DAILY MUESLI: Cillizza, Pyongyang and Friendster
1.) I'm not one to get excited about political blogs where professional and amateur pundits will squabble over the perceived meanings of ideologically charged arguments and talking points. I will, however, be a frequent reader of Chris Cillizza's The Fix, washingtonpost.com's newest political blog. Cillizza is a former co-worker of mine at Roll Call and I know that this will develop into a valuable news resource for up-to-the-minute political news in Washington. Cillizza is not only a great reporter, but a great writer. Congrats.
2.) As someone who considers himself relatively knowledgeable in the world of random architectural trivia, I'm really surprised that I never heard of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. According to Gridskipper, this ghost-like pyramid-shaped hotel stands at a modest 1,083 feet (105 stories), with 3,700 rooms. (The government ran out of construction funds more than a decade ago and stands abandoned, looming over the North Korean capital like Detorit's Michigan Central Depot.) Perhaps in the next round of six-party talks, Las Vegas and Pyongyang could become sister cities: Las Vegas could get the Ryugyong and Pyongyang could get left-overs from Sin City's numerous buffets.
3.) The Internet savvy members of Filipino society must be crushed! Ever since Friendster, the social networking service that rose to prominence two years ago, recently started allowing users an option to monitor which other users have been (and how often) looking at/stalking their profiles, critics have declared that Friendster has dug its own grave, allowing much more transparency in what was a one-way street for interpersonal gawking.
I'm curious what the Friendster fallout in the Philippines has been (or will develop into). Perhaps it has been (or will become earthshattering), considering how popular the site has been there, and Friendster's reported lack of ability to meet the unexpected global popularity.
From a March 2005 article in Wired:
Friendster, which today has millions of Filipino members, is one of a number of advertising-supported internet sites grappling with the dilemma of how to take advantage of unforeseen overseas popularity. Such sites are finding that business models that work in large, developed countries need serious readjustment in nations with small populations or low internet-penetration rates.UPDATE: Jobert, a blogger based in the Philippines has more to say on the situation.
4.) I'm glad we have this scientific squabble finally settled: According to Reuters, Hollywood has inappropriately skewed our perceptions of the dangers of quicksand becuase it has been "measuring the viscosity, the resistance to flow, of quicksand and its sinking ability." Apparently, quicksand's "buoyancy makes it impossible to be completely submerged."
-- Image of Ryungyong Hotel from Wikipedia
-- Map of the Philippines from the Library of Congress