Thursday, January 24, 2008

World Future Energy Summit 08

I would like to inform you that the summit in Abu Dhabi to discuss the future of power generation for the human race, which if improperly conducted could lead to the end of human civilization... started nearly an hour late.

Because the host of the event, the crowned prince of Abu Dhabi, didn't bother arriving until 5 minutes after the opening ceremony was supposed to begin, and then proceeded to tour the facility for 45 minutes. Apparently King Inconsiderate didn't care that there were over a thousand people waiting for him.

I was annoyed after the first 20 minutes of waiting, because (silly me) I expected this important summit to actually start on time! I even arrived an hour early to get a good seat! As he finally approached the theater they actually announced that the "V.V.I.P." had arrived... I'm sorry, but if you need an extra V then the last 3 letters stand for "Very Insecure Person". When he finally came in the auditorium, the crowd jumped to their feet and stood in absolute (and awkward) silence:
That is not muted, you have to turn the volume up to hear anything. You can tell the guy who was coughing next to me was trying to muffle it. I actually thought we were going to clap when the crowned Prince arrived, what a fool I was.

Finally - Let the games begin! The opening speech was nothing less than a holographic Prince Charles.

The video is just the ending of his speech. Even though I thought it was a great speech, I found a tech website the next day with an article titled "Prince Charles delivers speech as hologram, still manages to bore."

His speech was followed by his brother the Duke of York, the President of Iceland, the President of Djibouti, and some other great speakers I've never heard of.

President of Djibouti

Duke of York
The depressing news is that the overall theme of the conference was that humans are undoubtedly changing the composition of our atmosphere and threating the capacity of the environment to support human life. We're not necessarily threating the Earth, because it will purge us and then fix itself over millions of years, but the human race is currently on a path toward destroying ourselves. As we all know by now the problem is climate change, and the source is emissions from power production. Unless we change our methods of power generation and stop the harmful gases we release into our atmosphere in the next 10-15 years we may permanently destroy our fragile planets ability to support our lives.

I left the conference depressed and a little angry. And yet, when I saw this car later on in the parking lot all my worries went away. The driver saw me taking a picture of it, got out and told me to hop in. Nice dude!

I should mention that this thing has a V-12 engine capable of sucking down a gallon of gasoline in only a few short minutes. I know this is just another sign our self-inflicted apocalypse, but when it looks this cool its hard to care.

I should also mention that even though I'm joking about all this I really do take it very seriously and am very, very concerned about our futures... And as soon as a renewable energy company pulls their heads out of their asses and hires me, I'll start helping fix the problem.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Arabian Night (clubs)

For an Islamic nation, the night life is surprisingly westernised. I brought my camera out on the dance floor in one of the clubs on Thursday night. Please accept my apologies in advance for the chaotic filming. Its very hard to hold a camera steady while dancing to techno music. Its difficult to tell whats going on because there is barely enough light to see anything... But, hey, at least the song is pretty cool.

Warning: may cause seizures!

The girl wearing the “I am a rock star” shirt is Nayana. She's from Lebanon, and the guy standing next to me is Eihab from Sudan. And I am, of course, the goober from America at the end of the video when it stops.

We were leaving about 15 minutes before the club closed and there were some local Arab girls coming in, covered in black from head to toe, as is the custom. They looked around suspiciously, and then proceeded to take off their local clothing to reveal the (for lack of a better word) skanky dresses they were wearing underneath. It was obvious they wanted absolutely no one to know they were there due to their extremely late arrival and suspicious attitude. I just found it interesting because I had such a strong impression that all the local girls were very conservative. Now I don't know what to think!
I met an Australian architect one day while walking down the street. He was in a taxi from Dubai, and they were lost and looking for the Marina. Since I was walking that way anyway they gave me a ride in exchange for directions. His friend was in the UAE wooden boat racing championship that was going on that day so I went to check it out with them. (And now I have access to the construction site of one of the biggest developments in Dubai! You gotta love being in the right place at the right time...)


Lastly, we spent New Years on the gulf. My friend from work invited me to the party boat they had. Its basically a barge with 2 bars and dance floor. Very fun. I just chopped together some of the video from that night real quickly to give an overall impression of what it was like.