Posts Tagged ‘britain’

Team GB to finish second in Rio 2016

Saturday, August 20th, 2016 | News, Sport


It’s official! Team GB will finish second in the Rio 2016 Olympics medal table. Nicola Adams’s gold in the women’s boxing moves us up to 26 gold medals. China have 23 and only have medal hopes in three remaining disciplines (men’s 10m diving, team volleyball and taekwondo). Given they are so far behind in the silver medals, they can no longer overtake Team GB.

Can Team GB beat China in the Olympic medal table?

Friday, August 19th, 2016 | Sport


I remember London 2012. It was magic. We smashed our medal predicts and earned ourselves third in the medals table. It was brilliant. Coming into Rio 2016, this made for a bit of a downer though. Without the home crowd, how could we hope to hold on to our spot as third in the world?

That all seems silly now. We’re smashing our medals target in Brazil as well. In fact, we were predicted to come third with 20 gold medals, just behind China who were predicted to score 22. Both of those targets have now been revised by Gracenote Sports who are now predicting Team GB to finish neck and neck with China.

They are predicting both countries will now finish on 25 gold medals.

Country Britain China
Gold medals so far 22 20
Predicted golds Mo Farah (5,000m)
Nicola Adams (boxing)
Bianca Walkden (taekwando)
Liu Hong (20km walk)
Fu H F/Zhang N (badminton)
Chen Long (badminton)
Qiu Bo (diving)
women’s volleyball
Predicted total 25 25

China took their predicted gold in the badminton so they remain on track for their predicted totals.

Team GB is now exceeding these predictions however. Nick Skelton’s gold in the individual show jumping today was an unexpected result: Britain was not predicted to win any medal in that competition. Joe Joyce, predicted bronze in the boxing, has just won through to the final too.

Of course one defeat for a British athlete expected to win, or one win from a Chinese athlete expected to take silver, could change everything around. It is going to be a nail biting finish.

I’ll keep this page updated as we go, if I can be bothered.

Day 14

19:31 China continue to follow their predictions: Liu Hong wins the women’s 20km walk by just two seconds, while Yin Junhua takes silver in the boxing, also as predicted.

21:56 Lutalo Muhammad was predicted to lose his semi-final taekwondo fight. He won, and so is through into the gold medal match.

22:46 Well blow me down, England have won a penalty shoot-out! Maybe we should play football as Team GB. Our women coming good in the hockey final mean we move two golds ahead of our predicted total.

Overnight We have teams running in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m relays: bronze predicted in each. China’s other medal hope for today was synchronised swimming, which they hit their silver in.

Day 15

Absolutely heartbreaking for Lutalo Muhammad in the taekwondo final, losing the gold in the very last second. Still, silver is better than his predicted bronze. Our women took bronze in the relay, unfortunately our men could not.

Today, both GB and China are predicted three golds each. We also have Joe Joyce (predicted bronze) in the boxing final and Liam Heath being the fastest qualifier in the K1 final (predicted not to place).

13:08 Liam Heath wins in the 100m kayak! Another unpredicted medal means we are now on 25: giving us three clear over China. We’re four silvers ahead too, so China would need four to catch up. With three predicted goals each for today, that is a tough ask.

15:58 China clean up in the badminton, keeping them on target for 25 with two golds and two more silvers predicted.

16:16 Here is the schedule for our remaining medal hopes today:

18:00 Nicola Adams
01:30 Mo Farah
02:00 Bianca Walkden (if she qualifies, China’s Zheng Shuyin also in contention)

Tom Daley is also fighting for a place in the men’s 10m diving final. He is predicted to make the final and earn a bronze, finishing behind China’s Qiu Bo and Chen Aisen. That starts at 20:30.

No predicted medals for Team GB tomorrow. That’s now impossible though as Joe Joyce is through to the men’s boxing final, and therefore guaranteed one. That starts at 19:15.

16:26 It is looking good for Team GB. Here are the remaining predicted medals for Team GB and China:

Gold: Nicola Adams, Mo Farah, Bianca Walkden
Silver: Joe Joyce
Bronze: Tom Daily, women’s 4×400 relay

Gold: Qiu Bo, women’s volleyball
Silver: Chen Aisen, Zheng Shuyin

We’re currently two golds and four silvers ahead. Given the gap in silvers, China can only overtake us by winning more golds, which would mean three. This is the maximum they can win: Qui Bo and Chen Aisen are both in the same diving competition, so they would need to take gold in all three events to overtake us.

Even if that happened, we would only need a single gold to seal the deal.

16:59 Well done Vicky Holland for taking bronze in the women’s triathlon. Bianca Walkden easily through the round of 16. Unfortunately Tom Daley failed to get into the 10m diving final. China finished one and two in that the semi-final.

We can wrap up second place with a gold for Nicola Adams in the boxing. Just over an hour to go for that.

Huffington Post survey on religion

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

Huffington Post recently commission Survation to conduct a survey on religion in Britain. The results were quite promising for the humanist community. Here are the highlights:

  • 60% of people described themselves as non-religious
  • Over half believe that religion does more harm than good
  • 13% of people said atheists were likely to be more moral, compared with 8% who said atheists were likely to be less moral

Read more in the Huffington Post article and the BHA press release.

All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 | Books

“Out of 193 countries that are currently UN member states, we’ve invaded or fought conflicts in the territory of 171.” Or so the book’s description reads.

The author, Stuart Laycock, begins by talking about how he was trying to list all of the countries that Britain had invaded. The more he thought about it, the longer his list got, and the longer his list got, the more it would seem to make an interesting topic for a book.

It did. He goes through each country in alphabetical order discussing Britain’s involvement in it. Some of which is extensive, others were just fought a battle there. Importantly, he spends more time talking about these lesser known incidents than he does discussing the history that most of us already know about (World Wars for example).

It is written in a very informal style. This keeps the mood light and prevents it from becoming a monotonous list of events. It perhaps could have done with some editing though. The phrase “you might think we’ve never invaded X country, but you would be wrong” or some variant of that expression seems to appear on every other page. To be honest, given I am reading a book about how we have invaded almost every country, I wasn’t thinking that.

There is some history that I had no idea about, and much that I did kind of know about but had never really heard about in detail, and this filled in a lot of knowledge.

All the countries we've ever invalided

Independence days

Monday, July 7th, 2014 | Religion & Politics

4th of July, Higgs Day, is a big thing for Americans. To the rest of the world however, it is just another day.

Being British, you can sometimes receive a gentle ribbing from Americans about the issue. The day they broke free from the Britain Empire. The truth is though, this happens to us a lot. We used to own almost everyone, so statistically, more than once a week someone is celebrating their independence from us.

Month Countries Count
January Australia, Brunei, Sudan, Burma, Nauru 5
February Sri Lanka, Grenada, Gambia, Egypt, Saint Lucia, New Zealand, Kuwait 7
March Ghana, Mauritius 2
April Zimbabwe, Ireland, Sierra Leone 3
May Israel, Jordan, Guyana, Cameroon 4
June Seychelles, Tonga 2
July Canada, United States, Malawi, Solomon Islands, Bahamas, Maldives, Vanuatu, Kiribati 8
August Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago 6
September Swaziland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Belize, Malta, Botswana 5
October Tuvalu, Uganda, Cyprus, Nigeria, Lesotho, Fiji, Zambia, Iraq, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9
November Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, Yemen 4
December Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Kenya, Bahrain, South Africa 6

Grand total: 61

British Social Attitudes Survey

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

People often refer to Britain as a Christian country. You can make this argument, but as the BHA points out, not if you look at the stats. They are quite clear. Most people in Britain have no religion.

social attitudes survey

Immigration unit

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 | Photos, Religion & Politics


Sadly, this photo almost entirely sums up the British attitude towards immigration.

Is it that time of year again?

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 | Distractions

Seems like no time at all since we started the 2012 Grand Pix season, yet here we are, back at Albert Park for the start of the 2013 season. Indeed, by the time this is actually published we’ll probably be a few races in!

As a Jenson Button you would think I would be used to constant disappointment by now, but unfortunately not, as I watched him cruise home to 9th place, beaten by fellow Brit Paul Di Resta in his Force India, while Lewis Hamilton led the way for British drivers, finishing 5th.

Luckily, as an adopted Finn (I assume, Elina’s mum seems to like me), I can of course now legitimately support both nations and luckily for me, Formula One, along with rally driving and ice hockey, is one of the few sports that Finns are really good at. Kimi Raikkonen might be the only Finn in the sport at the moment, but what does that matter when he leads the world championship.

Union Jack

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 | Thoughts

Union Jack

When did it become fashionable to start referring to the Union Jack as the Union Flag? Well, we probably all know when.

It was then this man appeared on our screen and, in the middle of a rant, his assistant helpfully snapped “That’s the Union Flag. It’s the Union Jack only when it’s flown at sea.”

It might have worked well in the heat of the moment, but it had one lasting problem – everyone believed it, even though it simply isn’t true. As the Flag Institute notes, this whole concept is a relatively new invention; and the flag, both on and off dry land has long been referred to as the Union Jack.

So stop arrogantly correcting me when I use the term Union Jack. I know you think you’re big and clever because you can parrot back a phrase you heard on the telly, but you’re not – go read an actual encyclopedia instead 😉 .

In defence of Danny Boyle

Monday, July 30th, 2012 | Distractions, Thoughts

Recently, we witnessed the London 2012 opening ceremony, and what a sight it was to behold. Breathtaking and magical, it was enough even to warm my icy tax payer heart. It’s architect, British film director Danny Boyle, received almost unanimous praise from the media and twitterarti alike.

However, it stuck me that both the TV pundits and media writers the day after, essentially wrote a conclusion that said something along the lines of “it was never going to be as good as Beijing, but Danny managed to do the best second best that we could hope for.”

I take exception to this.

The Olympic opening ceremony that took place four years ago in Beijing was indeed an amazing ceremony. It’s a perfect example of what a totalitarian state can do when it throws enough money and slaves at something to really impress the rest of the world. But that’s all they had. While a big fireworks budget and lots of synchronised dancing is very impressive, it isn’t the only metric.

For example, we don’t recognise War & Peace as one the greatest novel because it’s really, really long. The quality of a novel is defined by the quality of its wordplay, the character of the story and the emotion that it generates. Not that Beijing didn’t have these, but London had them in bucket loads.

London had both. Clearly, we didn’t have grandeur on the scale of Bejijing, but it would ne nieve to say we lacked it entirely. An army of almost ten thousand performers were involved in the opening ceremony. Bejing may have had an amazing spectacle of thousands of drummers – but so did London.

As for character, soon after the ceremony it quickly became apparent how hollow the Beijing opening ceremony had actually been. The firework were pre-recorded and the girl who we thought was singing, was actually just miming while a girl deemed too unattractive sang from behind a curtain. Meanwhile, in London, we trotted out a series of heartwarming choirs, choirs that were actually singing, for real. In their need to achieve perfection, apparently, Beijing dare not compete with that.

We trotted out an endless list of amazing people – Isambard Kingdom Brunel, The Queen, James Bond, Mike Oldfield, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, David Beckham, Tim Berners-Lee, J. K. Rowling, Paul McCartney, Rowan Atkinson, Emeli Sandé and more. Again, Beijing simply couldn’t complete with that.

While China does have a long and noble history, we were really able to shine in celebrating our recent accomplishments (recent being the past few hundred years). Whether it be providing a shining beacon of socialist utopia as the world looks to the NHS as the model for universal free healthcare or a mega mix of the last fifty years of music, gently reminding everyone that the only people even in the same league as us when it comes to producing internationally acclaimed an enjoyed music is the United States, the ceremony reminded us all that Britain is both a cultural and social world leader. With a civil liberties record the likes of China, Beijing couldn’t complete.

Nor could it compete when we celebrated the two greatest turning points in modern society – the industrial revolution, that brought our economy from primary industries to secondary industries, and the creation of the world wide web, that took our economy from secondary industries to tertiary industries. Both owe their origins to Britain, allowing us to casually at the end of a house party scene, drop in “oh, btw, here is the guy who fundamentally changed how the world communicates.”

All that while respecting our own citizens Human Rights. And mostly[1] respecting other people’s as well.

So don’t be so quick to judge the London 2012 opening ceremony as the best we could do as an inevitable runner-up to Beijing. In so many ways, it was Beijing, that was hopelessly unable to complete with London.