Worth Reading 144: A gross intrusion

Bernie Ecclestone’s fixation with TV is Formula 1’s undoing – Duncan Stephen explains why F1 is failing to adapt to the modern world.
6 point guide to spotting a potential defector – Dr Alan Wyburn-Powell’s research has found six characteristics present in MPs who switch parties.
Oil at 80 dollars – Jim Bliss puts forward the theory that lower oil prices are Saudi Arabia’s way of launching economic war with Iran.
An Open Letter to Ched Evans about your ‘Supporters’ -Brilliant stuff on how a young woman’s life is being ruined again by idiots claiming to be looking for justice.
All Dressed Up For Mars And Nowhere To Go – Why the supposed Mars One colonization mission seems unlikely to ever get off the Earth.

Plus ca change

Now Pastor Maldonado’s won the Spanish Grand Prix to make it five different winners from five different teams in this year’s Formula 1 season, I took a look back to 1983, the last time it happened.

Interestingly, four of the five teams who won those races are still in F1 in one form or another, and three have won races this year: McLaren, Ferrari and Williams (and Williams were the fifth team that year as well). The other two winners of the first five were Brabham (no longer with us, even in team-who-bought-the-team-who-bought-the-team spirit) and Renault, who’ve had a convoluted time in and out of F1, but their last incarnation is now known as Lotus (who didn’t manage a win in 1983).

The streak ended at 5 that year, with Alain Prost and Renault picking up their 2nd win in the 6th race, but the 7th race added in a 6th winner, with Michele Alboreto picking up a win for Tyrrell in Detroit. And Tyrrell are one of this year’s five winners so far – they became BAR, who became Honda, who were pulled out of the fire and became Brawn, who are now known as Mercedes AMG.

And if you’re looking for more pointers from 1983, the title that year ended up going to the winner of the first race – Nelson Piquet for Brabham, who won two of the last three races. So get your money on Jenson Button’s late-season surge to the title.

Worth Reading 34: Make up your own rule

And a majority that aren’t election-related.

Electoral Services: I know they’re only doing their job, but… – Jennie Rigg on the last-minute rush to get nomination papers in, which many people who’ve been candidate and/or agents will read with a few knowing nods.
How to write a generic SF novel – Paul McAuley provides some useful advice: “No matter how technologically advanced your future society might be, its sociology and economics are basically those of the seventeenth century. Also its battle tactics.”
BNP Candidates 2011 – Lancaster Unity has discovered there’s a dramatic fall in the number of candidates the BNP are standing in local elections this year, though there is a rise in former BNP candidates standing for other nationalist parties.
Russian bloggers accuse authorities of cyberwar – Twenty years ago, which of these things would have seemed the most weird: the existence of sites like LiveJournal, Russian democracy or DDOS attacks?
72 mandatory pitstops per race – Duncan Stephen has a sneak preview of the latest plans to improve Formula 1

For any passing TV executives

We need a new TV series in the mould of Dallas or Dynasty. Just as they burst out of a recession economy to wow the world with glamour, glitz and conspicuous consumption, surely something similar would work today, given the audience a dose of high-end trash to amuse them in times of austerity.

What’s needed is a series that combines fabulously rich people with the machinations of giant global businesses. Something that features a set of glamorous and luxurious locations spanning the globe.

Then, of course, you just need some ridiculous plots, things so outlandish that no one would believe them if they happened in real life. Add in some bizarre personal habits of the leading characters, and of course, some weird feuds that no one can even remember the origin of.

So, all they need to do is get rid of the focus on the racing, and Bernie Ecclestone might have found himself another nice little earner…