Friday, 26 November 2010

Cheap fuel


As long as cars need fuel, its price (as insurance’s, maintenance’s, taxes…) ought to be added to the total cost of owning one.

Cheap gas or lower taxes do not guarantee any given car is better than other using a different type of fuel or subject to higher taxes.

It’s the total ownership and driving experience what matters.

And, by the way, the fact that a given fuel type today might be cheaper than another does not ensure it won’t change in the future, once the car has been bought.

Not really sure smartphone users have really analyzed their potential expense on apps when they decide to buy one.

We do not therefore think this is necessarily going to provide any effective help to Windows Phone 7 in its struggle against iPhones or Androids… and we are not really sure this is going to make very happy developers, as their financials won’t have the same prospects as the ones provided by developing for Androids or iPhones.


The German Choice


Since 1943, many German cities were heavily and systematically bombed by the USAAF and the RAF. The Allies strategy at that time was to use these bombings as a means to help their Soviet friends in the Eastern Front and to weaken Germany in preparation for invading Europe in the West, planned for 1944.

Hamburg, in Northern Germany, was one of the cities included in the bombing plan. After the war, in fact, as many other German cities, it had to be reconstructed from the ground. Anglo-Americans called the bombing of Hamburg Operation Gomorrah. Explicit enough, we’d say.It lasted 8 days and 7 nights.

One of those nights, in late July 1943, hundreds of American bombers approached the city, and started dropping its cargo. Several thousand feet below, a woman had to hurry to the bomb shelter as the nearby buildings started to be hit by the bombs, and fire caught in them. After several days and nights of no sleep, bombing targeted her neighborhood.

The woman was trying to race among hundreds of other women, men, elders and children. Her husband, an infantry officer in Russia, was not there to help, so she had to take care of her three children, aged 2, 5 and 7.

Panic was all over the place, shelters to few and small, were almost fully packed, so being the closest one impossible to enter, the woman had to go on to the next one.

More bombing, more buildings scrambling down, and the fire. Fire tornadoes everywhere (Gomorrah, remember?) with flames roaring so loud that is was impossible to hear the screaming and yelling from the people, from the women, form the elders, from the children, no matter how collapsed the streets were, hos close to each other people were.

The woman was exhausted, and so were her children. Carried along by the mass of people looking for protection, she could just hold her youngest boy in one arm, and hold her 5 year old boy with another. She had no more hands, and just seconds to decide.

But it was the toughest decision in her life. Which kid should she hold, who should run the risk to be left behind? She looked at her eldest, a 7 year old girl, and instructed instructed her to hold her mother’s skirt tight and keep running behind her, as close as she could.

The little girl could not make it. The crowd overran her, and she lost her mother and brothers ahead. Her brothers, held my their mother, made it to the bomb shelter. Two years later, they were still alive. the 5 year old boy, decades later, became one of the directors at Dresdner Bank in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

One of us met him years ago, in fact. This is not a fake story.

What choice do you make when you know that whatever you choose you are going to lose?

That German woman had to face a tough choice that would haunt her the rest of her life.

We would not like to be in the shoes of other Germans who have to make very hard decisions these days. And whatever they choose, they will suffer quite much.