Tech

People are listening to your calls? Get over it

So the United States is eavesdropping on your cellphone calls, Chancellor Merkel? Man up, so to speak, and get over it. More usefully, instead of whining, get Germany a new intelligence chief who understands counter-intelligence and encryption. And as your technical experts apparently warned, you also need to dump that crappy old cellphone your bought…

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Facebook: A life laid out in linear form

Newborn babies have started appearing on my Facebook news feed, lovingly cradled by people that not too long ago (it seems) were holding bottles of cheap vodka with such tender care, playing disastrously drunken games of table tennis together, still in their first year of university, innocent and unaffected, with delusions of adulthood. I recently…

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The Arctic: Why you should give a damn

The Arctic is melting. The Arctic is thawing — reaching record lows this decade as Arctic temperatures are at their highest in the last 44 000 years. Climate change is heating our planet, and we could soon see ice-free summers at the North Pole. In their latest climate report, scientists around the world are more emphatic…

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Wild Reading, October 3-9

Being a science writer, I spend most of my time reading, digging for stories and finding out what is going on internationally. Wild Reading is about sharing these amazing snippets. Some of these are linked to stories I’m working on, some are just strange things that have found their way onto my computer screen. All…

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Wild reading

Being a science writer, I spend most of my time reading, digging for stories, finding out what is going on internationally. When my partner and I finally sit down to the dinner table, one of us usually asks, “So what did you learn today?” Wild reading is about sharing these amazing snippets (like did you…

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Birding for beginners

Twitching is a term used in birding circles to describe the act of travelling far and wide to track down rare birds. Twerking is a term used in birding circles to describe the act of standing in the bush with your tush in the air chasing off birds. Our hiking party did neither on the…

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The dashed dreams of medical quackery

White South Africans harbour numerous carefully nurtured prejudices about their fellow citizens and delusions about themselves. One is that blacks are uneducated and backward, eschewing reason for superstition. Whites, in contrast, are masters of reason, hacking a scientific path through thickets of ignorance. Such assumptions are particularly glaring in health matters. Although the term “witchdoctor”…

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Another feminist review of GTA V

My grubby little paws got their hands on Grand Theft Auto V yesterday and I cannot wait until Friday when I can start playing the hell out of it. Having it sitting at home without being able to play it because of late work nights is akin to a new form of torture. To tide…

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Star Trek, technology and being human

When I lived in the US, I made sure to catch at least one episode of the original Star Trek television series, conceived by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s, which has spawned at least 10 feature films to date. Had I wanted to, it could have been up to half a dozen a night, on…

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Academia is Africa’s last hope

“I am studying mathematics because I wanted to study something as difficult as it is useless.” I follow this statement with a polite laugh and wink. This is how I answer a person asking me why I’m studying a subject that most people regard with a terrified shudder (no doubt linked to their bad memories…

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