Archive for November 23rd, 2008

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Land of extremes – the world’s tallest and smallest men

November 23, 2008

Yesterday we talked about the world’s tallest building, the Burj Tower in Dubai, not yet completed but already standing at over 650 metres, 2,132 feet and believed to be over 800 metres, 2,624 feet, when completed in 2011. Today we bring you the world’s tallest man, Xi Shun stands at 2.361 metres, or 7 feet 8.95 inches, in height.

At the age of 16 he was a regular bloke but then started to grow and grow and grow. He played basket ball when he was younger and jokes that his team always won – can’t say that I’m so surprised. Watch the video below from GuinessWorldRecords.

At the other extreme there is the world’s smallest man – one He Pingping who stands 0.74 metres, or 2 feet 5 inches, in height and weighs just 21 pounds. He runs a restaurant and smokes 30 cigarettes a day. Check out Pingping’s video from LineStarProductions.

It is bizarre to note that both the world’s tallest and the world’s smallest men come from Mongolia – a land of extremes.

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Has the stain of racism been washed away?

November 23, 2008

We are not very political in this blog but the fact that there was a presidential election in the world’s most powerful country, for the world’s most powerful job and that it was a black man that won that election, has not passed us by entirely. And so it is that we find ourselves asking the question: has, with the election of Barrack Obama to be the 44th President of the USA, the stain of racism been washed away?

It seems to us that the American people, faced with an economic climate that is unprecedented in recent history have called out for change. You have to go back in time to the early 1930s to find an equivalent economic environment and this was when Franklin Roosevelt was elected President and told the Americans they had ‘nothing to fear but fear itself’.

In Obama’s acceptance speech (see below with thanks to BarrackObamadotcom) made in Chicago on the night of November 4th the President elect said ‘the strength of our nation comes from the enduring power of our ideals…….democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope’; and he talks of the 106 year old Anne Nixon Cooper who is both a woman and black, and how much change she has seen in her lifetime – the vote for women and for blacks to mention but two examples.

He rallies the crowd saying this is proof of how America has changed and he challenges any non believer in change with the cry of ‘Yes we can’. All good stuff although he does not spell out how America will change – fighting two wars, $2 trillion wiped off the face of equities, $4 trillion wiped off the value of American homes.

It is without doubt a tough time to take office, we wish him well and we sincerely hope that there will be change. But the cynic (member of Greek sect of philosophers affecting contempt for luxury and sophistication and practicing extreme bluntness of speech; OED) in us suggests that although the goal posts will be moved and on the surface there will be change if, in four or eight years, you examine how life has changed for your average ‘plumber’, you will not find much change.

And as for our opening question – has the stain of racism been washed away……..very sadly and very bluntly we suggest another way of asking this question would be – have Americans gone colour blind?