Friday, December 24, 2010

Citizens of China can no longer call the NBA by its name

China is the most populous country in the world, and basketball is its most popular sport. Ergo, there are a lot of NBA fans in China, and not just because of Yao Ming. At various points in the last decade, they've also loved Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James as if they were their own.

Now, they can't refer to the best league in the world by it's real name due to the Chinese government's language purity initiatives. Bo Gu has more on Behind the Wall (via ProBasketballTalk):
As a result of practices that damage the "purity of the Chinese language," the regulator prohibited the "arbitrary" use of English words or acronyms from foreign languages mixed with Chinese. It also forbade the use of "ambiguous" words that are neither Chinese nor foreign.
When words in a foreign language have to be used, the government decreed that a note or annotation in Chinese must be added. And the names of foreign people, places and science terms also have to be translated into Chinese. [...]
In April, TV channels were told to ban English acronyms like NBA, which translated into Chinese in as long as 10 characters: "Mei Guo Nan Zi Zhi Ye Lan Qiu Lian Sai."
This is obviously an unfortunate situation, and not just because the Chinese translation of NBA is laughably complicated. One of the greatest things about the contemporary NBA is that it's a truly global league featuring players from all sorts of backgrounds and nations. It's partially defined by the multiplicity of experiences that make up its member athletes and franchises. That makes the league indicative of the world as it is rather than as a few people would like it to be.
The Chinese language purity movement applies to spheres that reach far beyond the NBA, but it's reason for being runs antithetical to what the NBA is currently trying to be. Even if Chinese fans call the NBA by its "pure" name, they will still be watching a league in which "purity" is an impossible ideal with no grounds in real-world experience.

If the government is devoted to this initiative, is the next step to ban the NBA entirely? I doubt that's in the offing, but that suggestion should prove just how ridiculous this plan is. The NBA, like the world, is a complicated place, created in the United States but consumed by people all over the world; its name belongs to no one language or creed. At its best, it's an amalgam of backgrounds, and it'd be a shame to deny that wonderful fact in pursuit of a foolish notion of linguistic perfection.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010, What A Year

This year will be remembered for some of the world's worst disasters and greatest escapes, stunning sporting triumphs and scandalous affairs. 
The Herald Sun has covered them all, but you can refresh your memory of an incredible year, where you can see all pictures, video and most strident opinions again, as well as everything you missed.
The most popular stories on our website were not surprisingly reports about some of the best known faces in the country getting into strife, whether they were those we loved, or just love to hate.

Arguably the biggest global story of the year, was the incredible rescue of all 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine were rescued who had originally been given up for dead 66 days earlier. One by one, the miners emerged from 600m underground as a live TV audience watched with bated breath.

But the miracle of their rescue was underlined by the deaths of 29 trapped miners in New Zealand’s Pike River coal mine after multiple underground blasts. There was no shortage of grim news through the year, not least of which was the shocking deaths of nearly 50 asylum seekers as they tried to land a rickety boat on Australia’s Christmas island. That tragedy was dwarfed in January by a catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti killing at least 230,000. Pakistan also reeled from disaster in July when one-fifth of the country was flooded affecting 20 million people in as crops, homes and infrastructure were wiped out. And a gigantic oil spill by BP off the Gulf of Mexico in the United States in April 22 is now considered the worst ever ecological disaster in the US.

The same month an airline crash in Poland sent the nation into mourning and triggered a political crisis after killing President Lech Kaczynski and much of the Polish leadership. But it was also a year of draws and close calls, and in an early prediction of Australia’s close-run political race, a hung UK Parliament eventually fell to the conservatives. In Australia, political watchers witnessed the first hung Federal Parliament for generations after Julia Gillard’s bloodless coup against Kevin Rudd in June. Weeks later our first female Prime Minister’s honeymoon was over, leaving Labor forced to deal with the independents.

The FIFA World Cup is now in the hands of Spain after the soccer superpower defeated the Dutch in South Africa. For many Aussie rules fanatics, there was no more dramatic moment of the year that the 2010 AFL Grand Final, and one the most dramatic draws ever seen on the sporting scene. In the gripping game, St Kilda fought raging favourite Collingwood a standstill, leaving fans and players gasping with shock at the siren and the drawn scoreboard. The Pies romped into history with an emphatic win at the following week’s rematch, ending a 20-year Premiership drought and easing the pain of the dreaded Colliwobbles.

Global celebrities endured a rough ride of break-ups, deaths and sex scandals. And among the biggest shocks was for Sandra Bullock when she learned then-husband Jesse James had been up to no-good with the inked star "Bombshell" McGee in March, only days after the high of picking up Oscar gold.

As the year drew to a close, one of the biggest stories on the planet was about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. As the embarrassing revelations uncovered about 200,000 leaked US diplomatic cables continued to mount, furious governments called for him to be arrested or assassinated. Ironically, the WikiLeaks files are stored on servers in a Swedish cold war nuclear bunker 30m underground.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Planners mean when they say . . .

What the Planners say

What the Planners mean

What the Developer hears / understands

“I like it.”
I like it.
They like it.
“Well done!”
Well done!
We’re done!
“I wish more projects had this feel.”
“I wish more projects had this feel.”
They like it so much maybe they’ll give us more.
“Lets review this”
I don’t like it.
It’s taken their breath away!
“Does this meet the regulations?”
Can we kill it through technicalities?
We’re OK, it meets the regulations...I think
We don’t like it, do we?
They have some minor questions.
“What do you think?”
You don’t like it either, do you?
We’re in trouble, they’re thinking.
“I have some concerns.”
I don’t like it.
Well, Planners are only one vote!
“It’s... too...”
I don’t think I could ever like it.
Maybe we overdid the gargoyles.
“Is the applicant here?”
Can we talk, or do we have to be diplomatic?
No! After spending all of this energy, to say nothing or a King’s ransom in fees, the applicant has decided to go to the racetrack where the odds are better.
“Have you tried...?”
This doesn’t work.
There’s not enough in the budget to do it once, let alone twice.
“Let’s look at the landscape plan.”
Maybe we can just hide it.
There goes the landscape budget!
“That’s an...‘ interesting’ approach.
What planet did this come from?
They like it.
“Lets get other staff involved.”
Maybe the other staff can tell you what we’ve been unable to communicate.
Who do they think got us into this mess? There goes another month.
There’s no way I can teach them what’s good design, so I’ll get technical.
He doesn’t like the gargoyles.
“Yes, we’ve heard the argument that planners breed design mediocrity.”
We’d be happy if this was even mediocre.
They know we’re going to blame this “camel” on them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Planning Jokes

Whose Profession Came First?
A Doctor, a Engineer, and a Planner are going out golfing. They are trying to decide whose profession came first.
The Doctor says, "My profession came first because when God removed Adam's rib he performed surgery."
The Engineer then says, "No, no, no. When the earth was dark and void God created light. That was engineering."
The Planner says, "You're both wrong."
The doctor and engineer reply, "Oh yeah? What makes you think yours came first?"
The Planner replies, "Who do you think decided to grant the planning permission for the light?"

Who is the greatest?

A judge, a bishop, and a Planner were having a discussion. All three were rather vain , and their talk soon turned to the question of which of them was the greatest.
"Well," said the judge, "my position is one of dignity and power. When I walk into the courtroom, the bailiff says 'All rise!' and all the people stand to pay me honour."
"That's very nice," said the bishop. "People stand in your honour; but when people have an audience with me they kneel, kiss my ring, and they address me as 'Your Eminence.'"
The Planner snorted and said, "I think I got you both beat; when I walk into any room as a consultant, the people look down, put their hands over their eyes, and say 'Oh, my God!'"

Three Professionals

Three professionals were in the bathroom standing at the urinals. The first, an architect finished and walked over to the sink to wash his hands.  He then proceeded to dry his hands very carefully.  He used paper towel after paper towel and ensured that every single spot of water on his hands was dried.  Turning to the other two, he said, "As Architects, we are trained to be extremely thorough."

The second, an engineer finished his task at the urinal and he proceeded to wash his hands.  He used a single paper towel and made sure that he dried his hands using every available portion of the paper towel.   He turned and said, "Engineers, are not only are we trained to be extremely thorough, but we are also trained to be extremely efficient."
The Planner finished and walked straight for the door, shouting over his shoulder, "In the Planning Department, we don't pee on our hands."

Planning students learn about engineers!

Three Planning students were gathered together discussing the planning of the human body.
One said, "It must have been a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."
Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has lots of electrical connections."
The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Talking Frog
A young planning graduate happens across a frog in the road. The frog pipes up, "I'm really a beautiful princess and if you kiss me, I'll hang out with you for a week". The planner shrugs his shoulders, bends down and puts the frog in his pocket.
A few minutes later, the frog says "OK, OK, if you kiss me, I'll be your girlfriend for a week". The planner nods and puts the frog back in his pocket.
A few minutes later, "Turn me back into a princess and I'll be your girlfriend for a whole year!". The planner smiles and walks on.
Finally, the frog says, "What's wrong with you? I've promised lots of fun with a beautiful princess for a whole year and you won't even kiss a frog?"
"I'm a planner," he replies. "I don't have time for girls.... But a talking frog is pretty neat."

Measurement Techniques

A mathematician, a physicist and an Planner are each given 50 pounds (do the Euro conversion yourself) to measure the height of a building.
The mathematician buys a ruler and a sextant, and by determining the angle subtended by the building a certain distance away from the base, he establishes the height of the building.
The physicist buys a heavy ball and a stopwatch, climbs to the top of the building and drops the ball. By measuring the time it takes to hit the bottom, he establishes the height of the building.
The Planner puts forty pounds into his pocket. By slipping the doorman the other ten, he establishes the height of the building and heads for the happy hour in the nearest pub.

Five surgeons discuss which is the best type of patient

The first surgeon says,
"I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."
The second responds,
"Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."
The third surgeon says,
"No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."
The fourth surgeon chimes in,
"You know, I like building workers ... those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."
But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed,
"You're all wrong. Planners are the easiest to operate on. There are no guts, no heart, and no spine, and the head and ass are interchangeable."
The Chief Planner, two Deputy Chief Planners in a city Planning Department were walking through a park on their way to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."
"Me first! Me first!" says the first Deputy Planner. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."   Poof! He's gone.
"Me next! Me next!" says second Deputy Planner. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life."
Poof! She's gone (yes, there are women Planners too!)
"You're next," the Genie says to the Chief Planner. The Chief Planner says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Hard working Planners 2

An Architect, an Artist, and an Planner were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.
The Architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.
The Artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there. The Planner said, "I like both."
"Both?" asked the Architect and Artist in unison.
The Planner replied, "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume that you are spending time with the other woman, so you can go to the office and get some work done."

Planners' fees

Man goes goes to Planning Consultant for help.
Man: What's your least expensive fee?
Planning Consultant : 80 euros for three questions.
Man: That's pretty expensive, innit?
Planning Consultant : Yep. So what's your third question?

Planners and Developers

In a recent WHO study, doctors who were conducting studies on test drugs administered weekly doses of VIAGRA to an equal number of Planners and Developers.
While the majority of the Planners achieved enhanced sexual prowess, the Developers simply grew taller.
The  researchers are at a loss to explain.

The first job interview

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Department person asked the young Planner, fresh out of University, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"
The Planner replied, "In the neighbourhood of £35,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."
The HR person said, "Well, what would you say to a package of eight weeks of holidays, fourteen paid holidays, full medical and dental, non-contributory retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a complimentary car leased every 2 years - say, a red Honda Accord?"
The Planner sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you joking?"
And, the Human Resources person said, "Of course, but you started it."

Another job interview

An Engineer, a physicist, an economist and a Planner were being interviewed for a position as chief executive officer of a large Local Authority. The Engineer was interviewed first, and was asked a long list of questions, ending with: "How much is two plus two?" The Engineer excused himself, and made a series of measurements and calculations before returning to the boardroom and announcing, "Four."
The physicist was next interviewed, and was asked the same questions. Before answering the last question, he excused himself, made for the library, and did a great deal of research. After a consultation with the European Standards Authority and many calculations, he also announced, "Four."
Then the interviewers then call in the economist and ask the same question: "What do two plus two equal?" The economist says: "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."
The Planner was interviewed last, and was asked the same questions. At the end of his interview, before answering the last question, he drew all the shades in the room, looked outside the door to see if anyone was there, checked the telephone for listening devices, and asked, "How much do you want it to be?"

A very different job interview

The European Space Agency was interviewing professionals they were figuring on sending to Mars. The touchy part was that only one person could go and it would be a one way trip, so the person selected would never return to Earth.
The interviewer asked the first applicant, an engineer, how much he wanted to be paid for going.   "One million euros", the engineer answered. "And I want to donate it all to my alma mater -- The Engineering School."
The next applicant was a doctor, and the interviewer asked him the same question.   "Two millions euros," the doctor said. "I want to give a million to my family and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research."
The last applicant was a Planner.   When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer's ear, "Three million euros."
"Why so much more than the others?" the interviewer asked. The Planner replied, "You give me three million, I'll give you one million, I'll keep a million, and we'll send the engineer."

More about Student Planners

One afternoon, a Planning student was riding across campus on a shiny new bike. He ran into a friend of his, also a Planning Student, who said, "Wow! That sure is a great bike. Where did you get it?"
"Well, the darndest thing happened," said the first Planning student. "A girl came riding up to me and got off the bike, threw off all her clothes, and said that I could have anything that I wanted."
"Wow," remarked his friend. "That's great. Good move. Her clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

Planners investigate

It had come to the attention of the Planning Department that there was a small town in the region where the birth rate was unusually high and there was a need for a lot of crèches, schools, etc.   The Chief Planner decided that the phenomenon had to be investigated.   A proposal was formulated for a special study.   This was sent to Brussels to get a special E.U. funding grant.  A very large heap of money was allocated, and a special project task force was set up.  The project team rented a large suite of offices in the town and acquired the latest expensive computer and other equipment.   On the  first day of operation the project leader decided to have a break, and went to a near-by coffee shop for refreshment.   There he explained to a waiter what the project team were up to.  "You wouldn't know why the birth rate is high in this town" he said.  The waiter replied that there was a train station in the middle of the town, and that every morning at about five-o-clock the first train came through blowing its whistle wakening everyone up.  "Well at that time, its to late to back to sleep again, and too early to get up . . .!"

Doggy Planner

This Mafia Godfather, accompanied by his planning consultant, walks into a room to meet with his former accountant.
The Godfather asks the accountant, "Where's the 3 million bucks you embezzled from me?" The accountant does not answer.
The Godfather asks again, "Where's the 3 friggin' million friggin' bucks you embezzled from me?"
The planner interrupts, "Sir, the man is a deaf mute and cannot understand you, but I can interpret for you."
The Godfather says, "Well ask him where my damn money is!"
The planner, using sign language, asks the accountant where the 3 million dollars is.
The accountant signs back, "I don't know what ye are talking about."
The planner interprets to the Godfather, "He doesn't know what you are talking about."
The Godfather pulls out a 9 millimetre pistol, puts it to the temple of the accountant, cocks the trigger and says, "Ask him again where my damn money is!"
The planner signs to the accountant, "He wants to know where it is!"
The accountant signs back, "OK! OK! OK! The money is hidden in a brown suitcase behind the shed in my back yard!"
The Godfather says, "Well....what did he say?"
The planner interprets to the Godfather, "He says... 'go to hell, you don't have the guts to pull the trigger'."

Riddle me this

Q: What is the difference between a Planner and a toilet?
A: The toilet only has to deal with one asshole at a time.
Q: How many Planners does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. They are all too busy trying to plan the perfect light bulb.
A2: Only the one with the approved plan
A3: None. "According to the plan, the problem doesn't exist."
A4: Two. One to change the light bulb and one to crack under the pressure.
A5: None, but it takes 15 to prepare the plan for coping in the dark.

"The Cannibal Planners"(warning, this one's reeeeeally bad)
Five cannibal planners are appointed as assistant planners in a Dublin Planning Consultancy (no names). During the welcoming ceremony, the boss says: "Right mateys, you're all part of our team now. You can earn good money here, and you can go to the staff canteen for something to eat. But whatever you do, don't trouble the other employees." Fair enough, say the cannibals, and they promise not to trouble the other staff.
Four weeks later, the boss returns and says: "You're all working very hard, and I'm very satisfied with all of you. Great stuff, lads. But one of our cleaners has disappeared. Does any of you know what happened to her?"
The cannibals deny all knowledge of the missing cleaner. After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibal planners says to the others: "Right, which one of you eejits ate the cleaning lady?"
A hand raises hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals says: "Jimmy [for that is his name], ye feckin' fool! For four weeks we've been eating Team Leaders, Task Leaders, Engineering Consultants and Project Managers so no one would notice anything, and you have to go and eat Mrs O'Brien."

The Physicist, a Chemist and a Planner
A physicist, a chemist and a consultant are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. Suddenly a tin of delicious Campbells Condensed Chicken Soup washes ashore. So the physicist does a quick mental calculation and says: "Let's smash the tin open with a rock." The chemist scribbles a few notes and after a minute says: "No, no, let's build a fire and heat the tin up first." The planner looks up from his spreadsheet of figures and says: "OK, all things being equal, let's assume for a start that we have a tin opener..."

The Smartest Hunting Dog
A doctor, an engineer, and a planner go out hunting in the forest one day. Each of them brings along his hunting dog, and they spend most of the morning arguing about which of the dogs is the smartest. Early in the afternoon, they discover a clearing in the forest. In the middle of the clearing is a large pile of animal bones.
Seeing the bones, the doctor turns to the others and says, "I'm going to prove to you two that my dog is the smartest. Watch this!" He then calls his dog over and says, "Bones! See the bones? Go get 'em!" The dog rushes over to the pile, rummages around for a bit, and then proceeds to build a replica of a deer skeleton, perfect down to the last detail. The doctor grins smugly; after all, his dog has just built a deer skeleton from the pile of animal bones.
The engineer, however, is totally unimpressed. "That's nothing," he says. "Watch this." He calls his dog over, and points out the pile. "Bones! Get the bones!" The dog rushes over, tears down the skeleton, and in its place builds a perfect replica of the Eiffel Tower.  It even has a little French flag waving at the top. The doctor is forced to agree that the engineer's dog is, in fact, smarter than his own.
The planner, however, is still not impressed. "My dog is smarter," he says. "Watch." He then calls his dog over, points to the pile, and says simply, "Bones." The dog rushes over to the pile, tears down the tower, eats half the bones, buries the other half, and takes the rest of the afternoon off.

Another Planner with a smart dog
Five men were bragging about how smart their dogs were. One was an engineer, the second man was an Accountant, the third
man as a Chemist, the fourth was a Computer Tech and the fifth was a Government Planner.
To show off, the Engineer called to his dog, "T-Square, do your stuff". T-Square trotted over to a desk, took out some paper and a pen and promptly drew a circle, a square and a triangle. Everyone agreed that it was pretty incredible.  But the Accountant said that his dog could do better. He called to his dog and commanded, "Spreadsheet, do your stuff". Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen biscuits. He divided them into four equal piles of three biscuits each. Everyone agreed that that was good. But the Chemist said his dog could do better. He called to his dog and said, "Measure, do your stuff". Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a litre of milk, got a pint glass from the cupboard and poured exactly a pint without spilling a drop. Everyone agreed that it was more than a little impressive. The Computer Tech knew that he could top them all. "Hard Drive, do it". Hard Drive crossed the room and booted up the computer, checked for viruses, upgraded the operating system, sent an e-mail and installed a cool new game. Everyone knew that it was a tough act to follow.
Then the four men turned to the Government Planner and said, "What can your dog do?" The Planner  called to his dog and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff boy". Coffee Break jumped to his feet, ate the biscuits, drank the milk, erased all of the files on the computer, sexually assaulted the other four dogs, claimed he injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for workers compensation and went home for a six month sick leave.

The Planning Consultant
Once upon a time there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the side of a deserted road in the Wicklow Mountains.
Suddenly a brand-new Porsche screeches to a halt.   The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, TAG-Heuer wrist-watch, and a Pierre Cardin tie gets out and asks the shepherd; "If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?"
The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the large flock of sheep grazing on the hillside and replies, "Okay."
The young man parks the car, connects his laptop to the mobile-fax, enters a EU Commission Website, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms and pivot tables.   He then prints out a 150-page report on his high-tech mini-printer, turns to the shepherd and says; "You have exactly 1,586 sheep.”
The shepherd smiles, "That's correct, you can have your sheep."
The young man takes an animal.   He puts it in the back of his Porsche.
The shepherd looks at him and asks, "If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?"
The young man answers, "Yes, why not?"
The shepherd says, "You are a Planning Consultant."
"How did you know?" asks the young man.
"Very simple," answers the shepherd. "Firstly, you came here without being wanted. Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew, and thirdly, you don't understand anything about my business... may I have my dog back?"

A Seasonal Offering
Consider the following:
1) You never actually see Santa, only his "assistants".
2) Santa keeps his job until he decides to retire.
3) Santa doesn't really do the work; he directs a bunch of helpers to do all his work for him, but he's the one who everybody credits with the work.
4) Most grown-ups think he doesn't exist.
5) Santa doesn't work anywhere near a 40-hour week.
6) Santa travels a lot.
Yup, exactly, elementary dear Watson: Santa is obviously a Director of Planning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Urban Precinct Design

This is a Urban Precinct Design project for a 3rd year university subject. 
Team member include Otto Chen, Morris Edwards, Raimond Spiller

A hypothetical train or tram-line that cuts across (rather than reinforces) Melbourne’s largely radial inner metropolitan public transport system to form the beginnings of a grid.

A crossing point for intensification and transformation was selected as a new precinct, and multi-modal and multi-directional transport exchange within metropolitan Melbourne. The project will explore the various dimensions of designing such a precinct as a center of connection and generator of activity.