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Tue 9 Feb 2010 04:00 AM

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A most eventful month

Well, we are just one month into what I will soon have to stop calling the New Year, and already the world has changed though a sequence of random and unforeseen events.

A most eventful month

Well, we are just one month into what I will soon have to stop calling the New Year, and already the world has changed though a sequence of random and unforeseen events.

Of course, most dramatic has been the earthquake in Haiti. Now that it seems unlikely that anymore survivors will be found, the massive task of clearing the shattered remains of her capital city beckons. We know of at least two manufacturers that have donated heavy equipment to the rescue effort, and we're sure that there will be more over the coming weeks.

Closer to home, and on a lighter note, who of us wasn't surprised that the Burj Dubai was renamed at the spectacular opening ceremony? I must admit that I didn't see that one coming - especially as the developer
Emaar

had showered me with ‘Burj Dubai' branded regalia earlier in the same day. I should hang on to it - the bits and pieces will become collectors' items no doubt. Inside the issue, you'll find the lowdown on some of the tech that helped put this marvel more than 800m up in the sky.

On a lighter note still, who would have thought that a film about blue people living on a moon, which was widely panned by the critics and predicted to be an expensive flop would go on to become one of the highest grossing movies so far in history? I'm sorry if you haven't yet had a chance to review Avatar for yourself, as you won't have a clue what I'm on about, but the film does feature some implausibly huge 3D space bulldozers, which are sadly prevented from carrying out their assigned tasks by a rabble of militant aliens.

As these seemingly disparate events show, the future is impossible to predict, whether on the ground, in the sky or even at the box office. In business, as in life, we'd recommend you ignore the phalanx of advisors, consultants and other so-called ‘experts' who have sprung back up like a bad patch of dandelions. Former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what might cause his government to change its agenda. "Events, dear boy, events" came the famous reply.

PS:

We do occasionally make mistakes. The first ever issue of Construction Week, published for the Big 5 in 2003 bore the following sentence on the front page: "
Emaar Properties

are taking no chances on what will be the tallest building in the world... Foundations are being dug for a structure that could be as high as 600m, though industry sources say it would be unlikely to top 550m."

The final height was of course 828m. Oh well.

Greg Whitaker is the editor of Plant Machinery Vehicles Middle East.

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