Saturday, 9 August 2008

Days in New York...


For a full explanation, please see the start of the countdown.


Beijing 2008 Olympics: Opening Ceremony
I'm still not convinced that the Chinese should have the Olympics (the IOC insist that the Olympics should not be political and are about unity or harmony or something, yet they're in a country infamous for its human rights violations? Do they have no sense of irony?), but this opening ceremony -- a vast, impressive mix of techniques and styles, directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou -- is too startling to miss. Of course, they wasted a helluva lot of money on it, so of course it does. I expect any participant who did their bit wrong will be taken out and shot. (Watched on NBC with US commentary, which was surprisingly good.)


Beijing Olympics: Britain sends twice as many public workers as athletes by Gordon Rayner, Sarah Knapton and Jon Swaine
"Whilst Team GB comprises 313 athletes, more than 600 publicly-funded workers will be attending the Games... In 2004, just seven public servants attended the Athens Olympics." Except these opening statistics are incredibly misleading, as the article later reveals that "by far the biggest British contingent at the Games will be the BBC, which has sent 437 staff... The record number is 33 more than the corporation sent to Athens" -- so include that and the seven becomes 413! The reason for the extra people is that we're hosting the next Olympics and this is a chance for various officials to find out how it's done. Perhaps we are overspending on this, but at least some of it is justifiable.

How do other countries rate Batman?
(from BBC News)
After the controversy over the BBFC's rating of The Dark Knight, BBC News looks at how eight other nations rated the film. Two of them, including France, gave it the equivalent of a U!

"It's kind of locked in this no-man's land." by Matt Weston
Interview with Rare's senior software engineer, Nick Burton, about what's going on with the GoldenEye remake for Xbox LIVE Arcade / Wii. It's a big legal problem, really. Burton also talks about whether or not GoldenEye's shadow hangs over the company.

Nigerian advises against 86 wives by Andrew Walker
(from BBC News)
It starts out sounding like an amusing story about an old guy with a ludicrous number of wives, but it quickly becomes clear it's actually some sort of scary cult thing goin' on.

Potter prequel book sets record
(from BBC News)
"A book featuring a new Harry Potter tale by JK Rowling has become the fastest-selling collection of short stories of all time in the UK. What's Your Story? contains 13 postcard-sized tales by authors including Doris Lessing, Nick Hornby and Sebastian Faulks... Irvine Welsh, Michael Rosen, Tom Stoppard and Margaret Atwood... More than 10,000 copies were bought on its first day of release, with some shops sold out by Thursday lunchtime." It's only available from Waterstone's, as it's launched from their initiative, but the BBC article cunningly doesn't mention this!