Stockholm’s male train drivers wearing skirts to work 


Arriva has banned shorts as a part of their uniform, offering only pants or skirts regardless of weather. So 13 male employees opted for the skirt as a protest.

In June, more than a dozen male employees working for the Roslagsbanan train services in the Swedish capital began wearing skirts in order to keep cool.

One of the drivers, Martin Åkersten, explained that temperatures can hit 95F (35C) in the train cab during the summer.

Uniform regulations by the train company Arriva state that skirts or long trousers are acceptable. At a meeting last year, drivers were told that shorts were not allowed.

They have given their blessing to the men wearing skirts however.

“To say anything else would be discrimination,” Thomas Hedenius, the communications head, told the local Mitti newspaper, cited by the Local website.

He added that the regulations were in place so staff looked presentable and tidy, adding that shorts appeared “more relaxed” than a skirt.

A meeting is due in September to discuss the issue of uniforms.

The Roslagsbanan train service carries around 45,000 people per workday.
From London’s Daily Telegraph, June 8, 2013.

World’s largest building open for business in China — has a 6,000 person indoor beach resort with its own Sun

image1030Visitors to China’s fourth largest city can escape the crowded streets and dense pollution by stepping into the largest building in the world.

The New Century Global Center in Chengdu is 1,600 feet long, 1,300 feet wide and almost 330 feet tall. The combination beach resort, movie theater, shopping center and hotel measures in at a staggering 5.77 million-square-feet.

That’s the equivalent of three Pentagons, according to The Independent.

After visitors enter the 18-story tall glass atrium-covered entrance to the Center they can travel down an aquarium lined path, through a town filled with Polynesian huts and middle eastern kasbahs to one of the colossal building’s biggest attractions: a 1,300 foot long wave pool which breaks against the largest LED screen in the world.

image1029Up to 6,000 visitors to the man-made beach resort can splash in the water as they bathe under an artificial sun and and enjoy artificial sea breezes and lightscapes that can turn from a pleasant morning scene to a dramatic sunset that stretches “limitlessly in the temporal and spatial directions,” according to a video tour obtained by The Guardian.

“We have borrowed a Japanese technique,” guide Liu Xun told the Sydney Morning Herald. “There is an artificial sun that shines 24 hours a day and allows for a comfortable temperature.”

Besides the beach resort, the Center also has the usual assortment of mega-building accoutrements: a 14-sceen IMAX theater, a shopping center that looks like a Mediterranean village, numerous restaurants, and two five-star hotels.

The opulent Center is a stark contrast to the mega city in which it resides because Chengdu is considered to be one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Chengdu_ChinaMaybe that is why the Center houses both “comfortable and pompous” offices and 1,000 luxury hotel suites making it the perfect place for both work and play, according to the Center’s promotional video.

The New Century Global Center is the first of many “world’s biggest” projects to crop up in China.

In May 2013, construction started on the 2,749 foot tall “Sky City” which will be 30 feet taller than the current tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifia in Dubai, according to Treehugger.

However, unlike the New Century Global Center, the Sky City is huge for a reason: it is seen as a viable way to tackle urban sprawl and rapid population growth.

The city in the sky is being built by the same firm which put together a 30-story hotel in just 15 days. The firm, Broad Group, are masters of erecting Lego-like prefab buildings and hope to complete the Sky City in 90 days by constructing 5 stories of the structure per day.

Joining The New Century Global Center and the Sky City s a hydroelectric dam project on the Dadu river in Sichuan which will be the tallest dam in the world – at 1,030 feet – when it is completed, according to The Guardian.
From The NY Post, July 9, 2013

To Athlete on Sore Knees, Age Is but a Number


Jim Kales is not your typical athlete. He will be 99 years old in September.

To prepare for this summer’s Senior Olympics (held in Cleveland in July), Jim Kales used the following training regimen: He went dancing three to five nights a week. He played tennis six days a week. He bowled a little. He tooled around southwest Florida in a champagne-colored Lincoln MKZ. He didn’t practice at all for the shot put, javelin, discus, long jump or his specialty, the triple jump, in which he holds the record for his age group.

Mr. Kales isn’t your typical athlete. For starters, he will be 99 years old in September.

“People ask me, ‘What is the secret of your longevity?’ ” says Mr. Kales, who took up tennis in his 80s and has competed in the Senior Olympics since he was 90. “I like to play tennis, I like to dance, I bowl and I don’t abuse myself. I eat a lot of seafood. I have a glass of wine with my dinner, red mostly, white with fish.”

Jim Kales won a bronze medal in shot put as well as two golds and three silvers in other events at the Senior Games in Cleveland in July.

He did all right this year in the Olympics, bringing home two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze. He is still annoyed that he didn’t win a medal in discus.

Mr. Kales particularly prides himself on his dance expertise, which includes swing, cha-cha, salsa, rumba, tango, foxtrot, waltz and Texas two-step. He recently learned the quickstep from a woman at a Florida dance studio.

At a singles dance this year, he was too busy dancing to grant an interview. “Call me tomorrow,” he said. As younger people headed for tables to catch their breath, Mr. Kales sashayed across the floor. “What gets me going more than anything else is the dancing,” he explained. “On and on and on for three hours.”

He has worn out generations of younger tennis partners. In Olympic doubles, he plays with a 90-year-old, meaning he plays in a lower age group against 90-to-94-year-old youngsters.

A retired restaurant owner from Michigan, Mr. Kales didn’t take up sports or dancing seriously until his wife died, when he was 85. His tennis buddies told him about the Senior Olympics (known officially as the National Senior Games). He qualified at state-level matches and discovered that the Games also included field sports, which he hadn’t tried since he was a child in Greece, where he was born. He eventually qualified in those sports, too.
From The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2013