Tucked away in Doha's central slum quarter is my favourite building in Qatar. To get there, from Grand Mercure né Sofitel (that's it top left with the blue swimming pool) you can either walk down to Boat Roundabout and take a right, or, you can take a right stepping out of Sofitel then left at Broken Corner, just before the B Ring. Either way, you're aiming for a very small building near the bottom right corner of the Google Earth view. Alternatively, you can plunge straight into the maze of slums and try to negotiate a South-Easterly zig-zag through it. This can be quite an adventure with no guarantee of success.
the gem, from above
You'll end up somewhere but not necessarily anywhere near the goal which is this strange double-D shaped building, hidden from almost everywhere by newer. higher and uglier neighbours. You'll also breathe in a lot of sewer gas and fibrous dust from the many upholstery workshops that somehow eke out a living here, against all the odds. All in all, the most reliable route is via Boat Roundabout. Look up every side street and alleyway on your right, until you see this:
The building shows little sign of occupancy and is probably deserted. It is either two modest villas or one large one, accessed by a central stair. It seems to be on two levels with highly ornate wrap-around balconies at both ends and on both levels. It is no longer possible to walk around it because of the press of later buildings on three sides. In time, probably within a year, the whole area will be fenced off and razed to the ground, like the rest of Musheireb and National.
But in its day, it must have been the finest building in central Doha. Quite simply, there is nothing else remotely like it. Maybe someone knows its history. Maybe someone still cares. At one time, it would have stood alone, home to a successful merchant family perhaps, or a minor Royal, resplendent in its basket-weave plasterwork and bas-relief crests. On borrowed time now, these few photographs may prove its only memorial. Shame.
There are two pretty good ways to weigh a car: Drive it to the nearest public weighbridge and wait your turn. Look up the manual under General Specifications, ‘kerb weight’ But let's suppose the nearest public weighbridge is fifty miles away and you've lost the manual (and temporarily forgotten how to use public libraries and the Internet) and the burning urge to weigh your car just won't go away- what can you do about it? The good news is, you need hardly any equipment. All you need, for a reasonably accurate result is: a hand-held tyre pressure gauge which can be analogue or digital a retractable steel measuring tape a calculator, pencil and paper, or a good head for mental arithmetic The method Park the car on some clean, level concrete Observe that the car is held up by its four tyres (!) Measure the width of the tread of one tyre: e.g. 6 inches Measure the length of tread in contact with the ground: e.g. 7 inches Work out the area of tread touching the ground: e.g. 6 x
The triode was invented in 1906 by Lee De Forest and by around 1920 was refined enough to be commercially viable for widespread distribution. It was the World's first 'Active Device'. It could amplify and oscillate. It (and its derivatives) made possible all of the technologies of modernity – public address, radio, audio/video recording, television, radar, radio telescopy, electron microscopy, computing, the Internet, artificial intelligence. Without active devices, modernity would vanish in a flash. Those who really want to turn the clock back need only abandon science, technology and education. Nature will do the rest.
This song by Harry Gordon is about 100 years old and is in the Scottish music hall tradition. It's short because it was the lead into a stand-up comedy routine in character. The character in this case being a fireman on the footplate of a steam engine.