Monday, 23 April 2012

Nolympic hysteria and fusion funding

Am I allowed to use the word "Olympic"?

It would seem that the organisers of the £11 billion sporting extravaganza would like to reserve the word for their own use and prevent anyone else from using it or the well known five circled symbol.  And as was mentioned on the BBC's surprisingly satirical TV show, 'Have I got News for You', someone had described the Olympic Games as "the 11 billion, tax funded advertising campaign for some of the world's worst companies".  (I don't know which companies they meant though!  Perhaps I will find out when all the advertising starts in earnest!)

Naturally there must have been businesses in London which already used the Olympic theme in their names, and I have no idea how they have been treated.  The whole event was billed as an opportunity to improve the economic climate for business.  It was going to bring prosperity to an area that has been run down for decades.  So, just imagine the pettiness of a legal challenge to a small cafe called Cafe Olympic.  Fortunately the owner managed an inexpensive solution to the problem by painting out the O.

Cafe Lympic's new improved look
(61 West Ham Lane, Stratford
London, E15 4PH)

It is now only three months to the beginning of the the Olympic farce, but more importantly it is only four months until it is all over.

I for one will have to adopt an avoidance strategy.  I'm not interested in the competition and to be honest I think it is an outrageous waste of a lot of money.  The £11 billion is just the cost to UK to build the facilities.  How much more has it cost to train the athletes around the world?  We shouldn't just include the successful competitors.  For every one of them there must be 50 who failed.  Then the costs of transport to London are hardly likely to be trivial.  The real costs of the whole event are massively higher than anyone ever mentions.  Estimates of £25 billion are not hard to find.  Isn't it interesting to compare this with the original estimate of £2.37 billion.

Illegal use of the Olympic symbol.
At least someone in Beijing had a sense of humour!
I'm not saying that sporting events do not have any social value.  Even I can recognise that many people enjoy partaking in sport, and an even greater number enjoy being inactive armchair experts.  But I do object to the fact that for a few weeks the whole world will appear to revolve around an event that will bore me silly.  Even more than that I feel strongly about another thing.

Is it worth the cost?  Most people will say that it obviously is, and they will point out the benefits to society and global international relations.  Think of all the jobs created in arranging for the games and think of the legacy in an area of London that needed to be improved.  (Notice one thing that is not included in the legacy - new technology!)

But . . .

Think of another project that costs the same amount of money.  The ITER fusion reactor that is being built by international cooperation (in possibly the most inefficient way conceivable!) will cost about £11 billion, give or take say 30%.  Just as many jobs will be created, but these are jobs that will teach scientists and engineers things that will actually be useful for the world.  Think of the legacy that a working fusion reactor would represent - clean and reliable carbon-free energy, virtually for ever!  The value of ITER is so much greater to humanity than the value of the Olympics, and yet there is only one of it, and it has taken decades to get the project off the ground because of . . . the cost!  Not because of lack of technology!

Yet somehow ITER is referred to as a 'black hole' and the Olympics is not.

Where is the logic in that?

Small note: I don't suppose there is any point in proposing that the next three Olympic events are postponed, and the money spent building machines to compete with ITER in order to get the most efficient possible power source for the future.  You could probably build two devices for the cost of each Olympics if you did it efficiently.  Competition, after all, brings out the best in the market.  We are always being told that by those conservatives who object so strongly to spending money, unless they spend it on a sporting event.


Anonymous said...

What are miserable arse.

Anonymous said...

You mean 'a' miserable arse.

Plasma Engineer said...

Barely literate comments are even tolerated here. What a shame that is the best you can manage!

I just wonder who will be more miserable when the lights start to go out again! :))

Derby Sceptic said...

Some of the companies advertised by the event are already apparent, for example the payment card you must use to buy tickets for the games, widely publicised prior to ticket sales and now advertising their connection on the TV.

Also well known is the fast food chain which more or less has the monoploy of catering at the venues.

What ever happened to preventing monoplisation?

I agree fully with PE, this is a waste of public money at a time when our economy is struggling and we should be investing in such areas as fusion research to address our ever increasing requirements for energy.