of architecture.
The problem is that Shorto’s grand ideas seem to be superimposed upon his material rather than to flow out of it, as if he had his thesis before he had any facts. And where in “The Island at the Center of the World” he gave zesty life to fresh research, here he tries to marry quite familiar history with some dangerously sweeping contentions. The core of his argument seems to be the notion that Amsterdam both gave unique freedom to the individual and patented a rare mix of individual enterprise and community spirit (though some of us might discover this in Confucius 2,000 years before). “I do find it compelling,” he writes of Matthijs van Boxsel, that he “and other Dutch writers see the historic struggle against water as formative to a cultural ethic of cooperation that created a society strong enough for it to impel, curiously, a commitment to value the individual.”
If that sounds confusing, the other formulations of the book’s central idea are even more so. And much of the reasoning does not repay close scrutiny: “Amsterdam was an oligarchy,” we’re assured, seven pages before being reminded of “the egalitarian nature of Dutch society.” Thomas Jefferson drew from John Locke, we’re told, and Locke spent five years in Amsterdam, so Amsterdam deserves some credit for our pursuit of happiness. When we read that “probably more than any other major philosopher, Baruch Spinoza is looked to as a guide by serious thinkers today” — would that it were so — and that he was “the first true philosopher of modernity” as well as “the first and maybe the greatest philosopher of liberalism,” we may begin to suspect that the superlatives are a way of repeating, at top volume, the claims that Shorto has failed to prove, as if quantity of argument could make up for quality.
The oddity of “Amsterdam” is that it is at once too narrow and too unfocused. Since Shorto almost never looks outside Amsterdam and the Netherlands, his claims for their distinctiveness become self-­fulfilling. Throughout the book, there’s no sustained consideration of any other city — apart from Dutch Manhattan — and when Shorto ventures as far as Paris, it is to find its “grandiosity” a “little silly” next to Amsterdam’s canals. It would have been helpful to acknowledge, however briefly, Bangkok or Beirut or San Francisco or Havana, none of which, in my experience, is a slouch when it comes to loucheness, or to looking the other way; if liberalism is taken to refer not just to a philosophical principle but to the freedom to do what one likes, there are many places on earth more lawless and wide-open than Amsterdam.
The deeper problem, for those of us interested in the city from afar, is that Shorto’s rather rosy take on familiar material has to compete with much more rounded and unillusioned perspectives of Dutch-born locals like the veteran journalist and historian Geert Mak. His “Amsterdam,” from 1995, is far richer and more sophisticated as a narrative — and more stylish even in translation. It has the wryness to note, on its very first page, “Our political debate is about as exciting as a wet sponge” and “Our avarice is legendary.” Much of the city’s liberalism over the centuries, as Mak argues, was the result of economic desperation and misery.
And Ian Buruma’s “Murder in Amsterdam,” from 2006, is a typically supple and searching examination of the shadow sides of tolerance, including all the ways it can lead to its opposite. The flamboyant gay politician Pim Fortuyn, Buruma notes, was killed in 2002 by an animal-rights activist; and nearly two years later the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who made a film with Ayaan Hirsi Ali about the oppression of Muslim women, was shot and stabbed in the street by a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent. Having spent the first 24 years of his life in his father’s country — he still carries a Dutch passport — Buruma has a stake in thinking seriously about whether “freedom of speech” simply leads to public vilification of Muslims and Jews.
Shorto acknowledges some of this as his book draws to a close and suggests, for example, that the Dutch could accommodate themselves to the Nazis in part because for years they’d maintained a “pillar system” that left Catholics, Protestants, socialists and liberals segregated from one another. But what he continues to talk about is how his beloved city enjoys “probably the most sophisticated urban bicycle system in the world” and became “the spliff center of the universe.” (Take that, Tangier, Varanasi, Vancouver and, for that matter, Mars!) By the end, he’s suggesting that the very fact that “a larger percentage of Jews here were killed than almost anywhere else” during World War II might be one of the building-blocks of Amsterdam’s contemporary liberalism. One shudders at the implications.

Pico Iyer is a distinguished presidential fellow at Chapman University and the author, most recently, of “The Man Within My Head.”

Two bomb attacks in Volgograd

  1. Volgograd - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Top: View of Volgogradsky Bridge across the Volga River, Middle left: Komsomolskaya station of the Volgograd metrotram, Center: Volgograd railroad station, ...
  2. News for volgograd

    1. RT ‎- 3 hours ago
      A Volgograd policeman sacrificed his life shielding people from a suicide bomber's deadly blast at the city's train station. The officer was ...

  3. BBC News - 'Suicide bomber' hits Russia's Volgograd train station

    15 hours ago - A suicide bomber carried out an attack at a train station in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that killed 16 people, officials say.

    Two bomb attacks in the southern city of Volgograd, Russia, within 24 hours have killed more than 30 people, injured over 100 and brought the city once known as Stalingrad into a state of terror. The latest bomb, the third in three months, ripped through a trolley-bus in the morning rush-hour, killing at least 14 people. This came less than a day after a bomb went off at a railway station http://econ.st/Kftg2t


    根據《俄新社》的報導,俄羅斯總統普丁(Vladimir Putin)已經在第一時間要求聯邦安全局局長向他匯報二起事件。目前傳出,連續二起爆炸事件的二名自殺式襲擊者,很可能互相有關聯,且可能都與車臣組織有關,但當局拒絕透露更多細節。

Rana Plaza complex

2013 Savar building collapse
Dhaka Savar Building Collapse.jpg
Aerial view of the building following the disaster
Date 24 April 2013
Time 08:45 am BST (UTC+06:00)[1]
Location Savar Upazila,
Dhaka District, Bangladesh
Coordinates 23°50′46″N 90°15′27″ECoordinates: 23°50′46″N 90°15′27″E
Also known as Rana plaza building collapse
Deaths 1,129[2]
Injuries ~2,500[3]

A fashion designer at an office of Mango in Barcelona, where the workplace is in contrast to factories in places like Bangladesh.
Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame for Safety Lapses


Months after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh exposed abuses in the garment industry, there is no consensus on what responsibility global chains should bear for reform and compensation.

2013年12月30日 星期一

Jack London tree won't come down as scheduled

Tree that inspired Jack London won't come down as scheduled

Posted:   12/26/2013 09:18:39 AM PST | Updated:   4 days ago

BC-CA--Jack London Tree,124
Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated.
GLEN ELLEN, Calif. (AP) -- A tree in Sonoma County that provided shade and inspiration to writer and adventurer Jack London is getting a reprieve from its scheduled removal.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley said this month that the oak tree, though suffering from a fungal disease, is healthy enough to continue standing for another two to 10 years. The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports (http://bit.ly/18MT40O) that it was scheduled to come down in November because of concerns that one of its branches could fall and damage London's nearby cottage or injure someone.
The 50-foot tall, 350- to 400-year-old tree sits on a ranch site in Glen Ellen that served as London's home from 1905 until his death in 1916. It is now a state park.

Jack London tree won't come down as scheduled

Thursday, December 26, 2013
A centuries-old oak tree that provided shade and inspiration to writer and adventurer Jack London when he lived in Sonoma County will be allowed to stand for a little longer after lab tests showed it is healthier than California park officials originally thought. 

The decaying oak was scheduled to be taken down as a safety precaution last month because it is infected with a fungal disease. Officials at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen worried that a branch could fall off and injure a visitor or damage the cottage where London lived and wrote from 1905 until his death in 1916.

The end was so close that park rangers hosted several events this year to honor the tree, including a Native American blessing ceremony, a dramatic storytelling and having children harvest its acorns for replanting elsewhere.
But park boosters sought a reprieve, turning to a University of California, Berkeley expert in forest pathology who concluded that "Jack's Oak" had another two to 10 years before it would have to be removed as long as it was regularly monitored. Three arborists had determined earlier that the tree was beyond saving.

"We couldn't be more thrilled," said Jack London Park Partners executive director Tjiska Van Wyk, whose group manages the 39-acre park that includes the cottage and the ruins of a house that was destroyed by fire in 1913. "In the season of joy, we consider this a great gift."

To protect the public and the cottage, the park has instituted new parking restrictions near the tree and plans to inspect and prune it regularly.
"We're not out of the woods. We're in a gray area where the risk needs to be assessed," said Matteo Garbelotto, the Berkeley adjunct associate professor who conducted the most recent tests.

The 50-foot tall, 350- to 400-year-old tree sits on the former Beauty Ranch, the property "The Call of the Wild" author bought in 1905 to be close to nature. London could see the oak from the window by his desk in the cottage and drew inspiration from it that surfaced in his later work, California State Parks senior archaeologist E. Breck Parkman said.
"I think everyone is going to be pleased that this tree has a little more time," Parkman said.


  大學生排隊上圖書館 不輸春運


2013年12月29日 星期日

Gazprom’s 403-metre Okhta tower in St. Petersburg proposal and film

 Gazprom’s 403-metre Okhta tower in St. Petersburg proposal and film
在國美管看到 2010年俄國拍的影片

© RIA Novosti. RIA Novosti

For Gazprom’s tower, does size matter? ­­­

by at 07/06/2010 21:29
The construction of Gazprom’s 403-metre Okhta tower in St. Petersburg has been dividing the city since 2006, and now even Russia’s ruling partnership is lining up in opposing corners.
President Dmitry Medvedev has weighed in on the side of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), calling for a halt to construction since it could harm the city centre’s place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
But in the modernist’s corner the architect argued that the glass skyscraper was a symbol of St. Petersburg’s future as the economic capital to rival Moscow’s stalled business district, Moskva-City.
“The Okhta Centre will become St. Petersburg’s modern business area and a new symbol of the city”, the tower’s chief architect, Philip Nikandrov, told The Moscow News. “Now there are 28 industrial structures in the city that are up to 310 metres and they do not have any historical value – so the city needs a dominant feature higher than them.”
In a rare sign of differing viewpoints from Russia’s ruling tandem, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has consistently supported the tower, saying it will help revive the city’s economy during the crisis.
“Since the main office of Gazprom-Neft is moving in, it will bring annually around 20 billion roubles ($631 million) in taxes to the city budget and some 60 billion roubles ($1.9 billion) will be invested by the company in the construction directly,” said Nikandrov.
Cultural projects
The project – dubbed by some “Gazprom City” – has received the backing of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and will include offices, hotels, shops, a concert hall, an art museum, libraries, a skating rink and a park.
Critics say the tower contrasts with the surrounding Tsarist-era buildings and both the St. Petersburg Union of Architects and the International Union of Architects have gone against their peer.  
“The maximum permitted height of buildings in the area is 48 metres, so the tower will completely ruin the panoramic view of the city and will dwarf  Rastrelli’s Smolny Monastery, which is right on the opposite embankment,” said Oleg Romanov, vice president of the local organisation.
“St. Petersburg has its own character and has gained an historical value because there were high standards of architecture in Tsarist times. We are not going to resemble London or New York.”
Opposition protests
Medvedev has now come in line with opposition parties, such as the Communists, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, Just Russia and Yabloko, who had already taken a firm stand against the tower.
The liberal Yabloko have already launched a lawsuit against City Hall for overlooking the law on city standards and their refusal to hold a referendum on the issue.
“[The government] tends to ignore citizens’ and professionals’ opinions and, moreover, ignores the law prohibiting any building in the area to be higher than 40 metres,” said Maxim Reznik, the head of the city’s Yabloko branch. “It goes without saying that the tower will spoil the ancient architecture of the city and the panoramic view. By promoting the project people just want to earn money on construction.”
Opponents decried
Okhta’s defenders reject their opponents’ allegations, claiming the project is legitimate – having undergone public hearings in September 2009. The tower is to be built in an industrial area 5 kilometres from the city centre.
“The project will be constructed to fully balance with the city’s skyline and isn’t at odds with any historical place,” said Nikandrov. “For a person standing in the city centre on Vasilievsky Island, the tower will seem lower than the Peter and Paul Fortress.”
He added that opponents of the project use it as an opportunity to promote themselves and often use unprofessional or false plans and doctored photographs to create a misconception of the project.
Plus for tourism?
The city’s tourism industry has also plumped in favour of the skyscraper, pointing out that London has suffered little backlash after modern architecture changed its historical cityscape.
“I have not heard of representatives of the tourist industry being concerned about the construction of the Okhta Centre,” Sergei Korneyev, vice president of the Russian Tourist Industry Union, commented on the Okhta Centre’s web site. “In London – which last year became the world’s leading tourist destination – they are absolutely happy about the fact that there are several modern skyscrapers, including famous buildings by Norman Foster, around the old city.”
The Okhta tower will give tourists a new vantage point to view the city, with the highest viewing platform currently only 42 metres high in St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
The plans are currently undergoing state verification and construction is slated to start next year. If the project goes ahead it will take four years to build and create employment opportunities but its opponents are confident the high-profile support of President Medvedev will deliver a knock-out blow to the tower.
“I do not think the giant will be finally built,” said Reznik, of Yabloko. Recently more and more top officials and ministers, and outstanding art people have criticised the project.”

Gazprom, the opera
Russian activist group Chto Delat (‘What is to be done?’) have sung out against Gazprom’s Okhta tower, producing a Soviet-style musical film called ‘The Tower: A Songspiel’. The performance is set in Gazprom’s boardroom.
On one side there is the PR manager who promotes the project, a local politician, the company’s security chief, a priest, a gallery owner who is set to become the director of the corporation’s contemporary art museum and a fashionable artist.
Pitted against them is a microcosm of Russia’s voiceless minority. The intelligentsia, workers, pensioners and the homeless among others strain their vocal chords to shout down the tower.

向山 日月潭

向山行政中心新建工程圖向山基地範圍廣大,分為靠近日月潭面的前半及位於內陸之後半部,各自以「向山行政中心新建工程」(以下簡稱本案)、「向山旅館BOT案」為計畫之目標。位於基地前半、率先建造之本案,身負兩塊基地開發成功與否之關鍵。  設計的主要出發點,將本案作為旅館的前庭,以環抱日月潭為意象,設計兩棟彎曲之建築物。並將屋頂由低到高配置,形成與地面結合之半地景半建築造形(圖一)。 遊客可順著坡道,走上屋頂眺望景色(圖二)。

 為避免阻礙基地後半部眺望日月潭面的視線,兩棟建築順著延伸至涵碧半島之視線中軸,以框景的手法開放、塑造出兩處跨距34米的半戶外挑空空間(圖三)。  圍塑出中央的廣場的兩棟建築物,有具特色的木紋模清水混凝土外牆,分別為西側的向山遊客中心,及東側的日月潭國家風景區管理處,其主要功能如下:
 向山遊客中心設計有140席多目的廳提供作為多媒體放映使用,也設有將近800㎡之展示室供展示日月潭歷史、生態及原住民文化,1370㎡的有頂蓋之半 戶外空間可舉辦小型音樂會、農產等半戶外展示,若加上2040㎡之戶外草地廣場可作為舉辦大型活動之地點。加上觀景平台之設置,及地景建築的特殊性,將成 為國內外觀光客的主要停留點。

 向山行政中心設計一般辦公室面積為743㎡(主管室、檔案室、會議室不計),以舒適簡潔的內裝配合間接照明,提供具彈性的辦公室配置方式(每人7~9 ㎡),可供83~106名一般員工使用,為未來日管處編制預留足夠之擴充空間。另規畫了中、大型會議室,最大可同時供120人使用,配合旁邊旅館BOT案 的完成,可作為政府機構研修、舉辦大型國際研討會議的地點。



 減少地坪高程的變化讓辦活動時可容納大量的人群,藉由彷若小河蜿延的水景的分割,在少人數之時也不致於過於乏味。預計本案完成後,將成為日月潭地區的新 景點。除平衡區域發展之外,也將吸引國際觀光客之目光,在尊重日月潭地區的景觀與氣氛的前題,也為建築與地景結合作最好的詮釋。

建築師的話:日月潭風景管理處 ─ 人與自然對話的「地景」
團 紀彥

 向山遊客中心建築景觀空拍全景照片本 案緣起於2003年台灣觀光局所主辦的一系列國際競圖中的「地景系列(Land form series)」計畫,「地景系列」中選出了四個台灣最具代表性的觀光地區為基地,當然也包括了日月潭風景區,而本案即是位於日月潭向山地區,兼具遊客服 務中心與風景管理處兩種機能的計畫。在競圖的初期首先感到的是,這種機能的建築計畫,大部分並不是為了維護周圍環境或景觀而設立的,相反地破壞了周圍景觀 的例子還不少。 基地座落於日月潭西邊的涵碧半島之對岸,距離日月潭觀光區的中心稍微遠的場所。日月潭是由涵碧樓所在的半島與日月潭的起源ー停泊觀光遊艇的水社碼頭為中心 而發展開來的,所以在那周邊聚集了很多旅館、停車場或餐廳,而造成周圍景觀逐漸地惡化。所以風景管理處的基地被選定在遠離觀光區中心的地方是可以被理解 的。雖然基地的形狀為南北兩端都有湖水深入的峽灣,但只有北面狹窄的開口稍微可以望見日月潭的湖水,相對地靠內陸的一側則沿著道路深入地展開;面湖側因為 左右兩邊的山勢緊迫相鄰,所以能欣賞到的湖水景觀被切割成V字形。總之,從日月潭風景管理處的基地上可以欣賞到的風景,還比不上從涵碧半島上的旅館窗口或 露台來得全面與寬廣。 在這樣的基地條件之下,為了能眺望到更寬廣的湖景,通常都會將建築物配置在靠近湖水的ㄧ側,而導致內陸側的空間沒法被利用而浪費。

這個建築計畫以不能破壞周圍的景觀,或是造成內陸側空間的浪費為原則,並企圖提出一種建築與自然環境間之關係性的新設計思考。 將這基地的缺點(對日月潭眺望的視野不佳)隱藏起來,而將其潛在的優點引出,並加以擴大呈現。

 在面對第一個問題的解決之道,是追求一種嶄新的建築與地景間的關係性。自古以來,建築物就是建構在地景之「上」的一種遮蔽物。但興建於土耳其卡帕多奇亞 (Cappadocia) 的初期基督教修道院與黃河流域的窰洞聚落則是在建構在地景之「中」的建築;從概念來說,建築物如同「圖與底圖」的古典手法中的底圖(ground)一般, 被視為是某種形式的自然地景。現代主義的初期,是以俄羅斯、荷蘭、德國與法國等西北歐大平原國家為中心而構築的新建築美學,其以平坦的地形為前提,追求一 種建築的普遍性。在現代主義的初期,特別對19世紀之前的新古典主義(Neoclassicism)之「切削」等建築設計手法,乃至於主體本身的變形等觀 念一概全部否定。我想現代主義為了征服統治更複雜且多樣的東亞地形版圖,所以二十世紀後發展的建築大都是以移山填海的大建設方式來建構的,最後導致竟與破 壞自然等現象成為等號。其實回顧現代主義所令人詬病的地方,就是將建築與地景緊密相連的關鍵給隱藏起來。


 設計上的第二個主題為,設置了兩個跨距35米的空跨(arch)。從道路側導入的導線一度迴旋後再往陸地深處延伸,然後儘可能地再從內陸深處發展出較長 的軸性,並透過兩個空跨的底端,聯繫並通往湖水方向之動態演出。之後為了延伸日月潭湖面的遠景而設置了近景的池水面,近景水面倒映出遠景的湖光水色而使景 觀的層次更為豐富。雖然在瞭望遠景的視野比較狹窄而無法全面地看見湖景,但是很幸運地基地周圍沒有其他建築物,360度都被茂盛的樹海所包圍。以此特性並 利用第二水面,將建築頂部全面開放並予以綠化,並與周邊的綠樹海相互連動。這棟建築將兩個不同的水平面ー人工池水面與日月潭湖水面聯繫起來,建築物上部的 綠草坡與周圍的樹海相互共鳴;切削、貫通建築內部的隧道通路與如山路般刻印在建築物上的斜坡相銜接,而做出ㄧ層次豐富具整體感的地景建築。


2013年12月24日 星期二

the Bitcoin Mine

Bitcoins are invisible money, but creating them commands a surprisingly hefty real-world infrastructure.



Taiwan Tea Corporation 台灣茶葉茶葉有機茶茶園茶廠- 認識台灣農林

www.ttch.com.tw/index.php?categoryid=27Translate this page

野柳: :「女王頭」倒壊の危機 取り扱いで議論も


台湾:「女王頭」倒壊の危機 取り扱いで議論も

毎日新聞 2013年12月23日 19時18分(最終更新 12月24日 03時33分)
【新北(台湾北 部)鈴木玲子】波や風に浸食された風景で知られる新北市の「野柳地質公園」の象徴「女王頭(クイーンズヘッド)」が倒壊の危機にひんしている。風化で首の 部分が年々細くなっているためで、観光当局は世論調査などで民意を問い、人工補強するか自然に任せるかを決める方針。観光の目玉の保存を訴える声が上がる 一方、自然が生み出した岩だけにその取り扱いは議論を呼びそうだ。
 今後の対応について12月初旬に開かれた公聴会では、専門家から「女王頭はまさに象徴。最新技術を使っ て首部を補強すべきだ」との声が上がる一方、「人為的に補強したら自然景観としての価値を失う」などの反対が出た。また、地元には「女王頭がなくなると商 売が成り立たなくなる」と、補強を求める声は根強く関係者は頭を悩ませそうだ。

2013年12月23日 星期一

Museums...... 台灣的美術館是蔡明亮電影的新兵培養站

"台灣的美術館Museums是蔡明亮電影的新兵培養站" 這是我在2013.12.23 晚上聽蔡明亮導演的現身說法......

Museums used to stand for something old, dusty, boring and barely relevant to real life. Those kinds of places still exist, but there are far fewer of them, and the more successful ones have changed out of all recognition. The range they cover has broadened spectacularly and now goes well beyond traditional subjects such as art and artefacts, science and history http://econ.st/18RSYja

鳥居龍藏/ Ponso no Tao 紅頭嶼(白話字:Âng-thâu-sū)或紅豆嶼(白話字:Âng-tāu-sū)。1947年因島上盛產蝴蝶蘭而改名

鳥居龍藏とりい りゅうぞう1870年5月4日1953年1月14日日本德島縣人,知名人類學家考古學家民俗學家。


116 年前,冬季,鳥居龍藏來到紅頭嶼,帶著西方人類學家對南島語系族群的相關田野著作當參考的樣本,和島上的自稱雅美族的原住民溝通和進行各項社會文化調查, 並用萊卡相機大拍攝當時的居住環境和民眾服飾。這是人類首次有影像和文字同時描述與呈現這個南島語族的生活世界。可惜的是,夏季的蘭嶼是完全不同的捕飛魚 旺季,因而此一重要的人類學介紹工作,日後便由鹿野忠雄的傑出調查報告來完成。


20世紀初德語地圖上的「Botel Tobago Insel」。[1]
蘭嶼達悟語Ponso no Tao),屬於台灣台東縣蘭嶼鄉,四面環海,因其島上獨有的達悟族地土風俗與自然景點,遠近馳名。


蘭嶼最早的名稱為達悟語Ponso no Tao」意思是「人之島」。漢人最早以閩南語音譯紅頭嶼白話字Âng-thâu-sū)或紅豆嶼(白話字:Âng-tāu-sū),日治時期以後固定紅頭嶼之名。1947年因島上盛產蝴蝶蘭而改名。西方國家早年稱蘭嶼為Botel Tobago。目前有些英文網站與電子地圖稱它為 "Koto island".