Friday, 27 July 2012

London 2012 Opening Ceremony: The Live Blog

00:41 Right.  I think that's pretty much it.  Totally worth it for that torch bit at the end, and the fireworks.  Thank you all for the pleasure of your company.  No sheep were harmed in the making of this blog, and the Olympics people still aren't giving me any money to produce it.  I would not mind at all being in the Olympic Stadium right now, but since that's not an option, I would quite like to be in bed.

00:40 Did someone pass a law that says Paul McCartney has to go to everything?


00:39 Ugh.  Paul McCartney.

00:36 Right.  THAT was awesome.  To explain it, I have to tell you that when the various countries came in, they were each carrying a copper thingy.  The copper thingies came together to make the torch.  And now there are fireworks and it is FABULOUS and I LOVE IT!


00:34 So these kids are lighting the torch?

00:32 Synchronised hugging.

00:32 Hmm, some kids have nicked the torch and are running round the stadium.  Is this an official thing?

00:30 Here's the torch!  No sign of Wenlock leading the way though.

00:29 At this point, we take a small break to wish Alex a happy birthday.

00:29 Also, apparently "Olympism" is a word.  Not according to Google spellchecker, it's not.

00:28 Apparently they're just starting to broadcast this in America.  They have QUITE the evening ahead.

00:27 Now they're swearing oaths.  This IS like a GB display.

00:25 Steve Redgrave!  Yay!!!  Also, not David Beckham!  Double yay!

00:24 David Beckham still speeding up the Thames in a boat.  We're about to find out who gets to light the torch.

00:20 Here's the flag.  I think they just said that one of the people carrying it is the Champion of the Earth.  Seems like a job that should have more responsibility than this.

00:13 Ok, the pace has slowed a bit.  Didn't think it was possible.

00:10 Ah, good.  A history lesson.  Just what I was wanting. Boyfriend Smile has gone home, by the way.

00:07 How are we going in America, by the way?  Have they started broadcasting it yet?  You've 3 hours to go.

00:06 Flying bird on a bike!

00:03 Birds on bikes, with light up wings.  The boyfriend is talking about going home.

00:03 Nice.

00:01 Oh, nice fireworks.  Mind they don't set the torch off.

00:00 Music.  Please no.  Someone light the sodding torch so we can all go home.

The next day Twitter was made for nights like this.

23:59 Hope Tom Daley's tan doesn't wash off...

23:58 If Greece had a euro for every minute they've been standing on that hill... well, things would be a LOT better for them.

23:55 For anyone just tuning in in America, I can officially promise you, it does end.  And then the Queen picks her nails.

23:54 If I have waited this long and David Freaking Beckham lights the torch, people will suffer.  Anyway, YAY!! Great Britain!  With ABBA jackets.

23:48 I need you to manage my expectations.  How many countries start with X?  Including any they've made up just for tonight.

23:48 Did we not just have Vanatu?  And not Ukraine?  Are we out of order, or have I forgotten how the alphabet goes?  It's possible; I'm very tired.

23:47 Keep drumming, boys. Are UK so late because they're the hosts and let everyone else go first, or is it alphabetical?

23:45 Spain have only just reached the hill.  Team GB are scheduled to enter the stadium in 2043.

23:44 I thought I knew all the countries.  Apparently, I do not.

23:43 I need to pee.

23:39 I thought Sudan was 2 countries now?  Still, no point stretching this out any more.

23:38 I'm just cheering everything now.

23:36 Somalia!

23:35 Slovakia!  I've been there!

23:25 Moving to Papua New Guinea, for the flag.

23:24 Pakistan's is a flag I can never identify.

23:20 Nepal.  The one with the flag you get asked about at quizzes.

23:17 Team GB are due in the stadium at about midnight.  I cry.

23:14 Did anyone light the torch yet?

23:10 The 'Stans have very fancy flags.

23:08 Kiribati?  You are making this up now, right?

23:06 First sighting of Wenlock this evening.

23:05 Isle of Man residents would compete for Team GB, I'm told.

23:04 IRELAND!!!

23:03 "The Queen looking on with great interest" says the commentator, as the camera cuts to a shot of the Queen not looking at all interested.

22:54 Ah! AH! AH! AH! AH! Stayin' Alive!!

22:47 The Czech Republic are wearing wellies.  That was not expected.

22:45 Question for you, internet: if you live on the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, which team would you be on?

22:42 I like the flags on the hill.  Nice touch.

22:41 Boyfriend now playing "Man or Woman?" with some of the athletes.

22:40 Someone asked in the comments what happened to the sheep.  I do not know, but there's no sign of them now.

22:38 This is getting more like a GB display.  Soon they'll all sit on the floor and the minister's wife will give them trophies for skipping and craft.

22:36 Brunei Darussallam? WHERE?

22:23 14 minutes in and we're only on the Bs?

22:30 I'm keeping quiet here, because I know no facts at all about any of these places.

22:23 There's a country called American Samoa?

22:22 Not sure about those we country signs they're all carrying.  A bit Pound Shop.

22:20 The athletes at last!

22:20 Just told the boyfriend I want Abide With Me at my funeral.  He's a bit worried he'll be losing his mind by then and I'll get Firestarter instead.

22:18 Abide With Me always makes me cry.  Except, apparently, when my boyfriend is next to me with 2 stuffed Wenlocks in his arms.

22:13 David Beckham.  Go away.  He's just driving the boat, right?  He's not lighting the thing?

22:09 The torch relay!  Will actually die of happy if you get a glimpse of me here.

22:09 Tim Berners-Lee looks a bit lost there, to be honest.

22:06 BONKERS!

22:05 This is epic.


22:03 I had leggings like that!

22:01  And now into the eighties.  The rest of the world is sitting with its mouth open, and a puzzled expression.  I can tell.

22:00 Ah the seventies: bad catsuits, Bohemian Rhapsody and 3D glasses.

21:59 This is the future, right?  This never really happened?  Or was this when they were all on drugs?

21:58 Ah yes, the falcon. *nods sagely*

21:57 The rest of the world is thinking "huh?"

21:55 Ah, fluorescent tubes and bright socks.  A tribute to GB Displays across the land and throughout history.

21:54 No real clue what's going on now.

21:49 Had to hang up because I couldn't hear Papa Smile over the sound of Boyfriend Smile laughing at Mr Bean.  Boyfriend Smile just told me Rowan Atkinson is 50th in line to the throne.

21:47 Papa Smile is on the phone. Apparently Mama Smile just said this bit's going to be good.

21:45 GAH!  Creepy giant baby!!!

21:42 Yay!  Mary Poppins to the rescue!  So to summarise the last 5 minutes: small children in hospital were terrorised by the Child Catcher and Voldemort, and then lots of Mary Poppinses flew down from the sky and rescued them.  Now the children are dancing on the beds.  And Richard Dawkins plays on.

21:41 David Cameron is in that Voldemort outfit.  And Richard Dawkins on guitar.

21:41 Free national healthcare.  IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA!

21:39 Children's books.  How long till the Famous Five set up camp on the hill?

21:36 Ah, now the jammies make sense.  Good good. AW! Little kids bouncing on the beds!

21:34 Are we allowed to ask why the kids are in jammies?

21:32 Excellent.  Got the flag right.  Now the anthem.

21:32 Ok, next time they announce stuff in French, someone slip a microphone into Prince Philip's general area.

21:30 Good thing they switched off the air-to-ground missiles.  For those who missed it, the Queen just parachuted in.

21:29 And apparently, blogging makes it so.

21:29 Winch her down!  Parachute!

21:28 Actual WOW.

21:27 I hope this is live and she's about to land the chopper in the stadium.

21:26 THAT WAS ACTUALLY THE QUEEN.  Now, where's Philip?  This is gold.  This is actual gold.  If Philip mutters something about foreigners stealing all the medals, this is the best thing that happened, EVER.

21:24 Ah, now onto embroidery.  Excellent.

21:24 Ok, that end bit was good.

21:22 Oh, LOVING the rings!

21:22 The Steampunk era lasted longer than the history books would have you believe.

21:20 Boyfriend Smile: "Do you think this thing climaxes with Jordan's 9th wedding?"  THIS is why I'm dating him, folks, this right here.

21:19 We're about to run out of history.  THEN WHAT?

21:18 I'm enjoying the drums.  This is improving.

21:15 Is it round about now that they should be going to Ireland to steal all the potatoes?

21:14 I've never watched the Olympics opening ceremony before.  Is it normally like this?

21:11 I'm being heckled on Twitter to be more xenophobic.  Things are bad.

21:10 By the way, you should feel free to add comments below, so I know I'm not alone here.

21:09 Isambard Kingdom Brunell (not sure how to spell him) is about to dig up the fields, kill the peasants, and pollute the air.  Things are looking up.

21:06 Here's a horse-drawn carriage, adding a bit of momentum.  Boyfriend Smile has just said "If this doesn't pick up, Britain need to win ALL the gold medals to make up for it".

21:05 GIANT'S CAUSEWAY!  And an Ireland try!  Woot woot!

21:03 Ok, here we go proper.  It's Bradley Wiggins, yay!  Not lighting the cauldron, just standing on a stage.  Oh, no, ringing a bell.  Just the once, like.  That's it started.  Ugh.  Jerusalem.  NO.  NO, those feet did NOT walk... oh, sod it.  There are people playing cricket.  It's like some kid disturbed a quiet Saturday on the village green.

21:02 Are all the other countries seeing this too?  Flying pigs and ghosts in a subway?

21:01 What in the name of feck am I watching?

21:00 AND WE'RE OFF!

20:57 Almost ready, and some kids are playing Nimrod while the audience get covered in blue fabric, to make the place look like it's surrounded by sea.  Boyfriend Smile has been told to stop talking, and we're ready to go.

20:44 In the stadium, a guy with a guitar is singing a song on a fake hillside.  Boyfriend Smile is already being sarcastic.  People are loading sheaves of wheat into a wagon.  I'm not making this up.  I wish I was, but I would be making up better stuff.  I'm beginning to long for the days of austerity, when they just walked the athletes round the track and then got fecking on with it.

20:39 Back.  Didn't miss much.

20:34 Bathroom break.  Back soon.

20:32 Apparently the ceremony is being shown in 3D.  Alternatively, just act it out.  There are actual live sheep in the stadium, and a couple of people dressed as yokels are putting up a scarecrow.  Every bale of hay is one more strike of fear into my heart.

20:28 Awkward moment there when they showed Amir Khan's watch.  I declared it "tacky".  Boyfriend Smile misheard and thought I'd hurled a racial insult.  I liked his shocked face, but stand by my remarks about the watch.  Anyway, time to start getting settled down for the start.  If you have a cup of tea now, you'll hit Need To Pee time before the ceremony starts, so it's not a bad idea.  Also, this is your last chance to start thinking about any kind of hot food you might wish to prepare.

It's raining in London, and we're watching shots of people with umbrellas.

20:02  Sorry.  Got distracted by Boyfriend Smile.  Anyway, we're still watching random shots of people running and talking.  Nothing to report.

19:25 Boyfriend Smile is here with the Wallchart.

19:11 Sue Barker and Gary Lineker are interviewing Steve Redgrave and Michael Johnston.  We have established that Steve has not yet been asked to light the flame, but he has his phone with him if anyone wants to give him a ring.  Gary's worried that they've forgotten to bring the cauldron.

19:04 I'm suddenly getting hideously nervous about the opening ceremony.  We're seeing shots of the stadium. It involves sheep and fields and little cottages.  Huw Edwards is calling it 'daring and original'.   It sounds and looks dangerously crap.

19:00 The phone was just one of those Indian call centres.  And WE'RE OFF!  With a quick history of London, apparently.  It looks bouncy.  Oh, the black death.  Now Tom Daley in Speedos.  The connection being London, of course.  I can't stand 2 hours of this.

18:59 BBC One are showing that advert for BBC, with the song from the Muppets.  I love that.  Oh, feck, phone....

18:52 I've discovered that these posts are coming out with a weird white background behind the writing.  I don't know why this is happening, and I probably won't get round to fixing it.

18:43 I should also point out that, alongside watching the ceremony and liveblogging, I'll probably be doing some knitting and talking to Boyfriend Smile.  Also, whenever my lodger walks round her bedroom, sometimes I lose TV reception for a couple of minutes, so if it seems like I missed something, blame her.

18:34 Things might start off a little slowly, because we'll be watching the BBC build-up thing, and it might be wick.  Also, Boyfriend Smile is running late, as his dad has him doing errands, so the official wallchart hasn't arrived yet.

18:28 Right.  We're going to try this live blog thing, and here's how it will work.  I will post random snark, and you will keep refreshing the page to see it.  I'll add new things at the top of the page, unless I forget or get confused, in which case they may be at the bottom.

Before we begin, I should point out that I am not in any way affiliated to the Olympic Games, and have not sponsored anything, although I have eaten a lot of Cadbury's chocolate and own 2 official Wenlocks.  But you shouldn't think this is some kind of official Special Insight That I'm Being Paid For or anything.  On the other hand, if the Olympics people are reading, feel free to send me money.

To start us off, I present Opening Ceremony Bingo, as supplied by Innocent Drinks (Official Olympic Types) and shared with me by my friend Sally.

Please print it off and use it for reference:
I like to think we can all play along.

I am also interested in more snarky versions along the same lines, of course.

Your Homework For Tonight

In preparation for this evening's live blog, it would be wise to make sure we're on the same page with regards to comparisons.  For reference, please ensure you take time in advance to familiarise yourself with the terms "GB Display", "Inadvisable Spandex" and "Piss-up In A Bewery".


Liveblogging and The Olympics: WhyNotSmile Investigates

Now, it has been brought to my attention that in some Foreign Places, time is different, and therefore they will not be able to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony as it happens, because they will all be in work, so the TV is not showing it until later.  This is not The Sort Of Thing I Like, so I propose to remedy it by liveblogging the Opening Ceremony as it happens this evening.

I'm not entirely sure how liveblogging works; for instance, do I just add more updates to the original post?  I assume that if I make lots of posts, then you'll all get annoyed because your RSS Feed will go nuts while you are trying to watch the Olympics, so I think we'll try just editing the existing post, and you can just keep reloading the page.  But if anyone has any better ideas, please let me know.

Until 7pm*, I bid you adieu.

*I know it doesn't start till 9, but Boyfriend Smile is coming at 7 for the build up, and bringing a Wall Chart.

Incidentally, I have ordered a magazine about the Olympics, but it hasn't arrived yet (probably because I only ordered it last night), so if I sound a little uneducated, it's because I haven't done my homework yet.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The WhyNotSmile Guide To The Higgs Boson

Long-term readers will recall that 4 years ago (yes, really) we discussed the Large Hadron Collider.  More recent interlopers may wish to recap:

So, today they say that the Large Hadron Collider has found the Higgs Boson, and at least one person so far  has asked me to explain this.  So here goes.

First of all, let's get over this ridiculous idea of calling "the God Particle", because it's not God and has nothing to do with God really, except insofar as everything has something to do with God, who either created it all or doesn't exist, depending on your take on things, but let's not get into that here.

The Higgs Boson is very small, which is why it's so hard to find, but it can also explain why other stuff is heavy, which is why they thought of it in the first place.  Think of it as having mice in your house: you may not be able to see them, but then you find poo in a cupboard, and your cereal boxes have been gnawed, and you think "maybe I have mice".  As with mice, so with the Higgs Boson, because it is too small to see, but the Scientists have seen things which suggest it might exist, such as teeth marks on other particles and things.

With mice, you can just get a cat or put traps out or things, but with the Higgs Boson, you have to build a Big Machine and do Experiments, and even then you can't really be sure that you've found a Higgs Boson, but you can be reasonably certain, and this is what has happened.  To be precise,
they ha[ve] attained a confidence level just at the "five-sigma" point
which means it is quite likely to be the Higgs Boson, but also maybe someone sneezed or wrote down the wrong number or something.

Also, although it is referred to as "The" Higgs Boson, this is a little bit misleading, as there are actually lots of them, and not just one, but so far they have only found one of them.  To find more they will have to build a new Big Machine in another place, where a different Higgs Boson lives.