Saturday, October 29, 2011

China, the new Bailout King

The Eurozone debt crisis has forced leaders to increase investments in the region, and they are all looking towards China. They are apparently now in talks with China as a potential investor, and trying to sell bonds in their bailout fund as a potential commercial investment.

China has foreign reserve around $3 trillion, so they are more than capable of making investments, but they are not going to make it easy for Eurozone. They would want some concessions. It would be interesting to see what their conditions will be, if they decide to put forward any.

Currently China holds the highest amount of US treasurybonds, around $906 billion as of 2010. If the EU deal goes through, China will hold some clout in that area as well. It’s heartening to see the Asian economies steadilyrallying on.

One small example of China’s move into western business is the takeover of famous western automakers by Chinese companies. Swedish car giant Volvo, which was last owned by Ford Motors, sold it to the Chinese company The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. The rights for the famous Britishbrand MG is owned by a Chinese company, and the latest models will be all rolled out in China. Even London’s iconic Black Cab parts are now made their. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group have a parts manufacturing joint venture with the Black Cab company Manganese Bronze. The latest news is that the Swedish auto maker Saabhas signed a deal with two Chinese firms to take over the company.

Isn’t it funny how things change? During the 60’s and 70’s, China was part of the axis of evil that was communism. Now the very same people who shunned them have to come knocking on China’s golden doors for favors.

Moral of the story, be nice to the people around you, don’t know when you might need their help. My addition to this is, if you can’t be nice to people, don’t pretend to be their friends just so that you can get some benefits.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Image from

On October 26th, Boeing’s newest aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner made its first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Mind you this is three years late than initially planned.

This new offering, which is a midsized twinjet, is not designed to be faster than the rest, or bigger than the rest, but it is designed to be more fuel efficient. This factor alone can make a huge difference to the troubled airline industry. According to Boeing, the new Dreamliner uses 20% less fuel than any other aircraft of its size.

Another feature of this design is that it is constructed from a light-weight carbon-composite. It is 80% composite material by volume. This composite material is a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer or plastic, and this aircraft is made from 32,000kg of it. This material has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional materials used in aircraft building and helps to make the aircraft lightweight. Other traditional material like aluminum is used on the wings and tail leading edges, and titanium on engines and fasteners.

The engines used in this aircraft are designed with several noise reduction features. Among these are a redesigned air inlet containing sound absorbing material and a redesigned exhaust duct with tooth patterned rims, allowing for a quitter mixing of exhaust and outside air. These features are expected to make it significantly quieter both outside and inside. There are two models of engines used, one from Rolls Royce and the other from General Electric.

The interior also has many upgrades. The cabin pressure will be increased to an equivalent of 6000 feet instead of the 8000 feet equivalent used on other aircraft. This will significantly improve on passenger comfort. An improved cabin air-conditioning system provides better air quality: Ozone is removed from outside air; HEPA filters remove bacteria, viruses, and fungi; and a gaseous filtration system removes odors, irritants, and gaseous contaminants. The windows are larger and have an electronic based auto-dimming, taking out the window shades. It is also designed to better accommodate persons with mobility, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

Because of the increased fuel efficiency, the Dreamliner is able to travel further than other aircraft of similar capacity. Its range is 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometers). Apparently this is the new focus of the airline industry, to have direct flights and reduce the amount of stopovers and transits. This is known as the point-to-point theory, which is a transportation system that offers direct travel to the direction. This is the opposite of the spoke-hub distribution theory, where passengers come to a central location and change into another craft towards their destination.

There are many advantages to this point-to-point system:
  • Minimize connections and travel time
  • No interdependency on other flights means that it can avoid the domino effect of delays, where one delay can have a rippling effect throughout the network
  • Lower chance of baggage loss and baggage delays

High capacity aircraft like the Airbus A380 are ideal for the spoke-hub scenario. With new aircraft like the Dreamliner, airlines can offer long range point-to-point routes that can be profitable for them. If the airlines are profitable, then the benefits can be passed down to the passengers, mainly in the form of lower ticket prices and/or value added services. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Colors of autumn

Around this time of October, the summer heat replaced by cold winds and the leaves of non-evergreen trees start to lose their green color and turn into bright reds, oranges, and yellow. Form what people have told me, the trees turn color and the leaves start to fall in time for Halloween and the ground is covered with a carpet of red leaves. However this time around, it’s not really going according to the timetable.

Most of the trees in the downtown area are still green or has turned into a rusty brown, instead of their characteristic red hues. Only about half of High Park has turned red. Even people who live here are saying that this autumn is not as beautiful as years before. Some say that spring was late in coming and that is why the leaves are still not turning. Moving out from the downtown area and into the suburbs, you see a little more color. Could it be an effect of the city like an urban heat island? An effect of global warming? It is a possibility.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on falling temperature. These days the temp is around 10-15C and gradually getting lower. Soon it will hit zero and then minus, and the snow and the snowstorms. Oh boy, I can’t wait for that fun to start.

Anyway, went to High Park last Sunday, which was a beautifully warm day by the way, and took some pics of the colors of autumn.

Enjoy and cheers.

Google map location of high park

A squirrel, storing up on nuts

There is a small zoo inside the park with couple of animals. This one is called a Mouflon Sheep



Mallard ducks. These guys are everywhere

Monday, October 24, 2011

Them Zombies are here… Run for the Hills

Downtown Toronto was flooded with zombies last Saturday afternoon for the 9th Annual Toronto ZombieWalk. They rose from their graves and came in full swing in all their gory.

October here is the Halloween month and the spooks are all in town. The Zombie walk has started way back in 2003, a week before Halloween, when the living dead decided they are not going to take it lying down, and decided to hunt the city in search of their favorite food group, brains.  

What else can one do when there is a zombie plague in town, but take plenty of pictures.

Zombie funeral directors, making your afterlife an easy one

Zombie Bride

Yikes, they want my brain...

Zombie priest

Pregnant zombie with zombie kid

Zombie Gadafi

Children of the korn

Scout zombies

Victorian zombie couple

Zombie princess

Jack Sparrow Zombie. This was actually a girl dressed up as JS. Same mannerisms down to how she spoke and walked. 

Another zombie bride

Zombie clown. Now that combination would give nightmares to anyone

One thing about these Canadians, they know how to have a hell of a good time. 

Cheers y'all, have a great week.