Friday, August 8, 2008

Opening Ceremonies (Free Tibet)

I guessed right: CNBC had a live shot of the stadium behind their Beijing staff at the auspicious hour of 8 - and the sky simply lit up with fireworks. (It looked like this picture from later in the show.) Only live shot in the US, I think! The NY Times is liveblogging from the Olympics, a sure sign that they aren't own by GE. You can also follow what is going on with the feeds, schedule, and photo gallery at the official Olympics web site.

Obligatory science comment and spoiler: one of the performances about the history of China will demonstrate movable type printing. Oh how I love artsy sciency performance art!

If "drum solo" doesn't strike fear into your heart, the ceremonies got rolling with 2008 drummers each with a chinese drum (fou) made of a clay pot. (picture and picture and picture) We'll have to see if the TV broadcast can reproduce that audio experience.

The fireworks I saw on CNBC were part of this show. (picture) The BBC story today on the start of the ceremonies shows the pollution level has fallen so it is merely at "almost OK for a developing country" levels - but that was before all of the fireworks!

(They have a great page that follows the pollution status of the city with a picture taken of the skyline each day from the same location. If you scroll through the pictures and correlate visibility with the pollution level given in the caption, you will see that describing it as "fog" is totally bogus. On "foggy" days it is high, on clear days it is low. Maybe someday the Chinese will learn what they learned in London when they got rid of coal-fired stoves in every kitchen, that the famous "London fog" was just good old smog.)

That said, I can't wait to see the 29 fireworks "footprints" cross the city to the stadium, apparently (from the description on the official site) as the lead-in to the start of the performance. I think I heard CNBC say that 35,000 fireworks costing almost 1% of the ceremony cost (hence almost a half million dollars) will be used for the show. That is a lot of air pollution!

Hopefully, all of that spectacle will not overshadow the Chinese support for the tragedy in Darfur and the oppression of Tibet. Your fear level has to be really high to have to arrest people who are praying.

1 comment:

Unbalanced Reaction said...

It will indeed be interesting to see how the world reacts. Traditionally, politics are set aside during the Olympics, but these human rights violations are so blatant that I'm curious to see if the participating countries can truly overlook them.