You know all those movies where a gigantic alien mothership hovers over a city blocking out the sun from the terrified citizenry?
Well Qatar has figured out a way to make it happen. They say.
See, if you build a really big iPod out of "100% light carbonic materials" (your guess, mine, pretty much the same) and fuel the thing via four "solar powered engines" and fill it with helium you can provide shade for a soccer pitch in the middle of the desert.
And just like NASA, which was able to spin off all sorts of products like foam mattresses and pens that write upside down, while the intial cost will be a staggering $500,000 - staggering to you and I, a weekend in Vegas for an Oil Princeling - we're told that the cost will decrease as they launch them commercially for use at "beaches and car parks" operated by an Android app.
No word on whether you'll be able to play Angry Birds at the same time, but then again they're probably not too interested in fooling around with egg-stealing pigs over there.
So you can forget bringing the sun screen that will block out the gamma rays from a thermonuclear detonation and leave that bulky beach umbrella at home.
For a mere half million bucks you can punch up a program on your celly and voila: you have it made in the shade.
The cloud has been designed by Dr Saud Abdul Ghani, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Qatar University, which I am sure is the functional equivalent of Stanford or MIT. Myself, I'd have turned the whole thing over to Steve Jobs, who whose engineers would have found a way to make it the size of a pack of gum.
However it turns out - and I wish them well, truly - one thing we can say for sure is that they won't need to drag it across the Atlantic for Canada to use.
The reason I mention it is because I just got done reading possibly THE STUPIDEST CROCK OF CRAP EVER written by a person purportedly named Cathal Kelly who writes for - yes, a Toronto Ontario newspaper.
Kelly figures that, since Canada has won the right to hold the Womens' World Cup in 2015 - a monumental victory made possible by the fact that nobody else offered to host it - that therefore they have "paid their dues" to FIFA and have earned the right to host the World Cup in 2026.
There are so many utterly lame, brainless and cluelss bits in there that I'm just not going to bother pointing them out, except to say that of course he doesn't really think Canada can host a finals, but he figures they can go halfsies with the USSF on the thing.
Why the USSF be even remotely interested in something like that - even if FIFA had not already announced that they're no longer going to accept joint bids - isn't clear.
In any case, it may be that World Cup 2026 will never happen anyway.
ACCORDING TO the former longtime (29 years) General Secretary of the Asian Football Confederation, one Peter Velappan, if Mohamed Bin Hammam is elected President of FIFA in 2011, "FIFA will be doomed".
All the more reason to root for the guy.