Oh, Sochi, No!

Good job, Russia. Arresting the first openly trans* legislator in Europe for waving a “Gay is OK” flag is fantastic PR. I’m sure all the people in the world who love to persecute LGBTQ people are salivating over you right now. Those of us who are actually decent human beings, on the other hand, aren’t at all impressed.

But, actually, thank you for showing your true colors. I’d prefer you actually treat LGBTQ people like people, with the right to live and love and share this planet with us without fear, but if you’re going to be bigoted assholes, own it. Do it by arresting a trans woman for waving an innocuous flag. Not just any trans woman, mind you, but go for broke and arrest a famous one. Make sure the world sits up and takes notice.

Photograph of Vladi in profile, holding a rainbow umbrella.

Vladi Luxuria. Photo by Stefano Bolognini via Wikimedia Commons.

But I have to ask: Doesn’t it just seem a little foolish to strut your bigoted stuff in front of an audience of millions?

But then, Sochi’s been rather foolish from the beginning. Every Olympics has its problems – it’s not easy to build what basically amounts to a city in a few years, and get it right. There’s so much involved that mistakes are inevitable. But Sochi’s something special.

RQ, who knows a lot more about modern Russia than I do, had this to say about the buildings and tracks: “They probably look good on paper, but the Russian reality is even worse than the Latvian one (purposely missed rivets, cheaper materials, etc., because when you take so much for yourself, you just can’t afford all the fancy-pants materials in their proper amounts!).” Which is rather terrifying, when you think of all the building codes meant for fire, seismic and other sorts of safeties that were probably roundly ignored. Here’s hoping there’s no major disasters in the closing days of the Olympics. But considering Russia’s record on human rights and their current enthusiasm for persecuting homosexual folk, I’m rooting for an endless stream of the following mostly-minor mishaps. I do love some egg on totalitarian face.

Speaking of, if you haven’t seen them already, do check out these posts on the disastrous state of unreadiness that greeted people arriving for the Olympics. Toxic facewater and missing floors and absent elevators attempting to swallow athletes whole, oh, my.

You know, I like the geology around Sochi quite a lot. But I wouldn’t give you a pint of piss for a trip to Russia.

New at Rosetta Stones: The Geologic Headaches of Constructing Sochi’s Olympic Village

Are you kinda excited for the Winter Olympics, my darlings? I mean, despite the fact it’s in Russia, which enjoys persecuting gay people cheerily waving rainbow flags at the opening ceremonies when it’s not busy claiming they don’t exist. And yes, they destroyed some perfectly good wetlands and dumped construction waste all over a pretty resort town in order to create structures on dangerous ground.

But that’s the fascinating part! Lots of geological consideration went in to all that construction. I had a look at one of the papers written before the first hole was dug, and yikes, is this ever complex. You may or may not love this year’s Winter Olympics, but you’ll definitely find the geology behind it interesting. Go check it out.

Edited to add: I stumbled across a seismograph of what Seahawks fans do to the ground round here, and just couldn’t help myself. Behold, the seismic impact of Seahawks fans. I’m coining the term anthropogenic seismicity if it hasn’t already been done.