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Prunings XXXIV

On things, linked:

1) On the American Southwest. During the summer, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman went on a “gadget-laden journey”, sending dispatches from places such as the storm drainage tunnels underneath Las Vegas; the Very Large Array in New Mexico; the Grand Canyon Skywalk, where his body and mind were “in rebellion because standing on a glass bridge through which you can see thousands of feet down into the Grand Canyon is simply wrong”; the Earthship World Community, a testing ground for off-the-grid, fully sustainable houses that can maintain comfortable interior temperatures even if the temperature outside is swelteringly hot or far below zero; and Hoover Dam, where he reports that “Lake Mead is 108 feet below its traditional level, the result of the many years of low rainfall, and these dry years could soon have some serious effects on the region.”

2) On Shrub U, where apparently landscape architects go to learn how to trim better topiaries. Very infuriating characterization of our profession.

3) On France in China, at Super Colossal, wherein Marcus Trimble wonders whether a residential development in Hangzhou, China is evidence that “France is making a backup copy of itself” and that China is the “USB external hard-drive of the French built environment.” The territoire replicated in stratospheric Tibet and in the arid west.

4) On APEC in Sydney, at City of Sound, wherein the recently transplanted Dan Hill muses on The Fence encircling parts of the city and separating all the Pacific Rim world leaders from terrorists, protesters and Dan Hill. The situation there reminds us of the urban stratification and anxious terrain of London in Alfonso CuarĂ³n's Children of Men and Pittsburgh in George Romero's Land of the Dead, both films we recommend highly.

5) On destitute Uganda gold miners, WHO globetrotters, some bats and the Marburg virus. Put them all deep underground, and you've got yourself the making of a riveting Busby Berkeley musical.

6) On Superfund365, one toxic site a day. Or one possible design competition a day.

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