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You are likely reading this in the city.

This week, the world became more urban than rural for the first time in human history. Trace urban growth over the past century, or with more detail over the last 50 years, and see how the idea of the city has evolved. When you are done admiring the skylines (more from US cities) and singing the songs, reflect on the best and worst of cities: the richest by GDP and personal earnings, the worst slums, the best skylines, the worst polluted, the fastest moving, the most expensive, and the most polite (New York?). What does it all mean? Stuart Brand [video] (slideshow here) and other experts weigh in. [see also my previous post on the names of cities]
posted by blahblahblah on May 25, 2007 - 18 comments

Secrets of the ancients, revealed! ... or never bring a knife to a nanotube fight.

It took a long time for many achievements of the ancient world to be duplicated. The first city to reach one million people was Baghdad in 775 CE (or possibly Rome nine hundred years before), a feat that would not be duplicated until London and Beijing grew in the 19th century. The largest building in the world was the Great Pyramid for forty centuries until the 19th, and the world's current longest canal is over two millenia old. Some mysteries still remain, such as the formula of Greek Fire, but it looks like a different ancient weapon's secret has been discovered, that of Damascus steel. The key ingredient -- nanotech!
posted by blahblahblah on Jan 25, 2007 - 29 comments

But the cities visited by Marco Polo were always different from those thought of by the emperor

The Names of Ancient Cities Still Stir the Imagination. While the City of 333 Genies has almost vanished in the sands and the Mirror of the World is tarnished with age, the City of Men's Desire abides. In 1000 years, will the Big Apple be as vital as the Eternal City or as forgotten as the City of Venerated Houses?
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 7, 2004 - 10 comments

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