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Fascinating F1 Fact: 79

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In 1968, with the students of the world rising up in protest, the cinema had a particularly good year, with three films all grossing more than $50 million at the US box office. You might think that Steve McQueen’s celebrated “Bullitt” would have been one of them, but it wasn’t. It pulled in only $42 million, although it turned the Ford Mustang into a legend. There was the amusing “The Odd Couple”, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, but that managed only $44 million.

Topping the list was Stanley Kubrick’s grandiose science fiction epic “2001: A Space Odyssey”, which grossed nearly $57 million. It was chased by William Wyler’s romantic musical “Funny Girl”, starring Barbra Streisand and the super-smooth Omar Sharif, which grossed $52 million, just $800,000 more than Walt Disney’s “The Love Bug”, starring a Volkswagen Beetle called Herbie.

That summer everyone loved the Volkswagen Beetle. No-one cared that it had started out as Adolf Hitler’s Volkswagen – literally the car for the people. Few knew, nor cared that it had been designed by Ferdinand Porsche. In the 1950s it gradually took over the world and became known affectionately as The Beetle, or The Bug. It was the Beetle in English-speaking countries, the Coccinelle in French, the Käfer in German, the Escarabajo in Spanish… and so on. In total, more than 21 million Beetles were manufactured, making it the most produced car in the world until the Toyota Corolla came along.

Down in Brazil the VW was known as the Fusca. The first Beetles appeared in Brazil in 1950 but by the time the production ended more than three million VW Beetles had been manufactured in the country. One of them was just a little bit special.

To start with it was owned by Emerson Fittipaldi. In 1969 he was 22 years old and that year had gone off to Britain to become a motor racing star. He spoke no English at the start but had the money to buy a Merlyn Formula Ford car. He could not afford to crash it. He put the car on pole for his first race, which took place in Zandvoort. Then, very quickly, the wins started to come and by July he was in a Lotus Formula 3 car- and winning. By September Frank Williams had offered him an F1 drive. Then Colin Chapman of Team Lotus. Emerson did not think he was ready and declined both offers. His last race in Britain that year was at Thruxton in mid-November and then he headed home to Brazil for the winter.

His next race would be the 1000km Guanabara race in Rio de Janeiro, an important local sports car race at the time, scheduled for December 13. Emerson and his brother Wilson had been working on the construction of an Alfa Romeo-engined prototype for the big race, in league with their chief engineer Ricardo Divila. The problem was that the whole project was behind schedule because of a delay in the casting of the front uprights. The opposition was busy importing the latest new machinery: including a Lola T70, a Ford GT40, and an Alfa Rome T33.

Things had reached a critical point when Divila, passing through Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, picked up a copy of Hot Rod magazine from the United States and read about the latest twin-engined machinery on the West Coast. It struck him that if he could build a very light car with twin engines, the result might be competitive with the big sports cars, which had a great deal more power but were also a lot heavier. Divila got out his slide rule and did the numbers. They worked. He discussed the idea with other team members at the Churrascaria Interlagos, and the first sketches were made on the paper napkins. Soon afterwards they set to work in the team’s workshop, opposite the gates of Interlagos.

Deusdedith José de Sena cut the rear end off the standard VW Beetle chassis, just behind the driver’s seat. The back end was replaced with a tubular frame, over which a lightweight fibreglass rear bodywork was fitted. This was built by a company called Glaspac, in nearby Santa Amaro, run by Donald Pacey and Gerry Cunningham, two Brazilians descended from British immigrants who had discovered the potential of fibreglass while working in the UK. They had begun to produce car bodies for racing cars and then manufactured kits for beach buggies, based on the Beetle. These were all the rage in California.

The Beetle front suspension and steering were retained, but Porsche drum brakes were fitted. Engine man Darci de Medeiros acquired a second standard 1600cc VW Beetle engine. The two units were stretched to 2.2-litres and were mounted one in front of the other in the chassis to create what was, in effect, an eight cylinder engine. Cooling was a problem, but Divila angled the windscreen backwards creating a gap between the top of the windscreen and the roof, which acted as an air-scoop, and channelled air through a false ceiling to flexible hoses that fed the air into the engine bay, while the 100-litre ethanol fuel tank was shaped to form the driver’s seat! The entire device weighed only 400kg, but the two engines combined to produce 410 horsepower (despite a few blow-ups), giving the car a great power-to-weight ratio.

The Beetle was ready and tested before the 1000km race. Carlos Pace qualified fastest, setting a 1m30.9s in a new Alfa Romeo T33, the Fittipaldi Beetle, driven by Wilson Fittipaldi, set a 1m36.3s – the second fastest lap, ahead of a Porsche special, a Lola T70 and a Ford GT40.

Emerson started the race and was third at the end of the first lap but he then moved back to second after five laps and was easily able to hold off the Lola and the GT40. After about half an hour, however, the gearbox failed…

The car in its twin-engined form raced once more, with Wilson Fittipaldi driving. Volkswagen contacted the Fittipaldis and asked it they might send over some engineers to take a look at the car, as they were struggling to understand how a Beetle could stay ahead of a Lola-Chevrolet T70. Eight engineers arrived to examine the machine, but went away still scratching their heads. The front engine was later removed and the car raced in single-engine format before it was sold to Adu Celso, who also raced it before it disappeared into the mists of time…





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vitormazzi
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Brasil
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Picture of a Single Atom Wins Science Photo Contest

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vitormazzi
4 days ago
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Brasil
jepler
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Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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fxer
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awesome
Bend, Oregon

A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow

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Silicon Valley visionary John Perry Barlow died last night at the age of 70. When he was 30, the EFF founder (and sometime Grateful Dead lyricist) drew up a list of what he called Principles of Adult Behavior. They are:

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

Here’s what these principles meant to Barlow:

I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However, I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of my friends or colleagues catch me violating one of them, bust me.

You can read remembrances of Barlow from the EFF and from his friends Cory Doctorow and Steven Levy. The EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn wrote:

Barlow was sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism that believed that the Internet could solve all of humanity’s problems without causing any more. As someone who spent the past 27 years working with him at EFF, I can say that nothing could be further from the truth. Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus on the latter: “I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls ‘turn-key totalitarianism.’”

Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the Internet into “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth … a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”

Tags: Cindy Cohn   Cory Doctorow   John Perry Barlow   lists   Steven Levy
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vitormazzi
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Brasil
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StunGod
9 days ago
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That's a worthwhile list. I think I'll appropriate it.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
TimidWerewolf
9 days ago
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Words to live by
dnorman
9 days ago
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fantastic guidelines. focus. give a shit. love.
Calgary
digdoug
9 days ago
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Mr Barlow would definitely give me a "D" as an adult. But I'm trying.
Louisville, KY

Getting started: Building the core dev team

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This is an excerpt from The route to the successful adoption of non-mainstream programming languages by Francesco Cesarini and Mike Williams.

On one end of the scale, we often hear complaints about how hard it is to find Erlang developers. Java, C++ and Web developers are everywhere. They are easy to recruit. Not all might be top notch, but at least we can recruit them. Despite that, look at Ericsson who use Erlang in projects with over a hundred developers in each. Members join and leave the team, move to other Erlang or non-Erlang projects and can easily be swapped around.

Ericsson had to start somewhere; in the early days, everyone on the internal Erlang mailing list knew each other personally. Today, their Erlang programmer count is in the thousands and those using it daily are in the hundreds. But they are not alone. The reason you might not hear from companies such as Klarna, OpenX, AlertLogic, WhatsApp, Cisco and bet365 (to mention but a few) is that they just get on with it. They are too busy building teams to complain how hard it is to find Erlang developers.

We have seen Erlang used by teams of a hundred developers who produced successful products, we have also seen teams of two or three developing, deploying and maintaining a huge code base. Not to mention companies who adopt non mainstream languages through acquisitions, successfully introducing the technology in the wider organisation instead of making the crazy decision to rewrite the product or service in Java.

But before you start thinking of hundreds, start small.

Start with a few experienced leaders

Like all programming technologies, you must have one or two experienced, good software developers who can lead the way. Like everything in life, even a programming language can be used and abused. You need people who will stop you from making the wrong decision and avoid mistakes others have done.

Create a small team for the project initiation. Fill it with a few highly experienced experts who will work to shape a plan and get the change sponsors to a common level of understanding.

They have to be enthusiastic, but also make sure they understand and embrace the programming model.

Those who were around in the very early days at the time when C++ and OO was all the hype might remember that we spent a lot of our time convincing people that doing OO programming with Erlang was not a good idea, and that, if unwilling to make the move to functional and concurrency oriented programming, they were better off sticking to C++ or Java. No technology (or varying levels of enthusiasm) can replace experienced software developers who know what they are doing.

While you’re cherry-picking these leaders among men, see if you can seed one of them as a representative on the steering board. Their experience and enthusiasm will be an asset when it comes to changing hearts and minds across the organisation.

Developer vs programmer

We use the term “software developer” rather than “programmer”, because software development entails much more than programming. When building your team, you need people who understand and can support the product life cycle, combined with subject matter experts who understand the industry vertical you are active in. In small teams these may well be the same people.

Software development entails much more than programming.

You need to ensure you have developers who can define, program, build, test, deploy, document, package, write user manuals, and maintain your system.

Delegation

You do not want to rely on a lonely hero programmer who does not understand the value of delegation and knowledge sharing, believing that DevOps means being woken up in the middle of the night to address customer complaints about the system not working (and then receiving the employee of the month award for cleaning up the mess they created themselves).

Your operations team should be the ones noticing there is a problem through automated alerts, not your customers!

While you might need at least one hero programmer in your team setting the pace, they should never be left alone. Pair them up with a finisher. If you are struggling to find experienced Erlang developers, pick the Erlang champion in your organization and pair them up with a contractor or consultant.

Together with a very small team of two to five, get them started on a prototype. It will allow you (and them) to validate their ideas on a small scale and make mistakes which will not result in the project failing.

Interested in learning more about the fundamentals of building a team that will last? (You should be). Learn how to successfully deploy new technology and teams for the long term from myself and Mike Williams, a seasoned Erlang veteran who has introduced to language into numerous industries, including online gambling and betting.


Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest Erlang and Elixir news, or contact us directly for more on how to introduce a new technology to your stack.

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vitormazzi
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Unlearning How White People Ask Personal Questions

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When I met my fiance’s African-American stepfather, things did not start well. Stumbling for some way to start a conversation with a man whose life was unlike mine in almost every respect, I asked “So, what do you do for a living?”.

He looked down at his shoes and said quietly “Well, I’m unemployed”.

At the time I cringed inwardly and recognized that I had committed a terrible social gaffe which seemed to scream “Hey prospective in-law, since I am probably going to be a member of your family real soon, I thought I would let you know up front that I am a completely insensitive jackass”. But I felt even worse years later when I came to appreciate the racial dimension of how I had humiliated my stepfather-in-law to be.

For that painful but necessary bit of knowledge I owe a white friend who throughout her childhood attended Chicago schools in a majority Black district. She passed along a marvelous book that helped her make sense of her own inter-racial experiences. It was Thomas Kochman’s Black and White Styles in Conflict, and it had a lasting effect on me. One of the many things I learned from this anthropological treasure trove of a book is how race affects the personal questions we feel entitled to ask and the answers we receive in response.

My question to my wife-to-be’s stepfather was at the level of content a simple conversation starter (albeit a completely failed one). But at the level of process, it was an expression of power. Kochman’s book sensitized me to middle class whites’ tendency to ask personal questions without first considering whether they have a right to know the personal details of someone else’s life. When we ask someone what they do for a living for example, we are also asking for at least partial information on their income, their status in the class hierarchy and their perceived importance in the world. Unbidden, that question can be quite an invasion. The presumption that one is entitled to such information is rarely made explicit, but that doesn’t prevent it from forcing other people to make a painful choice: Disclose something they want to keep secret or flatly refuse to answer (which oddly enough usually makes them, rather than the questioner, look rude).

Kochman’s book taught me a new word, which describes an indirect conversational technique he studied in urban Black communities: “signifying”. He gives the example (as I recall it, 25 years on) of a marriage-minded black woman who is dating a man who pays for everything on their very nice dates. She wonders if he has a good job. But instead of grilling him with “So what do you do for a living?”, she signifies “Whatever oil well you own, I hope it keeps pumping!”.

Her signifying in this way is a sensitive, respectful method to raise the issue she wants to know about because unlike my entitled direct question it keeps the control under the person whose personal information is of interest. Her comment could be reasonably responded to by her date as a funny joke, a bit of flirtation, or a wish for good luck. But of course it also shows that if the man freely chooses to reveal something like “Things look good for me financially: I’m a certified public accountant at a big, stable firm”, he can do so and know she will be interested.

Since reading Kochman’s book, I have never again directly asked anyone what they do for a living. Instead my line is “So how do you spend your time?”. Some people (particularly middle class white people) choose to answer that question in the bog standard way by describing their job. But other people choose to tell me about the compelling novel they are reading, what they enjoy about being a parent, the medical treatment they are getting for their bad back, whatever. Any of those answers flow just as smoothly from the signification in a way they wouldn’t from a direct question about their vocation.

From the perspective of ameliorating all the racial pain in the world, this change in my behavior is a grain of sand in the Sahara. But I pass this experience along nonetheless, for two reasons. First, very generally, if any of us human beings can easily engage in small kindnesses, we should. Second, specific to race, if those of us who have more power can learn to refrain from using it to harm people in any way – major or minor — we should do that too.

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jepler
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"Since reading Kochman’s book, I have never again directly asked anyone what they do for a living. Instead my line is “So how do you spend your time?”. Some people (particularly middle class white people) choose to answer that question in the bog standard way by describing their job. But other people choose to tell me about the compelling novel they are reading, what they enjoy about being a parent, the medical treatment they are getting for their bad back, whatever. Any of those answers flow just as smoothly from the signification in a way they wouldn’t from a direct question about their vocation."
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
vitormazzi
10 days ago
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Brasil
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notadoctor
13 days ago
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Skillful signifying is done lightly so as not to sound sarcastic, but even when ham handed it's so much less aggressive than direct questioning.
Oakland, CA

Feb 3rd, 2018 : Caterpillars

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You say you don’t like snakes or spiders or other creepy crawlers.
That surely can’t include cute little caterpillars… or can it?



Maybe you haven’t seen many of the zillion varieties.



Probably haven’t seen many of them up close.



Now you have, be afraid, be very afraid.:shock:


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vitormazzi
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Brasil
jepler
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Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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