Is Solar Impulse an extravagant toy, built on a whim? Nobody expects photovoltaic to move transport aircraft. Positive spill-over may concern some technical innovation, so it's no coincidence that Google, Swisscom and other big technological industries are among its sponsors. But a viable business model is not the point.
Today, the UAE is the only OPEC nation supplying both traditional and renewable energy to international markets, with a global portfolio that supplies nearly 1 gigawatt of clean power. And as a result, the UAE is powering countries thirsty for energy while energizing its own domestic economic diversification.
Creativity is humanity's greatest renewable resource. Unlike any other resource, it grows the more it is used, an exponential value cycle that drives a nation's long-term development. When someone asks why culture matters, why events such as this month's Abu Dhabi Festival mean much to the UAE and the whole region, that is my answer.
The weather during January is ideal for playing golf. Daytime temperatures creep above 20 centigrade, the sun shines much of the time and light breezes are common. Increasing numbers of players are aware of this and heading to Abu Dhabi to play at a time of year when courses closer to home are affected by cold and inclement weather.
Think of how much you knew about Abu Dhabi before the Formula One Grand Prix (happening again this weekend) hit the stunning Yas island circuit. Or before the ruling family injected hundreds of millions into the UK's championship-chasing Manchester City football club. Or before Rupert Murdoch, Google's Eric Schmidt and others bowled up at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.