Monday, August 15, 2011

TechnoMart Building Moves Again, Runs Red Light

Panicked employees have phoned the emergency services after the TechnoMart building in Seoul started shaking again.

Previous movement in the structure had been blamed on its exercise center, and the theory appears to have been confirmed by the latest incident, which initial investigations have suggested were caused by ten people riding exercise bikes in the building's 12th-floor gym. The combined power of the cyclists appears to have led to the TechnoMart building moving down the road, running a red light and alarming motorists, before coming wedged in a narrow alleyway between a branch of Paris Baguette and the building housing Crimson Permanent Assurance's Korean headquarters.

After issuing the building with a citation for the red light, police on the scene are said to be working with construction experts over the question of how to get it back to its original position, possibly using a large sail. Building inspectors said there was no cause for the public to be alarmed over the runaway high rise shopping mall, but some shoppers complained of motion sickness during the incident, while others complained that the building's new position had made it a longer walk back to the subway station.

The building's owners have said that it remains perfectly safe in its new position, and they are celebrating their temporary relocation by distributing free plastic hats to all shoppers. Statistics Korea recently found that people aren't wearing enough hats while shopping.

In the wake of the latest incident, enterprising mobile software developers responsible for the "Mobile Building App" have seen their application race to the top of both the Korean iPhone and Android charts. The 'app', which utilizes motion detection, distinguishes the kind of low-level vibrations typically associated with structural integrity issues from normal movement such as walking, and alerts the owner if it believes the building they are in is moving away from its original location or if it is believed to be about to suffer from what - for legal reasons - the application developers have had to term 'vertical existence failure'.

The application has been widely criticized by the construction and retail industry, who insist that small movements in buildings are perfectly normal, in Korea, especially when they house gyms or lots of shoppers.

But the government says it is considering banning the use of exercise bikes in large buildings, or asking people to cycle on them more slowly while respecting traffic laws.

Related Links
Another tremor reported in Techno-Mart
"Rats", Not Earthquake, Caused TechnoMart Building to Shake
Highly Localized Earthquakes Plague Korean Buildings

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