2010 Olympics

The 2010 Olympics are upon us and being this Friday, February 12, with ski jumping qualifications and the opening ceremony. I think maybe the only sport I’m uninterested in is curling. Hopefully broadcasts will be a little more balanced in their coverage in some sports, but that’s difficult given the limited airtime.

Websites of interest:
Vancouver Olympic Games Medals Results Sports : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

NBC Olympics

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Minor Olympic Brouhaha

Controversy Brews Over Lip-Synching – AOL Sports

It’s rather disappointing to see some crazy notion of “perfect” being applied to these two little girls. While it is laudable to try to put your best in such events as the Olympics such activities are a disservice to China’s reputation and credibility as many will point to this as another example of the negative side of China. Both the are cute and the fact that some Politburo member pushed some notion of “Chinese perfection” to replace one girl for another is pathetic. I’m not really surprised given that during the opening ceremony I noticed amongst the children representing the many cultures and ethnicities that there was not one Uighur, Mongolian or other Turkic peoples amongst them.

I also found it sad that there is a perfectly clear picture of the girl used in the ceremony to lip-sync but nothing but a grainy one of the actual singer. I guess over emphasis of appearance over ability is a universal bias, even when appearance is equally “cute” but cute for different reasons.

Sad. Not unexpected, but sad.

News round up

Note: Potential spoilers at bottom of page on Olympic results for West Coast and Hawaiian viewers.

Invisibility cloak one step closer, scientists say | U.S. | Reuters Very interesting stuff, in my opinion. But then I’ve been reading about proposed technology like this for about a decade.

NASA abandons plan to fly new spaceships by 2013 | Reuters This is to be expected given the lack of funding available for NASA. Given recent tensions with Russia and potential future unreliability as a result, I think plans to retire the shuttle fleet may need to be reviewed or the government will need to increase funding to NASA to fast track Orion. I doubt either option is palatable in Congress given the current economy and world turmoil. Neither is allowing Russia, with its currently anti-Western leanings, to have sole access to the ISS in the immediate future.

Northrop contract for U.S. patrol plane upheld | Politics | Reuters
Good to finally have that dispute settled. I, for one, am getting tired of complaints being filed simply because I company lost a contract. Yes, there is a need to ensure fairness but it’s annoying when protests seem to be made more for spite than anything else.

Boeing may not bid on $35 billion tanker deal: report | Politics | Reuters Interesting, if true, though I doubt any aircraft company capable of competing for a contract would simply bypass an opportunity given the current lean times for the aerospace industry.

Half of all Americans have poor eyesight: study | U.S. | Reuters
I believe it.

Bush could weaken Endangered Species Act – CNN.com
*sigh* Bush and his ilk just don’t get it. What good is business and
projects if there is no environment left in which to run their
businesses and projects. I think the little protection and caution the
EPA provides is a good thing. Removing that protection and letting
agencies biased in favor of projects is like putting the fox in charge
of the hen house. The fox and its cubs will be fat and sassy for a short time but
eventually will starve to death. This attitude that business and the
environment cannot coexist needs to be eliminated from political
thought.

Russian-Georgian War

Polish, Ukrainian, Baltic leaders to visit Georgia | Reuters Well they are the ones who face the greatest threat from Russia’s current belligerence given the West’s rather lackluster response to the invasion of Georgia.

Anti-Russia protests over invasion of Georgia:
Anti-Russian protest by pro-Georgians outside London embassy – Telegraph

Georgians hold anti-Russia protest – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

And Russia’s counter: Russians decry Western “propaganda” over crisis | Reuters My previous posts about the conflict shows the double standard Russia applies when it comes to “propaganda”. The article itself ends with some hilarious propaganda claims. Don’t want to be called an ‘aggressor’ and a ‘militant empire’ then maybe Russia should not have behaved as one by invading Georgia. The U.S. has taken its knocks over the years by the international media over just about everything, including Iraq and Afghanistan. What Russia has done makes the U.S. look positively kittenish.

Olympics

I’m pleased to see the continue success of the U.S. swim team, both men and women. Phelps is one step closer to reaching his goal.

The energy from the crowd at the women’s water polo match between the U.S. and China was pretty amazing, with the crowd being pretty vociferous for both teams. It was almost as interesting to observe as the game itself.

In Women’s Basketball, Team USA defeated China. Russia squeaked by the ROK.

Azerbaijan scored it’s first medal: a gold in men’s judo. I always like seeing the smaller contingents succeed.

Olympics

I thought the opening ceremony was pretty well done. Perhaps a little slow in some areas, but over all a nicely done mix highlighting elements of Chinese culture and accomplishments. my favorite parts were the drums and the actual lighting of the torch.

I think I overdosed on watching the televised events. Heh. Comments:

  • Men’s USA basketball seems to have gotten off to the right start. The women’s team certainly did.
  • I was surprised with the US sweep of Women’s Individual Sabre.
  • Beach Volleyball has been a mixed bag along with the weather.
  • Wow. Bush is getting around to a lot events.
  • And the gymnasts, American and otherwise. Well, lets just say wow. As usual.

Masks Unmasked

Cyclists Apologize for Wearing Masks – AOL Sports

I personally don’t see why the cyclists felt the need to apologize if they were only concerned for their health as they claim. China freely admits the air quality in Beijing is poor at the best of times so what’s with the over the top political correctness? The residents of Beijing wear masks all the time and the Chinese government has done surprisingly (if a little late in their plans) for helping mitigate the city’s pollution problem. This sounds too much like the sycophants to BOCOG, USOC, or the IOC stirring up trouble where there should be none in attempt to make the games and China look “perfect”, an unattainable goal given events. Seems a bit hypocritical to have your own population wearing masks to protect themselves from the pollution (among other things) but somehow it’s disrespectful if a foreign visitor does the same.

What are they going to do if that group of British runners show up at the track with oxygen masks as some of them claim they will do?

News commentary

Iraq Not Allowed to Compete in Beijing – AOL Sports Just another example of why the IOC and the Olympics mean nothing anymore. The corruption, abuse of power, and interference starts with the IOC.

Obama urges Europe to stand with U.S. on Afghanistan | Reuters I watched Obama’s speech. It wasn’t especially notable to be honest. Not bad, just not really note worthy, IMO. I was a little surprised at the relatively sedate response from the crowd to his words, though maybe that was more due to the perception put forth by the news media that Obama would be the equivalent of a political rock star in Europe so I expected more enthusiasm.

White House threatens veto on bill to sell govt oil | Reuters In this case the White House is correct. The reserve is there for genuine emergencies, not because some politicians want to sucker the U.S. population into thinking they’re doing something to solve the problem of high fuel prices. These politicians have forgotten the purpose of the oil reserve: to mitigate oil supply disruption caused by events like the oil embargo of the 70s, war, and natural disasters. None of these play into the current state of oil prices in the U.S. at this time. Had these jumps occurred in the early days of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars or after Hurricane Katrina there would be some justification. but not now.

U.S. wants counterterror funds for Pakistan F-16s | Reuters An on this the White House is wrong. Counter terrorism funds should not be diverted to military funding given that they were approved solely for counter terrorism and law enforcement purposes. Add to this two key factors: 1. Pakistan helped form and support the Taliban and has some politicians and military leaders that still support them and 2. the F-16s used have traditionally been used by Pakistan to counter it’s neighbor India in their on going territorial dispute.