Eager to shake its reputation for being superstitious, China will be downplaying a total solar eclipse—once seen as a portent of disaster—Aug. 1, a week before the Beijing Olympics, AFP reports. Feng shui and astrology experts are predicting that the eclipse, visible in China but not Beijing, will bring market turbulence, and maybe small-scale political upheval, as well as problems in the transport and communication networks, but no major disruption of the Games.
China still regularly deploys feng shui and astrology in selecting athletes, says one expert who tells AFP, "The national teams give me the date and time of birth of the athletes and ask me to calculate and identify the ones with a strong will and a real chance of winning international games." She says she hasn't been consulted by any Olympics teams about the eclipse, but if authorities are worried, "they would seek help and do something discreetly without letting outsiders know."