Vladimir Berkov

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About Vladimir Berkov

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  1. Phaeton assembly plant in Dresden

    Since moving here I honestly wish I had a driver. Driving a car myself holds little interest anymore.
  2. Phaeton assembly plant in Dresden

    That's probably because you are not a resident of Austin, TX.
  3. Apple

    I never heard of Jetpack before, I will have to check it out. I am not even that old (23) and even now I can look back on the games I played when I was 11 or 12 with nostalgia. I think in the race to make more realistic, better graphics and slicker games a lot has been lost in the gaming industry. A lot of the early games had pretty mediocre graphics by today's standard but were really fun and made up for it in terms of level design, story, etc. Part of that might just have been how new the medium was at the time though.
  4. Apple

    Part of the problem is that I am an avid gamer, particular of older games that have trouble running even on Windows XP. Mac games are still few and far between and macs in general are not geared towards gamers in terms of hardware, etc. In general though I have never seen something that was really cool but then realized "Oh, it is only for Mac." But if I had a Mac all the time you would see things that are only for the PC.
  5. Phaeton assembly plant in Dresden

    I actually like the Maybach. It is perhaps slightly over the top, but seriously, the luxury car market today needs that. Mercedes, BMW and the like are not really true luxury cars anymore. There is a need for a car which provides a higher level of luxury but which is not a sports car (which are very expensive but not luxurious or practical) I wouldn't mind owning a Maybach my only concern is looking like a nouveau-riche poseur or Hip-Hop celebrity.
  6. Apple

    It is interesting to see how Apple has reinvented itself as a company. They have made some really bonehead moves in the past and for a while looked as if they would end up selling computers only to their loyal educational customers. But now they are really seeking to move in bigtime to the consumer electronics market. People own ipods who would never consider actually buying an apple computer. I am not sure if Apple computers will ever really regain the ground lost to IBM/PCs especially in the software development market though. That is the biggest turn-off I have to the Apple is that it is compatible with its own stuff and the minimal software written for it and little else. PCs are not as cool looking but you have a huge software library to choose from and fewer compatibility issues. That said I am considering buying an ipod nano as my first mp3 player just because it looks so cool.
  7. The Miers Mire

    I am not even sure her political views are even the most important consideration here when her credentials are so questionable. It just seems so strange that in a country full of judges, legal scholars, experts, etc that Miers is the most qualified person for the job. I am honestly at a loss as to why Bush would pick her other than as a crony he can trust. Perhaps he thinks that because of her personal connection to him or because of his ability to determine her views before he picked her that she won't pull a Souter. In essence then he is basically saying "Trust me, she will support conservative issues even if there is no evidence out there that shows she will."
  8. Sci-fi and Fantasy

    I suppose I enjoy fantasy as well as sci-fi, although the cheesy Tolkienesque rip-offs you usually see in the fantasy aisle do absolutely nothing for me. My favorites would include Dune (the first book especially) and Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy. Red Mars is also pretty good.
  9. MAM = WOW

    I think that while Roark's theory is valid there are ways to hold it too strictly. Ayn Rand (writing through the character of Roark) seemed to assume that by following the philosophical guildlines you will end up with a building which is the objectively "best" building for that site and client. I think realistically this is too simplistic when taken in its strongest sense. While the principle is a good one I believe there might be numerous design outcomes of equal value. When you add the wishes of the client into the mix, this makes it even more complex. Roark didn't design for the client for the most part, he found clients who desired his designs. But most architects don't have this luxury and I am not sure most clients want to give them that luxury.
  10. MAM = WOW

    My point is not that Roark was wrong with his reasoning, I think he has a perfectly reasonable view of architecture. My point is only that The Fountainhead is very vague as to actual styles of architecture. Roark's buildings are only vaguely described. It is easy to understand the ethos behind their construction but not the actual construction or stylistic features. Ayn Rand was not an architect and obviously didn't have time to write a detailed view about architectural aethetics in a novel. She spent her time (quite rightly) in describing the essential philosophical issues rather than details about design or construction. If you are an architect working on a building and are trying to decide how high to make the ceilings or what sort of trim to use you aren't going to find any concrete answers in the Fountainhead. You may find the book useful to form a concrete design philosophy but it is simply not a architectural textbook. A good analogy would be to someone trying to use Atlas Shrugged as a blueprint for working on the metalurgy of railroad tracks or on electrical generators. It just doesn't make sense.
  11. MAM = WOW

    The reason I called Roark's architectural position arbitrary is that the style of architecture he is in favor of is entirely dependant on the time period his character is set in and not on his essential values or character traits. Roark was a proponent of modern architecture, thus if the novel was set in the 1870s his character could be exactly the same and his architectural style would be different. Perhaps "arbitrary" is a bad word to use in this context however. I better word I think would be "non-essential."
  12. MAM = WOW

    In short it provided no explanation whatsoever. Rand states in the Manifesto where architecture should be placed in the scheme of other arts and crafts but explains nothing regarding how it should be judged or what types of architecture or buildings are best. In The Fountainhead the stylistic choices of Keating and Roark are largely arbitrary choices of Rand herself. And of course, there were few specifics of Roark's style given in the first place other than vague generalities. Extrapolation from The Fountainhead that neo-classical styles are somehow inferior would I think be a grave error.
  13. MAM = WOW

    I have read The Fountainhead and don't recall it explaining the issue satisfactorily. And in discussions of architecture in The Romantic Manifesto Rand simply says "refer to The Fountainhead" meaning she never explains the issue properly in a non-fiction context.
  14. MAM = WOW

    I don't quite understand why building in the classical style in 21st century America is ridiculous, or at least any more ridiculous than building this art museum. To me, the museum looks like a building following the same ideology of Frank Gehry. Sort of "We can build it, so we should build it" ethos. Having a gimmick doesn't make for a great building. It may make for a interesting engineering or architectural exercise but that is about it.
  15. Pornography

    Of course I would say that comparing a porn star to say, Peter O'Toole or the like would be absurd. But what about someone like Jean-Claude Van Damme? Is portraying graphic sex for its own sake any worse than portraying graphic violance for its own sake? The MPAA ratings for movies have always been sort of amusing as well, where it is OK to show some guy's head being blown off but not ok to show two people having sex.