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Dubai: The World in Peril

The pitch was extravagent: a man-made archipelago of 300 islands constructed to approximate the land masses of Earth, located 4 kilometers off the coast of Dubai. Claim part of The World for your own, or as an investment. Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt bought Ethiopia, Tommy Lee bought Greece for ex-wife Pamela Anderson, David Beckham and Rod Stewart were each rumored to have bought an island, joining other celebrities who had purchased part of The World. The environmental impact of World-creation was raised, and Sir Richard Branson warned that the islands would be submerged in 50 years if global governments did not address climate change. The warning in 2007 did not dissuade the developers, and the final rock was placed in the breakwater in January 2008. The end of The World has not been brought about by rising tides, but financial woes have put the development on long-term hold, potentially ending the project. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 2, 2009 - 47 comments

10 years is just a blink of the ever-watching galactic eye

Inspired by its 10th anniversary, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah. See the Aral Sea dry up - once the fourth largest lake, down to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon, as observed from above the state of Rondônia in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 4, 2009 - 12 comments

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