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May 8, 2014

The sound of Formula One F1

Andy Cowell, the leader of the Mercedes Formula One engine program, said that whereas the V-8 engines of the past were so loud that all that could be heard was "angry noise," today there is a music to the engine function.

"You just take your earplugs out," he said. "Instead of it being painful unless you had earplugs in, now you can almost enjoy the sound, the musicality of it."

"Every time, I hear the compressor spin up and spin down as the driver rolls out of the garage," Cowell added, "and he puts a little bit of throttle on, and you hear the compressor come up and there's a 'whoosh,' as the compressor comes up, and the lift-off into the corner, there is a higher pitch, a higher frequency musicality to it."

August 15, 2012

Valencia built it


Spain, a country where regions have fought hard to bolster their autonomy, including the right to use their own languages. They regained those powers in the late 1970s, when Spain's fledgling democracy drew up a new Constitution after decades of authoritarian rule under Gen. Francisco Franco.

Gradually, the regions were put in charge of more of Spain's public expenditures, eventually accounting for about half -- twice the level of three decades ago. Ciudad de la Luz has become a prominent example of Valencia's frenzy of modern-day pyramid building, which left a legacy of $25.5 billion in regional debt and bankrupt infrastructure projects as well as the backlash now building against it.

Valencia's other investments included a harbor for superyachts, an opera house styled like the one in Sydney, Australia, a futuristic science museum, the biggest aquarium in Europe and a sail-shaped bridge, not to mention an airport that never had a single arrival or departure. It also attracted extravagant events like the America's Cup and Formula One racing.