December 14, 2009

Schumi's Back? And Other F1 News

Just like the picture above, the answer has to be "not quite," but close.  The BBC and the German newspaper Bild are both reporting that the only thing separating Michael "Slappy" Schumacher from returning to F1 with Mercedes is a signature on the contract.  Both reports say that Luca di Montezemelo, Ferrari's grand poobah, has agreed to let Slappy go from his consulting position with the Prancing Ponies, for the good of the sport.  Reportedly it's only the tiny details that need to be worked out before it all becomes official.  Reports vary as to how much he'll be paid: somewhere between €3.5million and €7million seems to be the range.  Obviously, we'll keep an eye on this and let you know when something becomes official.

In other news, the new Lotus F1 team announced their driver lineup for 2010 as "hiring two race-winning drivers."

That's right, Lotus F1 is putting their faith in Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovaleininninninnie.  It is true that both have won races in Formula 1; Trulli won the 2004 GP of Monaco, Heikki the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.  I'm not entirely sure that one win each, 2 wins in 17 seasons combined is something to trumpet, but what the hey?  Let 'em have their fun!  It might be the only time this season they get to...

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The First Day of Duckmas 2009

And we're off!

The traditional beginning of the 12 Days of Duckmas, the "duckie in a fir tree."  It's how the first two years began, and I'm not going to break the string now!

Check back every day between now and Christmas for a new entry in the 2009 12 Days of Duckmas!

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December 13, 2009

Posting For Posting's Sake

So the past few days, I've felt a little disinterested in posting here at The Pond.  Obviously there isn't much going on in Formula 1 right now, points payout change notwithstanding.  My anime watching has sort of trickled away.  And despite a link to the Tone 4 post of a few months back in the recent Battle Of Midway RoundTable newsletter, I don't have any pressing need to write about the War in the Pacific at the moment.

However, I am happy to announce that Monday will see the beginning of the annual 12 Days of Duckmas series.  So you've got that to look forward to.

It'll be interesting, as I'm going on vacation next Saturday, and will be gone until the 23rd.  Well, my destination has a computer, I suppose.  I'll just have to upload everything ahead of time.

So I guess this post is just to say I'm alive and don't go anywhere!  Oh, and the following picture is completely unrelated to anything:

-Banner of the Stars, ep03

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December 10, 2009

New F1 Points Layout For 2010!

Well, this comes as something of a surprise!  The FIA, with the support of the teams, is expected to approve a change to the points scheme for the 2010 season.  The first change is that that the first 10 finishers will now score points, as opposed to the first eight.  The reason for that is simple: there's going to be a lot more cars on the grid: 26 as opposed to 20.  The percentage of cars scoring points will essentially remain the same: 40%.

The other change is the number of points everybody will score.  Under the old system, 1st place netted 10 points, 2nd was 8, 3rd was 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 for 4th thru 8th.  For the new system, though, the points layout will be as follows:

1st: 25 points
2nd: 20 points
3rd: 15 points
4th: 10 points
5th: 8 points
6th: 6 points
7th: 5 points
8th: 3 points
9th: 2 points
10th: 1 point.

Suddenly there's a substantially larger incentive to win.  That five point differential, proportionally, is much more valuable than the two point differential we used to have.  The same goes for 2nd to 3rd.  The jump from 3rd to 4th, however, is even bigger than the others.  This is obviously a response to the call to give race wins more weight, though it's extended over the entire podium.

Hopefully, this will stick a four-tined fork in Darth Bernie's stupid "medals" idea in which the driver's championship would be decided solely on race wins. 

I think I actually like this.  Who knew the FIA could actually do something right once in a while?

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December 09, 2009

Ducks In Anime: The Desktop Theme

-To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, ep10

It's not just a widget!  We still don't know what it is, but it's not just a widget!

My lust for this app is increasing exponentially...

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Snowmageddon 2009: The Snowmanator: Snow Day!

Snow day!  Yesterday morning, there was nothing on the ground... the above is what greeted me when I stuck my head outside.  The University of Wisconsin-Madison, about 70 miles north of here, has closed for the first time since 1990.  Duckford has gotten around 10 inches, with another 1"-4" expected by the noon.

However, the bad part is going to be the wind.  We're expecting whiteout conditions later as the wind picks up.  Roads are lousy, according to the live chat taking place on one of the Duckford TV station's website, with pretty much everything outside of the city itself being dangerous and impassable.  In city, only the major East-West streets are clean; North-South are bad because of drifting.  The plows come through, but the wind just blows it over again.

A couple hours to our west, in the Quad Cities, Iowa, they're reporting blizzard conditions and emergency vehicles stuck in city centers.  That's what we've got to look forward to, yay!  I'll update occasionally during the day.

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December 08, 2009

Snowmageddon 2009: The Snowmanator!

Winter has returned to Duckford, with a frickin' vengeance.  The drive home from the Duck U Bookstore took me nigh on 25 minutes instead of the usual 10-12.  About half of the trip was done blind; the snow was coming down so heavily that, when the wind blew just right (i.e.: at all), I could see maybe past the hood of the Duckmobile.

I'm glad I made it home, but I feel fearful for the ducklings back at Duck U.  This is Finals Week, y'see, and there were quite a few scheduled tonight.  Hopefully, the kids realized that their safety is more important than their grades and called their professors.

Still no word on if Duck U will be in session tomorrow... snow days are even better when you're an adult.

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December 07, 2009

68 Years

Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941

Ceremony for those killed at NAS Kaneohe, Memorial Day 1942.

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December 05, 2009

Uiharu's Power

One of the few anime series I'm actively following this season, and the only one I consider "appointment viewing", is To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (or A Certain Scientific Railgun when translated to English).  In this show's world, psychic powers are common, and can range from teleportaion to the ability to bend light around one's self so as to appear to be somewhere else to the ability to nullify any other power to just about anything else you'd care to imagine.  I'd not be surprised to hear there's a super-speedster out in this world, for example.  I'm sure there are pretty useless abilities, too.

Our main characters are Mikoto, the eponymous Railgun of the title; Kuroko, a teleporter; Saten, who has no powers; and Uiharu, who does have a power, but we've not seen it in use. 

Or have we?  Over at Chizumatic, the question of Uiharu's ability came up recently when Ubu Roi wondered just what her power actually was.  Oddly enough, I came up with a theory to answer that very question a few episodes back, one that was confirmed just recently!

Meet Uiharu.. Hi, Uiharu!


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December 04, 2009

Now THIS Is Editing!

I'm in awe of this video.  So much win, so little time.

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December 03, 2009

Sauber In, But Renault Out?

It's about bloody time:

The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful.  Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.
-From the official FIA announcement.

Good news all around, as Peter Sauber is one of those motorsports legends that nobody really hears about, but everybody on the inside respects immensely.  How much?  When BMW purchased an 80% stake in what was then known as Sauber-Petronas F1 from Credit Suisse, they could have just gone ahead and renamed the team after themselves (see "Mercedes Benz"), and nobody would have blinked an eye.  Instead, they decided to call themselves BMW-Sauber, even though Sauber himself was to be naught but a "consultant" for the team. 

In a related note, you may remember this post that included a picture of some die-cast F1 cars I picked up in the toy aisle of a local grocery store.  Two of the cars were obviously based on the Toyota and McLaren liveries, but I couldn't place the third one.  I now believe that it was a half-hearted attempt to match the old Sauber-Petronas paintjob.

There's even an animal on the air scoop.  Okay, sure, it's a white bear on the toy and a red bull on the Sauber, but it's in the right place.  The "flames" even kinda match up.  So until someone comes up with with a better answer, I'm going with Toyota, McLaren, Sauber.

According to, Renault appears to be on the verge of getting out of the sport as a race team.  Of course, this has been rumored ever since Crashygate came down and they got their wrists slapped, but now there's actually some names attached to it.  The story is that Renault will sell their team to the Prodrive company, which had been granted a slot on the grid in 2008.  That attempt fell through, but if this is true, well, they're a team with a lot of history and background.

Renault would still be an engine provider, at least through 2012, however, so they wouldn't be completely gone.

Silly season... almost as much fun as the real thing!

Tip o' the helmet to reader Madmike for the pointer!

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December 02, 2009

F1's 2010 Official FIA Teams List Released

On Monday, the FIA officially announced the teams that will compete in Formula 1 in 2010, as well as an updated drivers list and car numbers.  Let's take a look-see:

1 Jenson Button (GB), 2 Lewis Hamilton (GB)

Brawn-Mercedes Benz
3 Nico Rosberg (D), 4 TBA

Red Bull Racing-Renault
5 Sebastian Vettel (D), 6 Mark Webber (AUS)

7 Felipe Massa (BR), 8 HWMNBN (E)

9 Rubens Barrichello (BR), 10 Nico Hulkenberg (D)

11 Robert Kubica (PL), 12 TBA

Force India-Mercedes
14 Adrian Sutil (D), 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi (I)

16 Sebastien Buemi (CH), 17 TBA

18 TBA, 19 TBA

20 TBA, 21 Bruno Senna (BR)

22 TBA, 23 TBA

24 Timo Glock (D), 25 TBA

A couple of interesting things leap out at the observant viewer.  The biggest one is that there are only 12 teams listed.  Of course that's because ToyotaF1 pulled out, but it was expected that the once BMW-Sauber-then-Qadbank-Sauber-then-finally-just-Sauber entry would be granted the slot.

It appears that that is not automatically the case.  See, ToyotaF1 may have removed themselves from F1, but they still hold the rights to their slot on the grid and are bound by the Concorde Agreement to put forth a team for the season.  If they sell the team, a la Honda to Ross Brawn last year, whomever purchases them would get the slot... maybe.  Peter Sauber, longtime F1 guy and namesake of the Sauber team, is reportedly somewhat grumpy about the whole situation.

Next up, the rookie team Manor Motorsports has changed their name to VirginF1.  Since the megacompany has slapped down the money for major, if not exclusive, sponsorship, that makes sense.

Third, two things from the Campos team.  A little surprise that their engine supplier is listed as Dallara, since it was reported that the newbies' acceptance to the grid was contingent on their choosing Cosworth as their engine supplier.  The Campos team has a history with Dallara that goes back a few years, and Dallara will be building the car for the Spanish rookies.  It may be that in fact, they'll have Cosworth engines anyway, or perhaps Cossies rebranded as Dallara.  Just an interesting bit of speculation.

The other thing is that Bruno Senna isn't listed as the team's first driver, despite being to date their only driver.  Turns out there's a good reason for it: the car number.  Senna is Brazilian, and Embratel, the Brazilian telecom company, is a major sponsor.  "21" is the code used to dial the operator for Embratel connections.  Clever.

Finally, you may note that McLaren, not constructor's champion Brawn/Mercedes Benz/Whatever, has car #1.  That's because of the tradition giving the Driver's Champion the prestigious number, and his teammate #2.  After that, the numbers are allotted via the constructor's standings.   There have been exceptions, however.  If the reigning driver's champion is not in F1 the following year (because of death or retirement, for example), his team is given car numbers 0 and 2.  This has happened twice in the past, in 1993 and 1994.

Of course, #13 hasn't been used since 1976.

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