Olympic Clock Watching

Yesterday, in Trafalgar Square the London Olympic Games organisers unveiled a clock that was supposed to count down the 500 days to the opening ceremony in July 2012.

Today the clock stopped. There’s an obvious metaphor there, but we’ll ignore it and move on. There’s another problem.

The clock was started at 19:30 GMT on 14th March 2011. It was started with a count of 501 days. If you add 501 days to that date and time, you end up with 20:30 BST on 27th July 2012. Which is an hour after the opening ceremony starts at 19:30 BST.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to work. I’m pretty sure that the countdown is supposed to finish exactly as the opening ceremony begins. So why the discrepancy? Well, it seems that someone has forgotten that we’re currently on GMT and that as the opening ceremony is in the summer we’ll then be on BST by then. We will have lost an hour, and therefore the countdown will end an hour too late.

I know that time changes can sometimes be a bit confusing. I admit to occasionally turning up an hour late for appointments in March (or an hourĀ  early for appointments in October) but you’d think that the Olympic Deliverance Team would check before making such a huge blunder.

Thanks to Zefram for pointing this out to me.

Update: The Guardian have published a letter from Zefram on the same subject.


Don’t Talk To Me About Football


There’s a football World Cup starting in the next few weeks. When domestic football competitions are taking place, it’s usually simple enough to avoid getting drawn into conversations about them, but for some reason the World Cup sends a large percentage of the population mad and they start to believe that everyone is interested in their silly little game. It becomes impossible to go about your daily business without someone asking your opinion on  last night’s match or today’s team news.
Having had a cursory look around the web, I failed to find anything that could be used to combat this nonsense. So I’ve designed some simple t-shirts that can be worn on all occasions to avoid getting involved in conversations that can only end badly.
I’ve put them up for sale on Spreadshirt. Please have a look. Even buy one or two. They’re available in lots of colours (you’ll need a lot as the competition seems to go on for months).
All pretty basic stuff to start off with. But I’ll think about adding more slogans and some more designs. Let me know if you like them.

Olympic Gloating

Ok, so London will be hosting the Olympics. That’s bad enough. But what’s worse is having to put up with the terrible gloating and jingoism that it’s already bringing out in people.

In the tube station at White City (and, I assume, elsewhere) London Transport had printed posters thanking all of their customers for their support of the bid (I particularly hate this kind of hyperbole that assumes that everyone agrees with some popular idea). At Tottenham Court Road the train indicator boards were scrolling the news that London’s bid had won – on the offchance that someone passing through the station had previously missed it).

Of course, the Evening Standard was at its offensive jingoist worst. Their front page headline declared “We’ve Won!” as though the population of London had somehow triumphed over some major adversity to win a major battle.

If this goes on for seven years I’m not going to be able to stand it.

And I dread tomorrow’s papers.


London Olympics

That’s it then. London will host the 2012 Olympics. You know, I’ve yet to meet a Londoner who actually supports the bid.

Congratulations to all of the cities who didn’t win.

Now, I wonder how much I can make from renting out my house during the games. I’m certainly not going to want to be in London with that circus going on.


Pubs and Sports

I generally try to avoid being in pubs when sports are being shown, but this weekend I accidently found myself in a couple of pubs when there was some live sports event on a large TV screen.

It was bizarre – and more than a little scary. Why do they shout at the screen like that?