The Null Device
President Niyazov, crackpot ruler of Turkmenistan and delineator of the 12 Ages of Man, has inaugurated his latest project: an ice palace in the desert.
The idea is to build the palace in the Copa Deg Mountains outside Ashgabat, now baking in the summer heat, with a long cable-car running up from the city. "Our children can learn to ski," Mr Niyazov enthused, "we can build cafes there, and restaurants."
The projects tend now to be sites of recreation for the people, like a Disney-style theme park instead of state palaces. That is in keeping with Mr Niyazov's image as a servant of his people, who lays on every sort of amenity for them.