14 August 2008

News Roundup: Olympics Edition

  • Beijing's Olympic Cleanup Sends Migrants and Homeless Packing
  • The news has been full of this stuff for the last year. "China planning cloud seeding to ensure sunny weather at the olympics." "Chinese restaurants pondering changing names to appeal to tourists." (Glad to see that one worked out well) "China lipsyncs during Olympic opening ceremony." These games have already been much more exciting than I really expected them to be. I love it -- based on the news, you might think that China's only pressing concern is patching up Beijing enough for the Olympics to finish, then sending things back to business as usual.
  • The mystery of the black stuff on Kerri Walsh's shoulder
  • I'd seen this in several of the photos I've seen of the events. I haven't watched any of the games on TV, but it definitely looked weird in the photos. Along these lines, what's up with all the threads about the standard uniform for beach volleyball? I bet many other athletes also have similar medical equipment, but it's not as visible.
  • Phelps easily wins 6th Olympic gold medal in pool
  • Not unexpected, but quite exciting to some people, I guess. For me the most interesting thing is the last line in the article: "It was the 21st world record set during the swimming competition." I heard about this on NPR during one of my numerous trips out to Gaithersberg. It appears that the athletes this year are wearing some sort of new high-tech swimsuit which greatly reduces their drag while swimming. The person on the radio went so far as to say that she expected almost all the records to be broken during this olympics -- the suits are that good. Which brings me to an interesting question: What's up with the Blade Runner? I remember that he was disqualified from the Olympics because apparently his lack of normal feet was considered an advantage. NASA designed swimsuits which greatly reduce drag in water? A-ok. Artificial feet which give a marginal improvement over the original equipment? Not so much. Nice double-standard, Olympics.

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