architecture the ancient past

Maps / North Korea's Hotel of Doom

Hotel of doom

Last night, Mara and I were mess­ing around with Google Maps, check­ing out giant Japan­ese bud­dhas from the air. [Check out this one in Kamaku­ra, near Tokyo]. Then we decid­ed to see what North Korea looked like, and we raced over the Pyongyang and sud­den­ly found this crazy thing with a giant tri­an­gu­lar shad­ow. What the?Turns out that it's the Ryu­gy­ong Hotel. It has 105 sto­ries, and it is indeed shaped like an arrow­head, with a broad base that tapers steeply to a pointy top. The cra­zi­est thing: It was aban­doned in the mid-80's, dur­ing con­struc­tion; hence its moniker: the Hotel of Doom. (Appar­ent­ly, North Korea had already sunk 2% of its GDP into it when they decid­ed to pull the plug. Ouch.)Esquire calls it worst-designed build­ing in the world, which seems a lit­tle harsh. Would the world's worst-designed build­ing inspire this: An ani­mat­ed short pre­sent­ing a sort of Blade-Run­ner-meets-Dis­ney-meets-Shin­juku vision for how the Ryu­gy­ong will be adapt­ed in the future? Actu­al­ly, maybe it would.See it for your­self here.

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Essential information / Mixing drinks, tying knots, arguing

I like to tell myself that I don't read stuff like this, but Esquire's got a pret­ty excel­lent list of "75 skills every man should mas­ter".

Leif Parsons - Jump the cue ball
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. It's not some­thing you use a lot, but when you hit a jump shot, it marks you as a play­er and briefly impress­es women. Make the angle of your cue steep­er, aim for the bot­tom­most frac­tion of the ball, and dri­ve the cue smooth­ly six inch­es past the con­tact point, mak­ing steady, down­ward con­tact with the felt. Illus­tra­tion: Leif Par­sons.

There are some good, less pre­dictable skills: 5. Name a book that mat­ters; 21. Argue with a Euro­pean with­out get­ting xeno­pho­bic or insult­ing soc­cer; 52. Step into a job no one wants to do.And then there are the pre­dictable things:

Drink­ing-relat­ed stuff: 17. Make one drink, in large batch­es, very well; 24. Know his poi­son, with­out stand­ing there, pon­der­ing like a dope; 32. Describe a glass of wine in one sen­tence with­out using the terms nut­ty, fruity, oaky, fin­ish, or kick.Outdoors-related stuff: 14. Chop down a tree; 26. Cast a fish­ing rod with­out shriek­ing or sigh­ing or oth­er­wise admit­ting defeat; 51. Build a camp­fire; 55. Point to the north at any time; 68. Find his way out of the woods if lost; 69. Tie a knot; 74. Know some birds.Sports-related stuff: 4. Score a base­ball game; 11. Swim three dif­fer­ent strokes; 65–67. Throw a base­ball over-hand with some snap. Throw a foot­ball with a tight spi­ral. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably.

Social context?

I would think that Esquire has made lists like this in the past, and if so I think it would be inter­est­ing to com­pare lists across time. For instance, there's noth­ing explic­it­ly sports-knowl­edge-relat­ed or steak-knowl­edge-relat­ed — "Have a favorite team," "Know the dif­fer­ence between a New York Strip and a T‑Bone" or some­thing like that — all of which seem like they'd be require­ments in the past. It would also be inter­est­ing to know if lists like this are recent devel­op­ments. Would the Esquire mag­a­zine of Nor­man Mailer's era craft a list like this? Prob­a­bly not, actu­al­ly. Or, if they did craft lists, they'd be one-item lists: "1. F*** lists."Via Buz­zFeed.