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Earth Science Technology

How Russia Transformed a Subtropical Beach Resort To Host the Winter Olympics 359

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Duncan Geere reports at The Verge that Russian resort as Sochi, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, is humid and subtropical with temperatures averaging about 52 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C) in the winter, and 75 degrees (24 C) in the summer. "There is almost no snow here — at the moment it's raining," says Olga Mironova, a local resident. It's estimated that the cost of staging the Olympics in Sochi has been greater than the previous three Winter Games combined — ballooning to a whopping $51 billion including the cost of implementing an extensive system of safeguards to ensure there'll be sufficient snow in Sochi for the games including the cost of implementing one of the largest snowmaking systems in Europe. The system includes two huge water reservoirs that feed 400 snow cannons installed along the slopes that can generate snow in temperatures of up to 60 degrees fahrenheit (16 C). If that snow isn't enough, then the authorities will fall back on 710,000 cubic meters of snow collected during the winters of previous years leading up to the games. To keep it from melting in the region's hot summers, 10 separate stockpiles have been kept packed tight under insulating covers high up in the mountains, safe from the sun's rays. Down in Sochi itself the other half of the games will be held in five indoor arenas that will host figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and curling, and an additional outdoor area will host the opening and closing ceremonies. In each of these indoor arenas, underfloor cooling systems are installed so that the ice stays frozen above it using propylene glycol, which doesn't freeze until temperatures reach 8.6 F (-13 C). Climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario, almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century would be unable to do so by 2080 without resorting to extensive and expensive artificial snowmaking techniques.""
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How Russia Transformed a Subtropical Beach Resort To Host the Winter Olympics

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  • Putin's Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:36AM (#46209309)
    These games are also a show of the absolutely incredible depth of corruption in Russia. The initial budget of $12 billion has ballooned to over four times to some $50 billion – the most expensive winter or summer Olympics in the history. The 45-kilometre road from Sochi to the outdoor venues alone cost $8 billion, enough to pave the finished road with 5-millimetre thick gold. It was a common arrangement in the Olympic construction projects to use the money as follows: 30% for the actual construction work, 35% to the officials and 35% to the "oligarchs" who oversaw the project. And let's not forget how the Sochi locals who happened to live near the coming Olympic venues have been brutally forced on the streets without any compensation for their expropriated property, thanks to a special law that Putin had passed in Duma. You should see the documentary Putin's Games [] for some background on the mind-boggling amounts of corruption in these games.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @09:52AM (#46209403)

    ROFLMAO You should submit this script to "Saturday Night Live" or for a more politically satirical delivery contact "The Rick Mercer Report."

  • Re:Celsius (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:00PM (#46210157) Journal

    Celsius merely replaces one set of 'arbitrary' reference points (human warmest/typical =100 and coldest/typical = 0) with another (the freezing/boiling points of a hypothetically-pure water in a specific set of pressure circumstances = 0/100 respectively).

    Aside from that, it's what people grew up & are comfortable with.
    Well, the only other difference is that I don't see Americans being evangelical about trying to convince anyone to use their system. (Shrug)

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dare nMc ( 468959 ) on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:42PM (#46210473)

    Not OP, but the US tape measures are much better than the metric equivalent. US has a large mark every half inch, a slightly smaller mark at 1/4 inch, 3/4 inch. then all the remaining marks slightly smaller at 1/8, and then smallest every 1/16". Without any numbers, you can do many many more iterations than divide by than 1/10th can do for framing, building houses, etc it is truly better. Especially that squares can skip the 1/8", and 1/16" marks that can't be so easily stamped into them for endurance, yet you can easily transfer measurements from this device with 1/4 as many marks as the tape measure back and forth, just looking for identical marks. 1/10 just doesn't scale like that, you can't skip half the decimal marks and not be lost, you can't just look at a tape, and no the difference without counting from 0.2 to 0.3.
    in your example, 0.25 your going to be approximating on a metric tape, where is half way between .2, and .3, so you will be counting each mark, 1,2,3 ok half way between the 2 and 3. With the US tape, if your a carpenter used to it, you know what a 1/4 mark looks like, so you can just see it and mark it. May not seam like much, but it truly save a second on every measurement. And it works for all the marks, what 15/32", the 1/2" mark is obvious, move up one of the smallest marks, want 9/16", go up by one of the 1/16 marks.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2014 @02:14PM (#46211073) Homepage

    In fact, the only units that I have to convert between regularly are time units, and metric doesn't help you there.

    I did highschool physics in Europe with SI units...But oh, the horrors whenever, we saw a page from an American physics book :)
    More than half the book was about unit translation... it's convenient have kilograms, meters match up with the gravitational constant.

    Maybe you're right that it doesn't matter that much on a daily basis. But if you ever read the nutritional information on a product over here (I'm currently in the US) you'll see that it's per "serving" and:
    - servings are defined in cups (or something crazy)
    - fat per serving is grams, and
    - total contents of the package is defined in pounds.
    To deduce anything from the nutritional information on the product is very hard... In most other countries, it's grams of fat per 100 gram, and total contents of the package is in kg or grams... Enjoy.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard