It’s a Weird World

Lesotho Times - - Cartoons & Puzzles -

Un­happy? Ex­pect call from Dubai po­lice

DUBAI — If you say you’re un­happy in Dubai, the po­lice may call to ask you why as part of a new sur­vey.

The on­line poll, un­veiled in re­cent days, comes as Dubai tries to break into the top 10 rank­ings of world’s hap­pi­est ci­ties by 2021, an ef­fort in league with other lofty as­pi­ra­tions in this emi­rate, home to the world’s tallest build­ing.

The sim­ple sur­vey has users choose be­tween a frown, a smile and an unim­pressed straight line. The po­lice say they will call those who say they are un­happy, which puz­zles some ob­servers, in­clud­ing Wil­liam Davies, a se­nior lec­turer at the Univer­sity of Lon­don who re­cently pub­lished the book “The Hap­pi­ness Industry: How the Gov­ern­ment and Big Busi­ness Sold Us Well-be­ing.”

“This looks like to me an at­tempt to try to slightly frighten peo­ple into A) re­ply­ing to the sur­vey ques­tion and B) re­ply­ing to say they’re happy be­cause peo­ple re­ally don’t want to be rung up by the po­lice with the ques­tion: ‘Well, what’s your prob­lem?’” Davies said. “But I don’t know. Maybe there’s some­thing sin­cere about it.”

The ef­fort to mea­sure hap­pi­ness can be seen in gov­ern­ment of­fices across Dubai, one of seven of the United Arab Emi­rates. Small tablet com­put­ers placed next to civil ser­vants al­low cit­i­zens to pro­vide in­stant feed­back on their ex­pe­ri­ence. Last year, author­i­ties also be­gan rank­ing mu­nic­i­pal of­fices with a two-to-seven star sys­tem based on their cus­tomer ser­vice, part of Dubai’s “smart gov­ern­ment” push.

That hap­pi­ness ef­fort has in­cluded the Dubai po­lice, most well-known abroad for some of the lux­ury cars em­ployed in its fleet. Twit­ter mes­sages from the po­lice of­ten in­clude the hash­tag “Your Se­cu­rity Our Hap­pi­ness” in both Ara­bic and English. — AP

US man cre­ates ‘sov­er­eign na­tion’

SALT LAKE CITY — A New York man is build­ing his own sov­er­eign na­tion called Zaqis­tan on a re­mote piece of land in Utah.

Zaq Landsberg has cre­ated a yel­low-and-red flag, of­fi­cial-look­ing pass­ports and a bor­der pa­trol gate guarded by a gi­ant robot sen­try for the realm.

“The con­cep­tual goal is I want it to be­come a real coun­try,” said Landsberg, its pres­i­dent. “I mean, that goal is not go­ing to hap­pen. It’s im­pos­si­ble, but go­ing through the mo­tions, (I’m) try­ing to make that hap­pen.”

He’s even cre­ated a motto for the land of Zaqis­tan: “Some­thing from noth­ing.” — AP

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