Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 26 February 2015 09:51

New Ford GT to be built in Canada

The born-again Ford supercar, to be built in small numbers in Canada; could be headed for Le Mans.

The Blue Oval’s new-generation Ford GT will be built in smaller numbers than expected in Canada by the company’s long-standing motor racing partner Multimatic Motorsports.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 09:48

Volvo tries on a new face

Volvo has had the global launch of the new XC90 SUV - a model the company describes as its most important since the debut of the original version 13 years ago.

Volvo these days is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group who acquired the Swedish car maker in 2010.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 09:45

Scrappage - is this the way to go?

Many years ago, to buy a new vehicle in Singapore, you had to hand in another vehicle for scrap. This was done to keep the motor car population at sensible levels in the small island state. Of course, the question was ‘what do you do if you haven’t got a car to scrap’? The simple answer was that the dealer would supply it, to comply with the regulations, and you drove away in your new (first) car.

A similar incentive scheme has being offered in Europe for vehicles more than nine years old, but not to keep the number of cars down, but to stimulate new car sales, with an additional spin-off that the new cars have to be ‘greener’ than their ten year old forebears.

Sales in Germany rebounded in response to the $100 billion government program offering a scrappage bonus of about $5000 for cars over nine years old and this has also been followed by some other countries which are offering similar subsidies to boost sales of new cars. However, like many government ideas, I am told the scrappage system just died a quiet death!

Thailand’s answer to boost new car sales was the rebate scheme for first cars and in the eco-car category. This looked as if it were a winner, but like so many things here, nobody quite thought it through. A mad scramble at the dealers and cars driven away, to be repossessed later as the new owner could not afford the monthly payments. What this did was artificially boost new car production, which then went flat in the following years. It also killed the secondhand market, to the stage that secondhand vehicles can be bought for next to nothing, and the used car yards are still hurting.

No, government intervention has rarely assisted the common man.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 09:43


Last week I asked what car was going to be called “Goat Poo” in Italian? (They did change the name which was Caprino, before mass production!) It was then released as the Ford Cortina.

So to this week. There was a sports car which was a hit, but was canned by the group which had just bought out the entire company because the engine came from another manufacturer. What was it? Clue: 1964-1967.

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 .

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 14:27

AMCHAM hosts joint chambers at the Holiday Inn

The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), in collaboration with the British Chamber (BCCT), the Australian (AustCham), Belu-Thai, the German (GTCC) and South African (SATCC) hosted a Joint Chambers Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening which was held in the Holiday Inn.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 14:08

WHO targeting 17 tropical diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) urges affected countries to scale up their investment in tackling 17 neglected tropical diseases in order to improve the health and well-being of more than 1.5 billion people.

This investment would represent as little as 0.1 percent of current domestic expenditure on health in affected low and middle income countries for the period 2015-2030.

Neglected tropical diseases cause blindness, disfigurement, permanent disability and death, particularly among the poor. WHO’s new report, “Investing to Overcome the Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases”, outlines an investment case and essential package of interventions for these diseases.

“Increased investments by national governments can alleviate human misery, distribute economic gains more evenly and free masses of people long trapped in poverty,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Unfortunately, with the current “epidemic” of terrorist activity amongst the poorer nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, this concept of forward thinking does not have much chance of being implemented. Boko Haram is not renowned for worrying about social welfare.

Listed below is a short description of the 17 neglected tropical diseases, also accessible at http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/summary/en/

Dengue: A mosquito-borne infection causing flu-like illness that may develop into severe dengue and cause lethal complications.

Rabies: A preventable viral disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected dogs that is invariably fatal once symptoms develop.

Trachoma: A chlamydial infection transmitted through direct contact with infectious eye or nasal discharge, or through indirect contact with unsafe living conditions and hygiene practices, which left untreated causes irreversible corneal opacities and blindness.

Buruli ulcer: A debilitating mycobacterial skin infection causing severe destruction of the skin, bone and soft tissue.

Yaws: A chronic bacterial infection affecting mainly the skin and bone.

Leprosy: A complex disease caused by infection mainly of the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and eyes.

Chagas disease: A life-threatening illness transmitted to humans through contact with vector insects (triatomine bugs), ingestion of contaminated food, infected blood transfusions, congenital transmission, organ transplantation or laboratory accidents.

Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness): A parasitic infection spread by the bites of tsetse flies that is almost 100 percent fatal without prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent the parasites invading the central nervous system.

Leishmaniases: Disease transmitted through the bites of infected female sandflies that in its most severe (visceral) form attacks the internal organs and in its most prevalent (cutaneous) form causes facial ulcers, disfiguring scars and disability.

Taeniasis and neurocysticercosis: An infection caused by adult tapeworms in human intestines. Cysticercosis results when humans ingest tapeworm eggs that develop as larvae in tissues.

Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease): A nematode infection transmitted exclusively by drinking-water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas.

Echinococcosis: Infection caused by the larval stages of tapeworms forming pathogenic cysts in humans and transmitted when ingesting eggs most commonly shed in feces of dogs and wild animals.

Foodborne trematodiases: Infection acquired by consuming fish, vegetables and crustaceans contaminated with larval parasites. Clonorchiasis, opisthorchiasis and fascioliasis are the main diseases.

Lymphatic filariasis: Infection transmitted by mosquitoes causing abnormal enlargement of limbs and genitals from adult worms inhabiting and reproducing in the lymphatic system.

Onchocerciasis (river blindness): Infection transmitted by the bite of infected black flies causing severe itching and eye lesions as the adult worm produces larvae and leading to visual impairment and permanent blindness.

Schistosomiasis: Trematode infections transmitted when larval forms released by freshwater snails penetrate human skin during contact with infested water.

Soil-transmitted helminthiases: Nematode infections transmitted through soil contaminated by human feces causing anemia, vitamin A deficiency, stunted growth, malnutrition, intestinal obstruction and impaired development.

In 2013, Colombia became the first country where WHO verified the elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis), followed by Ecuador in 2014.

Bangladesh and Nepal are poised to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis as a public-health problem by the end of 2015.

And Dengue and Rabies can be found in Thailand!

The number of new cases of sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis) has dropped to fewer than 10,000 annually and this for the first time in 30 years with 6 314 cases reported in 2013.

In 2009 approximately 30 percent of children in need of preventive treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases were receiving it. Reaching 50 percent of children with this treatment by end 2015 is achievable.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 10:30

Hacking - here and there

There was a bit on the radio news the other day, where some bright spark in Pattaya was able to open locked car doors. He was making a killing at a crowded shopping center, waiting for the owner to go shopping and then opening the locked vehicle and making off with anything of value inside. When apprehended by the police, he had 12 laptops in his car, numerous phones and other items. And - his scanner which had the ability to unlock doors as a remote.

Electric car maker nanoFlowcell will unveil a pioneering electric car concept. Following on from the Quant e-Sportlimousine concept from last year’s Geneva motor show, nanoFlowcell’s new Quant F is just as wild but offers more power, a greater range and a new two-speed transmission.

Producing an incredible 800 kW the new Quant F has 120 kW more than the e-Sportlimousine it’s based on but can also travel 800 km between charges - 200km more than last year’s concept.

Apart from its top speed, nanoFlowcell hasn’t released performance figures for the Quant F yet although it claimed last year’s concept could sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds - so it’s a safe bet the more powerful Quant F will be faster still.

Liechtenstein’s SupercarLiechtenstein’s Supercar

In normal conditions the Quant F runs in all-wheel drive but the front axle can be decoupled for greater range.

Engineers have also made the electric car lighter with a bodyshell now made entirely of carbon fiber. The new Quant F gains new two-stage aerodynamics to cope with the greater performance and higher top speed.

Under the skin the same salt water “nano flow cell” technology carries over but it’s now thirty per cent more efficient offering an energy density at least five times greater than a conventional battery cell.

The salt water is, of course, really an electrolytic fluid made up of metallic salts rather than plain seawater but, according to the developers, the added range it brings could provide the much-needed breakthrough for electric vehicles and make the range anxiety a thing of the past.

Pricing is expected to be announced on its launch at the show but it won’t be cheap. A production version of the last year’s e-Limousine concept was reported to cost a cool $1.7 m.

Qatar is set to become the latest country to host a Formula 1 race with the country’s motorsport chief saying they are about to sign a deal.

The Gulf state already has a prominent presence in motorsport as the Losail International Circuit has hosted MotoGP races for several years now while the World Superbike Championship returned to the track last year.

F1 appears to be next up with FIA vice-president Nasser bin Khalifa al-Attiyah, who is also the president of the country’s motorsport federation, saying they are set to make their debut within the next two years.

“We are about to sign contracts to organize a Formula One race,” he told Agence France-Presse. “We have completed all the steps and there are only a few details before the official signature.”

The Losail International Circuit is not the only venue in the running to host the grand prix as Al-Attiyah added that a specially-designed street course through the capital Doha is also being considered.

The news of a Qatar Grand Prix will come as a surprise to many as only a few months ago F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted their chances are not looking good as the country needed the approval of the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi promoters, who were not very keen back then.

Obviously very deserving of a GP, after all, look at the long history of Qatar in motor sport (I have a copy here, written on the back of a postage stamp).

Looking at Thailand’s position with the new circuit at Buriram - having raced there last year, the circuit is ready. All that is needed now is for Bernie to state the price, and for Thailand to cough up. That simple, really, but with the tight financial situation, that is not so easy!

A restoration starts with an original car and rebuilds it to ‘as new’ or even better, but a recreation starts with nothing and builds what is really a copy of an original car. One of the favorites for this is the Bugatti Type 35.

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