Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What are the world's favourite buildings?

There are stunning buildings throughout the world, some built in ancient times, some modern day wonders.

Which buildings are your favourite and which of those we have short listed have you visited, or would like to visit?

Participate in this weeks open survey What are the world's favourite buildings?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Was Salman Rushdie's knighthood deserved?

In 1988 the publication of The Satanic Verses sparked worldwide protests when it was condemned by the Islamic world because of its perceived blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

It was described by one book critic as a cosmic battle between good and evil that combined fantasy, philosophy and farce.

The book was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities and in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's spiritual leader, issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's execution.

Although in 1998, the Iranian government said it would no longer support the fatwa some groups said that the fatwa was irrevocable.

After many years in hiding Salman returned to public life in 1999.

Fast forward to 2007 and Salman Rushdie was one of over 900 people to appear on the Queen's Birthday Honours list, which is aimed at recognising outstanding achievement.

Iran were quick to criticised the knighthood, saying praising the "apostate" showed Islamophobia among British officials.

Also a Pakistani minister was reported to have said that 'Salman Rushdie contributes to insulting Islam and may lead to terrorism' and the Religious Affairs Minister Ejaz-ul-Haq told his parliment that such 'actions are the root cause of terrorism.

Were the British right to honour Salman Rushdie, did he deserve such an honour and were Pakistan and Iran correct in their criticism?

Participate in this weeks open survey Was Salman Rushdie's knighthood deserved?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Should the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation be scrapped?

Europe's eight-company, five-nation satellite-navigation consortium, Galileo was concocted as a public-private partnership by the European Union in 2002. The aim was to construct a rival to the American built Global Positioning System (GPS) that was originally developed for the US armed forces but is now available for free use worldwide.

GPS is now in everyday use from aviation to private vehicles with sales of GPS equipment exceeding twenty billion dollars a year with about 5 of that being non-civilian use.

As an alternative to America's GPS Galileo was supposed to be accurate to within one metre rather than three. Funding for the project was to be recouped by offering a free GPS-like service, but charge for higher accuracy and other special features.

European fears that America could at a whim turn off their GPS system have diminished since Russia and China have launched their own systems, offering increasingly capable alternatives to GPS and modifications made by the US to their GPS system now allows then to offer similar accuracy to that planned by Galileo.

Original scheduled to be operational by 2010 only one of the planned 30 satellites has so far been launched, the official estimated completion date is now 2012 with most analysts saying it will not be ready until 2014. The project was originally costed at $3.4 and is already some $2 billion over budget.

Transport ministers from the EU's 27 member countries are now due to meet to consider Galileo's fate.They have three options: to set new deadlines for the consortium and pour in more money; to make it a fully public-sector initiative and foot the bill; or to shut it down.Which would you vote for?

Participate in this weeks open survey Should the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation be scrapped?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

London's 2012 Olympic Logo Revealed - Good or Bad?

London unveils Olympics logo

The design agency Wolff Olins won the competitive tender "to refine the brand positioning for the London 2012 Games and develop a Games emblem and associated corporate identity".

After 14 months of brainstorming, consulting, "brand positioning" and costing some £400,000 , they have produced a design and have announced:-

The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible. It will work with new technology and across traditional and new media networks.

It will become London 2012's visual icon, instantly recognisable amongst all age groups, all around the world. It will establish the character and identity of the London 2012 Games and what the Games will symbolise nationally and internationally."

Some people have greeted the new design as bold, daring and breaking the mould of previous, and what some have said were more conservative, Olympic logo designs.

Not everyone has been kind, Stephen Bayley wrote in the Telegraph "Mesmerised as if confronting a nasty incident in traffic, we gaze at the Olympic logo. It is a puerile mess, an artistic flop and a commercial scandal."

As shown above there are versions of the logo using different colours and some animated examples have also been on show.

Is the logo a dynamic colouration and daring asymmetry reflecting the rich texture of the world's cosmopolis; or does it represent an outrageously expensive logo that, like the Games themselves, is a dated concept of more interest to politicians than to people?

Participate in this weeks open survey London's 2012 Olympic Logo Revealed - Good or Bad?