Beijing: lo sport di regime. A showoff of power

Partners In Grime

By Sally Jenkins

Tuesday, August 5, 2008; Page E01

Washington Post

A haze the color of dishwater hangs over the billion-dollar advertising billboards of profiteers such as General Electric and Visa. (…)

So what is this Olympics really about? It’s about 12 major corporations and their panting ambitions to tap into China’s 1.3 billion consumers, the world’s third-largest economy. Understand this: The International Olympic Committee is nothing more than a puppet for its corporate “partners,” without whom there would be no Games. These major sponsors pay the IOC’s bills for staging the Olympics to the tune of $7 billion per cycle. Without them, and their designs on the China market, Beijing probably would not have won the right to host the Summer Games. (…)

Most disgraceful of all is the fact that six of the 12 worldwide Olympic partners are American companies. This has to heart-sicken any patriot. These companies will reap the full exposure of the Summer Games, swathing themselves in the flag, and rationalizing that their business is helping uplift the Chinese people. Don’t buy it — or them. You should know exactly who they are: General Electric (which owns NBC), Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s, Kodak, and Johnson & Johnson. (The others are Canadian-based Manulife Financial; Lenovo, the Chinese personal computer maker; the French information technology services company Atos Origin; the Swiss watch manufacturer Omega; Panasonic; and Samsung.) When these acquiesced to the Chinese government’s crackdown, and effectively accepted the censorship of the press during these Games, they fell into a special category of profiteers that Franklin Delano Roosevelt described in his “Four Freedoms” speech. 

“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests,” Roosevelt said.

NY Review of Books. Volume 55, Number 13 · August 14, 2008

China: Humiliation & the Olympics

By Orville Schell

After a century and a half of famine, war, weakness, foreign occupation, and revolutionary extremism, a growing number of Chinese have come to look to the Olympic Games as the long-heralded symbolic moment when their country might at last escape old stereotypes of being the hapless “poor man of Asia”; a preyed-upon “defenseless giant”; victim of a misguided Cultural Revolution; the benighted land where in 1989 the People’s Liberation Army fired on “the people.” In one grand, symbolic stroke, the Olympic aura promised to help cleanse China’s messy historical slate, overthrow its legacy of victimization and humiliation, and allow the country to spring forth on the world stage reborn—”rebranded” in contemporary parlance—as the great nation it once had been, and has yearned for so long to once more become.


1. National Stadium and Water Park in Beijing. Credit: Panoramic (source:, July 21, Diaporama: “Le week-end en images 2078”, photo no. 19\20).

2. Yin and Yang as tiger and dragon.



Watch the sky this summer: there is the Big Bang out there

Big Science will get even bigger this Summer, with the start in late  August, in Geneva, of perhaps the widest experiment ever, Mental Experiments excluded (in them, you can imagine another Earth, another universe …). For sure by far the largest cryogenic project in history, with the new CERN’s LHC close to absolute zero.

The FT – Financial Times reports.

Little Big Bang to redefine physics

By Clive Cookson in Barcelona

Published: July 21 2008 23:49 | Last updated: July 21 2008 23:49

The world’s biggest scientific experiment, designed to re-create in miniature the conditions of the early universe shortly after the Big Bang 14bn years ago, is scheduled to start in late August.

Cern, the European particle physics centre outside Geneva, will send the first beam of hydrogen nuclei (protons) around the 27km circular tunnel of its new atom smasher, the $8bn (€5bn, £4bn) Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at almost the speed of light.

Lyn Evans, project leader, told the EuroScience Open Forum in Barcelona that the LHC’s first collisions would follow seven or eight weeks later, in early autumn, when Cern races two beams round the tunnel in opposite directions and smashes them together.

Physicists expect these super-energetic collisions between protons – and later between far heavier lead nuclei – to produce a cornucopia of subatomic particles never before seen on Earth. The results will lead to new theories about the forces and particles that determine the destiny of the universe. (…)

Fabiola Gianotti, a senior Cern scientist, told the meeting that “new physics” – manifestations of particles and forces never observed before – might show up almost as soon as the LHC starts, though researchers would probably need at least six months of observations at the experiment’s four giant particle detectors before they could confidently go public with their discoveries.

The likely discovery of the Higgs particle, which is posited to give matter its mass, has received most attention. But according to Ms Gianotti, the experiment’s first significant scientific achievement will probably be to prove or disprove “supersymmetry” – the theory that every subatomic particle has a far heavier partner or “superparticle”.

An odd ad in Johnston St., Hong Kong

CROWDED. May 26, 2008.

Dian Karlina says: “I was crossing Johnston Road. and I saw this tram. The scene looked weird. Chaotic. I took a closer look and eventually noticed it was advertising.”

CC: Atribuição, Não-comercial, Compartilhamento pela mesma licença. Alguns direitos reservados 

Il salotto di Verona

Today’s picture was taken on a Saturday night (when the square is “bare”,  free from sellers). Verona’s salotto, Piazza Erbe – the ancient vegetables markets as the name says – taken by Giorgio on last June 28.


New Mexico: Rio Rancho, July 4th. Santa Fe, Feb. 1st