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The 'Water Cube': The National Aquatics Center

The facade of the Water Cube can also be highlit and animated

The 'Birds Nest': Beijing National Stadium

China Central TV Headquarters

The National Center for Performing Arts. Called a "floating pearl" by its admirers, its also been criticized as resembling a "fried egg".
Olympic Pride Transforms City, Projects advance architecture to new levels.

In less than a decade, Beijing has transformed itself from a city of gloomy, uninspired concrete cubes to a site containing some of the world's most inspired architecture. While China's new prosperity plays a part, the primary impetus is this year's Olympic Games which are due to start next month in the city. A look at some of the major projects follows.

The surreal "Water Cube", a.k.a. the National Aquatics Center, is covered with sheets of translucent plastic bubbles, which invoke images of a building constructed entirely from water. The bubbles also transmit light and absorb heat, cutting energy usage. The Center is the world's largest polymer-clad building, and will be one of the primary venues during the upcoming Olympics.

The "Bird Nest" is the friendly name for Beijing National Stadium, a 91,000-seat venue with an eye-popping space age design that contains 36 kilometers of unwrapped steel supports. Built for $430M, the stadium will also be one of the Olympics’ primary venues.  It is claimed that as many as 10 people died during the construction of the Stadium.

The hypermodern National Center for the Performing Arts, a gigantic $400 million titanium-and-glass flying saucer, floats like a pearl on its surrounding pool of water. To complete the image, an underwater tunnel provides entry. The Center's lush interior is said to house the most technologically advanced acoustics and mechanical wizardry of any concert hall in the world. The water enclosing the building also acts as thermal mass, to mediate the temperature inside.

There's the China Central TV (CCTV) Headquarters, a massive Escher-like structure that strains the boundaries of what it means to be called a skyscraper. The building's shape is so complex, that computational tools to validate its design didn't exist a decade ago. CCTV Tower's 4.1 million square feet of floor space makes it the second largest office building in the world, after the Pentagon.  The design, which includes a massive unsupported segment, will never be repeated, according to some architectural experts.

Greenpix, a multistory video display wall, is being called a "zero energy video art installation". Built on the wall of a large seafood restaurant, the solar-powered installation will display specially-commissioned videos by renowned artists.

Finally, Beijing has also completed an addition onto its airport: Terminal Three. The two-mile long structure is not only the world's largest airport terminal; it's one of the world's largest enclosed spaces. Built at a cost of $3.5 billion, it has over 100 gates, and covers some 9 million square feet spread over five above-ground and two underground floors. The roof of the terminal is punctuated by raised triangular skylights, meant to evoke the scales of a Chinese dragon.

Beijing is also constructing the world's largest Ferris wheel, in Chaoyang Park.

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world's most inspired architecture
By GaryJohnson on 7/14/2008 6:16:21 AM , Rating: 5
Those pretty buildings almost distracted me from all the human-rights violations.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Master Kenobi on 7/14/2008 8:30:49 AM , Rating: 2
No kidding. As much as China likes to put a modern, ground breaking face on things, they are still nothing more than a second rate Communist country that gets lumped into the same category as the old USSR.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/14/2008 8:59:40 AM , Rating: 5
At current growth rates, this 'second rate' nation will be the most powerful on earth within 25 years, both economically and militarily.

The US needs to either remove the barriers restricting growth in this country, or be forced to live with its subordinate status to China.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By martinrichards23 on 7/14/2008 9:07:15 AM , Rating: 2
When China's economy is 4x that of the USA you could say they are equals, because only then will GDP per capita be even.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/14/2008 9:18:26 AM , Rating: 5
By that metric, Luxembourg is the most powerful nation on Earth. Clearly that approach has a few flaws. :p

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By martinrichards23 on 7/14/2008 9:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
No, who cares which nation has the biggest economy? It doesn't really matter.

Quality of life, of which GDP per capita a big determinant of, is much more important.

For example, people of Luxembourg have a much higher standard of living than the average American.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/14/2008 9:33:13 AM , Rating: 4
And yet Luxembourg exerts essentially no influence on the world social, political, and military arenas, while nations like the US and the former Soviet Union (whose citizens had one of the poorest standards of living of all) set the tune the rest of the world marches to.

In global geopolitique, size matters, plain and simple.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Pops on 7/14/2008 1:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
While I wouldn't go as far to say China will not pass up the US economically. People thought the same thing about Japan in the 80s. It ended up not happening. A lot of things can change in a short amount of time.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Solandri on 7/14/2008 2:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. I'd even say that as long as China retains its totalitarian political control, the effectiveness of its brand of capitalism will peak at a much lower level than in the U.S. and Europe. So while its enormous population will eventually lead to it becoming an economic superpower and maybe even surpassing the U.S. economy in size, it's not going to reach 4x the size of the U.S. unless they overhaul their political system.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Pirks on 7/14/2008 5:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
If you think about it, changing political system in China can actually SLOW them down economically. Right now they have kinda dictatorial system - say if the the Party ordered something like "we gotta build a few advanced fission reactors 'cause we really need cheap power" - the nation replies "yes comrade!" and begins the work right away, hiring EU and US experts to help them to build advanced nuclear plant designs.

Now if China changes their system to a US-like, what's gonna happen? "Oh, noes, comrade, we gotta destroy this rare spider habitat, we gonna kill a few birds, we gonna destroy that DUCK NEST ON THE RIVER, NOOOOO SAY NOOO TO EVIL NUCLEAR!"

Do you really want this to happen? You know, looking at the US I'm really enjoying chinese commies, 'cause they just shoot or imprison eco-freaks, unlike stupid US gov't. So while the US can enjoy they great political freedom protecting duck nests and sh1t like that - China will build more great projects that any country ever did, because Chinese eco-freaks get shot (and rightfully so, I wish US people shoot 'em all bastards too)

Hey masher, say I'm wrong or what?

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/14/2008 6:13:58 PM , Rating: 3
Whether we like it or not, the people of China are embarking on a great experiment into a new form of government which might be called "managed democracy". Will it succeed? I don't know...but I'll be watching the results with great anticipation.

By Pirks on 7/14/2008 8:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
Managed democracy - sounds very much Putin-like. Yeah, that'll be interesting. Especially after watching Chilean economic wonder happening under a hardline military dictatorship of General Pinochet (by the way backed by the US - what an irony). Looks like US model of democracy is far from ideal no matter what Bush will tell ya ;-)

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By JustTom on 7/15/2008 11:23:59 AM , Rating: 2
I understand the managed part but where is the democracy?

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/15/2008 12:40:36 PM , Rating: 3
> "I understand the managed part but where is the democracy? "

In a limited, hierarchal form, it certainly exists. Delegates within the Communist Party vote, during the National Congress, and to elect members to various higher groups such as the Politboro and the People's Congress.

An unkind observer could state the only difference between the US and Chinese political systems is that to have a vote in the latter, one must belong to a single party, while to vote in the former, one must belong to one of two nearly-indistinguishable parties.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By JustTom on 7/15/2008 1:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well, under that criteria the old Soviet Union was a managed democracy.

I've heard the term managed democracy before, the Russians use it along with sovereign democracy to describe their particular political system. I see more managed then democracy though.

By masher2 on 7/15/2008 1:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "Well, under that criteria the old Soviet Union was a managed democracy"

Yes...and are the Russians any better off today, with the prima facie appearance of several viable political parties, but United Russia actually controlling everything by hook and crook?

In any case, since the Chinese Communist Party instituted their "Three Representes" policy a few years back, they honestly taken great strides to be more responsive to the will of the people. Is it America? No, of course not...but its a substantial evolution from the old "Great Leap Forward" days.

By Pythias on 7/16/2008 2:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
two nearly-indistinguishable parties

Pretty much. We're hose no matter who is in charge. Sadly, very few seem to realize this.

By maven81 on 7/14/2008 6:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
While this sort of approach can accomplish a lot, it also has it's pitfalls as illustrated by the many failures of the soviets. It becomes much too easy for the government to make unreasonable demands, with unreasonable time frames. Something like:

Politician: We have to build/launch/showcase this project in time for the anniversary of the great _____.
Engineer: We can't finish testing in time for you deadline, there is a chance it will be incomplete, defective, etc.
Politician: Not my problem, make it happen, the country is counting on you.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By winterspan on 7/14/2008 9:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
note: apology for the length of the post, but I had to vent!

*sigh*... another ignoramus. Have you actually been to China?

Now regarding America I'll give you the fact that certain environmental policies and decisions are very stupid, and that the EPA and other groups can loose sight of the larger goals, and get their priorities screwed up, but a lot of it is political. They really need to let intelligent people makes decisions based on SCIENCE!

They'll stop the building of a renewable energy hydro-dam to save the habit of some rare mollusk or some shit, yet they allow coal power plants to heavily pollute the air not even requiring proper filters and filtration systems they use in Europe nor they do even do ANYTHING about C02 release.

Or Another thing I saw was a small refinery town in Texas where the air is so POLLUTED with toxic chemicals from the refinery that little kids actually get chronic OPEN SORES AND LESIONS ! That's disgusting, AND COMPLETLEY UN-AMERICAN! A very poor part of town (mostly poor minorities) lies in the direct path of the wind and experiences the brunt of the pollution. Obviously they would move if they could, but they are very poor and their property is now worthless obviously. And I'm sure the EPA is focusing on preserving some rare moth or something instead of helping these people and cracking down hard on the refinery.

Now about China. Surely you are not praising China's "environmental policies" . Every sizable city is HORRIBLY POLLUTED! Not LA smog, we are talking not being able to see more than a hundred feet in front of you ALL THE TIME. Particulate levels, nitrogen-oxides, sulfur-oxides, etc are threw the damn roof -- people literally can't even breath and most people wear filter masks!

In many pockets of the country, the conditions are EVEN WORSE. In Linfen , the "coal capital" the sky is dark during the DAY , choked to all hell with unimaginable pollution. The rate of different lung and respiratory disease must be off the charts! It's WORSE than late 19th century Pittsburgh!

In Tianyng, lead levels are 10-100 times normal , with epidemic levels of lead poisoning which has nasty side effects, etc.

Basically, many parts of china are like living in hell, especially for ANYONE with asthma or other lung/bronchial conditions. I can't imagine how many people (and children even) have or will develop lung cancers, chronic pneumonia, emphysema, etc.

Granted, they have been able to live a lot of their people out of poverty, but they could have done it much more responsibly and not made such a disaster out of the environment and their people's health. I think they are becoming much better and investing in a lot of future green technology.

I am not an environmental activist, I am not a greenpeace member, and I disagree with many of them and their policies. But the bottom line for me is that we only have ONE Earth, and it's our responsibility to protect it. There is no reason why the whole world can't grow and develop without having to destroy it.

There is also no reason that we have to suffer economically while cleaning up our act and reverting global warming. Regulating C02 emissions is not going to end the world. In fact, the looming massive investment and production of renewable energy infrastructure, in addition to all the other areas of the economy about to undergo major "Greening" (Commercial and residential construction, automotive industry, commercial and private aviation, etc), should provide an enormous economical boost. We can create a lot of jobs here in America, and I think we can even reverse the trend and start manufacturing these technologies right here. Screw the "outsourcers" - They should be burned at the stake!

It's just going to take smart thinking, good leadership, sound policy, and giving scientists and engineers the resources they need to do the research and develop the technology. "Dubya" has been a *complete failure* on all of those counts. I pray that future leaders, whoever they may be, will embrace renewable energy and environmental conservation.

By grenableu on 7/14/2008 9:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes the air pollution in China is many thousands of times worse than anywhere here in the US. No the people aren't dropping like flies.

While China can certainly stand to clean things up a bit, that alone proves that environmentalists here are overly silly. If they have their way, we won't be able to mine or manufacture anything at all, for fear of some 0.0000000001% chance of someone getting a cancer 50 years from now.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By emarston on 7/14/2008 6:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
China has several major obstacles they've created by their unbelievable leap economically.

1. Where is the water coming from? The primary population and development is in a more arid area. Due to the recent boom their farming techniques are actually depleting the groundwater heavily and the thirst continues to grow under current economic plans. They are building pipelines from the much wetter south, but will it be enough? It certainly doesn't help that that portion of the country is prone to earthquakes (recent history anyone?)

2. The "One Child" policy is leading to a large imbalance as females are typically aborted leaving a large male population without companionship (generally speaking of course). It should be interesting how that affects the country a decade or two down the road.

3. What's going to happen if/when they do finally float their currency on the market? It should go up against the dollar making Chinese goods more expensive and less desirable to the consumer.

These are just a few thoughts. Who knows, they could take over the world, but then again their massive economic boom could just as easily come to a screeching halt. Only time will tell.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Oregonian2 on 7/14/2008 8:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
I know they've built a dam insanely large backing up an insane amount of water that will (if it hasn't already) flood a very large area where a huge number of people (even on a "Chinese scale") have been displaced from. So they've at least that source of water (albiet not the cleanest water one ever did see from photos I've seen).

By emarston on 7/15/2008 7:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
Again, if you note it's location the dam isn't where the people are (it's way south). They aren't even sure if it will have an affect on the earthquake prone area (that is an awful lot of water weight). I must admit though that it is one hell of an engineering feat and it will provide a huge amount of electrical energy.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By JustTom on 7/14/2008 12:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
I remember such linear progressions for both the Soviet Union and Japan predicting that they will pass the United States in economic power. Neither happened.

While the growth of China is not something to be ignored it is extremely unlikely that it will continue to grow at the current rate. There are both the demographic problems associated with the 1 child per couple policy and the inherent contradictions of its current economic policies.

However, the US should certainly severly limit the number of growth restrictive regulations it currently has if for no other reason than wealth is a good thing.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/14/2008 1:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
While your point is certainly valid (linear extrapolation is rarely accurate), I don't ever recall a period in which Soviet economic growth was several times higher than the US. Japan, yes, but with its significantly smaller population and resource base, seeing it outpace the US was always a long shot.

China, however, is well positioned to do so, especially given US manufacturing output continues to decline year after year.

By JustTom on 7/14/2008 1:52:29 PM , Rating: 1
During the 60'2 and the early 70's reported Soviet growth was higher than the U.S. Time magazine for one was fond of pointing this out. There was a large number of geo-political experts who believed the Soviet Union was on the verge of winning the cold war.Of course they were wrong, and the numbers that were extrapolated by the CIA from such things as steel or coal production really did not tell the truth about the overall health of the Soviet economy. It is easier to correctly estimate the growth of the Chinese economy, it is relatively more open, and our tools are better. However, it probably is still exaggerated. It is questionable whether even the actual growth rate is sustainable for any length of time considering the aging of the Chinese labor force. Although the U.S. is facing a similar demographic shift, although not nearly as severe, it is already highly developed. Most of the Chinese economy still is not. How the government will handle this aging population and still continue to grow robustly is a difficult question and one I bet keeps Chinese officials up at night.
Another probable drag on future growth is the desires of the labor force. While the government has fairly firm control on its population whether they can continue to do so as the labor force gets wealthier is open to question. While Chinese workers be happy to work in a smog filled environment along with the various health consequences that such pollution entails? How will the government reconcile increased wealth, social mobility, with a stifling political environment?
I am less worried with the Chinese than I am with America. It seems that America more and more sees wealth as ugly and evil. The true challenge to America, in my opinion, is to embrace growth not scorn it.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By StillPimpin on 7/14/2008 9:04:07 AM , Rating: 1
they are still nothing more than a second rate Communist country

Hmmm... I think they've made it to the rank of first rate by now.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Solandri on 7/14/2008 3:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
Naw, East Germany was far ahead of where China is now (per capita income of $27k vs. China's $5k). Per capita income in the Soviet Union was about twice what it is in China right now. Despite China's impressive economic progress in the last decade, most of its population is still agrarian and basically plant, grow, and harvest food by hand all year round.

By Ringold on 7/15/2008 2:54:25 AM , Rating: 3
As of late last year, China's population was 56% rural, and rapidly dropping compared to 73% rural in 2002. If it's not already majority urban, it soon will be.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By 325hhee on 7/14/2008 9:09:12 AM , Rating: 5
Most people also forget the fact, only 30 yrs ago, China was a nothing country. Still very impoverished, except for their military, and was still trying to rebuild itself after the japs raped the F out of China.

It wasn't until 1970's China started to turn around slowly, they were still a poor country, which is the why people started out sourcing early on. Flash forward, in early 2000 China's average yearly wage was only about $4000 USD a year. Come on people on welfare made more than that here in the good ol USA, and they don't even have to work, just plop out babies and cry for more money. I'm glad the welfare system is changing, still sucks, and McDonalds is always hiring.

So yes, China used lead paint, but that's done away with, yes there may be some human rights violation, but according to who's standards?

The activists in the US pisses me off, and while talking about human rights, why should murderers, rapists, thugs, etc have better, health, medical, and education benefits than me? I'm a hard working middle class citizen and my company keeps cutting my benefits to save money. I have virtually no dental, just 2 stupid cleanings a year, the rest is out of pocket with a discount, which still means nothing when you have to do a root canal. Medical is also laughable, no vision, etc. Yet the scum bags in prison gets full coverage under my tax dollars.

Ok, now how's that for human rights violation. Why do I have to suffer and watch every penny when douche bag criminals get better benefits than me for murdering someone, and free college. I'm short of enough credits to get an associates degree, but life has it that I can't go back to school, because I can't afford it. I had to put off a root canal once, because I can't afford it.

Instead of looking at other countries, how about a re-evaluation of our own human rights. Where's the justice for people that live an honest living and just can't get by, because prices keeps going up, benefits keeps getting cut, and not everyone is born privileged enough to go to college. Loans sucks, and not everybody can get grants, pell, tap, or whatever kinds of aids is out there, because we fall right in the middle, make too much to get assistance, and not enough to pay for school.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2008 9:53:02 AM , Rating: 5
Your tax dollars at work. You can thank nuts like Nancy Pelosi and other liberals for that crap.

Prisoners should get bread, water, a hard bunk, and a roof. No TV, no exercise equipment, no games, no free education (they should've gone when they were a kid), etc. Prison is not supposed to be enjoyable. Prison is not supposed to be an opportunity. It's supposed to be a hell hole that no one wants to go to.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By phatboye on 7/14/2008 10:39:18 AM , Rating: 5
I'll agree with you on the bread and water for food hell I think they should put all prisoners to work breaking rocks or making license plates or something for the government to offset the amount of my tax dollars that is gone into the prison system.

But I disagree with you on not educating prisoners. I whole heartedly support educating them if they desire to be educated. Part of the reason why some of the people are in jail (not all of them) for crimes like robbery or selling drugs is because they felt as if doing so was the only way for them to survive. By educating these guys you are giving them a chance that when they are released from jail and re-introduced to society they will have a legal way of surviving financially and thus maybe deter some former inmates from returning back into the prison system.

Yes it does suck that someone who breaks the law has an easier time getting an education than a normal law abiding citizen. Maybe we should send an angry letter to our government officials and tell them to bring out troops home and stop spending our hard earned tax dollar on Iraq and invest more in our country's educational system.

By ebakke on 7/14/2008 10:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
There's far more wrong with our education system than a lack of funding. And much could be improved with the current funding levels. One core problem lies in the attitudes of students/parents, and a complete lack of authority given to teachers.

As far as higher education goes... holy crap, enough money is being spent! Higher education doesn't have poor sales or project delays that require corporations to trim the fat, and cut excess jobs every few years. They hire more people to do the same amount of work. We need our public colleges/universities to get back to educating.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By MozeeToby on 7/14/2008 11:12:19 AM , Rating: 3
That all depends on what you believe the purpose of prison is. There are basically two schools of thought: Prison as a punishment/deterent or prison as rehabilitation.

Personally, I don't think there's a problem with either system, the problem is not committing to one or the other. Many countries has prison systems designed from the ground up to rehabilitate prisoners and make them into full members of society; and many of those programs are successful. Other nation's prison systems are built from the ground up to punish and deter crime and they are also successful.

Only in the US, UK, and a few other countries do we try to combine the two aspects of prison; leading to a prison that is too comfortable to punish effectively and not proactive enough to actually reintegrate criminals.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By phatboye on 7/14/2008 11:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
I can definitely agree with you that prisons are too comfortable (not that I'd ever want to live like that). No way in hell should they be allowed to sit on their asses and watch TV 23 hours out of the day, they need to be working. Either a hard labor type of job or being educated &rehabilitated at a very minimum 12 hours a day.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By FITCamaro on 7/14/08, Rating: -1
RE: world's most inspired architecture
By phatboye on 7/14/2008 1:27:49 PM , Rating: 3
Fine then what do you suppose that those prisoners do once they are released. The point of prison is not only to punish those who commit crimes but to make them better than they were before they went in. If you let them rot away in a jail cell and don't educate them while they are in jail they will just go back to the same violent behavior that they had before going in. At least if they receive an education while in jail they will have a better chance at getting a job and becoming law abating citizen.

By phatboye on 7/14/2008 1:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
*law abiding citizen*

Damnit no edit function.

By psychobriggsy on 7/15/2008 8:07:52 AM , Rating: 1
Prison is meant to rehabilitate as well as punish, so you should leave the educational material there.

And you'd give them bread? Bread's expensive! No, no, don't give them bread. Beans and lentils instead, and other cheap grains/beans/etc (and what they grow in the prison garden). No meat. Water only. Any TVs should be used to show educational material only. Gyms? If they want exercise then there are rocks to be broken.

Prison is already a deterrent to the vast majority of people. Just losing your freedom is enough for most. That leaves the people who are mentally impoverished committing the majority of crime that affects people (violence, theft, etc). It costs a lot of money to keep a prisoner in jail (less than it costs to put them on death row however), so any efforts made to get a prisoner to not commit a crime again in the future are worthwhile to save money.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Aloonatic on 7/14/2008 11:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
Try working for a living in Chairman Brown's glorious socialist Republic of "Great" Britain.

I wont claim that you are better of living on benefits or anything so crazy, but it's pretty damned close sometimes.

Politicians keep on scratching their heads, wondering why we have the highest teenage birthrate in Europe and pretty well anywhere else.

I'll tell them why.

A single mother I know (through a relative who is a child minder) worked out how much money they get in benefits from the government.

She works 16hr a week as a bar maid when the mood takes her, she doesn't earn much (minimum wage ~ £5.50) so she falls under the tax band, pays nothing on her income.

Then with money for child care (that's paid for by the state whilst she's working) housing benefits (all paid for by the state ~ $550 a month for a nice new 2 bedroom house) money just to pay for stuff for the kid and general expenses, as well a fuel.

They also actually get the free stuff on the NHS that you all probably thing that Brits get, but we don't.

We have subsidised prescriptions (~£6, no matter what it is, asthma inhalers, to cancer drugs I think) and free GP and emergency care, but have to pay for dental and optical treatment, which people on benefits do not have to and is where most people's expenditure comes from.

All in all, the money she received + what she earned (and didn't pay any tax on) came to nearly £19,000 a year.

Which means you would have to have a salary of about £25,000 a year to get that money in your back pocket!

She never bothered with school and her kid wont either, it's nearly 6 (is at school now) and is an unruly nightmare, doomed to follow her mother's fine example and be a burden to the state for her entire life.

The thing is, the mother really doesn't give a damn about herself or her child and genuinely believes that she deserves the money and is entitled to it.

If I was to loose my job (which isn't that unlikely with the way the economy is going) I would be able to claim very little (probably ~ $40 a week) after paying in for years.

The politicians still haven't worked out where they are going wrong though.

The main problem is the way that a lot of people think they are entitled to a certain standard of living in this country but for some reason do not think that they should have to pay or work for it.

They think it will be OK because it has always been OK and someone else will take care of everything, even down to raising their children for them (an alarming amount of children are starting school at 5 who do not know how to sit still at a table and are not even potty trained!) and if anything goes wrong they shrug their shoulders saying that it's not their fault.

I doubt if there are many people thinking like that in China, or care so little about their children, and they will continue to grow whilst we (in the UK at least) continue to stagnate, with a growing and unsustainable gap between rich and poor which will certainly lead to problems in the not too distant future.

Personally, I'm waiting for my girlfriend to finish university and then we're out of here.

By acejj26 on 7/14/2008 12:22:41 PM , Rating: 1
And to think, there are a lot of people in the U.S. who want to vote for the socialist Barack Obama.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2008 12:43:10 PM , Rating: 3
We have subsidised prescriptions (~£6, no matter what it is, asthma inhalers, to cancer drugs I think) and free GP and emergency care, but have to pay for dental and optical treatment, which people on benefits do not have to and is where most people's expenditure comes from.

Hence why we in the states have to pay so much for our drugs. Drug companies make almost nothing off drugs sold in Canada, Britain, and the EU because those countries set the prices. They don't give a crap about the billions American drug companies spend developing new drugs. They set the price based off what they think is reasonable. And on top of that some countries either completely ignore our patent laws and produce generic versions of their own, or wait the 20 years for US patents to legally expire and then make them on their own.

And yes the US is on a slow downward spiral to this method of thinking as well. If Obama gets elected, we'll likely be there.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By maven81 on 7/14/2008 1:35:36 PM , Rating: 1
And yes the US is on a slow downward spiral to this method of thinking as well. If Obama gets elected, we'll likely be there.

Right, because electing someone who will at least hire some decent economic advisers is so much worse then someone who not long ago claimed he knew nothing about economics. Not to mention that from 2001 through late 2006 republicans could pretty much dictate policy and pass legislation without any resistance... And demonstrated their ability to boost our economy, lower prices, and give us better health care... Oh wait...... Yes, lets vote for the people who brought you the recession... brilliant!

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/15/2008 12:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
We are not in a recession. Learn some economics before you talk about it. You need:
In macroeconomics, a recession is generally associated with a decline in a country's real gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth. According to widespread definition, a recession occurs when real growth is negative for two or more successive quarters of a year.
This has not happened since the days of Bill Clinton. You have been listening to far left media and they have you mixed up. Under Clinton business were beat up and destroyed due to the recession we were in...That is why so many businesses closed under his term and the very start of Bush's first term. Now you and me (the average Joe's) are feeling the effect because the businesses have still not recovered from the beatings of the 90's and with no more reserve funds left in the businesses bank accounts, they have to let people go. Economic factors change very slowly (for the most part)...and right now we are stuck at 1% growth - which sucks but it is better then the economic growth of many of Billy's years. Think of it this way...Under Bill we just received 10 credit card with $20,000 line of credit on each card...and we had fun partying up and spending it all – not work or saving. Now under Bush the bill for $200,000 has arrived and no money was put away because Bill spent it and did not save it and partied instead of working. So, you want to blame Bush for this mess (the credit card is the health of the economy). Did Bush pull us out...No, but he did not put us into our current condition. With a war on we should be able to recover quickly. However, because of too many things being produced and imported over seas we do not fell the effect... Example bullets, they are not made in the USA. Imagine our soldiers are using equipment built in China. Guns, Tanks, bullets, almost everything is made somewhere other then the USA. Nothing against China or whomever but we should be building are own military equipment (both Rep. and Dems. are to blame for this stupid move). That money is just being sent to another country to stimulate their economy and not the US economy.
The often sarcastic McCain understand this, since he worked under Regan in helping develop what become known as “Regonomics”. Obama just likes to raise taxes. Taking money away from the people will not increase business sales – which is really they only way out of this current economy.

By maven81 on 7/16/2008 10:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
What the hell are you talking about? I love the charge about "far left media" followed by classic republican talking points. Hint, if you're going to accuse someone of using propaganda, you better not be relying on it yourself.
In fact you should be thankful to this so called "liberal" media as they are the only people keeping McCain afloat. Here we have a senile old man who talked about "president Putin of Germany" and talked about "Czechoslovakia" not once but twice. Yet the media decided not to bring up those issues. Just imagine if Obama made such mistakes on a regular basis.

I'm well aware of what the agreed definition of a recession is, but to claim that we aren't really there because the growth has been 1% instead of -1% is splitting hairs. And the attempt to blame it all on Clinton is just precious. I can't stand Clinton, but the current financial situation is most definitely a result of republican policies. Deregulation of financial institutions, massive escalation in government spending, the braindead trickle down economics that Bush still believes in, his inability to create new jobs, one could go on and on.

With a war on we should be able to recover quickly.

Say what?!

Example bullets, they are not made in the USA. Imagine our soldiers are using equipment built in China. Guns, Tanks, bullets, almost everything is made somewhere other then the USA.

You're clearly out of your mind if you think the defense department would import tanks and guns from China. You may as well claim that the airforce is buying planes from Russia, or that the navy is buying ships from France.
You don't seem to get that even with all the weapons made here this is still trickle down economics. Just because Lockheed is getting rich doesn't mean you and I will get anything out of that.

You're also a fool for just parroting the "Obama will raise taxes" crap. Sure, but it's on whom that matters. Unless you make over 100k you've got nothing to worry about, and if you make less you'll actually get some money back. Contrast that with McCain who is proposing the exact opposite.

By Aloonatic on 7/14/2008 1:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
There are a lot of big drug companies in the EU, I think that includes a fair few of the larger ones too.

The £6 is what I have to pay over the counter at the pharmacists (the benefit claimants, pescky kids and coffin dodgers don't have to of course) but the rest of the price is covered by taxes.

Whilst deals are probably done though a centralised purchasing base, I don't think that the NHS or other similar systems get that much of a great deal.

Drug companies know that they have the whip hand and there's a burgeoning private healthcare system in the UK, which is the only place that many of the latest drugs can be found (there is two tear system in the UK) so they know that they can still charge "top dollar", whether it's a US based company or otherwise.

The NHS is one of the few things that is pretty good about living in the UK, but don't be fooled into thinking that it comes for free. No matter what Michael Moor mite tell you.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By psychobriggsy on 7/15/2008 8:21:38 AM , Rating: 2
Pharma is huge in Europe, some of the biggest companies in the world are in the EU, especially Denmark which is one of the most socialist countries you could imagine.

And what the end-user pays on the NHS in the UK for a prescription is not what the NHS pay for the drug, which is market rate. Basically the prescription charge covers administration costs, not the drug itself which is free regardless of cost.

By masher2 on 7/15/2008 9:36:54 AM , Rating: 2
> "Pharma is huge in Europe, some of the biggest companies in the world are in the EU, especially Denmark which is one of the most socialist countries you could imagine."

To correct a few things. The largest drug company based in Denmark is Novo Nordisk, about #25 in the world. That's it for major drug companies.

The EU does have several major players, such as Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline...but they don't make a majority of their R&D costs, much less their profits, from EU sales. If it wasn't for their US sales, many of these firms would be in dire straits.

The US is the great cash cow for pharmaceutical firms. That's a simple reality of the marketplace.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By chick0n on 7/14/2008 9:13:37 AM , Rating: 5
Wow, the US is sooooooo 1st rated when Government can put you into jail without a reason for years. oh wait, You "might be" a "terrorist", now ur ass will stay behind bars without any rights. Tap ur calls without court order, the list goes on ...

Yea yea yea, for national safety, right.

but why is it right for US to do such thing to their citizens and when it comes to China its so evil.

Still nothing more than a second rate Communist country ? Hello buddy, without this second rate country, ur beloved government probably gone bankrupt years ago.

I so love americans they have to borrow money from other countries to live on and still talk $hit.

In case u want to start some name calling or racist comments Im a "legal" citizen living in New York.

Im just someone who knows more than your close minded sorry ass who still think America is #1.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2008 9:56:01 AM , Rating: 1
Show me where we're putting our citizens in jail for speaking out against the government in blogs. Show me where we're filtering our internet, blocking things that go against the government. Show me where we're killing people for staging peaceful protests. Since you know so much more than me that is.

And I'm fine with us taking China's stance with those people and just shooting them after we interrogate them.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By porkpie on 7/14/2008 10:27:36 AM , Rating: 2
You forget it was just a few years ago when the US used tanks to crush a bunch of kids peacefully protesting in the capitol.

Oh wait...

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Spivonious on 7/14/2008 11:22:14 AM , Rating: 2
A lot can change in 20 years.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/14/2008 12:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, just ask the people Tibet or Taiwan

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Spivonious on 7/14/2008 12:58:36 PM , Rating: 4
The U.S. didn't let Virginia be free when it wanted to; they even fought a war over it.

Why should China act differently?

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/14/2008 6:07:48 PM , Rating: 3
The way I understand it... Neither area ever accepted China as their ruler or that they were part of China (forced to be ruled by is not accepting). Virginia was part of the original 13 that signed up for the program and help create the USA. I'm sure if I wrong on them not accepting that they are part of China, I will be corrected. :)

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Ringold on 7/15/2008 3:09:51 AM , Rating: 1
Taiwan was China. The KMT ruled China, and fought the communist uprising. The communists pushed the ruling government's forces back until all they had left was Taiwan. In a sense, Communist China is an entirely new country, the government that survived in Taiwan was the original China.

As for Virginia, previous to the Civil War each state was thought to have some degree of sovereignty. In other words, federal regulations, laws, etc, had to be limited in scope. Gradually, the North became more liberal (big surprise) while the South held the same values as the founding fathers. We didn't have a unified standing federal army at that time, just state militias for the most part, so it was quite easy for the south to collectively say "To hell with this liberal nonsense," and start pressing for liberty.

Northern liberals had more men and more resources to throw in to the meat grinder. Nothing else, ultimately, really matters, so, you know how that story ends.

In fact, if you think about it, the situation between Taiwan and China is almost identical to what would be the case if some of the South had prevailed in the Civil War. China just hasn't been able to finish the job.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By masher2 on 7/15/2008 9:27:18 AM , Rating: 2
> "Northern liberals had more men and more resources to throw in to the meat grinder. Nothing else, ultimately, really matters"

According to some historians, the extra men that swung the tide weren't even notherners, butr rather recent German immigrants, fleeing their failed liberal revolution of 1848.

By Ringold on 7/15/2008 3:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
I hadn't heard that, but no surprise. The North was full of poor immigrants, and the well-off never had to worry about military service, not if they had a little cash and someone (like a poor immigrant) to go in their stead.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/14/2008 12:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Still nothing more than a second rate Communist country ? Hello buddy, without this second rate country, ur beloved government probably gone bankrupt years ago.

Not exactly correct. The reason is self inflicted by our politicians. By them allowing and encouraging the moving of business headquarters to other countries, it did great harm to our economic health. Many businesses that were started in the USA are now run out of China. Giving China the tax revenue and not the US Government. Also, what went with that were tens of thousands of jobs. So, if we did not have idiots in office (this is decades old not a Bush thing), China would not have some of the power they enjoy today (in time yes, just not as fast growth).
I would also point out to you about 5 or 7 years back I read an article which explained how only two countries have no debt owed to the USA (from World War II). One of them was Switzerland and some small non-European country which I had never heard before that article nor since. So, you might want to step off your high horse and pay so of your own bills before you accuse others of being arrogant money borrowing jerks....

By Ringold on 7/15/2008 3:20:15 AM , Rating: 2
Im just someone who knows more than your close minded sorry ass who still think America is #1.

Before ranting about people being close minded and ignorant, perhaps you should learn some basic finance. It shouldn't be hard, since you claim you live in New York, financial capital of the world (a title that could easily be shared with London, depending on what one is comparing). Foreign money would not flow in to the United States if the expected rate of return on US investments were lower than options elsewhere. The fact that the money does flow quite easily in to the US suggests a willingness to invest, which is indicative of strength relative to other developed economies. Historically, as far as external trade measures can indicate anything, they appear to indicate strength, as the Roman Empire maintained significant trade deficits throughout its rise and glory years. If I'm not mistaken, the golden age of Athens also saw significant trade deficits.

The quickest way to prove ignorance is to speak to things you obviously don't know anything about, asides from what your liberal friends tell you.

By DanD85 on 7/15/2008 8:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
Hell, I don't understand why people give you 5. Have you ever read "The Lexus and the Olive tree" book of Thomas L. Friedman? FYI: In the last chapter, Friedman described and gave out a very good reason why American was, is and will be the best place for talents to be discovered and florish.

The mal-practice you're describing only prove that the US is embracing commie practices and that is a very bad thing if you ask me.

Borrow money?!, you talked it so easy but from what I know, other countries want and have to lend America money so that their own economies won't fall. It's a complicate mesh network that you, with your careless logics made it look like kid's stuff when in facts, it's not.

By Some1ne on 7/14/2008 4:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
What pretty buildings? Apart from the CCTV Headquarters one, which I *do* like, I find them all to be at least a bit ugly. They're certainly innovative, and unique, but for the most part the styling of the other 3 buildings doesn't do much for me. The "water cube" especially, as the design makes it looks more like it's assembled out of pebbles than out of water, to me at least.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By wordsworm on 7/14/2008 6:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, and what is Canada, England, France, Spain, and America doing to provide restitution to the Native Americans? How about restitution to African Americans for the centuries of slavery? Or did everyone forget that each one of these countries have committed grocer, more heinous crimes against humanity than China has in its history?

Perhaps, by pointing the finger at them it's easier to forget that our own dark closet is overflowing the with skeletons.

By GaryJohnson on 7/14/2008 9:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
In China, the suffering can be relieved and the guilty can be punished.

This is not possible in the examples you cite where the guilty and suffering are long dead and no action can be wrought to benefit or hinder them.

RE: world's most inspired architecture
By Dephcon on 7/16/2008 11:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
uhhh.... in Canada "first-nations" are paid $400 per month to go to high-school, which is already free and they get free college education. As well they don't have to pay either provincial or federal taxes.

By wordsworm on 7/20/2008 10:32:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, great. So, after killing off most of their people, taking almost all of their land, forcing them to stay within their communities in order to receive their tribal rights, somehow $400 per month makes up for it all? As far as not having to pay these taxes, that's only for as long as they're on the tiny plots of land that they've been allowed to symbolically hang on to.

If you think that somehow this pittance is anywhere near worth the value of what has been stolen from them, then you have a very poor sense of value.

Have you ever seen a police gang bang? I have. I saw at least 15 police simply trash this poor young man when I was just outside of Merit in BC. When they went postal about a year later, most folks were blaming the Natives there. I just had to remember what I saw that one night.

You have absolutely no idea what the government has done and continues to do with its policies against the Natives throughout Canada. These little allotments of cash are nothing more than chump change being thrown at folks who've had everything valuable taken away from them.

In any case, in Canada, the public likes to keep its heads in the sand to help it forget the outrageous injustices that are perpetrated against them, because it makes us feel better that we're living on what should have been their land. China's track record in the last 200 years with human rights is trivial compared to ours. But we're only too happy to forget our own sins. The sins of others help distract us from them. That's why our stupid governments continually insult Chinese officials. Heck, we even have a nasty track record with the Chinese who settled in Canada. O'Canada, our home and native land? The only proper, moral thing to do is to leave NA and go back to Europe, Africa, Asia or where ever it was we came from.

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