Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:55

Abu Dhabi GP this weekend

The Abu Dhabi Yas Marina grand prix circuit hosts the GP this weekend. Abu Dhabi is the most oil-rich in the region and the 5.55 kilometer Yas Marina Circuit has been built using the motorists’ money, extracted at the petrol pumps. Roll on electric power! It was also one of the most boring race tracks in living history and has been universally christened ‘Yawn’ Marina.

Located on Yas Island, the PR blurb said the track was set to revolutionize the design of future Formula One circuits. Boasting top speeds of 320 km/h and average speeds of 198 km/h, it features nine right turns and 11 left turns and is one of the few venues on the calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction.

Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi

It was designed by circuit architect Hermann Tilke (so need I say more?), and Yas Marina has a waterfront setting scenic enough to rival the likes of Monaco and Valencia, complete with a hotel that even changes color, but was just as boring as that former pair of venues.

All of the grandstands, including the massive hairpin seating area, are covered to protect spectators from the desert sun, whilst the state-of-the-art pit building boasts 40 garages.

As well as the waterside marina area, there are high-speed sections, tight corners for overtaking, and even a twisty street circuit-style sector. However, none of this prevents Yas (Yawn) Marina from being boring if the F1 cars cannot pass each other.

In an effort to boost the Abu Dhabi GP, our Bernie, the patron saint of dwarfs, dreamed up the concept of double points for this meeting, a system universally disliked, with even Bernie admitting it wasn’t such a bright idea!

The World Driver’s Championship is down to the Mercedes drivers Hamilton (Britain’s white hope) and Rosberg (dual nationality Finnish and German). Hamilton is ahead on points, but Rosberg can win with the double points, provided Hamilton does not do well.

If Rosberg finishes:

1st, he needs Hamilton to finish 3rd or worse

2nd, he needs Hamilton to finish 6th or worse

3rd, he needs Hamilton to finish 7th or worse

4th, he needs Hamilton to finish 9th or worse

5th, he needs Hamilton to finish 10th or worse

6th, Hamilton is world champion regardless of where he finishes

The race will start at 8 p.m. our time Sunday (also 8 p.m. Saturday for Qualifying), and I will be getting to Jameson’s Irish Pub around 7 p.m. for a bite to eat (Sunday roast is great value) and a glass or two. Come and join us for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which we watch on the big screen with streaming from the dedicated F1 channel, with no adverts after the race starts. Jameson’s Irish Pub is on Soi AR, next to Nova Park serviced apartments.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:51

New Volvo V60 off-roader

A boost to ride-height and some tougher touches will give owners of the diesel-only V60 Cross Country the confidence to go further, says Volvo.

Volvo has added a second trail-focused Cross Country model to its ranks with a ride height-boosted version of its mid-sized V60 wagon joining the fleet alongside smaller V40 Cross Country.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:48

A two-wheeled nutter?

Have you heard of Francois Gissy? No? Well, he has just done 333 km/h on a rocket propelled push bike.

The bike, designed by Gissy’s friend, Arnold Neracher, reached its top speed of 333 km/h in just 4.8 seconds and 250 meters.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:36

Automotive Focus Group spreads the latest news

South Korean steel maker POSCO has started construction on an automotive steel sheet plant in Thailand which is expected to be completed by 2016.

The plant will be producing galvanized steel sheet for automotive applications and the plant will have a production capacity of 450,000 tons per year.

The company said that Thailand is developing into the biggest automotive production base in Southeast Asia with production capacity increased to 3.2 million vehicles.

Posco found it difficult to export automotive steel sheets to Thailand which triggered its move to build the factory at the Amata City Industrial Complex in Bangkok.

The facility will produce GI (Galvanized Steel) and GA (Galva-annealed Steel) that will be supplied to local automakers and automotive suppliers.

Posco-TCS CEO Han Kwang-heum said, “We will ensure the stably supply of quality automotive steel sheet and expand our close partnership with local automakers in a bid to take the initiative in the Southeast Asian automotive steel sheet market.”

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:31

NCAP suggests India puts safety last, not first

The Indian made Datsun Go has failed its NCAP testing, making it more of a No-Go than anything else.

The global independent New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) organization has turned up the heat on two more international automakers by giving devastating zero-star safety ratings for two “new” car models in India where one person dies on the road on average every four minutes.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:26

Forget Retro cars - it’s Retro bikes

Royal Enfield’s revamped Continental GT still has the old-school charm, with some new-school tech.

Try the Royal Enfield Continental GT - a real head-turner with its authentic café racer looks and bold red paint job.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:23

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that the AC Ace did not start its production life as an AC, but as something else, which was purchased by AC and its Bristol engine removed. Of course, the ultimate form of this car was the 7 liter Ford Shelby Cobra. I asked what was that original car? It was the Tojeiro Bristol.

So to this week. Advertised as being for “the few who own the finest” these cars had owners such as Sir Stirling Moss, Fred Astaire and Picasso. What was it?

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Appreciation of wine is a very personal experience. What you may enjoy, your partner may not. There is no universal tasting, but rather than rush out and buy bottles that you may regret later, there is another way. This is via the popular wine tastings.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:16

Prostate Cancer - is the PSA worthwhile?

It is “check-up” time again with ‘cut price’ examinations between now and the end of the year. For many males, a PSA test is added to investigate the health of the prostate gland. Unfortunately, the PSA test is not the be all and end all of prostatic health.

Of course what I am referring to here is fear of cancer of the prostate. And unfortunately prostate problems are extremely common, a situation we men have to live with. Like all things, there is a downside as well as the fun side. In fact this year in the United States, almost 180,000 men will be told that they have prostate cancer.

With all our older friends getting prostate problems, does this mean there is a rise in the incidence? Are our underpants too tight? One reason for the ‘apparent’ increase is the fact that prostate cancer is a condition of aging, and we are all living longer. The statistics show that by age 50, almost 50 percent of American men will have microscopic signs of prostate cancer. By age 75, almost 75 percent of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostate glands. Do the maths. By 100 we’ve all got it!

So does this mean that life really ends at around 76? Fortunately no. Most of these cancers stay within the prostate, producing no signs or symptoms, or are so slow-growing, that they never become a serious threat to health. The good news is you die of something else before the prostate gets you! You die with it, rather than from it. That is an important fact to take in.

The real situation is that a much smaller number of men will actually be treated for prostate cancer. About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives; 8 percent will develop significant symptoms; but only 3 percent will die of the disease. Put another much more positive way, 97 percent won’t die from prostate cancer.

While some prostate cancer can be ‘aggressive’, breaking out from the prostate gland itself and attacking other tissues, including brain and bone, fortunately this is the minority scenario. The great majority of prostate cancers are slow growing, and it can be decades between the early diagnosis and the cancer growing large enough to produce symptoms. That’s the second important fact to take in.

So let’s look at diagnosis and get the “blood test” out of the way first. The blood test is called Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA for short (we medico’s love acronyms). Up till then we had another test called DRE (digital rectal examination), which, quite frankly, was not all that popular. As medical students, we were taught “If you don’t put your finger in it, you’ll put your foot in it!” Despite this, ‘buyer resistance’ was high, so when news came through about a “blood test”, millions of men began rejoicing and the sale of rubber gloves plummeted. Unfortunately, PSA is not a go/no-go test. A normal range test doesn’t guarantee you haven’t got it, and an elevated result doesn’t automatically mean that you are about to claim early on your life insurance (or your dependents, anyway).

However, there is good news. Serial PSA examinations can show the rate of cancer growth, and the rate of increase is more significant.

Like many other cancers, prostate cancer can only be fully diagnosed and ‘staged’ by biopsy. ‘Staging’ has four main grades. Stage I cannot be felt and is diagnosed through pathological testing. Stage II can be felt, but it is confined to the prostate. Stage III is coming out of the gland and Stage IV has grown into nearby tissues.

This is where you need to discuss your options with your doctor. If you are a young man with stage IV, then you have to make up your mind quickly. But if you are 75 with stage I or II, then you have more time, as you will most likely die of other causes before the prostate cancer gets you. For these people, “Watch and Wait” has much going for it, but you must be prepared to get to know your urologist. Pick one younger than you!

According to Kawasaki, they have just unveiled a motorcycle that is so fast even daredevils are wondering if it is too powerful.

With a design inspired by Formula One motor racing cars and a supercharged engine that uses aerospace technology, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 covers from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

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