Sonic BoomIf you enjoy reading things which are awesome, I highly suggest grabbing a copy of Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed, by Gregg Easterbrook. It took less than two pages for my jaw to drop, but that wasn’t unexpected; I’ve loved every Easterbrook article, haiku, and book I’ve ever read. The man is a genius.

What is really impressive about Shenzhen is not its boulevards and apartment towers but its harbor. A dense tangle of docks, warehouses, quays, slips, and monstrous cranes, the Port of Shenzhen has gone in a single generation from nonexistent to the world’s fourth-busiest harbor. Cargoes borne by oceangoing container ships are measured in the prosaically named Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, corresponding to metal boxes the size of the trailer on a semi truck; a TEU typically holds about ten tons of finished products. In 2007 some 21 million TEUs departed from Shenzhen to the markets of the world — more cargo than moved through Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors combined, and Los Angeles and Long Beach are America’s two busiest ports. Twenty-one million TEUs in a year equates to a trailerload of goods departing Shenzhen harbor every other second. Rotterdam and Hamburg required centuries to reach central positions in global commerce; Shenzhen did this in less time than one person’s life span.

This is from the same guy that writes the best football blog on the Internets: Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

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