Brooklands Offers Eye-Opening Exhibits
The best way to beat jet lag is to sleep on flights to Europe and stay awake on the way home, then once landed to stay on the destination’s schedule. Knowing this, my English friends cleverly helped my family adjust to their time zone by coming up with a landing-day activity when we recently visited that would so captivate us we would be too excited to sleep.
The surprise was a visit to Brooklands, the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. Built in 1907, it was initially a modern track on which to showcase the developments being made in British motorsports. It was the world’s first racing circuit with intentionally banked curves and was home to many racing records before World War II closed down racing in 1939.
Those years, however, were not only about auto racing. In 1908, pilots made the track into a dual-purpose track and aerodrome. From here pilots were trained and aircraft produced through both world wars and beyond.
We entered through a gift shop in one of several buildings in what was once a paddock area. In another building we found race cars from the past hundred years along with the gear necessary to maintain them. Brooklands was the original home to the British Grand Prix, so these were the fastest and most cutting-edge of their time. Historical documents, clothes, artifacts, flags and maps adorn the rooms.
Moving on, we found vintage motorcycles and bicycles that had been raced on the Brooklands circuit. A volunteer explained that his job is to polish up the motorcycles so they can be driven on weekends and look nice for visitors. In this room were also trophy cups for records that had been achieved here.
It’s possible to don goggles and step into one of the cars at the property’s 4-D theater to relive a race from the 1930s with full motion and the sights, sounds and smells that would have been a part of the experience. The theater also offers a 3-D film of the British Red Arrows flight squad and a 2-D film of the Le Man circuit.
Outside, we turned a corner to find a field full of commercial-sized airplanes that had been built at Brooklands’ aircraft manufacturing facilities – including a Concorde. This was the birthplace of the SST in partnership with France and now our only chance to board one. A docent toured us around the plane and had us sit in passenger seats while we experienced a simulated flight. He marveled with us that the plane had been built in two halves: The British half was built with imperial measurements while the French half had been metric. Miraculously, the two halves came together in the world’s first supersonic passenger airliner.
After our walk-through, we visited the Concorde’s flight simulator, where pilots had been trained. It was originally off-site and full-motion, but when it was relocated to Brooklands, the movers unceremoniously cut it straight in two, rendering it useless. Fortunately, engineering students meticulously reconnected every wire, and it is now open for visitors who can see what the cockpit was like when the nose of this supersonic bird dropped for landing.
We toured the Vickers VC10 that had belonged to the Sultan of Oman, with its gold velvet seats and luxurious sleeping quarters, and we peeked into the tiny shack that became the first air passenger ticket booth in the world when it sold a ticket in 1911. Other firsts that happened here in the early 1900s include the first British air show and the licensing of the first British woman pilot. Bombed in 1940, it largely survived the war and continued on as one of the most important aircraft-production facilities in Britain, with more than 18,000 airplanes of 250 types being built on-site.
Many of the facilities are indoors, a lovely feature for an often-rainy climate. We enjoyed tea, sandwiches and scones at the property’s centrally located cafe and then ducked into the large building that is home to the post-World War II Stratosphere Chamber. Here aircraft were tested to conditions that simulated those found at an altitude of 70,000 feet, the expected altitude for Cold War-era aircraft being developed on the field. In addition to learning how the gargantuan chamber re-created such harsh environments, we learned about different kinds of aircraft engines as we wandered among them with a docent on hand for questions. In the back of the building were various types of bombs used in World War II.
In another hangar we walked around the Wellington Bomber, a World War II airplane on an ill-fated training mission that had been lost in Scotland’s Loch Ness during a blizzard on New Year’s Eve 1940. The aircraft was found and resurrected in 1985 and is now being meticulously rebuilt by volunteers.
The Vimy Pavilion is home to replica airplanes from the early 1900s. One such aircraft, the Roe I biplane, was the first British airplane home-built and flown at Brooklands in 1908 by its creator.
Visiting Brooklands was a marvelous way to beat our jet lag. We spent the entire afternoon — and never gave a thought to being tired.
WHEN YOU GO
Brooklands is an hour’s drive or a 45-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo Station. For more information, visit www.brooklandsmuseum.com.
Watch the surviving parts of the Brooklands Race track from above in the video below:
Lesley Sauls is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
DOJ Files Antitrust Suit Against Google
Yesterday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an antitrust suit against Google. The Justice Department alleged that Google maintained a monopoly on internet searches. Its dominance allowed it to cut off rivals from critical distribution channels.
Eleven Republican state attorneys general joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs. These are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.
DOJ Cites Sherman Act of 1890
Under the Sherman Act, DOJ lawyers alleged that Google illegally maintained monopolies. This covered markets for “general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising.” US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen led the filing of charges. He said that “Google is the gateway to the internet and a search advertising behemoth. It maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.”
The lawsuit comes after a House Judiciary report that says some tech act as monopolies. Apart from Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook also got mentioned. The report recommended Congress to update antitrust laws. These changes can help with breaking up businesses.
Within a month, the Justice Department issued a lawsuit against Google. It is a result of a 16-month investigation into company business practices. Google got involved in a 2013 antitrust suit but did not get charged.
Monopoly Power In Online Search
Google allegedly tied up distribution channels for online search and related markets. The suit said Google “foreclosed competition for internet search” through exclusionary agreements. This prevented rivals from achieving the scale to fight Google’s dominance. The DOJ said Google holds 88% of the U.S. search market and 94% of mobile searches. Google allegedly harmed consumers by providing lower quality search and reducing choices.
The DOJ also claimed Google owns more than 70% of the search ads market. It said that the company’s monopoly power lets them charge more. While they charged more, Google provided lower-quality services in the absence of competition.
Google used exclusionary tactics with distributors of its Android mobile OS. As such, Google also suppressed innovation in the search market. Google allegedly requires phone manufacturers who use Android to agree to certain limits. Android-powered devices that aren’t compliant with Google standards face selling restrictions. The company then provides the same manufacturers access to its “vital proprietary apps.” They do so in exchange for agreeing to carry other Google apps. Under the agreement, the devices should prevent users from deleting certain Google apps.
Apart from exclusivity, Google’s revenue-sharing model for distributors helped expand its dominance. A senior executive described the model as bittersweet. He said it was“a bitter pill for carriers, and a generous revenue share is a sugar that makes it go down smoother.”
Google’s partnership with Apple is the centerpiece of the DOJ’s allegations. Google allegedly misused its power in an anticompetitive manner. At stake is a major revenue stream for both tech giants.
It’s no secret that Google relies on search traffic from Apple’s iPhones. The search engine is the default service on Apple’s Safari phone browser. This means that consumers get Google search results—and related advertising – automatically. The agency claimed Google “locked up” distribution by entering exclusionary agreements with Apple.
Google responds to the suit
Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker responded immediately to the suit via a blog post. He laid out the company’s rebuttal to the DOJ’s claims.
He wrote: “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives. This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. On the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”
Walker refuted claims that Google’s arrangement with Apple is exclusive. Rivals also pay to appear in Apple’s Safari. He said Apple chose Google search because they found it as “the best.” He linked a 2018 article where Apple CEO Tim Cook complimented the search engine.
Missed the Main Point
Walker also said that the suit missed the “bigger point.” He argued that consumers choose to use Google’s services because they want to. In case they didn’t, switching default search engines is an easy task to do. Walker pointed to specialized search engines like Expedia, OpenTable, and even Twitter. These companies help people seek specialized information and are available. While Google pays for digital shelf space competitors “are readily available too.” As for agreements, he said that Google’s contracts are industry standard. They offer nothing unusual.
Watch this as FoxNews reports that the US Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against search engine giant Google:
Do you think that the antitrust suit has merit and that Google might be too big a company? Do you use, or even know, any other search engine other than Google? If not, is that enough proof of the company’s monopolistic behavior? Let us know what you think by sharing your comments below.
The August Stock Market Performance
The Stock Market August Performance Is Best in 34 Years
The US stock market’s August performance is one for the books. All in all, the major indices posted their best August for some time now. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 closed out the month with gains of more than 7%, their best in 34 years. The DJIA rose 7.6%, while the S&P went up 7.2%. Nasdaq also emerged as a winner, gaining 9.6% during the month. All three major indices recorded their fifth straight month of gains
The final day of August saw dips from DJIA and S&P 500, but not enough to pull them to the red. The Dow slipped 0.8% or 223.82 points to 28,430.05, while the S&P 500 went down 0.2% to 3,500.31. Nasdaq rose 80 points on August 31, posting a 0.7 % gain. The day’s losses didn’t faze the month’s gains.
August’s last day also debuted stock splits from tech giants Apple and Tesla. Apple split its stock 3 for 1, while Tesla exchanged 5 shares for each stock. Both hoped the splits would make their stock more affordable to investors. The market welcomed them with a barrage of buying. Apple gained 3.4% on the day, while Tesla hovered in the $500 range before settling to $498, closing with a 12.57% increase.
Tech Stocks Push S&P 500
Nowhere are the gains more dramatic than in the S&P 500. August saw the index posting a record high on seven occasions. It helped that the S&P 5000 held some valuable stocks: Netflix, Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple. These account for 26% of the S&P’s total value. Removing these five from the index plunges the S&P to a year-long loss.
Dow Jones Reconfigured
The Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJIA), which hosts 30 public stocks, made some changes. This was a reaction to the Apple stock split, which will lessen tech representation in the DJIA. As a result, the Dow added three tech stocks and removed three old-timers. Amgen, salesforce, and Honeywell replaced ExxonMobil, Pfizer, and Raytheon.
With this new lineup, the Dow is now more accurate in reflecting the influence of the tech sector in the market. During the first day with the newcomers, the Dow inched within a few points to its record high of 29,551.42. The 30,000 mythical ceilings got closer.
Nasdaq hits a 5-month high
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also celebrated a positive August. It closed at 11,695.63, increasing 0.7%, and saw its 40th closing high this year so far. The index was the prime beneficiary of the stock splits from Apple and Tesla. Workday Inc also carried Nasdaq on the last day with a 12.6% gain.
All in all, Nasdaq gained 9.6% in August, posting its best monthly performance in the last 20 years.
What’s fascinating is that all these gains are occurring despite the current economy. Coronavirus has kept businesses from operating in full. Unemployment is high for almost half a year, and the economy has contracted. While there are signs of recovery, a full reopening is months away until a vaccine gets approval.
Even with the gloom scenario, the economy started to pick up. Stocks responded to the Fed’s updated fiscal policy and news on an improving job market. By August, the indices have offset all previous losses for the year.
While it was all cheers for the markets last month, this month gets the reputation as a buzzkill. LPL Financials warn that September is “the worst month of the year on average.” According to Chief Marketing Strategist Ryan Detrick, this trend goes back to 1950. What’s more, in the last two years the market rose above 5% in August were in 1986 and 2000. The S&P then proceeded to fall by 8.5% and 5.4% the next month.
Stocks often go down in September, the elections might cause even more fluctuations. While the Republicans seem to gain lost ground the last few weeks, it’s still too early to call. Also poised for a thrilling finish are the Senate and Congressional races.
Add to that awaited developments on the fight against coronavirus, and the stage is set for a wild ride. Strap yourselves in!
Watch this as CNBC Market reports on stocks still head for best August since 1984:
Do you think the market’s wild ride will continue in September? Or will September be the start of a screeching end? Let us know which camp you belong to by sharing your comments below.
Jeff Bezos Is Now Worth $200 Billion
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is now worth $200 billion. Bezos first hit $100 billion in 2017, is Forbes’ wealthiest person in the world by 2018. Thanks to the pandemic, the richest man in the world got richer by a couple of billions more. As a result, Bezos became the first person in history to have a net worth of over $200 billion.
RELATED: Market Insiders Are Cashing In
Bezos turned his 1993 online bookstore into an e-commerce titan. Little by little, he added more and more inventory to his online warehouse as demand went bigger. Along the way, Amazon swallowed smaller competitors and expanded into other services. By 2015, Amazon had a bigger market capitalization than Walmart.
With the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, demand for online purchases shot up. People afraid to get infected stayed home, and most turned to online shopping to buy what they need. As more physical stores closed, more people went online to shop, where Amazon was waiting. It offered everything from food to supplies to videos and exercise equipment. In addition, pandemic staples like sanitizers, toilet paper, and face masks are available.
As a result of all this demand, stock prices (AMZN $3,420.20) have gone up 80% since January. Along with it is Bezos’ net worth, which depends a lot on his 11% stake in Amazon. In January, that stake was worth around $115 billion, and now its nearing double. Amazon itself is worth $1.7 trillion, making it the second-most valuable company in the U.S after Apple. Despite its considerable spending due to the pandemic, revenue reached almost $90 billion. And investors can’t get enough, pushing the stock price to almost double its January rate of $1,898.01.
Bezos’ shares in Amazon represent 90% of his personal wealth. In addition, he also owns a media company, the Washington Post, and aerospace firm Blue Origin.
Jeff Bezos is by no means the only centi-billionaire among his peers in the tech community. The second richest person in the world, Bill Gates, is worth $116 billion and made most of his money in Microsoft. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently became joined this exclusive club. With Facebook hovering at $300 per share, his net worth reached $100 billion this month.
Close to joining is Elon Musk, whose EV company, Tesla, is the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap. Right now, Musk is a few billion short, with his net worth at $96 billion this year. But if Tesla continues its streak, give him a few more months.
The remaining centi-billionaire is the only one outside tech, Bernard Mark Arnault. While the chairman of LVMH lost his spot earlier this year, he reclaimed it in a few months. Arnault is now worth $115 billion and is the 3rd richest person on earth.
How much is $200 billion?
Jeff Bezos would’ve been richer if he hadn’t divorced his wife, MacKenzie Scott in 2019. During the divorce proceedings, he agreed to give 25% of his Amazon stake to her as part of the settlement. At present, that stake is worth $63 billion. Due to this windfall, Scott became the second richest woman and 14th richest total.
In pure compensation, Bezos receives around $1.7 million a year. This includes a base salary of $81,840, plus $1.6 million in other compensation. Amazon shoulders his security and travel expenses. Using this number, he makes around $5,005 a day, including weekends and holidays. For a CEO, these numbers are at the lower end of the spectrum. In contrast, Elon Musk received $595.3 million in compensation from Tesla last year.
If you use Bezos’ net worth ($205 billion as of August 26) instead, the figures become eye-popping. For this year, he will have earned $6,500 a second. This is $1,495 higher than his daily take based on salary.
The numbers don’t end there. Amazon, like most other tech stocks in the market today, is in the middle of an extraordinary bull run. Despite the current pandemic gloom and doom scenario, share prices keep going up. This means the net worth of Bezos and company are still about to rise. So, who wants to be a centi-billionaire?
Watch this as the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos becomes the first person ever worth $200 billion:
How much money is enough for you? A million? A billion? What number do you see is more than enough to make you stop working or retire? Share with us your thoughts on the comment section below.
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