Thursday, 25 February 2010

'Futuristic cube for US London Embassy'

'The US embassy is moving from its Mayfair mansion of 50 years to a new £650million futuristic cube in Battersea.

American architect firm Kieran Timberlake was selected to design the carbon-neutral glass-sided structure in Wandsworth, south London.

The new 12-storey building, which will be able to house 1,000 staff, covers 45,000 square metres.

It is set among landscaping including a pond, which acts as a natural security measure, the design team said.

Building work is due to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2017.'


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Michael Howard in UFO encounter...

'It wasn't just Tony Blair and New Labour that Michael Howard had to worry about in the run-up to the 1997 general election.

It was aliens, too.

Several witnesses insisted that they saw a UFO over the then Home Secretary's home less than two months before his Tory Party was crushed at the polls.

The large triangular craft, double the size of a jumbo jet, was hovering 1,000ft above the house near Folkestone, Kent, according to Ministry of Defence files released yesterday by the National Archives.

The revelation was among hundreds of close encounters described in the previously top-secret files.

The 6000 pages of material, spanning from 1994 to 2000, included a claim from a policeman that he'd spotted a UFO hovering over the Chelsea football ground in March 1999, and a 'near miss' between a Boeing 737 jet approaching Manchester Airport and a UFO, which was investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The spacecraft had lights around its edge, a giant spotlight at the front, a disc attached to its back and could be heard 'humming' in the night skies, observers said.

They claimed it had homed in on Mr Howard's house and appeared to have been monitoring him for some time.'


Monday, 15 February 2010

Symptoms of the Plague #2

'Children are being paid up to £25 a week to promote sugary soft drinks and other products through social networking sites and playground chat.

Products including Fanta and Cheestrings are at the centre of stealth marketing campaigns.

Firms are turning to the controversial tactics after moves to crack down on TV advertising of unhealthy products.

The Dubit website, set up by a British entrepreneur, recruits thousands of children from seven upwards to take part in surveys that are used by big business to shape products and policy.

Now it is trying to get the youngsters to promote brands to their friends in return for money-off vouchers, which can be worth £25 a week, and free samples.

Children and teens are recruited as 'brand ambassadors' by the site. This involves performing a range of tasks including putting up flyers, posting on message boards and social networks such as Facebook and Bebo and hosting parties for friends.'


Symptoms of the Plague #1

'Lost the remote control and can't be bothered to get up to change the channel on the TV? Don't worry, you're not lazy, you simply have sluggish cognitive tempo disorder.

Or maybe you're prone to a bit of a tantrum when you misplace the car keys? Possibly a sign of intermittent explosive disorder.

These are just two of dozens of extravagantly titled 'conditions' under consideration for the latest edition of the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders– the psychiatrists' 'bible'.'


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Ghostly prefigurations

'Coincidences nearly always turn out to be less impressive than they sound. As a twentysomething working in the West End, nothing seemed more predictable than bumping into my aunt in Piccadilly: she quite often went to the Royal Academy; I quite often walked home to Pimlico. On the other hand, ghostly prefigurations – the idea that once something strays unexpectedly into your mind, it will then come back and set up camp with a vengeance – never fail to cause a stir. Earlier in the week, for reasons it would take a psycho-analyst to unravel, I had a dream about Albert Booth, once secretary of state for employment in the Callaghan government. Three days later, I found myself reading his obituary. A rationalist would say this was simple chance. My explanation is sheer triumph of the will. As the American poet Delmore Schwartz once put it: "In dreams begin responsibilities."'


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Millionaire gives away fortune which makes him miserable

Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realising his riches were making him unhappy.

He is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.

He will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck

... "My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.

"For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness," he said. "I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years," said Mr Rabeder.

But over time, he had another, conflicting feeling.

"More and more I heard the words: 'Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life'," he said. "I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.

I have the feeling that there are lot of people doing the same thing."

However, for many years he said he was simply not "brave" enough to give up all the trappings of his comfortable existence.

... All the money will go into his microcredit charity, which offers small loans to Latin America and builds development aid strategies to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".

But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth. "I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul."'