Bee Gees Getting Blue Plaque While Monty Python Passed Over

Any traveler in the UK is familiar with the Blue Plaques. The plaques mark the spot of a famous event or building, or where a famous person has lived, worked, or died.

English Heritage has recently announced that due to government budget cuts, half of the shortlist for new plaques will be canceled, with such big names as Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Monty Python’s Graham Chapman missing out, the BBC reports.

Some forty other prominent people have received the go-ahead, including comedian Peter Sellers and actor David Niven.

Blue plaques help bring context to a walk through UK cities and towns. A stroll through London can show you where Dickens worked in a sweatshop as a child, Marx researched “Das Kapital” and Jimi Hendrix spent his last days.

Other organizations put up similar plaques. The Heritage Foundation and Thame Town Council have announced they’ll unveil a blue plaque for Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb at his home in Oxfordshire. Near my house in Oxford is this blue plaque honoring Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first mile under four minutes. He helped carry the Olympic torch this year.

It’s a shame some people won’t get blue plaques, but at least they didn’t give one to L. Ron Hubbard.

Facts By The Numbers For The 2012 Olympic Games In London

Excited for the upcoming Olympics? While you may have a favorite athlete in mind or a specific team you’re rooting for, there is actually a lot more that goes into preparing for the Olympic Games than working out and training. To give you a better idea, here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about the upcoming Olympic games:

  • There will be 26 featured sports from 39 disciplines
  • The games will encompass 34 venues
  • There have been 8.8 million tickets sold
  • There will be 10,500 athletes competing
  • 21,000 media and broadcasters will be present
  • There will be 3,000 technical officials
  • There will be 7,500 team officials
  • One million pieces of sports equipment are being sourced by LOCOG
  • 510 adjustable hurdles are being setup for Athletics
  • 600 basketballs will be used
  • 541 life jackets will be used for Canoeing, Marathon Swimming, Rowing, Sailing and the Triathlon
  • 2,200 dozen tennis balls will be used for the games
  • There will be 2,700 footballs used
  • 53 sets of lane ropes will be set up for Swimming
  • There will be 6,000 Archery target faces used
  • For Boccia, 22 tape measures will be necessary
  • 356 pairs of Boxing gloves will be needed for the games
  • There will be 12 pairs of goalposts used for handball
  • 120 head protectors will be needed for Taekwondo
  • For Wrestling and Judo, 99 training dolls will be needed
  • 375 doctors will be on hand, as well as 150 nurses, 200,000 pairs of gloves and 150,000 condoms
  • 165,000 towels 22,000 pillows will be on hand in the Olympic Village accommodation
  • For Games Maker uniforms, 766 miles of fabric will be necessary

Click here for more information about the London Olympics.

London considering “floating hotels” to accommodate visitors to 2012 Olympics

Although London is expecting close to 5.5 million visitors for the 2012 Olympics, the city only has around 120,000 hotel rooms. Given these numbers, Olympics organizers are considering setting up floating hotels – “flotels” or “floatels” – on the River Thames for the duration of the three-week event.

Organizers are considering inviting up to three cruise ships to dock about three miles from the Olympic Park in Stratford in order to cope with the high demand for hotel rooms. London also plans to lease docking berths to yacht owners for £150,000. Of course, this is a fantastic way for the city to make money during the games, but does not solve the problem for average spectators who wish to find a room at a reasonable rate. The Daily Mail estimates that visitors to London during the Olympics can expect a tenfold increase in the regular accommodations rates. No word yet on rates for a floating hotel room, but you can probably expect your bank account to be stripped of a substantial amount of gold, silver, and bronze.

[Photo credit: Flickr user robmcm]

Tickets for 2012 London Olympics now on sale

Tickets for the 2012 Olympics in London officially went on sale today. With only 499 days remaining until the opening ceremony, it seems that now is a reasonable time to start jockeying for seats. According to CNN, the public will have six weeks (until April 26) to place bids on the full portfolio of events. A total of 6.6 million seats are available.

Accessibility and a level playing field are the common themes of the ticket distribution scheme. 90% of the available tickets will cost less than £100, with the range being from a paltry £20 to an arbitrarily cheeky sounding £2012. Each individual is entitled to apply for up to 20 sessions or events.

The balloting system does now reward those that register early or punish those that procrastinate until the final days of ticket registration. In the likely event that a surplus of tickets are sold, a ballot will determine ticket distribution. Here is a great primer on all of the details.

The chairman of the 2012 Olympics called this ticket scheme, “the daddy of all ticketing strategies.” I totally agree. I rest easy knowing that those that pounced on the opportunity like pack of Harar Hyenas have no measurable advantage over casual dawdlers that will quietly register on April 24. All tickets can be purchased on the official website of the 2012 Olympics.

flickr image via Ariaski

London Underground planning 24 hour tube service during 2012 Olympics?

The London underground may be one of the best systems in the world, but overnight service is still something not offered. Sure, there are plenty of late night bus services, and minicabs are usually everywhere, but once the 2012 Olympics come to town, chances are there won’t be enough buses to transport everyone.

Transport for London and the union representing tube workers are meeting to discuss the possibility of a round the clock service between July 27 and August 12, to help get visitors where they need to be.

As usual, 24 hour service will all depend on pay and staffing issues. To make matters worse, current pay issues have even raised the possibility of strikes during the upcoming Royal Wedding and the 2012 Olympics. Time will tell whether the workers get their demands met before these big events.

[Photo: Flikcr/fofiko]