Dr. Iain Corness

A group of seniors were sitting around talking about all their ailments at Costa Coffee.

“My arms have gotten so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee,” said one.

“Yes, I know,” said another. “My cataracts are so bad; I can’t even see my coffee.”

“I couldn’t even mark an “X” at election time because my hands are so crippled,” volunteered a third.

“What? Speak up! What? I can’t hear you,” said one elderly lady!

“I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck,” said one, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.

“My blood pressure pills make me so dizzy!” exclaimed another.

“I forget where I am, and where I’m going,” said another.

“I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old,” winced an old man as he slowly shook his head.

The others nodded in agreement.

“Well, count your Blessings,” said a woman cheerfully...

“Thank God we can all still drive.”

Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:17

Autotrivia

Last week I mentioned a post-war car, with a liberated straight 6 engine, half-brother to an aeroplane and the grille was a steal. What was it? It was the Bristol 400, almost a re-badged pre-war BMW, complete with the kidney grille.

So to this week. What car claimed 100 mph in its name, but could only do 95?

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, 11 February 2015 15:51

Will you need an MRI?

Unfortunately some people think that an MRI is a curative treatment. It isn’t. MRI is one of the battery of diagnostic examinations. The procedure is similar to an X-Ray, as the end result shows the internal structures of the body - but without the use of X-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce these images.

Some folk are a little apprehensive about these newer tests, but the risks to the average person are negligible. The MRI uses magnetic fields, rather than radio-active imaging. However, the magnetic field is very strong. Walk into the examination room and the MRI can wipe the details from the magnetic strip encoding on your credit card, stop your watch and even pull the stethoscope from the doctor’s pocket!

People who have had heart surgery and people with the following medical devices can be safely examined with MRI: surgical clips or sutures, artificial joints, staples, cardiac valve replacements (except the Starr-Edwards metallic ball/cage), disconnected medication pumps, vena cava filters or brain shunt tubes for hydrocephalus.

However, there are some conditions may make an MRI examination inadvisable. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: heart pacemaker, cerebral aneurysm clip (metal clip on a blood vessel in the brain), pregnancy during the first three months (we are just being super cautious here), implanted insulin pump (for treatment of diabetes), narcotics pump (for pain medication), or implanted nerve stimulators (“TENS”) for back pain, metal in the eye or eye socket, cochlear (ear) implant for hearing impairment, or implanted spine stabilization rods.

MRI is also different from X-Rays in what it can pick up. The MRI can detect tumors, infection, and other types of tissue disease or damage. It can also help diagnose conditions that affect blood flow. Tissues and organs that contain water provide the most detailed MRI pictures, while bones and other hard materials in the body do not show up well on MRI pictures, as opposed to X-Rays which do show bone well but not soft tissue. For these reasons, MRI is most useful for detecting conditions that increase the amount of fluid in a tissue, such as an infection, tumors, and internal bleeding. In some cases a contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to enhance the images of certain structures. The contrast material may help evaluate blood flow, detect some types of tumors, and locate areas of inflammation. The MRI machine is also very expensive!

I think most people are familiar with the standard X-Ray procedure, stand there, breathe in, hold it, now breathe out routine, but MRIs are a little different. These are done with you lying there and inserted into the MRI scanner, which is like a tunnel. Those people who are claustrophobic can have a little problem here, as the MRI “tunnel” is very tight. When I had my own MRI done I noticed that my nose was close to the top of the tunnel and both elbows were brushing the sides, and I am considered a reasonably slim individual. I have to say that although not claustrophobic, I do not particularly like being in enclosed spaces, and found that the best way to endure the MRI was to pretend I was lying relaxing in a field.

During the procedure, which can take up to an hour, you can hear the operator talking to you, and he or she can hear your reply, but you still will feel rather isolated in your magnetic tunnel. You can also hear (and feel) muffled thumps and groans that come from the tube, which can be somewhat unsettling.

In some cases a contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to enhance the images of certain structures which may help evaluate blood flow, detect some types of tumors, and locate areas of inflammation. The contrast material is injected via a vein, and the MRI operator will advise you when this is being injected. You may feel a warmth or even tingling feeling as this is happening, but this is not worrisome.

The radiologist then reviews the pictures produced and will advise you of the outcome. I hope it will be good news! And yes, we have an MRI scanner.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:22

Has Warren Buffett got it right?

Warren Buffett has been pushing BYD’s wheelbarrow for some years and now the BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV uses China’s iron-phosphate batteries, with Buffett’s blessing.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:21

F1 testing calendar

The F1 Circus gets underway in earnest in March, but leading up to then there are several days of testing allowed.

01 Feb - Circuito Permanente de Jerez

02 Feb - Circuito Permanente de Jerez

03 Feb - Circuito Permanente de Jerez

04 Feb - Circuito Permanente de Jerez

19 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

20 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

21 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

22 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

26 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

27 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

28 Feb - Circuit de Catalunya

01 Mar - Circuit de Catalunya

During the year there are also four test days

12 May - Circuit de Catalunya

13 May - Circuit de Catalunya

23 Jun - Red Bull Ring

24 Jun - Red Bull Ring

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:20

German GP in doubt

Bernie Ecclestone says financial woes for the Nurburging and a lack of a deal with Hockenheim could put an end to this year’s German GP.

Although the Nurburging was down to host this year’s edition of the German GP, the circuit’s on-going woes meant Hockenheim looked set for back-to-back events.

However, even that is in doubt as a contract has yet to be agreed.

Bernie, the patron saint of expensive contracts, says he is keen to see Germany remain on the calendar but concedes that if the money is not there, there is nothing he can do about it. (Reducing his cut would never cross his mind!)

He added, “We would do everything to stop them fading away, but in the end the only reason the race won’t happen is because they can’t afford to run the race.”

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:17

Things are going to get better

Frost & Sullivan is expecting total vehicle sales in Thailand to increase 9.8 percent year-on-year to reach 950,000 units due to the recovery of domestic demand.

Vivek Vaidya, Vice President, Automotive & Transportation Practice Asia Pacific at Frost & Sullivan said that a set of key factors are currently driving base demand for vehicles in Thailand and are expected to continue doing so over the short-to-medium term.

He added that Thailand is expected to see an average GDP growth of 5 percent over the next five years. “Growth will be led by domestic demand, especially in infrastructure investment and private consumption,” he said, adding that government spending and stimulus will start to show results in the second half of 2015.

Vivek Vaidya said that the growing middle class in Thailand will also help boost vehicle sales as increasing income levels will result in higher purchasing. He added that consumer sentiment is likely to continue to improve in the first half of 2015. “There will be a marginal increase in pick-up truck sales as consumers anticipate a price increase in 2016,” he said.

Vivek added that infrastructure spending in Thailand is vital to fuel economy and sustain long term growth. He noted that an eight-year infrastructure development program for 2015-22 worth 3.3 trillion baht has been approved by the Cabinet, which will likely aid in vehicle sales growth.

Vivek also said that the increasing auto investments in Thailand will strengthen the Kingdom’s position as the manufacturing hub of ASEAN and a global base for fuel efficient cars.

He noted that Thailand has launched the second phase of the eco-car scheme with a total investment of 139 billion baht and 10 automakers will be producing an additional 1.58 million eco-cars in addition to the 500,000 cars per annum in Phase 1.

However, Vivek said that uncertainties in the global economy and a sluggish domestic consumption will weigh heavily on Thailand’s economy. “The automotive sector is likely to face another challenging year in 2015,” he added.

He said that there will be five key themes that will define Thailand’s automotive sector over the next 5 years.

He added that the Eco Car Phase 2 program will stimulate the automotive sector in Thailand and establish the Kingdom’s credentials as the preferred manufacturing hub in ASEAN. The next generation of free trade agreements will further lower down barriers, and will help with better integration with global supply chains.

He also said that Thailand’s integration with the Mekong sub-region will give it access point to CMLV (Cambodia-Myanmar-Lao PDR-Vietnam), which hold significant future market potential. He added that Indonesia as the largest market in ASEAN will compete with Thailand for automotive investment.

He also said that the ASEAN Economic Community, which is expected to be implemented by end of 2015, will allow greater access to ASEAN markets and movement of labor in the region.

(Looking at 2014) Vivek Vaidya said that vehicle sales for the year 2014 plunged 34.6 percent to close at 870,000 units due to political volatility and the ensuing economic slowdown. “The dip in consumer confidence also stifled sales,” he added.

He also said that in ASEAN, Thailand and Indonesia brought the regional sales down by 11 percent to 3.13 million units, even though Malaysia and the other ASEAN markets showed positive growth in 2014.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:13

LEDs shine the way to new styling

Light-emitting diodes, LEDs, are revolutionizing the styling of automotive lighting.

The technology, once found only on luxury cars, is becoming standard on many headlamps and taillights of mainstream vehicles to set them apart from the competition. The increase in usage in mainstream motors comes as the price of LEDs declines and automakers are finding new ways to use them.

And with even more radical lighting making for advances to U.S. highways, such as headlight systems linked to radar and cameras eliminate the need to dim high beams for oncoming cars - and can even see pedestrians and direct light in that direction.

Most, if not all, of the new models showcased at the 2015 North American International Auto Show incorporated LED lighting. LED lights are smaller, the strips are bendable and they use less energy than traditional halogen bulbs. Two LEDs can be formed and fitted to project a smooth line for daytime running lights or in groups to illuminate large areas such as taillights.

The new 2015 Dodge Charger blends the LEDs into one seamless ribbon. Many high-end mainstream and luxury models use LEDs as decorations. Audi, BMW, Cadillac and others use groups of LEDs, also known as a matrix, to create jewel-like patterns that attract as much attention off as they do on.

On the all new 2015 Cadillac Escalade, 48 LEDs - 17 for each headlamp and seven for each lower front-end lamp - were used to enhance the desired jewel appearance and functionality.

One of the leading features on the horizon is what the industry refers to as active, or dynamic, driving beams that can increase or dim lighting under certain circumstances, so that drivers never have to worry about turning off their high beams.

The technology, integrating a camera and radar sensors, can detect an oncoming vehicle; it then blocks, moves or turns off one or more LEDs in a headlamp so as not to blind the oncoming driver but to continue illuminating the rest of the road.

However, the technology is ahead of the legislations and the new capabilities are not strictly legal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested European-specification vehicles with dynamic lighting last year. Officials are reviewing data to decide whether the agency can establish appropriate requirements for the systems. NHTSA anticipates a decision sometime this year.

Analysts and industry experts expect LEDs to be the preferred lighting technology for the foreseeable future, phasing out high-intensity discharge lamps, known as HIDs, that often admit an intense blue beam.

Once thought to be an emerging trend, HIDs are not as customizable or fashionable as LEDs.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:12

Natter Nosh and Noggin

The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.  The next meeting is on Monday February 9 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m.  A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations).  Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers.  Always a fun night.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)!  The Car Club nights are only on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:10

Autotrivia

Last week I wrote about a car which was very French. Manufactured in the early 1950’s. Killed by the French government taxing big cars. I asked what car was it, and even gave you a photo as well. It was a Hotchkiss with special cabriolet body by Henri Chapron. Incidentally I saw this car in the Pratamnak area last month.

So to this week. This is a post-war car, with a liberated straight 6 engine, half-brother to an aeroplane and the grille was a steal. 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 .

Quiz carQuiz car

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