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back to article Hong Kong plans cavernous underground data centres

The Hong Kong government is looking at a novel way of creating new space in which to build data centres in the tiny Special Administrative Region (SAR): digging purpose-built caves. Speaking at the Datacentre Space Asia conference in the SARon Thursday, Hilary Cordell of local real estate law firm Cordells revealed that plans …

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Anonymous Coward

Scaramanga?

Sounds like the HK government has been watching "the man with the golden gun". Admittedly that wasn't an underground data centre so much as a death trap

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Re: Scaramanga?

They should have watched "Colossus, The Forbin Project"

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jai
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Neil Stephenson

someone's been reading the Cryptonomicon from the sounds of it

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Facepalm

Say what?

"Legally the person who owns the ground owns everything underneath to the centre of the earth and everything above to the heavens"

This is what happens when we base modern laws on medieval laws that accounted for medieval technological capabilities.

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Pint

Re: Say what?

Excellent, i'm going to buy some land at the end of Hong Kong international airport and charge a traversal fee for any planes entering my airspace

Beer because who would need to work after that!

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Meh

Re: Say what?

I have no idea why a real estate lawyer would make such an insanely inaccurate statement that "the landowner owns everything underneath to the center if the Earth". Maybe that's how land law works in Hong Kong but it certainly does not work that way in the U.S.

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Re: Say what?

Even if it were true somewhere else, it is wholly irrelevant in Hong Kong where every square inch in private hands is leasehold, except for the Cathedral, which cannot lawfully do anything but save souls.

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Re: Say what?

But it only applies in some countries anyway.

In others, you don't own the mineral rights, nor do you own the airspace.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Say what?

Its a term from the basic principles of property ownership law:

Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos

You can read the short summary here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuius_est_solum_eius_est_usque_ad_coelum_et_ad_inferos

And yes it does/did apply to the USA :-)

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Re: Say what?

All land in Hong Kong, with one small exception, is owned by the People's Republic of China so the statement is bollocks as you say.

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Re: Say what?

Presumably in the same way that it was owned by the Queen before the handover and all land in England is owned by the Queen today. For all practical purposes, the private "owners" do actually own it, just like in for example Scotland.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Say what?

"did apply" - as a land owner in the US, I can tell you I do NOT own mineral rights to my land. It will depend upon the nature of the land purchase: for a small residential lot (such as mine) you generally don't get mineral rights, for a larger acreage such as a farm you generally do, IANAL, IANYL, YMMV, VWPBL, etc.

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Re: Say what?

jonathanb

All land in HK is leased from the government, only St John's Cathedral is freehold. Even under UK rule, land was only ever leased.

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Re: Say what?

Correct. I don't own the development rights on my land in Northern Virginia. I still own the land but not the right to build anything on it (except a clause for two additional homes for any potential children). I donated the development rights to a land trust who will hold them in perpetuity to prevent any future owners from mucking up the land with houses/shops.

I guess the best way to describe land rights (in the U.S.) is like a bundle of sticks. You can sell off individual sticks (mineral, water, development, agricultural, &c) but still own the actual land.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Say what?

No, mineral rights are different to property rights.... minerals belong to the State.

Subject to planning permission (which you probably wouldn't get!) you could big a freakin big hole - just not sell any of the "stuff" you dug out of it.

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Lantau

Lantau island is the obvious place, because a lot of undersea cables land at Tong Fuk (no, that's not a typo - a friend of mine lives there and I've stayed with him!)

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Re: Lantau

"cheap" labour is available from the prison across the road from the cable landing site(s). Nice beach there by the way

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Anonymous Coward

Caves are cool because they lack heat sources

Caves are generally cool because they have no significant heat sources. Put a bunch of hot servers in a cave, and it will warm up because the heat is generated faster than it can conduct away into the rock.

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Facepalm

water tables may need to be lowered

Yeah, thats an excellent idea!

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Pint

Why all the hand wringing?

Greater Hong Kong is laced with MTR tunnels and stations, as well as road tunnels. It's not as if they've never ventured underground before. The tone of the article makes it seem that digging an underground space below Hong Kong is something new. Daft.

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Safe from EMP?

A lot of people have been talking about an enormous EMP knocking out ALL infrastructure. This could be politically motivated but is far more likely to occur from a giant solar flare. Mankind's tech is simply not protected from an EMP event--it would send us back to the caves. (The last time this happened, in 1859, our highest tech was telegraph and that was knocked out!) I wonder if the HK boffins have considered that such underground storage could be EMP protected. Everything on the surface would still get fried, of course, but at least rebuilding might seem feasible if the underground infrastructure were intact. For the rest of us, there's going to be sopme amazing Auroras!

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