General

A song for the rootless

There is an urgent conversation going on among the leaves. The branches scurry, desperate to dock in bad weather. Twigs pelt about; the tall boles raise and swing their leaf-bright oars. Our garden, the veggie field and the small gorge beyond are scooped up, swirled about by the gusts and the downpour into a bag,…

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Idoru: Gibson’s astonishing glimpse of virtual reality’s future

William Gibson — creator of Neuromancer, among other gripping sci-fi novels — has arguably delved even further into the latent possibilities, or what Gilles Deleuze called virtualities, of the information revolution, in his quotidian dimension-surpassing novel, Idoru (Penguin 1996), one of the so-called Bridge trilogy. So much so that Peter Popham in the Independent commented…

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Unpacking ‘whiteness’

My last post “Whiteness is like herpes” did exactly what I thought it would. It resonated with a small number of fellow whites who correctly understood the analogy, and then provoked an angry reaction from many more whites who simply just proved my point, that “whiteness” (as an issue that is being spoken about internationally…

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Can fusion energy be achieved?

Lev Grossman (“Star Power”, in Time, November 2, p. 24-33) calls fusion the “holy grail” of “the quest for clean energy”, and with good reason — it is as elusive as the proverbial unicorn in your garden (with apologies to James Thurber). By this I mean that, although scientists and technologists know what has to…

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On idiots and aliens

So, how many of you have ever been abducted by aliens? I first realised I might have been when I googled “aliens” after hearing that July 2 was World UFO Day. Up popped a story on Metro.co.uk headed “I was abducted by aliens — and they put a machine in my body” where a fellow…

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How should one understand the rise of ‘fundamentalism’?

With the current wave of “terrorist” attacks, not only in France, but in other parts of the world such as Nigeria and Mali, too, “fundamentalist” organisations have become the focus of many questions, including the one concerning the reason why (particularly young) people join these despite risking their lives in the course of performing their…

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Homo naledi, Piltdown and a lesson in African prehistory

Professor Lee Berger and his team of scientists caused a huge stir when they unveiled the skeletal remains of not one, but at least 15 members of a previously unknown hominin species they’d discovered at the Cradle of Mankind. While the team had made no claim to have found the missing link between man and…

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Why is the state not helping farmers and miners?

When things go pear-shaped and certain critical sectors of our economy are likely to implode, the critical intervention of wise leadership is required. The role of government, even in countries like the US, which subscribe to laissez-faire policies, is to intervene when the market fails and when national interest is at risk. Thus in 2008…

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Dear young African, it’s time to wake up

No, this is not about #FeesMustFall or #RhodesMustFall. It’s about stepping up to the leadership plate when the doors to lead are flung open for you to walk through. Are you well-equipped to take up the leadership mantle and lead when the old-guard fall by the wayside? Where is your attention? What are you focused…

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Now is a good time for South African whites to show courage

I can sum up my feelings over the last 20 years of democracy in South Africa as being a progression of emotions, from concern (pre 1994) to euphoria (elections) to “this is not so bad” to “quite comfortable thank you” (Mandela days) back to concern, (Zuma) then to anger (Nkandla et al), followed by frustration…

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