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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE AMAZING COUNTRY OF QATAR

Over the past seven plus years of this blog site, an average of 350 viewers per day from now a total of 219 countries have come for a visit.  However, the past couple of days saw a thousand clicks/day, for topics that should not attract any particular interest.  More come when I e-mail contacts about a particular subject matter, but most show up for natural disasters and three topics in particular:  the country of Qatar, whale sharks and food/travel.  This a blog on renewable energy and the environment, so why these topics draw the most attention is a puzzlement.

No doubt social media come into play, but I haven't figured out how to enhance readership without bothering friends.  Over the next few months I will experiment with Facebook, YouTube and Reddit to determine if I can catalyze viewership.

Nearly five years ago, the country of Qatar (pronounced "gutter" with a guttural "g") paid my way to advise them on energy.  The most popular posting occurred on 8November2010 entitled THE WONDER OF QATAR.  Should you have clicked on that article, you can access the other five by going to the right column and scrolling down to that period.  This is the closest thing to a fantasy world, but I worry about their future, for their citizens have become the ultimate product of a sheltered community.  You can read the details, but let me provide a grand summary, taking us to the present:

  • Was a British protectorate until 1971.  A geographic area slightly larger than the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Only 15% (278,000) of the residents are citizens of the country, with the rest there to serve.
  • Q has the highest per capita income at $143,427.  #10 is the USA at $54,597.
  • High level people who work there told me that they have never had a substantive discussion with a citizen.  Surely enough, in one of sessions I passed on my business card to a legal local in flowing white robe who looked at me with minor disdain and eased away.  I later learned that business cards are below the dignity of many.
  • The current Emir (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, right), now 35 (second son of second wife) was so anointed  by his father (three wives and 24 children) in 2013, who abdicated at the age of 60.  This father assumed command as Emir in 1995 when his father was away on vacation, keeping his dad in exile until 2004.  Tamim is the fourth oldest son, but his sibling superiors were eliminated for playing too much, praying too much and just not wanting to become king.
  • Founded Al Jazeera.
  • Supports two American bases, maintains close ties with Hamas and Iran, funds a variety of terrorist organizations, but has positive relations with Israel.
  • Donated $100 million to the Hurricane Katrina fund.
  • Clearly bought the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and will probably retain this host role because...  Don't count them out of the 2024 Summer Olympics.
  • The architecture is fabulous.
  • When I was there gasoline was two and half times CHEAPER than drinking water.
  • The country has become rich because of oil.  However, as small as the country is, they still have hardly used their natural gas reserves, which rank as #3 in the world for capacity, where the U.S. is #6.
  • The per capita carbon dioxide emission is 55.4 metric tons/year.  How bad is that?  The worst by far:  the U.S. is 18.9 and China is 4.9.
  • Women wear black.  Visiting women must wear "appropriate" clothing, while men should not wear shorts.  Alcohol is not served in restaurants.  But, save for religious periods, hotels can.  Even during those periods alcohol through room service is allowed.
  • If you wondering what that first photo was above, it is Louise Bourgeois' Maman, a sculpture at the Qatar National Convention Center.  They are buying up the art world.  There is something symbolic of that spider in Qatar.  
Here is a blog on QATARSUCKS, which says much of the above more colorfully.  Read the comments.  That is their t-shirt to the right.

Soon after leaving the country I posted in The Huffington Post:

     Can Qatar Lead the World Toward Sustainability?

Everything I said above more than five years ago still apply.  In particular, I'm disappointed that they have not created a METHANOPIA, for, to quote:

The Emir essentially has infinite powers and $35 billion dollars a year. He could, actually, if he found the above to be compelling, just make a command decision, something even Singapore cannot. Yes, it is conceivable that Qatar can lead the world towards sustainability.

Tomorrow I will provide the latest update on whale sharks.

Our Monday Night Table featured Blue Hawaii:


Let me close with another kind of excess.  A few months ago I received a Longs (CVS) coupon to purchase any one item at 40% off.  On the final day before expiration I looked for the most expensive item of utility.  Couldn't find anything sensible, so I bought a Panasonic Toaster Oven, wondering when I would ever use it.  Today came an opportunity.  The pizza served for lunch is abominable.  However, I did take-out, lightly fried the Florentine (took the avocados off--which are not supposed to be on anything called Florentine--and placed the pieces on a salad) in butter, then topped the pizza with pepperoni (which I had purchased weeks ago).  I also picked up a free smoothy, which, apparently, is to be added to our diet, and with a bottle beer, a terrific lunch:

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There is a tropical depression approaching Hawaii from the east, but all signs show a weakening and path south of the Big Island:


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