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Calendar: November’s Business and Cultural Events

November brings elections, the Macy’s parade, and APEC-summit costumes.

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Week 1

sat, november 01
The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture

The architectural gems in this briefcase-size tome are awesome, from the grand if awfully overbudget Scottish Parliament to a Khartoum hospital's bamboo-capped prayer pavilion to a viaduct that looks from above like a lace necklace worn by a French river valley. But this isn't just a pretty picture book. It has floor plans. It has factoids (Japan has more architects than any other country, nearly three times as many as No. 2 Germany or No. 3 America). It even lists the geographic coordinates of the 1,037 featured buildings. Alas, around-the-world architecture tours aren't cheap: The book, packed in its own carrying case, has a list price of $195. — Jeff Chu

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Week 2

sun, november 02
Brazilian Grand Prix
São Paulo

Formula One hasn't exactly been ahead of the curve in clean-energy practices — the typical F1 race car gets just 3 or 4 miles per gallon. But after this season-ending race, F1 says it's "going hybrid" as part of its Make Cars Green campaign. On the track, teams will be allowed to use power generated through braking with a new Kinetic Energy Recovery System developed by Xtrac, and used tires will be incinerated for power, giving new meaning to "burning rubber." F1 has also released its top 10 fuel-saving tips for consumers, a classic example of "Do as we say, not as we do"; No. 7 suggests, "Accelerate gently." — J.L. August

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mon, november 03
World urban forum
Nanjing, China

If you're one of China's 577 million urbanites, get ready to scooch over. In the next 20 years, 350 million more people, including 240 million rural migrants, are coming to town. By 2030, 221 Chinese cities will have populations of more than a million, and 23 megalopolises will pack in 5 million — plus. Which makes China the perfect host for a UN conference on urbanization, a planetwide trend that's stretching infrastructures and straining resources. At this meeting, urban planners, politicians, academics, and architects will debate slum regeneration, green-building policy, and how to de-sprawl cities. — Theunis Bates

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tue, november 04
World Toilet Summit & Expo

"Open defecators see no reason to own toilets," says Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization and summit organizer. Here's one: The 2.5 billion people world- wide without access to a WC drain developing nations' economies. Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, for example, lose an estimated $9 billion a year due to poor sanitation, according to a report by World Bank economist Guy Hutton to be presented at the event. How do you create demand? Make potties a status symbol! "Toilets will have to be sold like Prada products," says Sim, the rare man who uses the word "excreta" in conversation. At the same time, they must be affordable, so think Ikea's business model — mass production, low price, and great design. Something to ponder in one of the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel's eight lobby restrooms. — David Lidsky

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tue, november 04
Energy 2030
Abu Dhabi

Given that oil has bought pretty much everything that Abu Dhabi has, the emirate has been remarkably pragmatic in planning for a less fossil-fuel-reliant future. Two years ago, it announced the Masdar Initiative, a plan for a city powered entirely by renewable energy. If that project's motives seemed too image-conscious and perhaps far-fetched, the Energy 2030 conference might help substantiate Abu Dhabi's alt-fuel ambitions. Some stars of the energy scene — including peak-oil theorist Matthew Simmons — will gather to imagine the world's power structure 22 years from now and what can be done to ensure that it's less dependent on oil and gas. — Chip McCorkle

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wed, november 05
Web 2.0 Summit
San Francisco

The organizers of this summit have huge faith in Web 2.0: This year's theme is how the Net could solve everything from global warming to genocide. Each speaker will have 10 minutes to explain. Expect big-conference regulars (Mark Zuckerberg! Arianna Huffington! Al Gore!) to wax lyrical about the wisdom of Web crowds and their values — openness, optimism, entrepreneurship. If there's anything bigger than their talk, it's their ambition. "It's never 'Is it too big a problem?' " says program chair John Battelle. "It's 'Is it big enough?' " — JLA

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thu, november 06
Philanthropy Roundtable Annual Meeting
Naples, Florida

There's an art to charitable giving. And for participants of this exclusive event — reserved for those who plan to give away at least $1 million in the next year — it's not easy, especially with increased calls for transparency and government oversight in the ballooning nonprofit sector. Newark mayor Cory Booker and Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, a longtime philanthropist, will speak, and sessions will eschew happy talk in favor of "vigorous debate," says Philanthropy Roundtable president Adam Meyerson. For instance, microfinance leader Maria Otero of Acción will square off against Shell Foundation director Kurt Hoffman on the best approach to eradicating poverty: Should it come from the grassroots empowerment of the poor, or can it happen effectively only with big business and market-building intervention? — Jennifer Vilaga

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fri, november 07
Try to Party
Realtors Conference & Expo

If we were National Association of Realtors president Dick Gaylord, we'd be clamoring to share the stage with Lance Armstrong too. The testicular-cancer-beating, seven-time-Tour-de-France-winning cyclist is the poster boy for overcoming bumpy times, and thus an appropriate keynote speaker for the 30,000 perpetually optimistic realtors at this convention. They'll put their "full speed ahead!" motto to the test with a night of unlimited roller-coaster rides at Universal Studios Florida. Stomach-lurching, adrenaline-inducing thrill rides with a guaranteed happy ending? They hope that's a fitting metaphor for their ailing industry. — Kate Rockwood

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fri, november 07
Sculptural Objects & Functional Art

Not all property markets have gone cold: A decade ago, collectors could snag George Nakashima's dramatic, carved-wood dining tables for less than $10,000, but today, one costs 10 times that. His craggy, free-form redwood table, called Arlyn, fetched $822,400 at auction two years ago. "There's been a serious increase in value in pieces bridging the gap between functional and fine arts," says SOFA founder Mark Lyman. Which makes bargain hunting that much more fun at the 15th annual fair, where some 35,000 curators, decorators, collectors, and wishful thinkers will be on the prowl. Among the works on display during the three-day exposition will be pieces by glass artists Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra, sculptor Ruth Duckworth, and fiber artist Lenore Tawney. — KR

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Week 3

mon, november 10
World Travel Market

What kind of trade show has a singing competition? A travel-industry one, obviously. From the 47,000 attendees at the four-day World Travel Market will emerge a singular, vocal figure, someone who dreams of "becoming the next Leona Lewis, but loves [her] job in the travel industry too much": the inaugural Travel Pop Star. Regional heats began online in September. The lucky ones with the most Web votes will go to the finals, to be held at the trade show and taped for the Web site TravelMole TV. The winner will get to record his or her "hit" song — their quote marks, not ours — at a London studio. — Anne C. Lee

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tue, november 11
Set Sail
Last Voyage of the QE2
Southampton, England, to Dubai

Queen Elizabeth 2 is retiring. Not the monarch (sorry, Charles), but the cruise ship. Cunard, whose fleet includes the more modern Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, sold its onetime crown jewel for $100 million to the Dubai investment company Istithmar, which will turn the QE2 into a floating hotel. At 41, the boat is an "old lady," says Cunard spokesman Michael Gallagher. (The photograph above was taken in Southampton on the day of her launch.) The QE2 is also so high maintenance that it has taken 10 times as much money to keep her sailing as she cost to build. While she's still got moves — as the world's fastest cruise liner, the QE2 can hit 32.5 knots — she's also insatiable: one gallon of fuel propels her only 50 feet and on a typical day's voyage, she burns through 433 tons. Sounds like a royal pain in the, uh, stern. — JLA

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tue, november 11
World Tobacco Asia 2008

With cigarette sales slumping in the West, this tobacco summit will focus on the industry's most promising market, China, home to a third of the world's smokers. But China may prove tough terrain for the Marlboro Man. Turning its back on Maoist tradition — the Chairman, shown above left, puffed Chunghwa-brand cigs constantly — the government banned smoking in Beijing's public buildings earlier this year and has pledged to end tobacco advertising by 2011. The reason: pure economics. According to a Peking University report, tobacco taxes add $35 billion to the government's coffers each year. But smoking-related illnesses cost China $42 billion in extra health-care expenses and lost productivity. — TB

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wed, november 12
The Tech Museum Awards
San Jose, California

It is, basically, Star Search for do-gooder geeks: The Tech Museum of Innovation has conducted its eighth annual hunt for technologies that "make the world safer and healthier, more prosperous and just." This year's 25 laureates, chosen from 450 applicants in 71 countries, will be honored along with microlending icon Muhammad Yunus, and five will receive $50,000 prizes. An exhibition at the museum will also showcase the winning solutions, including Sunlabob's solar-charging stations, which bring power to remote villages and prove that, truly, these are ideas that can get you charged up. — Chuck Salter

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Week 4

mon, november 17
Attractions Expo

Some 25,000 park owners and managers will line up at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' five-day fun fair — and hope those realtors (see November 7) didn't leave bad vibes. We reckon the real attraction will be a talk by Tom Mehrmann, CEO of Hong Kong's Ocean Park. He will explain how his 31-year-old park was revamped and remarketed to compete with Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005. So far, Ocean Park's marine life has out-swum Mickey & Co.: in 2007, the park tallied a record 4.92 million visitors, while Disneyland's attendance was just 4.2 million, down nearly 20% from the previous year. The Little Mermaid, it seems, is no match for the Mehrmann. — TB

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fri, november 21
ACTFL Conference & World Languages Expo

In a 30 Rock episode last season, Liz Lemon, played by Tina Fey, accidentally sold NBC to a German company. It was a costly, literal case of a loss in translation (Fehlübersetzung, in case you were wondering). While it's nice that more of the world speaks American nowadays, the attendees at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention have a vested interest in getting you to learn another language: It's their job. They'll gather to talk strategy for boosting U.S. foreign-language skills. Only about 10% of Americans speak two languages, compared with just over half of Europeans. In the global economy, that is erbärmlich — pathetic. — Sean Ludwig

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fri, november 21
The Reopening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
Washington, D.C.

When the National Museum of American History began its $85 million renovation two years ago, one goal was to create a rotating showcase of objects from its 3 million — plus archive. In reorganizing its artifacts along themes like "Home and Family" and "Business, Work, and the Economy," says renovation-program director Patrick Ladden, "we're aiming for people to look at them and say, 'This is what it means to be American.'" One featured item is an early shopping cart from 1937, whose designer, an Oklahoma grocer, had to hire models to demonstrate its use to a skeptical public. In a separate but related sign of what it means to be American, the museum's new gift shop sprawls over 6,000 square feet. — Clayton Neuman

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fri, november 21
World Television Day

In 1996, the UN declared a holiday to honor TV, urging members to observe the occasion by exchanging good, wholesome programming. The Germans condemned it as a "rich man's day" — they like radio. Twelve years on, one could argue that video is more democratic than ever, and you can celebrate all day long, right at your desk. All hail YouTube. — JLA

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fri, november 21
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

"I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious face. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel." This understated prose scored first-time author and Mormon housewife Stephenie Meyer a $750,000, three-young-adult-book deal and chatter that she's the next J.K. Rowling. The Twilight series, centered on a teen torn between her vampire boyfriend and werewolf best friend, has sold 10 million copies, and the big-screen adaptation hits theaters in time for Thanksgiving. If Twilight's box-office take mirrors the release of the last book (1.3 million sold in 24 hours), movie sequels and more endorsement deals are sure to follow. Cue squealing tweens. — KR

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Week 5

mon, november 24
100th anniversary of the first credit union in the U.S.
Manchester, New Hampshire

In 1908, a pastor founded St. Mary's Bank to help mill workers in his parish save and borrow money. Now, as the nation's first credit union marks its centennial, there's another reason to celebrate: Credit-union membership is up almost 2% over the past year, a big jump over the laggardly sector's recent growth. That may be a timely, if unintentional, birthday present from the folks over in the mortgage sector. Explains Katye Long, spokeswoman for the Credit Union National Association: "I've heard a lot of credit unions gaining members from helping people in a bad mortgage situation." — ACL

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thu, november 27
82nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York

As Macy's celebrates its 150th anniversary and stages its yearly salute to Al Roker's on-air bantering skills, it has a lot to be thankful for:

* Profits sagged more than 10% in 2008, but things would have been a lot worse if it weren't for the growth of its subsidiary Bloomingdale's.

* The cosmetics division slathered on an estimated $3.5 billion — plus in sales, making Macy's the nation's largest purveyor of an unrealistic standard of beauty.

* FAO Schwarz will open toy shops in 275 Macy's this fall, delighting all who vaguely recall Big. (Tom Hanks dolls, anyone?)

* Donald Trump — branded dress shirts, ties, and accessories are sold exclusively at Macy's.

* The streetcar was also invented in 1858, yet department stores are way more relevant. — DL

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A version of this article appeared in the November 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.