Senna versus Prost by Malcolm Folley

Standard

This past sea­son of Formula One has been the best since 1993. The next sea­son, I think, will be the first where no one on the grid has driven against Senna. Depending on how you feel about Schumacher, it’s pos­sible Senna was the last great driver in Formula One. He wasn’t the most suc­cess­ful, but Senna raced in era when other drivers had access to poten­tially race-winning cars. His biggest rival, Prost, was in the same car for a couple of seasons.

It’s easy to fix­ate on one of the drivers, but the book cov­ers the devel­op­ment both of the. Prost’s tale starts with his first spell with McLaren of that rivalry from Prost’s arrival at McLaren in 1980. Folley doesn’t simply take Prost’s recol­lec­tions. He also draws on other people around at the time, such as Tony Jardine. Senna’s early career is covered with his time in Formula Ford in the UK. Martin Brundle gives an hon­est view of how it was like to race Senna at the time.

Jo Ramirez, who worked at McLaren dur­ing the Senna/Prost era is another source of mater­ial for their time in the team. Other drivers gave brief accounts to fill out the story. There are inter­views with Hill and Williams too. Senna’s time before his death at Williams was brief, but it was Williams who gave Senna his first F1 drive as a part of a test session.

Obviously the two title char­ac­ters dom­in­ate the book, but it is a taste of what Formula One was like in the 1980s. The extra back­ground adds more con­text to what was going on. For example, the clas­sic clip of Senna first com­ing to threaten Prost is from Monaco 1984 where an irres­ist­ible Senna in a poor car chased down Alain Prost in almost undrive­able con­di­tions. Prost’s hand wav­ing in the down­pour is eas­ily mis­taken for someone appeal­ing to be given the win (1984 Monaco Grand Prix — part 7). However it is clear from the book that Prost was deeply affected his acci­dent in prac­tice for the 1982 German Grand Prix where Didier Pironi came out of heavy rain­spray to smash into the back of Prost’s Renault. Pironi never raced in Formula One again. (Didier Pironi — Hockenheim ’82, crash and recov­ery)

1982 was a black year for Formula One. Along with Pironi’s career-ending acci­dent, Villeneuve and Paletti died in races. Paletti’s death would be the last at a Formula One race till the week­end in 1994 when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died. Prost was aware that F1 was a dan­ger­ous career. Ayrton Senna didn’t start in F1 till 1984. His faith was a worry for some other drivers, espe­cially in his later years, when some thought Senna  believed he had divine protection.

There is a prob­lem with any book like this. Prost is alive to give his side of the story. Senna is not. It’s hard to judge now if Senna really thought he was invul­ner­able. If you’re already a fan of one over the other I don’t think you’ll find any­thing here to change your mind. But the other drivers come well out of this. Derek Warwick in par­tic­u­lar could have been bit­ter after Senna effect­ively ended Warwick’s hopes of get­ting in a race-winning car.

The close of the book is inev­it­able, but even here Folley is able to add some­thing, like the pres­sure Senna felt from Schumacher. Everything Senna had thrown at Prost was now com­ing back at him from Schumacher. A sur­prise in the book is how is seems Senna appre­ci­ated what a rival he had lost after Prost’s retire­ment. It also emphas­ises the shadow left by claims over the Benetton team using trac­tion con­trol. Did Senna die chas­ing an illegal car? http://​www1​.skys​ports​.com/​f​o​r​m​u​l​a​-​1​/​n​e​w​s​/​1​2​4​3​3​/​7​3​6​2​4​0​1​/​V​e​r​s​t​a​p​p​e​n​-​S​c​h​u​e​y​-​s​-​c​a​r​-​d​i​f​f​e​r​ent–

With no Schumacher or Barrichello on the grid for 2013, this will be the first sea­son in a long while where none of the drivers will have known a death at Grand Prix week­end. The massive advances in safety are due in part to the death of Senna. No other event could have shocked the sport into improv­ing safety by so much.

#blog   #f1  

Google+: Reshared 2 times
Google+: View post on Google+

A hydrophobic oil absorbing marshmallow

Standard

via +Cheryl Hurkett is this video demon­strat­ing a marshmallow-like mac­ro­por­ous gel that could be used for sep­ar­at­ing oil and water. Like the accom­pa­ny­ing press release says, this is obvi­ously use­ful for mar­ine oil spills, but there are many more applications.

http://​www​.rsc​.org/​c​h​e​m​i​s​t​r​y​w​o​r​l​d​/​2​0​1​3​/​0​1​/​m​a​r​s​h​m​a​l​l​o​w​-​a​e​r​o​g​e​l​-​m​o​p​s​-​oil

#twt   #chem­istry  

Google+: Reshared 3 times
Google+: View post on Google+

My head has just exploded

Standard

Rockabye Baby have a lul­laby ver­sion of Lullaby by The Cure. If you’ve not heard of Rockabye Baby they’re repack­aged ver­sions of hits slowed down to more som­no­lent pace.

Except for the ver­sions of Coldplay songs obviously.

If you haven’t heard any of them there’s plenty to choose from by search­ing YouTube for Rockabye Baby. My favour­ites include:
Queen Under Pressure Rockabye Baby! Under Pressure Queen
Smashing Pumpkins Today Rockabye Baby! — Lullaby Renditions of Smashing Pumpkins — Today
and Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit Rockabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of Nirvana — Smells Like Teens Spirit which will give babies night­mares to scar them for the rest of their lives.

Other bands covered include U2, Metallica, the Smiths and Guns ‘n’ Roses.

and I’m not jok­ing about Coldplay not being slowed down. Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Coldplay — Clocks

#music  

Google+: View post on Google+

Phases of the Moon Pro

Standard

I’ve finally added my review of Phases of the Moon Pro to the Play store. This brings my total of Play reviews up to… umm… one.

I’ve been using it on my Galaxy Note 2, but I’ve just seen on the Virtual Star Party (as I type this) that it’s avail­able on iOS. It looks like it’s bet­ter on a Nexus 7 or iPad.

It’s a simple thing really, you start it up and it shows the moon phase. But it’s done very well. You can put your fin­ger on the moon and sweep it to increase or decrease the phase, set it to full and then see when that is. Or sweep it on or back to new and get a time for that phase.

The app name is a little bit mis­lead­ing now. You can use two fin­gers to zoom into the moon and craters, seas and Apollo land­ing sites get labelled. You need to pan two fin­gers round to move the image on the screen once you’ve zoomed in.

This week’s +Virtual Star Party is a good one too, with more moon than usual. Virtual Star Party — Jan. 20, 2013

Google+: View post on Google+

Quote of the day

Standard

For non-Welsh people, Merthyr Tydfil is town half an hour or so inland.

We don’t get a lot of sharks around here, so he did very well.”

Embedded Link

Paul Marshallsea drags Bronze whaler shark away from Noosa beach
A BRITISH hol­i­day­maker grabbed a six-foot shark by its tail and dragged it away from a group of tod­dlers as they played in shal­low water off the coast of Queensland.

Google+: View post on Google+

Hysteria as a response to snow

Standard

As with many things Charlie Brooker was there first. The video below was from three years ago. #Snowmageddon has become a staple story in the UK with the first winter snow.

What might be inter­est­ing is what snow ter­ror tells us about cli­mate change.

There’s an inter­est­ing news story from 2000, with an awful head­line but a couple of inter­est­ing quotes.
http://​www​.inde​pend​ent​.co​.uk/​e​n​v​i​r​o​n​m​e​n​t​/​s​n​o​w​f​a​l​l​s​-​a​r​e​-​n​o​w​-​j​u​s​t​-​a​-​t​h​i​n​g​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​p​a​s​t​-​7​2​4​0​1​7​.​h​tml

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research sci­ent­ist at the cli­matic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snow­fall will become “a very rare and excit­ing event”.

Heavy snow will return occa­sion­ally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unpre­pared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will prob­ably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.

So apart from the quotes com­pletely dis­agree­ing with the head­line in the story, has Dr Viner’s pre­dic­tion come true? Does global warm­ing mean we’ll freak out when snow comes?

In the Telegraph Boris Johnson has just pos­ted: It’s snow­ing, and it really feels like the start of a mini ice age.
http://​www​.tele​graph​.co​.uk/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​/​c​o​l​u​m​n​i​s​t​s​/​b​o​r​i​s​j​o​h​n​s​o​n​/​9​8​1​4​6​1​8​/​I​t​s​-​s​n​o​w​i​n​g​-​a​n​d​-​i​t​-​r​e​a​l​l​y​-​f​e​e​l​s​-​l​i​k​e​-​t​h​e​-​s​t​a​r​t​-​o​f​-​a​-​m​i​n​i​-​i​c​e​-​a​g​e​.​h​tml

Google+: View post on Google+