Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 10 July 2014 13:18

For once, I agree with Bernie

Bernie has come out and said it would be better if cash-strapped outfits quit F1 and are replaced by third cars from the bigger outfits.

The future of the struggling Caterham team has made headlines in recent weeks with its sale, but Ecclestone admitted that he would be “happy” if they had closed down.

The F1 commercial rights holder has now gone a step further by saying he would prefer it if the back-markers disappear from the grid and are replaced by third cars from some of the sport’s bigger teams.

“They should stop,” he told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.  “If they do not have the money, they should close.  I am ready for a Formula One with eight teams and three cars each.  Is it better to see a third Ferrari or a Caterham?  Ferrari might find new sponsors in America and an American driver.  Great.  The same for the others.”

This is a sensible suggestion, as Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull (already fielding four cars in actuality) could easily field three cars each.

Thursday, 10 July 2014 13:17

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what cars were these?  Production began in 1902 with four cylinder engines.  In 1906 they added a six cylinder engine, and by 1914 they dropped the four cylinder engine altogether.  These were notable in the fact that they were air-cooled engines and they had a dummy radiator up front, to look like most other vehicles in those days.  By 1929 they were making 14,432 cars per annum, but with the stock market crash the company was out of business by 1932, having made only 360 cars that year.  So what was this car company.  Hint - American.  This was the long defunct Franklin Motor Company in the US.

So to this week.  Born in 1970 of mixed parentage (Italian and French) with a top speed of 229 KPH.  Who am I?

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 .

Thursday, 10 July 2014 10:47

A divine DeVine evening

The Royal Cliff deVine Wine Club June 27 dinner featured Chilean wines from the Santa Carolina vineyards, a winemaker which most members at the dinner were not familiar with.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 16:48

FFS! Stop using that word!

I wrote about Tourette’s syndrome last year, but I have received a request to run it again.  FFS!  Someone reads my column!

Tourette’s generally brings smiles to the people watching (listening) and it has been shown to the satisfaction of the medical world, that humor and a good laugh really is good medicine.  Some hospitals even employ clowns to brighten up the days of the inpatients.  But not people with Tourette’s.

One of my favorite jokes involves a parrot that was prone to ‘bad’ language, and consistently used the “F” word.  After threatening the talkative bird with dire consequences, its owner put it in the freezer chest for five minutes.  After being retrieved from the freezer, the parrot was asked if it would now behave.  “Yes,” said the shivering parrot, “I won’t say the “F” word again, but please tell me what did the effing chicken say?”

Now, the F word in medicine.  Inappropriate use of the F word (there are some appropriate situations, in my mind at least) is part of the interesting condition known as Tourette’s Syndrome.  These are involuntary movements (and sounds) and can be related to the magic “F” word, and is usually seen in children (not parrots) around the age of 5-7 years.  Boys outnumber girls three to one!

So is this just a case of little Johnny parroting off (sorry about that, couldn’t help myself) dirty words he has heard at home?  Actually no.  This is a developmental problem that comes under the general heading of ‘Tics’ (as opposed to ‘ticks’ that are parasitic problems).

Tic disorders can affect up to almost 20 percent of children at some stage of their development.  At one end of the spectrum are children with brief episodes of single tics, whereas at the other are children with chronic multiple tics, including our friend Tourette’s syndrome.

Tics are abrupt and recurrent involuntary motor or vocal actions.  Motor tics include eye blinking, grimacing, nose twitching, lip pouting, shoulder shrugging, arm jerking, head jerking, kicking, finger movements, jaw snapping, tooth clicking, frowning, tensing parts of the body, and rapid jerking of any part of the body are simple tics.  More complex ones include hopping, clapping, touching, throwing, arranging, gyrating, bending, biting the mouth, the lip, or the arm, head-banging, picking scabs, writhing movements, rolling eyes upwards or side-to-side, making funny expressions, sticking out the tongue, kissing, pinching, writing the same letter or word over and over, and tearing paper or books.

However the tic can also be vocal, with simple ones being coughing, spitting, screeching, barking, grunting, gurgling, clacking, whistling, hissing, sucking sounds, and syllable sounds such as “uh, uh,” “eee,” and “bu.”  The complex vocal tics can involve complete phrases such as, “Oh boy,” “you know,” “shut up,” “you’re fat,” “all right,” and “what’s that.”  Take that a little further and you get repetitive bad language which we call Coprolalia (we love big words) and the best known example of Tourette’s syndrome.

Children who have these tics can be looked upon as fools by their peers, and there is a no more predatory group than other children.  Parents also can feel helpless in these situations.  From the medical point of view, one has to treat the entire family, not just little Johnny with the foul mouth!

Most children with tics can lead normal lives, and the tics themselves usually slow down in teenage years.  Parents should be encouraged to get support for themselves from various organizations such as the Tourette Syndrome Association ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  With a good understanding of tics and related problems, including acceptance from teachers and education of the child’s peers, most children with tics do not need regular medical follow up.

Parents and children need to understand that, although all these symptoms relate to an underlying brain disorder, breaking the cycle may be extremely simple - for example, just allowing the child to have a short “tic break” in a long school lesson may be enough.

Drug treatment can be used, though there are differences in opinion on the efficacy, with some researchers claiming only 30 percent can be helped; however, tic severity and frequency can be reduced.  Studies of Risperidone in Tourette’s syndrome has shown that it is efficacious too.

Thursday, 03 July 2014 13:00

British GP Silverstone this weekend

The British Grand Prix will be held this weekend at the ancestral home of F1, with the first ever F1 GP held there in 1950 (and won by Dr Farina in the Alfa Romeo, for the collectors of F1 history).

This is a circuit that the drivers universally like, a circuit that allows cars to pass each other (even without the DRS and “push to pass” buttons or coded messages from the pit wall), and a Grand Prix where it is likely to rain at some point.  After all, it is in England, and they cannot possibly go three days on the trot without a good drenching from above!

Silverstone for the British GP.Silverstone for the British GP.

The new “arena” part of the circuit used for the first time a couple of years back goes from Abbey to Brooklands corners, moving infield and adds an extra 760 m to the track length.  You will be heartened to read that Herr Tilke was not involved.  Interestingly, this modification was actually built for the MotoGP series, but now incorporated in the F1 series after Bernie, the patron saint of King Midas the Dwarf Enterprises, gave it his blessing.  Yes, that is the same Bernie who has masterminded such yawnfest circuits as Bahrain and Singapore.  But don’t start me.

So who should we look out for?  Mercedes is still right up there, and Hamilton was unlucky not to get pole in Austria.  Hamilton will be trying for the win but if Rosberg’s form is anything to go by, the two Mercedes drivers will be fighting it out between themselves.

Will the resurgent form of the Williams team of Bottas and Massa still be good on this track as well as the Red Bull Ring?

And the Red Bull Team will be praying that from somewhere they can find more straight line speed.  Poor Vettel hasn’t had the opportunity to wave the finger all year.

Alonso the Savvy Spaniard will complain about something, and then try and scoop up another win!  While all the tail end Charlies will be tripping over each other as usual.

The Qualifying is at 7 p.m. on Saturday 5 and the race is 7 p.m. on Sunday 6 July.  We watch the racing, on the new super-big screen in Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, next to Nova Park.  We get the dedicated F1 channel, with no breaks for adverts during the race.  We get there around 6 p.m. and have something to eat (the Sunday specials are great value) and a small drink or two before the start.  Why don’t you come and join us.

Toyota say their four-door FCV (fuel cell vehicle) will be launched before April 2015 in Japan, and summer 2015 for Europe and North America.

Price indication of around seven million yen (approximately £40,450 / a little over 2.23 million Thai baht at today’s exchange rates), prices for Europe and North America to be decided later.

Thursday, 03 July 2014 12:56

Another bright spark?

Internal combustion engines have been around for many years, and most of them require some way of igniting the petrol/air mixture in the cylinder.  The easiest and simplest way is by introducing an electric spark timed to coincide with compressing the fuel mixture and bang!  The internal combustion engine fires into life, courtesy of that ignored device called the spark plug.

The spark plug concept actually predates the internal combustion engine itself and the earliest demonstration of the use of an electric spark to ignite a fuel-air mixture was in 1777.  In that year, Alessandro Volta loaded a toy pistol with a mixture of marsh gas and air, corked the muzzle, and ignited the charge with a spark from a Leyden jar.  Scarcely viable in the dueling situations.

Original spark plugs

Thirty years later in 1807 François Isaac de Rivaz invented a crude hydrogen and oxygen powered internal combustion engine with electric ignition, and in 1808 he fitted it into a working vehicle.  It did not work well enough to be considered the new technological advance, however.

Next in line with a spark ignition device was Edmond Berger who invented an early spark plug on February 2, 1839.  However, Edmond Berger did not patent his invention, so we will never know if it really worked, as internal combustion engines in 1839 were very experimental in nature as well or perhaps the date was a mistake.

In 1860 Étienne Lenoir used an electric spark plug in his first internal combustion engine and is generally credited with the invention of the spark plug, in a form as we know it today.

As the internal combustion engine began to be reliable enough to be considered as a viable method of power, as opposed to the horse, electric and steam, designers began to improve on the humble spark plug.  Early patents for spark plugs included those by Nikola Tesla (in U.S. Patent 609,250 for an ignition timing system, 1898), Frederick Richard Simms (GB 24859/1898, 1898) and Robert Bosch (GB 26907/1898).  But only the invention of the first commercially viable high-voltage spark plug as part of a magneto-based ignition system by Robert Bosch’s engineer Gottlob Honold in 1902 made possible the further development of the internal combustion engine.  Subsequent manufacturing improvements can also be credited to Albert Champion, the Lodge brothers, sons of Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, who developed and manufactured their father’s idea and Kenelm Lee Guinness, of the Guinness brewing family, who developed the KLG brand.  Of course the brands Champion, Lodge and KLG became well known in the motoring world.

Thursday, 03 July 2014 12:53

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked when did the Porsche 901 come out?  The answer was 1963, but after finding that Peugeot had registered all the three digit numbers with a zero in the middle, the factory had to re-christen the follower to the 356 as the 9-1-1.  Porsche fans will also tell you that the early (long bonnet) Porsches had engine cases which were numbered “901”.

So to this week.  You’ve had it too easy recently, so this week might make it a little difficult, even for the ‘Googlers’.  What cars are these?  Production began in 1902 with four cylinder engines.  In 1906 they added a six cylinder engine, and by 1914 they dropped the four cylinder engine altogether.  These were notable in the fact that they were air-cooled engines and they had a dummy radiator up front, to look like most other vehicles in those days.  By 1929 they were making 14,432 cars per annum, but with the stock market crash the company was out of business by 1932, having made only 360 cars that year.  So what was this car company.  Hint - American.

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 .

So you want to live to be 110?  Is the answer multi vitamins?  The answer, if you believe the articles about megavitamins, is in your local health food store.  The answer, if you believe me, is none of those things.

Friday, 27 June 2014 09:45

Twizy puts lawmakers in a tizzy

Many years ago I bought a Tuk-Tuk and imported it to Australia.  A fun run-about.  And as soon as the three wheels were on the bitumen, that’s when the trouble started.

«StartPrev11121314151617181920NextEnd»
Page 11 of 157
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Advertise With Us | About Us | Feedback | Contact Us