Termite Mounds
September 30, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Busy Bugs: Termite Mounds vs. the Burj Dubai Tower.
posted by homunculus (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"I took these photos from a bell helicopter"... Might as well say he took the pictures with a canon camera.
posted by Laotic at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2008


The thought of people sitting in those cranes made my feet go numb.
posted by DU at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2008


Well it only makes sense as they're basically running out of ground-level space in the area, as the photos plainly show.
posted by GuyZero at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2008


I <3 Robert Krulwich.
posted by lostburner at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2008


Christ, is that an adult news report?
posted by verisimilitude at 11:40 AM on September 30, 2008


Christ, is that an adult news report?

Lazy is the new good.
posted by Electrius at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2008


I read this headline four times before I realized it didn't say "Bugs Bunny". I think my brain is melting.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


The elaborators are sealed, and you have to wait 20 minutes for the door to open on your floor, while the air pressure is decompressed. Otherwise you'll get the bends.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2008


For a second there, I thought it was going to say that termites were in the process of destroying the Burj Dubai before it was completed. Which would suck and be kinda cool at the same time.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2008


sheesh, spell check, ELEVATORS!
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2008


My god, I think I hate that man.

No disrespect to either the termites or the Burj Dubai.
posted by echo target at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2008



Christ, is that an adult news report?
posted by verisimilitude


ABC News - Powered by Sesame Street, and brought to you by the letter F and number 3.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:19 PM on September 30, 2008


Christ, is that an adult news report?

"I'm Robert Krulwich for Kid's Beat!"
posted by Pollomacho at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2008


So that is what Radiolab would be if it was produced by ABC.
posted by streetmackerel at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2008


I pity the fools who have to work on the upper floors. The elevator would stop on every floor below you exactly when you're in a rush, and "Hey, let's just take the stairs" isn't an option.
posted by katillathehun at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I simply cannot comprehend those pictures that show the rest of the ground below - it's as if the surrounding area hasn't finished rendering yet because it's too far away.
posted by odinsdream at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2008


odinsdream, you might want to increase the draw distance if you have the VRAM for it.
posted by lumensimus at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


My first though was "ABC news uses Odd Todd for their news now?"

Then I went to his site and found out that yes, ABC news uses Odd Todd for their news now.
posted by bDiddy at 1:05 PM on September 30, 2008


grr. though = thought.
posted by bDiddy at 1:05 PM on September 30, 2008


Crazy high!
posted by BeerFilter at 1:15 PM on September 30, 2008


Seconded here on originally reading this as "Bugs Bunny."

That tower might be just tall enough to piss off God.
posted by marxchivist at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2008


They compared the height of the humans to the height "on all six legs" of the termites, but the cartoon had its little arrows pointing from head to tail, which would not be the stated 1/14", but in fact more than double that.

Add that to the rather ridiculous claim that the average human construction worker is around 5'10", and you've got yourself a big bucket o' FAIL.

"Does that make you proud to be a termite scholar?"

Ugh.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2008


Why is it when I look at a termite mound, I think "Wow, that's an impressive feat made possible by a collaborative species", but when I look at these super-skyscrapers, I find myself wondering "Just how little is the dick of the guy who wanted this built?"

It seems unfair on my part, but that's just the way my mind works, I guess.
posted by quin at 2:29 PM on September 30, 2008


Sys Rq, that's not the half of it. Probably the biggest problem with this kind of analysis is that the square-cube law that keeps termites from becoming human size also means that the kinds of "engineering" that termites use in their structures wouldn't have a chance of building something of a skyscraper's scale.

Not only that, but if we ever do pull off the space elevator, you know, what're the termites gonna throw down then? :)

So, yeah, this whole thing is bogus as a serious comparison. But I don't think it's meant to be. It's mainly a device to generate a not-undeserved sense of wonder about what certain organisms can do.
posted by weston at 2:30 PM on September 30, 2008


The square-cube thing also causes that annoying thing where people say "OMG ants are so strong they can lift 100 times their own weight!"

But shrink a person down to ant-size, and (s)he'll be able to lift even more, and make an any human-size and it just falls down and dies of its own weight.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:37 PM on September 30, 2008


Small point of order -- burj = tower, so Burj Dubai Tower is a duplication of terms. Though for a building of this size, maybe it is appropriate to say it twice.
posted by e-state 4.0 at 2:54 PM on September 30, 2008


That tower might be just tall enough to piss off God.

Well, it is better to be pissed off than pissed on.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:03 PM on September 30, 2008


Small point of order -- burj = tower, so Burj Dubai Tower is a duplication of terms.

Because people in Dubai would be using the word "tower"...? I think that's done for the benefit of us English readers... I see that sort of thing a lot with French / English labels.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:34 PM on September 30, 2008


Yay Odd Todd.
posted by basilwhite at 5:06 PM on September 30, 2008


It looks pretty cool, but I'll never go up in that thing–I hate bugs.
posted by Mister_A at 6:42 PM on September 30, 2008


Ah, Dubai. A land without extradition treaties. A land where a pirate of American wealth might happily retire!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:54 PM on September 30, 2008


Small point of order -- burj = tower, so Burj Dubai Tower is a duplication of terms.

Because people in Dubai would be using the word "tower"...? I think that's done for the benefit of us English readers... I see that sort of thing a lot with French / English labels.


"Burj" is Arabic, not French.

I pity the fools who have to work on the upper floors. The elevator would stop on every floor below you exactly when you're in a rush, and "Hey, let's just take the stairs" isn't an option.

Modern towers (especially when they're really tall) use skylobbies to expedite elevator travel. They're like transfer stations in the subway--if you're going to the 74th floor, you get on at ground level and take the express to, say, 70, and transfer to a local for the final four floors.

Alternately, you can use destination elevator systems, where you tell a dude in the lobby to which floor you're headed, and he enters it in a central computer that figures out the quickest elevator ride to your destination.

So, yeah. No having fun on my watch, katilla.
posted by andromache at 10:00 AM on October 1, 2008


Dubai reaches for sky with plan for tallest tower - one kilometre high. Confident Gulf state's glitzy building will incorporate traditional Islamic styles
posted by homunculus at 9:17 AM on October 7, 2008


'We need slaves to build monuments'. It is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation.
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on October 8, 2008


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