Train tubes or aircraft fuselages were not intended to live in. They will be energy pigs: little insulation,
Read recently about an airline pilot wanting to convert a 747 into a house. Remember that aircrafts fly in -50C, so there is plenty of insulation in those thin walls. (There is also a 747 converted to a hotel in Sweden. Construction-wise a hotel shouldn't be too different from a home.) Getting a reasonably sized fuselage to anywere but next to sufficiently large airstrip will of course be a problem.
Three comments on that video...
1. Margin of turn-radius for that hairpin turn. Or was that set up to be exceedingly narrow, or even impossible just to make sure the result wouldn't "work" ?
2. The angle of the camera seemed a bit low? Been a while since I played much racing games, but it seemed to me that there was a somewhat larger than usual blind zone in front of their truck.
3. As pointed out in the article, how about steering with a game-controller instead of a steering wheel? I know that when I got a wheel-controller for gaming, I actually had to change the POV to inside in games. Even in games the 3rd person view was annoying when using a steering wheel and pedals!
best I know are that copper mines are pretty nasty. I doubt that the chinese are, or can be, a lot worse than your favorite raw material western capitalist.
I don't know how nasty copper mines are in comparison to other mines, so I can't comment on that. But given the disregard of the safety of their own workers at home in China, I can't imagine them treating African works *better* than a western capitalist would. Of course, that would mostly be due to the western capitalists having significantly different safety standards depending on country of operation more than the Chines lack of such.
But I really like the claims of surplus electrical power and training the locals to run things.
Certainly there are benefits. Not saying there aren't any. After all it creates jobs as well.
As far as roses in africa, I believe you and I suspect it is stupid even from the get-go, but if I were to look closely I would ask how desperate the local government was for hard currency and why.
I don't think roses would necessarily be more stupid than any other crops for export just because you can't eat them. But using land that could be used to feed the locals obviously raises some questions, and dumping chemicals into the local environment clearly sends it over the top.
Another thing I was told in Ethiopia was that what had happened (simplified) was that after centuries of European rule, and decades of guilt based (and ineffective) aid from the West, locals saw the Chinese as an interesting alternative for building their nations. However, after about a decade of massive Chinese involvement, they realized that the Chinese were actually worse than the Europeans in taking the actual resources for themselves, while leaving minimal positive impact. (Also, by now better and more sustainable ways of improving standards of living has been figured out, though they of course are not without problems of their own...)
There has never been any country that became rich based on large mineral resources
Norway would probably disagree. Before oil was discovered it was at best average for Europe. (In fact, a hundred years ago it was one of the poorest. Not entirely sure how things in the last decades without oil.) But as others have pointed out, already having a stable government by the time of discovery seems critical. Having a smallish populations also certainly seems to help.
The Afghanis should get rich, but the wealth extraction requires expertise they don't have (killing each other has been more fun down the centuries).
Someone else posted this article in another story recently. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/27/once_upon_a_time_in_afghanistan?page=full Seems like it's mostly in the last few decades killing has surpassed development...
Best I can tell the people actually doing the nation building in afghanistan are the Chinese.
Of course, I can only imagine the Chinese is doing the same thing in afghanistan as they are doing in Africa when "building countries"... Half a year ago I was back in Etiopia. Like several other African countries they had let China invest money. Sure, some of it went to building roads (using Chinese equipment and leadership.) But other "projects" included wast greenhouse areas for growing flowers. What they didn't care about was the chemicals used in the greenhouses leaking out into the rivers that local farmers used to water they crops. Inevitable the results were poor/failed crops. But Europeans get the fuzzy feeling of "supporting development" by buying roses "grown in Africa"... (Indian businessmen was starting to do the same for growing spice to be sold in India.)
Of course they are monitored, so freedom of interaction with them will be severely limited. But unless they meet someone from the outside they are even more likely to believe the government propaganda that the rest of the world is even worse off than their great country is. Question is if the few drops that might hit the regular worker makes up for throwing a bucket at their bosses...
At the top of my mind I can see 3 ways to end the current political situation. Military invasion, leadership collapse, and major uprising from the inside. Yes, heavily restricted commercial dealings is highly unlikely to be a major contribution to the 3rd option, but it might at least prepare some people for what awaits when once either of them has happened. (PS: Not saying doing business with them is right, but cornering a wild animal even further usually isn't wise either...)
Might have to do with consumer rights seeming to be in general weaker in the US that Europe?
Don't think they would make an exception just because it would be unusually expensive for them. Also, Ryanair tried to get out of it, by claiming it was "ridiculous" to pay hundreds of euro or more in compensation to people who pay less than 10 for their tickets. (And Ryanair seems to have as an official policy "be the biggest jerks around"...)
As for people sleeping in airports... I guess factors include: Too many people to process for a limited staff. Not enough hotel capacity in the area. Nobody knowing how long it would last, so official closure was only a day at the time usually. Also, if it's their first flight, the airline is likely not responsible yet, as was my experience one time 10 years ago.
Going back to college after xmas I had a 2 flights. My connection (late evening) was canceled without any reason given. As I (as some friends) had flown to that airport, the airline had to up us up in a hotel for the night, while some others that were only flying the last leg were on their own, despite having traveled a couple of hours by bus and/or boat to get to the airport and couldn't get back home that evening. The key apparently was that we "had started our journey with the airline".
Of course you can't change to another airline just because that would be convenient for you. They'll have their own planes (or at least an alliance partner) flying your destination sooner or later, and will eventually be able to put you on one of those... This January I missed my connection in Frankfurt, party due to the heavy snow. Lufthansa didn't care if I was waiting until late evening to fly their plane directly home, or if I took flights (via a 3rd airport) with their Star Alliance parter S.A.S. earlier in the afternoon.
Notice that he points out "as long as I don't spread it further". At least a couple of european countries still have copyright laws that permit "sharing with friends" in one way or another, which has been a really nice loop-hole... And updating them to the Internet age they narrowed it down to one-way laws regarding file-sharing, meaning it's allowed to download stuff, but not upload... (In theory you're legally permitted/required to be a jerk and keep your ratio at 0.00 and never seed at all...)
(One-way in the same way that buying sex is illegal in some countries, while selling isn't, as the hookers are considered victims rather than criminals, while the costumers are considered contributing to organized crime....)