Monday, 22 April 2013
I'm trying to get together some pieces that have been publisghed elsewhere, and have them pretty much in one place. Hopefully that won't frustrate any readers that see a five-year-old post suddenly appear in their reader. Apologies if it does.
And it'll take me a while I'm afraid. I keep reading all the stuff that I wrote ages ago, and have already forgotten...
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Two things struck me both about today’s race, and the background to it.
Firstly, DRS is currently too significant. Yes there was some great passing, but some of it was just too easy. My current theory is that DRS shouldn’t affect top speed, just allow the car behind to gain the speed it would have had if it hadn’t been running in dirty air. It can’t be impossible to develop an algorithm to allow that. I’m available if the FIA is interested.
Secondly, what’s all this nonsense about letting Bahrain be the first race again (as it was in 2010, the only year that I’ve been there)? They should be happy that the race hasn’t been cancelled either this year or last, and they don’t even fill the low capacity grandstands. So why would anyone want them to have the honour (that currently Australia rightly has) of having the first race? The reason would, of course, be money; money that will not be staying in motorsport.
Friday, 12 April 2013
Just 20 minutes by train, the S10, from Zurich main station, is the best view of the city and lake you'll find.
The Uetliberg is at the top of the ridge that runs along the lake, and gives spectacular views in all directions, especially from the observation tower.
It's a 15 minute walk from the station to the viewing platform, and it is uphill, so can leave you a bit out of breath - but the view may well take your breath away too.
It's also educational, along the walk are scale models of the sun and the nine planets (eight if you're a purist and no longer count Pluto) of our solar system.
In the photo above, you can see the sun, and Mercury is a tiny ball bearing encased in the blue plastic you can just see mounted in the stone.
The Earth is about a quarter of a mile down the path.
I confess, I've never got as far as Pluto.
Friday, 5 April 2013
My view on Cyprus recently was quite simple. Let it fall out of the Euro and see what happens. If it's bad, then we protect Greece, Spain etc. If not, then maybe next time we let them go their own way. It seems to me that it's a bit like being a member of a golf club. I wouldn't expect other members to pay for me if I fell on hard times and couldn't pay my subscription. It might be (ok, it definitely would be) harsh on the citizens of cyprus, but they have a democarcy and thus all share in the state they have ended up in.
But recently I read a very good article in the London Review of Books here. I especially liked the bit about how an unexpected ten pounds had a much wider effect on the economy as a result of becoming a multiplier. I'm probably not supposed to quote this much text, but as it's less than a paragraph I'll give it a go (If you're from the LRB please let me know if you're unhappy):
Imagine for a moment that you come across an unexpected ten pounds. After making a mental note not to spend it all at once, you go out and spend it all at once, on, say, two pairs of woolly socks. The person from the sock shop then takes your tenner and spends it on wine, and the wine merchant spends it on tickets to see The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and the owner of the cinema spends it on chocolate, and the sweet-shop owner spends it on a bus ticket, and the owner of the bus company deposits it in the bank. That initial ten pounds has been spent six times, and has generated £60 of economic activity. In a sense, no one is any better off; and yet, that movement of money makes everyone better off. To put it another way, that first tenner has contributed £60 to Britain’s GDP. Seen in this way, GDP can be thought of as a measure not so much of size – how much money we have, how much money the economy contains – but of velocity. It measures the movement of money through and around the economy; it measures activity. If you had taken the same ten quid when it was first given to you and simply paid it into your bank account, the net position could be argued to be the same – except that the only contribution to GDP is that initial gift of £10, and if this behaviour were replicated across the whole economy, then the whole economy would grind to a halt. And that, broadly speaking, is what is happening right now. People are sitting on that first tenner.
It reminded me of my simplified underlying belief in how the economy works: tell people they are living in a booming economy and they will spend, tell them it's a recession and they get worried and don't spend.
So, I'm just off down the pub to spend my tenner. How about you?