Selasa, 31 Oktober 2006

0 Offshore

HEIDRUN[Image: Courtesy of Statoil].

I was flipping through a copy of Archive the other night when I came across a spread of recent print ads by Norwegian oil giant, Statoil. The ads featured cities and skyscrapers and the Roman Colosseum all Photoshop'd perfectly onto offshore oil derricks; they looked like instant and futuristic offshore micro-utopias – or perhaps even some weird, mechano-robotic version of Arnold Böcklin's Isle of the Dead.

0[Image: Arnold Böcklin].

In any case, I wanted to post the ads here – but all I could find online were Statoil's own press images. Those, however, induced a kind of minor panic attack, as the offshore structures they document easily rival, and possibly surpass, the most far-fetched architectural speculations of Constant Nieuwenhuys.

0STATFJORD A[Images: Constant vs. Statoil].

So here are some photos – and anyone who runs across online versions of the Statoil ads, let me know.

0[Images: Courtesy of Statoil].

These next two shots were actually taken inside the legs of one of the derricks; as such, the photographer is standing below sealevel.

Troll AI skaftet på Troll A[Images: Courtesy of Statoil].

But then I got to thinking how, toward the beginning of The Aeneid, we read that Aeneas and his crew have been tossed about by a string of storms and bad navigation, moving island to island against their will:
For years
They wandered as their destiny drove them on
From one sea to the next...
They are accidental exiles, always docking on the wrong shore.

[Image: Courtesy of Statoil].

Unsurprisingly, Aeneas is soon fed up with trying "[t]o learn what coast the wind had brought him to," so he confronts a random islander – not realizing that it's actually his mother (his mom happens to be Venus, and she likes to wear disguises). He demands:
Tell us under what heaven we've come at last,
On what shore of the world are we cast up,
Wanderers that we are, strange to this country,
Driven here by wind and heavy sea.
Etc. etc. – it's the endless drama of origin and detour.
My point is simply: how might the Aeneid have been different if the Mediterranean Sea they'd explored had actually been full of oil derricks, a manmade geography of machine-islands, industrialized stilt-kingdoms each more fantastic than the rest – and so they'd set sail beneath the anchored legs of support understructures and maintenance gantries, roping up their ships for the night in the shadow of artificial hills and disguised islands? An Aeneid for the machine age.

[Images: Courtesy of Statoil].

More practical questions include the reuse of these structures: what unintended future functions might these aging derricks be repurposed for? Once their fields run dry, will they be left standing till inevitable collapse? Or will a maritime preservation movement swoop in to save them?
Further, will corporate tax havens of tomorrow be built at sea, in private archipelagos of platform-cities, an experimental terrain for new concepts of financial sovereignty?

[Note: Just to be absolutely clear here, all images of oil derricks used in this post come courtesy of Statoil].

Senin, 30 Oktober 2006

0 Staying Safe in the Hood

I received an email from one of our South African readers that lays it all on the line. This guy is in Cape Town and from what I've gathered, this place can get rougher than rough. So, if this guy's tips on survival work there, I will rest comfortably saying that they'll help you in your suburban condo.

Don't get me wrong. I know a lot of people within the US live in rough areas and in fact, I spent my time there too for a while in Chicago.

Here is his list that I am writing with 100% approval and permission:

  • A place with an entrance and an exit is better than a place with only an
    entrance. Why? Simple. You have an optional exit in the case of an
    emergency, be it fire or burglars.

  • Never set your workplace near a street window. You could be an easy
    target for criminals.

  • Never sleep near a street window. You could be an easy target for

  • Always face your desk or work area towards your entrance. It's feng-shui.
    Your arc of vision and senses should be directed to what's happening
    'outside, on the street.'

  • A fire extinguisher is useful to keep around. Not only for fires, but for
    blasting unwanted intruders with; if you are unarmed.

  • Similarly, there is nothing untoward in keeping your favourite set of
    'Samurai' kitchen knives 'stashed' in strategic places. But remember where
    you stashed 'em. And outtasight from anyone else!

  • Never just open your front door to strangers knocking. Install a
    peep-hole; or better, create one or two 'crow's nests', look-out spots, in
    your spot (like a look-out window, curtained or with blinds, where 'they'
    can't see you but you can see them.)

  • If your place is active, or you work at night - keep the lights low. Only
    use as much light as you need; don't 'advertise' yourself to the criminals
    and gangsters outside. The bad guys are inquisitive.

  • You already know this, but I'll remind you again. Emergency numbers: The
    Cops, Ambulance, Family, Reliable Friends.

  • And make friends with 'The Good Guys' in your Hood. Get to know who the
    good guys are and who the bad guys are.

So, what we all want to know is what little tricks do you have to keep safe at home. Is it mace under the mattress, a glock in the nightstand? Let us know what you feel safe with and why. Also, if you comment, let us know if you have kids or not. If didn't have kids, I'm 100% confident I'd have a piece in the nightstand. As it stands for me now, I have an alarm with motion detectors and a Louisville Slugger under the bed.

Once you are done leaveing a comment, please visit marwinsing. He wrote these and sent them to us. He has a great perspective on life from an area that many of us won't see.

0 How to give your self a Manicure (video)

I love my wife to death and she is usually pretty good about saving money. BUT...the last American Express bill almost knocked me out of my chair. She had a "girls night out" and felt the need to visit a scheme beauty salon and spend $100 on her finger and toe nails. As I guy, I will just never understand this. So, instead of venting and complaining, I am posting this as a subtle hint to her and anyone else that cares to save a little money while looking nice.

- Frank

0 The Weather Bowl

[Image: A passing Illinois lightning storm and supercell, the clouds peeling away to reveal evening stars; photo ©Extreme Instability/Mike Hollingshead. If you can overlook pet photos, meanwhile, don't miss Hollingshead's other storm work from 2006 and 2005 – including these Nebraskan auroras. While you're at it, this storm sequence has some stunning, pre-storm landscape shots].

During a disastrously moderated talk at the MAK Center last night in West Hollywood, where the panelists could hardly get a word in edgewise because of the barely coherent, self-answering, 40-minute monologue of the moderator, Karl Chu briefly managed to say that he was interested in constructing and designing whole continents and weather systems.
Which got me thinking.
Given time, some digging equipment, a bit of geotechnical expertise, and loads of money, for instance, you could turn the entirety of greater Los Angeles into a weather bowl, dedicated to the recreation of famous storms. Install some rotating fans and open-air wind tunnels, build some deflection screens in the Hollywood Hills, scatter smaller fans and blowers throughout Culver City or overlooking Burbank, amplify the natural sea winds blowing in through Long Beach – and you could re-enact famous weather systems of the 18th and 19th centuries, reproducing hurricanes, even bringing back, for one night, the notorious storm that killed Shelley.
You consult your table of weather histories, choose your storm and go: fans deep in hillsides start turning, the wind tunnels roar, and lo! The exact speed and direction of Hurricane Andrew is unleashed. Seed the clouds a bit and reprogram the fans, and you can precisely reproduce the atmospheric conditions from the night William Blake was born. Or the ice storm that leveled electrical gantries outside Montreal, now whirling in a snow-blurred haze through Echo Park.
You could build competing weather colosseums in London, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Beijing. Every night new storms are reenacted, moving upward in scale and complexity. The storm Goethe saw as a nineteen year-old, contemplating European history, kills a family of seven outside Nanking. You soon get Weather Olympics, or a new Pritzker Prize for Best Weather Effects.
One day, a man consumed with nostalgia hacks the control program to recreate the exact breeze on which he once flew a kite over the Monbijouplatz in Berlin...

(For more on the construction of continents, see The Transgondwanan Supermountain. For more on the exhibition now up at the MAK Center, download this PDF).

Minggu, 29 Oktober 2006

0 50 Tools that can Increase your Writing Skills

We found this while cruising though Bloglines last night. If you are writing anything at all, odds are you'll improve your skills by spending some time at the Poynter Institute. So without delay, here is a list of a whopping 50 articles that we should all read (yes, I said we because my writing tends to lack in a few dozen areas!)

First, a little about Poynter:

The values supporting these guidelines are rooted in Poynter’s dedication to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. Poynter is a school that promotes excellence and integrity in the practices of craft and the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens, builds community, and enlightens public discourse. In our publishing, we strive to practice the kind of journalism we preach.
These should certainly keep you busy for a while. In case you missed the link above, visit the Poynter Institute for additional resources. Consideration to: because we subscribe to their feed which pointed to this site and to because it was their keyword RSS feed that revealed it.

0 Amazon Bargain Hunting simplified - this is TOO EASY

I love simplicity and this is seriously as simple as it gets.

RSStalker has come up with a way to provide you with an RSS feed on items whose prices have just been reduced at Amazon. You can either select categories, insert specific Amazon Product ID numbers, or you can just subscribe to their, "Last 25 price decreases" or "10% Price Drops" feeds.

In all fairness, they do collect a fee from Amazon if and when you make a purchase through their feed, but as far as I am concerned, that fee is not coming out of my pocket so I could care less.

Check it out at

Jumat, 27 Oktober 2006

0 Not Dull

Updated: Erm, I felt that before you guys go on and on insulting the Xueling person, keep in mind that she is, OR so I heard, dunno if it's true, allegedly, Lee Hsien Yang's sister-in-law.

So you might just have your Singtel bill increase 10-fold mysteriously.

Anyone care to verify my little piece of info?

0 Chicago's Inner Flute-Ruins

[Image: The old tower blocks of Chicago's Cabrini-Green, transformed by demolition into totem pole-like wind instruments, flute-ruins, a musically-active wasteland whistling to itself behind security fences. Photographer unknown; spotted at Archinect. It seems worth briefly pointing out, however, that Cabrini-Green could instead have been architecturally salvaged and later reused—and, given a different economic model, the towers could also have been refurbished. Indeed, through that latter link we learn that the combined weight of London's existing tower blocks is an astonishing forty million tons—meaning that high-rise building materials constitute a near-geological presence in many cities, and they should not simply go to waste...].


Wired reveals what "a permanent presence in the ocean" might look like, if that "presence" consisted entirely of manmade submersibles.

[Image: From Wired].

This underwater robotic metropolis is otherwise known as the NEPTUNE Project. Specifically, Wired writes, the project "would string 10 semiautomated geobiological labs across the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off Washington, 8,000 feet underwater. Each would have cameras, lights, robots, and sensors, all connected to the surface via optical cable to transmit data on everything from the biomass of microbes to the effects of ocean temperature on weather."
According to the project's own website, the "goal is for NEPTUNE to appear as a seamless extension of the global Internet, connecting users anywhere on shore to the sensors on the seafloor."

[Image: A future seafloor exploratorium. Image provided courtesy of the NEPTUNE Project and produced by CEV].

As reported back in 2003, "the network itself will cover a region roughly 310 miles by 620 miles (500 kilometers by 1,000 kilometers) in size. More than two dozen experimental sites will form nodes along the sub-sea cable system. Nodes will be situated about 62 miles (100 kilometers) apart" – making the whole thing only slightly smaller than Great Britain.
On the other hand, the NEPTUNE Project should be thought of as a terrestrial analog for other, more far-flung, research stations: according to John Delaney, for instance, a similar set-up could be used to explore the oceans of Europa (about which more can be found here).
Given some oxygen tanks, it could also be the perfect location for a new public lecture series on architectural design...

(Not quite related: Open Ocean Aquaculture).

Kamis, 26 Oktober 2006

0 How to De-Stink your house

I don't know how dirty you are and to be honest, I love you guys but I don't want to know. In my house, dirty diapers and a cat (that really pisses me off) do enough to add a unique daily aroma to my house that I hate. As you know, I work from home so on bad stink days, it's enough to give me a headache.

Anyway, I am a very clean person so I do what ever I can to keep the house smelling fresh. My favorite trick is to put fabric softener sheets just under the heat registers so when the furnace or A/C is blowing, it's blowing downy fresh air.

BUT, that doesn't always to the trick and the fabric softeners don't last too long. So, I want to share some tips I learned from Thrifty Mommy.

  • To get rid of bad smells, pour vinegar in a bowl and let it sit overnight.

  • Put natural spices in a pot and boil them on the stove.

  • If you have clothes to hang dry, hang them in the room that you want to smell nice. (The room will smell like your detergent or softener.)

  • Place laundry detergent in the bottom of your tub overnight. The bathroom smells good and the tub sparkles.

Hey, do you guys have some secret tips that don't include killing the cat? If so, please let me know.

0 Where should you move? Ask Neighboroo

Looking to move? Sure, a lot of us are because we bought too much house on an adjustable mortgage. Well, before you make the move, check out Neighboroo. Essentially this is a Google Maps Mashup. This simply means that these guys took a ton of data and tossed it onto a map.

Ton of data you ask? Well, from this site you can easily zoom in on just about any county or city in the US and learn about the following:

Elem School Rank
Air Quality
Home Price
Apt Rent
Cost of Living
Commute Time
Household Income
Tax Rates
Population Density
African American
American Indian

It's not a bad resource to use when starting your search. To jump into in, go to Neighboroo.

0 New Zealand is Droning

Apparently this sound (which I can only hear through headphones) is causing quite a stir in the northern districts of Auckland. The sound is so maddening, it seems, that it's inspired some residents "to take drastic action" – which, in one case, means purposefully deafening oneself with the roar of chainsaws.
In fact, "for those who can hear it, the sound is the bane of their lives."

The sound also reveals where unexplained acoustic phenomena, dishonesty, and urban real estate intersect: "Some have been reticent to give away more details of their predicament for fear that reports of persistent humming could adversely affect the resale price of their homes."
One of the researchers trying to locate the sound's origins "rules out geological factors. 'It's more likely to be things like pipes under the ground – you know, gas pipes, sewerage pipes, factories in the distance.'" CIA installations, perhaps.
"This is not the first incidence of humming in New Zealand," we're told. Oh, no. "In 2005, New Zealand author Rachel McAlpine wrote a book called The Humming... largely inspired by the author's own experiences in the seaside town of Puponga on the northwest tip of New Zealand's south island which was itself at the centre of a humming mystery some years back." That man was later arrested.
In McAlpine's novel we read how "life is becoming increasingly frustrating for [a character named] Ivan because he is plagued by an underground humming that he tries to disguise with an increasingly bizarre array of devices."
If it were my story to re-tell, however, Ivan would soon become so unbelievably good at manufacturing sonic camouflage that he turns into the terror of post-Blair Great Britain. (He moves to Britain). Completely silent, exploding noiseless weaponry over the city of Birmingham, Ivan's Joseph Conrad-inspired, acoustically avant-garde ransom demands are met not with payment stashed inside a pre-arranged safety deposit box – but by a visit from a certain, rather well-known, secret agent of the crown... Unfortunately, James Bond is almost immediately captured – having been dumbfounded by a house full of mirrored rooms, someone else's mobile phone, and a weird echo, coming as if from behind him, that induces a state of cognitive paralysis. Bond is then subjected to a series of unbearable noise-tortures, leading some in the audience to laugh and others to accuse the film of being an unacknowledged remake of The Ipcress File. But, once the enemy is brought back on screen, transformed by his life of sonic dissimulation, he addresses Bond through a grotesque series of hand-held voice-cancellation machines – and we see that something altogether more terrifying has been planned...
Of course, it has long been known that if you "listen carefully... you can hear the Earth singing quietly to itself."
    They live underground. They are everywhere but seem to come from nowhere. They barely exist, but never leave. If sounds have shadows, they are the shadows of a sound. Researchers call them the background free oscillations of the Earth.
These "background free oscillations," however, while more or less totally unrelated to the New Zealand drone, discussed above, are also unexplained. This endless terrestrial resonance could be "buildings shuddering in the wind," for instance – or it could be "the constant throb of fluctuating atmospheric pressure all over the Earth." It could even be the combined effect of all the oceans' waves crashing on all the earth's shores simultaneously. It could even – though let me pull the blinds closed as I write this – it could even be the rumble of invisible stealth bombers breaking the sound barrier out at sea...

(Thanks, Marcus! Earlier: Sound Dunes, Dolby Earth, and so on).

Rabu, 25 Oktober 2006

0 BLDGberry

Though it's kind of insane to post this here, I was excited nonetheless to see that BLDGBLOG is featured in the new Blackberry Pearl ad campaign...

It pops up in the context of author Douglas Coupland's everyday telephonic activities; at 12:45pm, according to the little Flash animation, Coupland "settles a lunchtime architectural argument" by going to BLDGBLOG.

The logo's so bigtime they got shy and hid the other half...
That's right.
So I'm retiring on the royalties to Brazil, where I'll re-reverse the flow of the Amazon River and report back in a few years' time.

(Thanks, Douglas!)

0 Wrinkly cute babies and clean eyes

My friend Joan gave birth to the sweetest little girl!

It's so weird coz I've been seeing her with that big tummy for a long time, and suddenly it hits me that there is a life inside.

Capable of growing into a full adult and actually giving birth herself. Gulp.

I'm gonna steal the baby.

Baby Claire with Mommy!
Just born yesterday (as in yesterday of the day this photo was taken)!

Her little hand is sooooo tiny!
And warm and soft and... oh my womb is talking, ignore it.

Evil plots of babies to make you give birth:
The typical finger grab.


Had to grab her from Joan for a while!

She finally opened her eyes... :D
And what a cute turf of hair!


The haze has been going on for the past few days, yet all of us still have to go to work and face the dull toxic air, like it or not.

Well not all, some of us. Ahem.

People have been complaining about their various ailments, and the most common of all should be sore eyes.

I feel more for contact lens users... Now, besides having the usual debris and protein build-up, causing the lenses to dry up and be thoroughly uncomfortable, contact lens users still have to deal with extra smoke from the haze?!

Lucky for me, I am sponsored with Complete Blink Lens Drops. :D


The product description says that "(Blink) is the only eye drop in the market that has hyaluronate, which draws moisture to the eyes a 1,000 times more efficiently."

I don't know what that means, but my eyes really feel a lot better when I use Blink after a long night of mahjong. =)

Fits perfectly in my emergency pouch

Especially now when there our PSI problem, better bring eyedrops with you all the time in case your eyes get dry - better than having sore eyes, huh?

Available at leading pharmacies and optic outlets. Costs $8.50 per 10ml bottle.

0 10 Reasons To Get A Good Night Sleep

You are getting sleepy. Your eyes have transformed into 100 pound weights; your mouth opens up like a lion and lets out one silent roar after another. Gravity is pushing down hard on your entire body. Your neck begins to give into demanding pressure. Your head begins to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Sounds become distant echoes as you fade into the silent whispers of the zzzzz’s.

WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! You hear the words trespass through your slumber. They are so loud that your eyelids startle to consciousness. You notice a big black pen staring at you and a luminous computer light glaring in the background. Suddenly, the cozy white pillow you dreamed you were lying on becomes stacks of paper on your desk.

You heart races to your throat, and you jump out of your seat. You are at work and your boss is not happy.

Here are the top 10 reasons to get a good night sleep:
  • Fewer Colds and Flus

  • Weight Management

  • Increased Muscle Growth and Repair

  • Better Skin

  • Increased Energy

  • Better Memory

  • Improved Mood

  • Better Sex

  • Better Stress Management

  • Faster Recuperation

If you need these explained, head to

Selasa, 24 Oktober 2006

0 Quick list 5: Energy, tunnels, landscape, and ruin

[Image: By Nicolai Grossman, of Photon Detector fame].

Like some weird cross between the Bible, William Blake, and a botanical Finding Nemo, the British landscape is alive with plants that escaped from gardens: "About one-quarter of plants sold to ornamental gardeners since the 1800s have escaped, and 30 per cent of these are firmly established in the English countryside." It seems these inadvertant landscapes-at-a-remove could actually have been financially predicted; historical researchers "found that the odds of escape increased with how widely available and inexpensive a given plant was at the time." Leading me to wonder if a similar approach, today, could be used to plot prices of wildflowers, garden herbs, and domestic tree species against the projected future landscape of Ohio, say, or Brecon, Wales: price-maps as a subset of future landscape geography.
Speaking of future landscapes, New Scientist's look at an earth without humans was republished and discussed everywhere last week – but, in case you missed it, here's a link. From the article: "Left once more to its own devices, Nature would begin to reclaim the planet, as fields and pastures reverted to prairies and forest, the air and water cleansed themselves of pollutants, and roads and cities crumbled back to dust."

[Image: A related graphic, from the Times Online].

Further: "If tomorrow dawns without humans, even from orbit the change will be evident almost immediately, as the blaze of artificial light that brightens the night begins to wink out. (...) The loss of electricity will also quickly silence water pumps, sewage treatment plants and all the other machinery of modern society."
    The same lack of maintenance will spell an early demise for buildings, roads, bridges and other structures. Though modern buildings are typically engineered to last 60 years, bridges 120 years and dams 250, these lifespans assume someone will keep them clean, fix minor leaks and correct problems with foundations. Without people to do these seemingly minor chores, things go downhill quickly.
Of course, ten years ago New Scientist offered a very similar look at what would happen if London was abandoned to the marshes and earthworms. "Within the first year," we read, "dandelions and other weeds begin growing in the gutters and emerge from the cracks caused by frost and flooding in concrete, paving slabs and walls." Fair enough. "Within five years," however, "roads, pavements parking places and the great squares of the city are carpeted with weeds and a rich turf of clover." Then, an "understorey of grasses and shrubs gradually spreads over the city. As the soil layer builds up, deeper-rooting plants take hold. Trees start to grow and their roots smash through what's left of the pavement and tarmac," until the whole of London looks more like Angkor Wat, or the lost city of Z, than it does Notting Hill. Etc. etc.
The article's parting shot: "In a flood plain like London's, inundation of foundations and natural soil movements would leave very few buildings standing after 1000 years. By that time, both the oak and the floodplain forests would be mature and the rubble of Canary Wharf would have sunk into the marsh." (See Silt for more on a flooded London).
Speaking of ruined cities, meanwhile, Pruned introduces us to a new boring machine – that is, a new machine that bores tunnels. Quoting from both Pruned and the project brief, the machine's designer, we learn, hopes:
    [to] deploy a robot to cities devastated by an earthquake, whereupon this "burrowing robot negotiates through the unstable rubble and solid earth, creating an interred, inhabitable structure from recycled debris. The raw system left behind by the robot provides a basic framework for shelter, infrastructure, and structural stability in an upheaved landscape. The resultant system is a landscape of interconnected spaces ready for human colonization."
The machine would look like this:

[Image: From The Reinterred City].

There are many more images available at the project's Flickr page.
Whilst pondering that mechanism, don't forget that the Pamphlet Architecture 29 submission process is still open. So get published. And whilst you're pondering that, don't miss this year's Next Generation competititon, sponsored by Metropolis:
    The 2007 Next Generation® prize will finance the development of a bright idea that focuses on ENERGY, its uses, reduction, consumption, efficiencies, and alternatives. (...) On your own or in teams we invite you to submit work on urban plans, buildings, interiors, products, landscapes or communications design. The winner will receive $10,000 to realize his or her idea, and will be featured in Metropolis magazine.
One place you could start: is thorium the clean energy source of the future...?
Returning to William Blake – who once declared that "Energy is Eternal Delight" – the November 2006 issue of Wired features a fantastic article about Darren Aronofsky's new film, The Fountain. In the article, author Steve Silberman describes how Aronofsky, determined to represent galactic space without the use of computerized special effects, came upon the work of Peter Parks, "a marine biologist and photographer who lives in a 400-year-old cowshed west of London":
    Parks and his son run a home f/x shop based on a device they call the microzoom optical bench. Bristling with digital and film cameras, lenses, and Victorian prisms, their contraption can magnify a microliter of water up to 500,000 times or fill an Imax screen with the period at the end of this sentence.
Having then constructed their own kind of universal microcosm, using "yeast, dyes, solvents, and baby oil, along with other ingredients they decline to divulge," these DIY home f/x producers filled the end of Aronofsky's film with "galactic clouds and pillars of dark matter that look like nothing else in science fiction."

[Image: From The Fountain].

Such an approach gives The Fountain's grand finale "a handwrought quality that evokes the luminous etchings of William Blake."
Turning our eyes away from space, toward the center of our own planet, we read that the "first known organisms that live totally independently of the sun have been discovered deep in a South African gold mine. The bacteria exist without the benefit of photosynthesis by harvesting the energy of natural radioactivity to create food for themselves." They apparently "live in ancient water trapped in a crack in basalt rock, 3 to 4 kilometres down."
Speaking of energy and the center of the earth, it's never too late to revisit Manhattan's (only?) geothermally powered townhouse:

[Image: From the Wall Street Journal].

According to the Wall Street Journal, the building's "unusual geothermal energy system provides heating, cooling and hot water. Pipes extend about 1,400 feet into the earth, where the temperature is always about 52 degrees... The pipes transfer energy to the house, where two-layer-thick concrete exterior walls, filled with thermal materials, trap the energy and distribute it."
Finally, part of Turkey's new Marmaray Rail Tube Tunnel, set to open in 2010, will cut beneath the Bosporus strait.

0[Image: A visualization of project specifics; from New Scientist].

The Marmaray rail link "will not only be the deepest underwater tunnel ever constructed," it "will also pass within 16 kilometres of one of the most active geological faults in the world." Indeed, "the abutting plates move about 2 to 3 centimetres relative to each other every year." However, using "flexible joints made from thick rubber rings reinforced by steel plates," the central section, passing under the waters between Europe and Asia, will hopefully survive any major quakes. Or hopefully not, if you like disaster/rescue films.
Much more information available at, yes, New Scientist. (Thanks, Bryan!)

[Earlier: Quick list 4 and so on].
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