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Nacre last won the day on March 2

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  1. Depression and obesity were first noted on a large scale in monasteries. There were also some obese Roman aristocrats, but they too were lazy bastards being carried around in litters instead of walking. It is worth noting that pro athletes like McDonalds because they need to eat lots of calories. Many NBA players eat more than 5000 calories per day at <5% body fat. I myself am an office worker (well, home office) and have not eaten at McDonalds in about 15 years. But there is no question that the most fit and healthy I have ever been was when I walked the Pacific Crest Trail (about 2,500 miles/4,000 km) and ate junk food every day: nuts, chocolate bars, lots of starchy foods, salty foods to replenish sodium lost in sweat, etc. And I still dropped from 180 lbs to 155. EDIT: I forgot to add that Michael Phelps used to burn 12,000 calories per day when he was training. That is a lot of burgers.
  2. The IOC can parcel out individual food and drink categories as well. Starbucks for the official coffee, Danone for dairy provider, etc. The health food thing is a bit silly. Virtually all major food corporations are selling "junk" food. Bread has lots of calories, seaweed has too much sodium for the amount of energy it provides, etc. Humans are designed to move around a lot (fit humans are potentially faster than horses in a marathon) rather than sitting in chairs all day. There's no diet in the world that is good for sedentary humans, because being sedentary is not good for humans.
  3. Another example of top down decision-making, I fear. I would not want to be an architect on that project.
  4. It takes three to four hours to drive from Victoria to Vancouver. Ironically the high speed boat from Victoria to Seattle is faster. Logistically I don't think Victoria + Vancouver would work. Unfortunately I think the modern Commonwealth Games are probably a bit too large for Victoria. It is the size of Aberdeen, Blackpool, Christchurch and Canberra rather than a major city like Edinburgh, Liverpool, Auckland or Perth.
  5. Seattle's monorail amazingly manages to run at a profit, although it uses ancient vehicles from the 1960's. The key issue is connecting transit and entertainment/business hubs. Building a monorail between two suburban locations would be a disaster.
  6. Not so much "most" as it is "which." Saudi Arabia funding ISIS is fine, but Qatar funding the Muslim Brotherhood is not. To me this all seems very unremarkable. Europe went through the same troubles during its own Wars of Religion in the 1500's and 1600's; simply replace "catholic and protestant" with "sunni and shia" and "printing press" with "internet." Religion hatred motivates the public, but states are motivated by realpolitik. (France allied with protestant countries even as French soldiers were killing protestants within France.) That was true in late Renaissance European states and it is true in the modern Middle Eastern states fighting for power, influence and oil. IF this crisis continues for several years I don't see how Qatar can host the World Cup. Years ago when I was acquainted with the secretary general of Kuwait I know there were plans in that country to use desalination to irrigate some of the desert. If Qatar wants to waste huge sums of money on a vanity project, then building water-tight greenhouses to grow some food seems like a good idea. It could even be marine farming: the waters of the Persian Gulf are full of life because of the minerals from the dust storms.
  7. European IOC voters/members: 41 North American IOC voters/members: 6 (3 Canada, 3 USA)
  8. Yes. As we have seen with Atlanta before and Rio now, the federations can attack host cities and countries who fail to deliver on "suitable" facilities and services with negative publicity and a less cooperation on future projects. Such as stripping the Tour of California of UCI sanction. I agree that Senegal in particular couldn't do much to hurt the IOC. But Russia has a smaller economy than New York city and look at how weak the IOC's response has been to a state run doping program in Russia. The IOC does not really exist as an independent body. Even its president is inseparably tied to Germany and the sport of fencing. I don't think the IOC has much independent power because the IOC's voters and the athletes, NOC officials and federation heads are in fact the same people.
  9. Well, what is the IOC going to do? Throw cycling out of the Olympics for demanding a velodrome in Tokyo proper instead of Izu? Kick countries out of the Olympics if their national committees demand a "real" Olympic Village instead of campus housing? The only feasible way of reigning in the federations and national committees is to award the Olympics without a vote; and that's precisely what the IOC wants to do for 2028.
  10. I went to the Sierras three freaking years hoping for rain for amphibians and got drought again and again. So naturally when I chose to go to Alaska and New Mexico this past year SoCal finally gets some water. And to add insult to injury I got stuck working to help out the crew of the stupidest reality TV show in the world. Oh well. At least I saw about 200 bears. The problem is not the IOC. It is the sporting federations and national Olympic committees, and I think this is where LA boosters are being naive. Awarding the Olympics is the only time that the head of the International Canoe Federation or the head of the Senegal Olympic Committee have any real power. And they use that power to advance their interests and the interests of their sport or national OC. This is not a good thing, but it is the way every organization in the world operates. Our domestic leagues (the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc) do even worse stuff to our cities to get the stadiums and arenas they want. But I suppose this is simply an ought vs is problem. LA boosters see the Olympic Games as they ought to be, while LA skeptics see the games as they currently are.
  11. The construction costs only matter for the things cities build. Consider Barcelona. They already had most of the competition venues before bidding for the games in 1992. They spent a lot of money on their metro system, the airport, artificial beaches, cruise docks, etc. But these things were designed to benefit locals and the tourism industry rather than just the Olympics. The IOC has a lot of faults, but it is not fair to blame the Olympics for the stupidity and corruption of politicians and sporting federations. What happened in Sochi should not make us forget that Vancouver's expenses were tolerable.
  12. One good year of snow will not get rid of the long term water problems in California. Transit is a problem because traffic is a problem. Traffic means lower worker productivity, more money wasted on fuel instead of being capitalized through education or investment, higher labor costs for the goods delivery system, etc. And it also allows for higher densities, which itself increases the efficiency of businesses. Shifting commuters onto rail or bikes is better for the economy. Of course this is an issue all over North America and not only in California. I don't mean to suggest that insufficient mass transit is specific to Los Angeles.
  13. I don't think the budget issue will be a problem for Los Angeles or Paris. Host cities usually break even on the cost of running the actual event itself. Los Angeles and Paris will both have to build very little to host the Olympics, and the cities should easily be able to stump up the money for one or two construction projects without sacrificing healthcare, policing, etc. My concern with a Los Angeles games is that it is yet more panem et circensis for a city that already cares far too much for fame and parties. An LA games will be a distraction from its real problems: the mass exodus of middle class people from Southern California, drought and water use, transit, etc. I can't think of any city in the world that needs the Olympics less than Los Angeles; LA is blessed with an abundance of publicity. What it lacks is the nuts and bolts of urban life.
  14. It is precisely because Paris is so well developed that it is difficult to find land. (It was already the world's biggest city in the medieval era and today it has twice the population density of Manhattan.) That's why sprawling Los Angeles has lined up for the Olympics eight times now while it is a monumental task to get New York to bid.
  15. Baseball is not surprising as it will be hard enough to field a quality Peruvian mens national baseball team. But no womens football is astonishing.