Tuesday March 6, 2012  - Volume 3, Number 2

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.



2012 Survey Reveals Surging Economic Activity Outside US, Declining Inside

Every year, around the end of February, The Ultrapolis Project publishes the results of its annual survey of construction activity around the world, The Ultrapolis World’s 25 Tallest Cities, and ranks the world’s cities by the height of their skylines – one measure of world power and economic vigor.  The Ultrapolis Project is the world’s leading reference for this type of survey and, since 2007, is accessed by tens of thousands of visitors each and every year who are looking for this information.  For summary and access to full report please see below.  The report is the core of one of the Ultrapolis Permanent Sections, The Tallest Cities of the World, which features a collection of related articles and city diagrams. 

Try a TRIVIA QUIZ Game by  based on Ultrapolis’ rankings (using mid-2010 report).


·         Record-Breaking Structures of 2012

·         The Ultrapolis World’s Tallest Cities 2012 Report

·         The Contraceptive Trap Succeeds Short-Term

·         Notable Quotes: Facial Fluke; Twitter Will

·         Bafo’s World & Other Cartoons





The Kingkey-100, a 100-story, 1,449-foot tower [one foot shorter than Chicago’s Willis (Sears) Tower], in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, was the tallest building completed in 2011 anywhere in the world. It ranks 8th, but will become 9th as soon as Mecca’s ‘Clock Tower” (see right) is finished this year.




CN Tower in Toronto?  That is so 2009.  That year, Guangzhou, China built a taller one, ending the CN Tower’s top ranking since 1976.  But Guangzhou didn’t get to boast for long, as Tokyo unveils this year the world’s tallest tower (not building) at 2,080 feet. 


Recent Notable Quotes

Facial Fluke, Twitter Will

The Faces of Women Affected

When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected [by the lack of free contraceptives], and I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman from Georgetown or other schools or who works for a religiously affiliated employer who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens because of this lack of contraceptive coverage.

Sandra Fluke, Law Student

February 23

Statement to Congressional Democrats


Non-Twitter Thinking

I don’t think in 140-character bits.  I think in 750-word chunks.

George Will

February 19

ABC’s This Week on why he has no Twitter Profile.


Efficient Disliking

Gingrich apparently asked Bob Dole “Why do so many people take an instant dislike to me?”  And Bob Dole sort of grunted and said “saves time.”

E.J. Dione, Washington Post Columnist

January 27

PBS NewsHour

Record-Breaker Rises from the Holy Sands of Arabia

From Middle to Far East, New Heights Are Reached


It may look like a foreboding scene from a Tolkien fantasy movie, but in fact, it is a very real construction site in Mecca, a city in Saudi Arabia considered most holy by adherents of Islam.  These are the only skyscrapers in this ancient city of 1.7 million, but the towers, formally called the Abraj Al Bait Towers, feature at their center a stark “Clock Tower” that at 1,972 feet,  will be second only to the Khalifa Tower in Dubai as world’s tallest.  The top of the Empire State Building in New York City would reach only to up to several floors below the face of the clock.  But, unless you are Muslim, you will never see this tower in person, as non-Muslims are not permitted within the city.  See a nighttime video of the tower.


2011 Marked by Influx of Beta Cities New to Top 25

Historic Shake-up in Rankings


Dubai Still No. 1, Houston out of Top 10, 3rd Chinese City Edges Past New York

2011 turned out, to our own surprise, to have the most radical changes in the Ultrapolis World’s Twenty-Five Tallest Cities rankings since we started the survey; and we confidently say that in no other year since skyscrapers started being built at the end of the 19th century in the United States, has there been such a change in the statuses of the world’s tallest cities, or so many records being broken in so many different new cities.  For a century New York City stood as the world’s tallest city by a wide margin, with its fellow American cities of Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles reigning alongside it for decades in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places respectively, and American cities dominated the top 25 for just as long.  In the 1990’s we started seeing the first signs of the disturbance of that order, which was then largely overturned in the first decade of the 21st century.


We have long-maintained on these pages that construction of his type is one measure of future economic power, and the benefits of that power.  For the full report, please visit The 2012 Update column in our permanent section.


Other developments noted in the survey:

·         The first and only Latin American city makes the Twenty-Five Tallest, overtakes Los Angeles.

·         Moscow is now home to tallest building in Europe, and is building another, taller one, as part of a construction boom there.

·         China maintains huge lead in construction, as U.S. and Western Europe are at almost at a standstill.

Contraception Debate Hurts Republicans Short-Term

Long-Term, No One Convinced, National Division to Deepen


Rush Limbaugh Stumble Seriously Wounds Radio Giant

It was a question that strangely presaged (but not coincidentally), the heated national debate over contraception. It was posed by George Stephanopoulos, in a Republican debate back in January, days before the topic blasted into the public sphere with the Obama administration’s decision to require certain religious institutions to provide contraceptives free of charge to employees thru their healthcare plans – plans they are not currently required to provide at all.  In this question, which came out of nowhere and had people scratching their heads as to why Stephanopoulos was so insistent on the hypothetical answer from Governor Mitt Romney, Stephanopoulos did nothing if not persist (see video clip).  Romney evaded the trap, but Republicans as a whole, and one major radio talk show host, have not fared so well.  Actually, for the radio host, the trap was spectacularly successful.


The notion of contraceptives provided by others has now become synonymous with a right to access.  The, at best intellectually confused, at worst deliberately disingenuous equation of having the freedom to obtain-by your own means-contraceptives, with having others provide it for you, particularly those who object to it on religious grounds, has been incredibly successful in galvanizing millions who have never liked conservatives or the Catholic Church in the first place.  This will, temporarily, convince some middle, independent voters who are not well-read that Republicans are trying to ban contraception, and keep women from accessing them anywhere.


Long-Term, Contraceptive Access Reality Wins Out

However, this will not last.  The facts make it plain to anyone who wants free contraception that you can easily get them for free thru many state and federal programs (voted for by Republicans, including Santorum), as well as at Planned Parenthood offices everywhere, and that even if you are in the horrendous, human-rights-violating condition of having to pay for them with your own actual money, they do not typically cost $250 a month, as alleged in Congress by some very needy, yet very sexually healthy Ivy League law students (at the low end, if sexual intercourse is truly an urgent matter, a box of 40 condoms is $13 – hopefully enough to tide someone over for a month).  Some serious liberals are not in agreement, or comfortable with the subterfuge.  Joe Klein’s opposition has surprised a few.  And, in an interesting exchange two weeks ago on ABC’s This Week, when liberal commentator Clarence Page claimed that Rick Santorum favored banning contraceptives, Page was quickly, and forcefully corrected by others, while erstwhile ally Dee Dee Myers (former White House press secretary under President Clinton) remained seated awkwardly silent. 


As for Rush Limbaugh, his massive audience will stick with him, including women.  The question will be how long will advertisers stay away.  If the pressure falls away quickly, the advertisers will return, with the exception of privately held companies with ideological ties to the left- and even they may return if the outcry fades over the long haul.


The propaganda effect will fade, though not the policies effected – which may be all good and well with the Obama administration.  But what will also not fade, what will harden just a little more, is the national divide that has been growing for two decades. 


Note to reader:  Please do not assign to us the views and comments made on websites we link to beyond the specific reason for which we linked to them.  Above video links are for the videos only.













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© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.