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An Olympic boycott is a self******
Photo taken on Nov. 14, 2021 shows a marked road near the Olympic Park in Beijing, capital of China. The first traffic lane reserved for the exclusive use by Beijing 2022 participants has been set up here on Nov. 12. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)
BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- With the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games just over 70 days away, athletes around the world are racing against the clock to get ready for the Games, hoping to shine on the global stage next February.
Some distractions, however, are bothering the entire Olympic family. A small minority of politicians and groups are threatening to boycott Beijing 2022 due to so-called human rights issues in China.
But make no mistake: a boycott, either of the entire Games or of the opening ceremony, is a naked utilization of the long-awaited winter sports extravaganza as a political tool. And one thing is clear: the boycott itself only harms the athletes from their own countries.
The Olympics tends to inspire patriotism, with fans as well as political leaders cheering on the athletes representing their country at the Games. Parading into the main stadium where the opening ceremony takes place, athletes usually have their eyes set on the rostrum to acknowledge the applause from those invited dignitaries from their respective countries. It offers a sense of homecoming and encouragement to all athletes, who would soon turn their attention to the competitions.
There will be no overseas spectators at the 2022 Winter Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So it is the athletes who would be extremely disappointed if their political leaders decide to boycott the opening ceremony.
By contrast, more potent evidence comes from athletes' consistent expressions of their huge anticipation towards Beijing 2022.
Zbigniew Brodka, Olympic speed skating champion in Sochi 2014, confirmed early in October that he had resumed his career in order to take part in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing as "the return to China would be sentimental."
This return marked Brodka's first trial on the track since the World Cup in Inzell in February 2019.
"I wanted to fight for participation in a fourth Winter Olympics. So I came back," the Pole explained.
Recalling his trip to China for a junior match almost two decades ago, the 37-year-old added that China would be a perfect place for him to say goodbye.
"In 2003, it was in Beijing that I competed in my first world junior championship. So it would bookend my entire career," he said.
John Shuster, 39, led the U.S. men's curling team to win his first Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018, and hopes to make history in Beijing as no one has ever won multiple gold medals in men's curling.
"It's going to be special to get a chance to go back [to the Olympics] and see what we can do," the American curler told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) website.
Multiple Olympic ski jumping gold medalist and world champion Kamil Stoch, also from Poland, said he could not wait for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
"This is a really special time as the Winter Olympics is approaching. For every athlete, the Olympic competition is a great celebration. I cannot wait."
After pre-Olympic test runs for Beijing 2022 on the new Yanqing track, athletes from bobsleigh and skeleton title favorites Germany have lavished praise on the infrastructure.
Four-time Olympic champion and tobogganist Natalie Geisenberger said she is excited to experience a new track.
"It's my fourth Olympics and I still want to win medals," she added.
Beijing 2022 organizers revealed that up until November 17, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries have submitted 14,206 registration applications, including over 7,100 for athletes, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has submitted 1,528 applications.
"I'm absolutely delighted to finally get the news that we're going to be heading to Beijing," said British curler Bruce Mouat after being announced in the first batch of athletes to the Games by the British Olympic Association in October.
For Geoff Lipshut, Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team, Australian athletes are cherishing the opportunity to compete at Beijing 2022.
"I think going to Beijing and having that opportunity is the most important thing for each of the athletes," he told Xinhua in an interview.
The organizers have underlined some key phrases in its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, such as "Athletes-centered", which ought to be adhered to by all stakeholders, and any boycott is a grave breach of this widely acknowledged concept.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe believes a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics would only serve as "a meaningless gesture", claiming non-engagement between government officials rarely bears fruit.
"That is a meaningless gesture and a damaging gesture," Coe told BBC Radio.
"No organizing committee or National Olympic Federation, if I'm being a little blunt here, is going to miss a minister."
"My instinct here is that hectoring or non-engagement, in the world of international sports politics, I have rarely seen that approach bear fruit," he added. Enditem
Can Our Civilization Live Underground?
Today, many overpopulated cities face serious expansion issues. They can no longer build up or out, so they build down. Some countries are investing in underground living, but only for short periods, where people would go, for example, to sleep after an entire day’s work.
But what if civilization completely collapsed on the surface due to global warming or a terrible catastrophe? Could humanity live permanently underground?
We need to understand much to answer this question, so let’s dig deep and see if our civilization could go full subterranean.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the possibility of retreating underground is where we’re going to get water, power, and food. And while these things are necessary for us to survive, they won’t be enough if we actually what to live “down under”.
A lot of planning and supplies, a capable maintenance team, and seamless mechanisms to handle all the psychological issues involved would be good… for starters.
Suppose a disastrous event sent us packing underground. In that case, it’s safe to admit that any power sources we relied on while living on the surface are gone.
Plopping down solar panels might not be possible. Depending on surface conditions after a disaster, we probably wouldn’t be able to venture out to maintain them, and there’s always the chance that they wouldn’t get any sun, anyways.
At this point, our better shot would be digging down instead of up and trying to take energy from the Earth itself. We could take advantage of geothermal energy, provided by the heat of our planet’s core, extracted from hot water and rocks.
Speaking of water, there’s no way we would be able to leave our bunkers to go fetch some after a cataclysmic event hit us. If the surface was hospitable enough, we could set up a rainwater collector, but that wouldn’t provide enough water for everyone (and who knows what’s in the water?)
Luckily, underground we can find naturally occurring aquifers containing groundwater. This would work as a great source of water, provided we could purify it before consuming it and contain the source before it flooded us.
Stocking up on canned food and other non-perishable meals would be a great idea, but it would only last for a short while. If we could bring farm animals with us underground, that could work, but we would need a way to sustain them if they were to sustain us. But we can’t forsake the vegetarians!
Hydroponic gardens are commonly used nowadays and could be a valuable source of leafy greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruit underground. This agricultural concept would allow us to save space and water while still providing food with a high nutrient content that could potentially sustain us all.
No one ever wants to address this stinky bit, but we would have to find a way to manage sewage and wastewater successfully. Simply letting it pile up somewhere around us wouldn’t end up well, as we’d get sick pretty quickly.
Depending on the crops we plant, we might consider using the waste as fertilizer, but we would need some proper ventilation. If we managed to build into a mountain or somewhere that’s still above sea level; we might try to find a water source that could drain the waste away to the ocean (it’s not like we’d be worried about the environment after a total catastrophe).
For many people, the idea of being confined underground can be terrifying. Not seeing the sun, not being able to breathe fresh air, not being able to get away in the case of a fire or flood, and even the idea that everything will collapse are some of the anxiety-inducing thoughts that cross people’s minds.
Gunnar D. Jenssen, a researcher at SINTEF, in Norway, who studies underground psychology and space design, found that about 3% of people are severely claustrophobic. Still, there are some ways to counter their fears.
“If you give these people something that gives them perceived control over the situation, they accept being in it. That is the key,” Jenssen said. He added that clean air and space are essential in these situations. Or at least a perception of space created by an illusion.
Jenssen worked on 4 of the longest tunnels in the world, creating illusions of space by adding well-lit oases with palm trees and sky illusions along the route. “You have a feeling of breathing space, a feeling of being outside, even though you’re 1,000 meters underground going through a mountain,” he said.
Lack of sunlight
The sun is our most significant source of vitamin D, and without it, we quickly become more depressed and irritable. But our “sunlight” doesn’t necessarily need to come from the sun. As long as we have a stable power source, we can use LED lamps that offer safe UV wavelengths allowing us to produce the vitamin D we need. Our crops can benefit from these light sources too! And if that doesn’t work, we can work our way around it by taking supplements or eating fortified foods.
There are also some mental issues related to the lack of sunlight, like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where people feel more depressed as the days get shorter and there’s less sunlight exposure during the day. Fortunately, there are already some tools in the market that can help you cope with SAD, like therapy lamps that provide artificial sunlight.
Underground living in the present
Many important parts of our daily lives exist “buried” under the ground, like power, information net works, water, sewage pipes, basements, tunnels, and subway systems. However, in some places, you can already find people who actually live underground.
Coober Pedy, a small town just north of Adelaide, in South Australia, is pretty much inhospitable. Temperatures can reach 50ºC, but that didn’t drive the residents away. It drove them down.
Singapore, one of the most populated countries globally, is considering building an Underground Science City (USC). This subterranean science community (40 caverns of labs and data centers) would be made about 80 meters below the surface of Kent Ridge Park and could potentially house over 4 thousand researchers.
In the case of a total planetary catastrophe, things would be a lot different because there could be the possibility of never being able to leave. That scenario would require us to implement new power sources, food, water, and overall living. Depending on the time we had to plan, a lot of luck would also come into play.