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Fast and Furious
November 27, 2011 9:49 PM   Subscribe


 
Excellent read.
posted by gen at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2011


Interesting that the Indian view has not been from the strategic lens that the Singaporeans took when they launched their F1 three years ago viz.,

Singapore, girding for a possible recession, is paying about $200 million over five years for the rights to host the event, tapping the glitz of the world's most-watched motor races to promote itself as something more than a financial hub.
[...]
Hosting major sports events is part of Singapore's strategy to diversify the economy from its traditional manufacturing base and to attract tourists, economists say. The F-1 effect will be felt over years and won't be measured by the experience of this weekend's race alone.


Or Malaysia's tourist spot
posted by infini at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2011


We need an electric auto racing league that employs a ground-level power supply like technology, probably safer overall too.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:29 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A couple of friends write for Caravan so I feel a bit uncomfortable thinking this, but I can't work out its target readership. Indians living abroad? Foreigners living in India? People overseas trying to get a glimpse of the "real" India? Returned NRIs living in India but not quite "of" it? It sits in a weirdly disconnected niche, like Exiled when it was still exiled.ru. And just like Exiled, the writing often betrays as much about the writer as it does about the subject.
posted by vanar sena at 10:41 PM on November 27, 2011


The so called "pseudo" crowd we were discussing the last time ?
posted by infini at 10:49 PM on November 27, 2011


From their Editorial mission: "The Caravan has been shaped as India’s first narrative journalism magazine a la The New Yorker, Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Review of Books in United States, and Granta and Prospect in the UK. It is a change from the linear ways of reporting, a change from impersonal, dry facts, to a narrative story with perspective."
posted by vidur at 10:56 PM on November 27, 2011


jeffburdges: So full scale slotcar racing?
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:59 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


infini: "The so called "pseudo" crowd we were discussing the last time ?"

Not really? The writing is pretty good and the writers are generally smart and clued in people. It's more about the tone of the articles and the details they choose to include.

On preview: yes, I've read the editorial mission. I still don't get it.
posted by vanar sena at 11:01 PM on November 27, 2011


Not really? The writing is pretty good and the writers are generally smart and clued in people.

Perhaps I'm using obsolete or inappropriate slang... Arundhati Roy and leftish intellectuals in pajamas and jholas type was my visual reference I think
posted by infini at 11:05 PM on November 27, 2011


We need an electric auto racing league that employs a ground-level power supply like technology, probably safer overall too.

I agree we need an electric auto racing league, but what would be the point of ground-level supply? F1 car performance is already limited by rules, not technology. An electric car that didn't need to carry an energy store would kick combustion engine cars ass so hard that the only way to make motorsport out of it would be to similarly artificially limit performance.
With regular F1 artificially limited performance, those limits are designed in part to promote development of the next generation of street car technology, to keep F1 relevant to the r&d of auto manufacturers, and electric could do the same thing - but taking the power store out of the car rips the guts out of almost everything useful that an electric league could promote development of.

I don't think we're too far from electric supercars that carry their own power, and I think the future of electric cars is onboard energy storage (at least for the next 20 years), so I think electric F1 would need on-board rather than ground-level supply.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:34 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Quick-change batteries have most of the advantages of a ground level supply, but are much more relevant to solving real world problems and much more in the style of F1 competition.

Unfortunately, they wouldn't provide the epic sparks and arcs of ground-supply racing :-/
posted by -harlequin- at 11:36 PM on November 27, 2011


F1 cars currently use KERS, which on road cars we call regenerative braking. They already have some hybrid technology and will have a great deal more under the new engine rules for 2014.
posted by chrchr at 12:16 AM on November 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Good piece. Perhaps they just meant longform writing, but in an Indian context? "New Yorker"-style writing for desi topics works for me.

Just wanted to mention a significant overlook in the article, that the F1 was originally proposed for Hyderabad back in the Chandrababu Naidu hayaam; I believe there was even an a McKinsey paper on this. After his government was voted out, and the Congress was voted in with seemingly more progressive credentials, that project was stalled. The reason I mention this is because that was one of the India Shining talking points back in the day, questions on whether the state could afford this in the first place, and for a government that was seemingly voted in precisely because it said no to F1.

On a different note, I believe the cheapest tickets to the Malaysian F1 race are actually cheaper than that for the Indian race.
posted by the cydonian at 12:27 AM on November 28, 2011


Very interesting, chrchr!

You cannot cover all surface streets in ground-level power harlequin, well even fixing the pot holes appears beyond us. There is however a point where placing ground-level power inside major highways extends range far more cheaply than everyone buy bigger batteries. And those cost savings become extremely important if we're considering today's other India car post.

In other words, ground-level power racing would be explicitly intended to promote street car technology. I donno, maybe racing is better suited to promoting battery development, especially if F1 already takes moving towards hybrids seriously.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:30 AM on November 28, 2011


chrchr: The article you linked to is slightly outdated. The engine regulations will not change until 2014, the engines will be six cylinder not four cylinder, and the use of electric engines in the pit lane has apparently been vetoed by Bernie Ecclestone.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:15 AM on November 28, 2011


There is however a point where placing ground-level power inside major highways extends range far more cheaply than everyone buy bigger batteries.

Ooh ok, I can see that - arterial freeway-only grid power... that doesn't make sense a lot of places, but it could very much make sense for the USA. Especially for trucking.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:20 AM on November 28, 2011


Ooh ok, I can see that - arterial freeway-only grid power

That sounds like a railroad.
posted by atrazine at 1:31 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bernie Eccletstone can eat my shorts. Personally I think the hybrids they had been talking about, which were electric up to 100k/h before the internal combustion kicked in would sound amazing. Imagine the field pulling away from the line in erie silence and then world suddenly explodes in noise as they accelerate towards the first corner. More relevant to the article, it is always mildly surprising to me when I hear another city looks at the cost of building a track, the cost of paying FOM's fees (which have effectively squeezed out many of the 'traditional' courses) and says "yes, we want a piece of that". Austin looks likes the might yet regret that decision too. So too sum up, Bernie Eccletstone can eat my shorts.
posted by adamt at 2:16 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


That sounds like a railroad.

But a railroad rebranded into something acceptable in the USA :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:31 AM on November 28, 2011


I've read the editorial mission. I still don't get it.

It's long-form, point-of-view driven storytelling. Sometimes called literary nonfiction or literary journalism. If India's print media scene is still what it was when I lived there in 1999-2000, there's nothing even remotely like it on the Indian newsstands.

Indian magazines tend(ed?) to be very dry, reportorial/analytical, written in newspaper-feature style, not the more literary style of New Yorker/Harper's/Atlantic tradition. Also they tend(ed?) to be so full of technocratic language, political acronyms, transliterated Hindi phrases, and other inside-cricket stuff (if you will) that they could often be nearly impenetrable to all but their core audiences. Whereas Caravan pieces like this one provide enough context that anyone can read it and understand what's going on.

I'm not quite sure what more there is to get. It's literary journalism about India for a domestic and global audience. It's simply what magazines do in much of the English-speaking world.
posted by gompa at 7:10 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


F1 cars currently use KERS, which on road cars we call regenerative braking.

Very cool
posted by a puppet made of socks at 8:26 AM on November 28, 2011


... and it's worth noting. KERS has improved "the game". In giving drivers a new power option to be utilized at their discretion, it's created more passing possibilities, more on track excitement.
posted by philip-random at 8:58 AM on November 28, 2011


KERS actually has much less to do with the increased passing ability than the DRS, which is a driver adjustable rear spoiler that reduces drag on certain straightaways. just sayin.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:15 AM on November 28, 2011


Yeah actually I for one welcome the entrance of Caravan to the Indian writing scene -- something like this has been sorely needed for a while. My dad actually said the old version of Caravan was not quite as good. I've read quite a few of the pieces on the site and they compare pretty favorably with long-form writing in other parts of the English speaking world, so good for them. Left-leaning of course, but reality has a liberal bias.
I especially enjoyed this piece by Samanth Subramaniam about the strange real estate boom on the outskirts of Delhi. (Disclaimer: Samanth is an acquaintance who I know from various events we attended in Chennai, but we aren't friends. I have been following his career with interest though.)
posted by peacheater at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2011


gompa: "I'm not quite sure what more there is to get."

I understand all that stuff, and I applaud it same as everyone. In my inability to express precisely what I find odd about Caravan, I'll point out one little illustrative detail: all numerical values are expressed in millions and billions instead of lakhs and crores. It's a small thing, and everyone in India will be able to perform the conversion in their heads, but it is clearly a publication-wide editorial decision. It would be like the New Yorker publishing all distances in km instead of miles - not a big deal in itself, but certainly readers in USA would wonder if the magazine was meant for them.

There's a few things like this in there that are basically inconsequential and easy to ignore individually, but they add up.
posted by vanar sena at 11:47 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google maps of the area in discussed in the article. This is what happens when people, not geography is the only impediment to development.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:44 PM on November 28, 2011




Re: Caravan and its intended audience...

I know a few people who write for Caravan, and they seem to see it as an Indian magazine for Indian readers, though perhaps a certain sort of reader who wants long New Yorker-style stories about Indian subjects. The choice of material certainly doesn't suggest it's being produced for non-Indians, or else you wouldn't have big long pieces on Indian political figures or businessmen (e.g. the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu or the founder of India's professional cricket league) which are unlikely to appeal to a non-Indian audience. With lakhs and crores, I suspect the decision has been made so that a non-Indian could read the magazine -- the same reason you'd translate bits of Hindi speech in the text of a story.
posted by sloweducation at 1:20 PM on November 29, 2011


The million-billion usage is not restricted to Caravan. Other Indian media outlets use it as well. In fact, I don't recall the English language Indian media using the arab/kharab notation at all. A recent example from TOI of "Rs 10 billion". Some site-specific google queries ought to show this quite easily.
posted by vidur at 4:52 PM on November 29, 2011


Are we losing a vital piece of our Anglo Indian culture?



this hamburger is suitable for vegetarians
posted by infini at 6:39 PM on November 29, 2011


For TOI to have a coherent editorial policy, they would first need editors. They're little more than a wire reprint service at this point, so I'd be hesistant to draw any conclusion from their newspaper. In the rare article from TOI's own inept staff, it's common to see both millions/billions and lakhs/crores in the same article, dependent entirely on the sources they used to cobble together the information.

Re: Caravan - I'm willing to assume that the team is still finding its voice.
posted by vanar sena at 11:58 PM on November 29, 2011


If not TOI, are Hindu and P. Sainath good sources for million/billion references? I have run google site search queries on TOI, HT, IE, Hindu, and the Outlook magazine. I really don't think there is any uniform standard for using million/billion against lakhs/crores. Anything goes, it looks like. Perhaps none of them have editors or editorial policies. I think it would be unfair to cite Caravan as a standout publication in this aspect.
posted by vidur at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2011


As I said, millions/billions vs lakhs/crores is almost entirely dependent on which wire service or particular author the newspaper pulled the info from. TOI is not alone in this - as you've pointed out - particularly in English-language newspapers and magazines (vernacular papers are much more careful about lakh/crore for various reasons). Caravan does appear to be the only one with a consistent editorial policy on this, and it happens to be millions/billions.
posted by vanar sena at 2:34 AM on December 2, 2011


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