North-west over Signal Hill, and in the middle distance on the left, the hazy shadow of Robben Island is just barely visible. To the right is Cape Town Harbour and the famous Victoria & Alfred Basin. The newly completed 2010 World Cup Stadium stands to the left of the V & A.
Black girdle-tailed lizard (Cordylus nigra). This lizards defence against predators like hawks, eagles and baboons is camouflage. When startled they can move to safety quickly. Typically they will spend hours basking in the sun feeding on grubs, beatles and other insects.
Here is a slide show that attempts to capture the majesty of Table Mountain and the beauty of it’s creation. The photographic selection that I have chosen shows examples of the famous architecture of the Bo Kaap and views of Robben Island, Table Bay, The City Bowl, Cape Point, the Twelve Apostles mountain range, the Cable Station on top of Table Mountain.
These photos were taken on a beautiful day with near perfect, close to windless, conditions of a late summer afternoon (31 photos). Enjoy.
The author of Avatar, James Cameron, is assembling a team to dive to the bottom of the deepest sea. He is planning to shoot footage for a sequel to Avatar. The movie is set in the turbulent waters of Pandora, an alien moon, and it’s expected to hit the circuit in 2014. Cameron has commissioned Australian engineers to build a deep sea submersible to reach the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
“We are building a vehicle to do the dive. It’s about half-completed in Australia,” said Cameron.
Camerons destination is an area known as “Challenger Deep”. At 10 916 meters (35 813 feet) below sea level, this is the deepest surveyed point on earth. It lies in the hadopelagic or Hadal zone so named from the greek word ” Hades” for the “underworld.”
This deepest part of the ocean floor has been visited only once before, in January of 1960, and never since. Continue reading →
Last year I took this photo of the lovely Bot River estuary. We are privileged to live within walking distance of its shores. You may notice, if you look up at the top of this page, the banner-header of this website is cropped from the same photograph.
Time and time again I am drawn to try and capture the most astonishing variety of moods and vistas that are on display throughout the year as the seasons change.
This estuary is situated in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve on the southern coast of South Africa. It lies at the bottom of a broad and fertile valley and measures about six by two kilometres. It is quite shallow with an average depth of 1 – 2 metres (3 – 6 feet). The Bot and Afdaks rivers feed this estuary which seasonally opens to the sea. This ensures a rich variety of fauna, some 32 species of fish and over 50 kinds of birds including pelicans, flamingos and the other waders. Most are migratory and so are seen at different times of the year. Occasionally a herd of wild horses grazes on the grassy banks (12 images, click here for Flickr slide show). Continue reading →
Have you ever wondered, like me, if one or two spaces should come after a period in a sentence? Well, we are not alone. Apparently there is a dichotomy of opinion on this issue. Strongly held views are asserted by each camp. For the one-spacers, Farhad Manjoo puts it best:
“Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.”
Well, alright then. Not long ago, mere hundreds of years back, inconsistency reigned regarding spelling, punctuation and print design. In the early 20th century typesetting eventually became more widespread. Typesetters began to settle on a single space after the “full stop.” Europe was first to adopt this and America followed soon after. Then came a now virtually extinct technology — the manual typewriter. The first typewriters had mono-space type. The introduction of the two-space rule was to accomodate the aesthetic shortcomings of the mono-space typewriter. Continue reading →
Last September a well known independant Cyber Security Researcher, Dancho Danchev, disappeared while working on an assignment in his home country, Bulgaria. According to this report yesterday, by ZNet’s Ryan Naraine, they have been trying to reach him since August last year without success, and they now fear for his safety.
In another report yesterday, Kim Zetter of Wired.com’s Threat Level, says that Danchev may have fallen foul of the East European cyber-criminal groups that he has been bent on exposing. Danchev has been missing since at least September. It was around this time that he apparently sent a letter “as insurance” to a friend to the effect that his apartment was being bugged by Bulgarian agents. The letter included photos of what he thought was a bugging device that he found in his apartment. Says Kim:
Last night I was up at midnight with my better half indulging in what is known as “the midnight snack.” Why am I telling you this? Because we spontaneously decided to commence with what will henceforth be known as our first thirty-hour-fast. Right after the midnight snack, that is. As I write this to you now, I’m fasting. We will not be eating anything at all, today. Or tonight. Not till tomorrow morning will anything but liquid pass these lips of ours. So far so good. Watch this space for a follow-on as to how this went.
Lately I have been reading about how to “stimulate the caveman” in you. There are some great links here and here. Before the start of the agricultural period about 10,000 years ago man was a hunter-gatherer. Before this period, for the almost unimaginably long time of three million years, our diet contained an enormous variety of plant foods and was high in protein. There was nearly a complete absence of grains and simple carbohydrates in the hunter-gatherer diet. The closest thing to a carbohydrate was honey, Continue reading →
This is a meme doing the internet rounds at the moment. Feel free to leave your own list in the comments below. In no particular order, here is my contribution:
1. Shot a running wild peacock at 300 meters
At the age of thirteen I hunted and shot a running ‘Po’, a type of wild peacock, in the Karoo desert of South Africa with a .222 Remington Swift rifle. It was 300 meters (about 1 000 feet) away and running away from me, dodging from side to side. With that single shot I instantly achieved a reputation with the locals as “die Engelsman wat kan skiet”. Translated this means “the Englishman that can shoot”.
2. Bungi jumped off the Gouritz River Bridge
This bone-chilling 22 storey high Bungi jump is on the beautiful east-coast Garden Route near Knysna, South Africa. Continue reading →
Not many people know that 24 living languages are spoken in South Africa today. Of these, according to some estimates, Afrikaans is spoken by around 23 million people, or 46% of the population of nearly 50 million people.
At the other end of the scale, an almost extinct Khoisan language known by various names, including Ng’uki, is spoken by just 12 known individuals. These rare Ng’uki speakers are scattered about South Africa in isolated ‘ones’ and ‘two’s’.
The next smallest group numbers just 87 persons. They speak a marginal Khoisan language called Xiri. Also known as Grikwa or Griqua, it will soon join the other now extinct Khoisan languages of Seroa, Korana and Xam. The Khoisan were the original inhabitants of Southern Africa. The Bantu migrations from Central and East Africa towards the south eventually reached the southern African region, replacing the Khoisan as the predominant population. Today the largest Khoisan language group numbers 50 900 (2006) Continue reading →