Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,
Shandrew
shandrew

Random olympic musings +1

- Joe Biden! A great choice for VP; Biden is a good person and very smart. I don't know how much he helps on the electoral vote side, but he's definitely someone I'd want next in line. He'll help solidify PA, and maybe bring Ohio back into play for the democrats.

- History of totalitarian governments falsifying gymnast ages. This year's case is nothing new. If anything I'm surprised that whoever was responsible for this failed to do a better job with the cover-up. It's as if they just decided to start this less than a year ago, and forgot that search engines existed. Also, calling (mostly by the popular media) searching for someone's name and a year "hacking" is ridiculous. What an embarrassment all around. Making a kid lie about her age is horrible. I wonder if she'll live with the new age her entire life or not.

- Along these lines, I've noticed an annoying trend of web comments made by readers from China that tend to be horribly written, often with the theme of "our government is always right and can do no wrong" and "the US is worse so we can do bad things too". I wonder if these people are an embarrassment to China in the same way that say, creationists are in the US. Hm, maybe it's more like Bill O'Reilly fans...if they posted to Chinese blogs. Blind nationalistic fervor brings out the fear in me.

- That Japanese softball pitcher. Holy cow. 413 pitches, 28 innings, three complete game wins, in two days, against the best hitters in the world. She should be a national hero there.

- USA Volleyball!!! I had grown accustomed to being disappointed by the US indoor teams. Even after both did well in pool play, I didn't expect either to get medals, especially watching Cuba crush the US women's team. Kudos to coach Lang Ping for getting the team to rise up and for making a lot of smart moves (except for not picking Foluke for the team roster). I'll be cheering loudly for Logan Tom and Oganna Nnamani tomorrow!

- I was wrong predicting that Bolt wouldn't the 200m world record. Simply amazing. The Science of Sport site has some good info on his progression of improvements in times over his track career. The site also calculated histop speed in the 100 at over 27 mph! I wish the NBC announcers would quit berating him for his early celebration in the 100. They seem to love pushing negativity on everything.

- Continuing on the subject of NBC, I'd say the worst of their staff are the track interviewer (tries to make disappointed olympians angry and say something they'll regret), and gymnastics interviewer (lays the loss of an entire team on the gymnast she's interviewing). The gymnastics commentators were pretty bad when they were trying to cover up their failure to read up on the rules of the competition and understand the tiebreaking system. They sounded like a kid trying to explain why they didn't do their homework. On the plus side, their volleyball commentary is excellent for both beach and indoor, though no big surprise there, and Linnea tells me that the synchro swimming commentators are great.

- The NBC graphics are awful. the "Live" logo shows up in programs which are clearly not live for the west coast...is video technology still that backwards? And why is the NBC logo in the middle-right instead of the corner of the screen? The scoring graphics for tennis were ridiculously unfriendly (why not just reuse the ones they use for wimbledon?) and the baseball/softball ones weren't much better. I wonder if by 2012 we'll have high quality broadcasts on demand for all events, hopefully with alternate commentary choices. I think we'll definitely have that by 2020. The olympics are a sort of benchmark of video technology for me. In 1984, my parents bought a top-load analog-tuned panasonic vcr and three video tapes, specifically to record some of the games. It had a wired remote (easy to operate with your toes!) and timed recording! I think i was still using the same VCR in 1988, and maybe even in 92. In 96 I was at Stanford for the summer and had borrowed someone's tv/vcr combo. By 2000 i had multiple olympic channels via cable, a tivo, and a computer with a video input card. I used that same TiVo until 2007...what an awesome device, by far the best user interface ever made for a home entertainment box. For this olympics i'm using the directv dual-hd-tuner dvr. The interface is ugly and slow; it's occasionally unstable, but does the job of recording all of the olympic volleyball broadcasts and letting me easily fast forward through the less interesting sports. Directv has 5 channels of HD olympics coverage. That's why i have a terabyte disk for the box.

- Ever wonder what a pro sports photographer brings to the olympics? Go through Laforet's slide show of his packing for the olympics.
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