the winter olympics are here, starting on friday. woohoo! the downside is that i have to rely on nbc's typically schmaltzy and american exceptionalism-y coverage. i remember back in college i ran into a professor of mine in the elevator. the sydney games had just ended and he had returned from a stint in london. the two of us grumbled about american olympic coverage and lauded the bbc. yes my friends, i can bring down the level of discourse on virtually any occasion. instead of asking relevant questions about reconstruction or lincoln with the premier scholar on these subjects, we talked about bob costas.
anyway, check out this inadvertently hilarious article from the times on canada's desperate efforts to win a gold medal on home soil. apparently canada spent several million dollars to study these Important Matters:
- super-low-friction bases for snowboards and whether curling brooms really melt the ice. (They don’t, but they warm it enough to reduce surface friction, especially if the broom is dry.)
- Scientists used a missile guidance system to track skiers, and built a giant catapult, a human slingshot, to hurl speedskaters into a turn to practice cornering.
oh well. just don't get adam gopnik or michael ignatieff involved. those guys ruin everything. (oops, too late).
btw, also check out this video introducing the olympics mascots. my bro-in-law composed the music!