On this windless and sunny late-afternoon Friday the conditions look perfect for a lone fishing skiff on the Bot River Estuary. Seasonally, it opens to the sea and this ensures that a variety of fish spawn in the protected waters of the estuary.
The Bot River Estuary lies on the edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, against the slopes of the Kogelberg Mountain range. It is situated in the heart of the Overberg region, on the southern coast of South Africa.
South African artist Adriaan S. de Lange is featured here as a sculptor and painter who works in the countryside outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa. That’s just 150 kilometres from my home town, Hermanus. That means he’s a local in the broader scheme of things. Well, we like to think so, anyway.
“A distinguishing characteristic of his work is the photographic stillness with which he explores the serenity and reality present in his imagination. He possesses a technical facility that enables him to paint with precision and detail. The effect created with these extremely fine brush strokes is further enhanced by the attention he pays to colour, space and subject matter – thus creating a tangible yet serene world which serves as a starting point for the viewer when enjoying an artwork by him.”
William Gibson’s award-winning Science Fiction novel, Neuromancer, coined the term “Cyberspace” in 1984 before there was a cyberspace to speak of. It was the first SF novel to win the Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Awards.
“After years in development, Vincenzo Natali’s Neuromancer is finally moving forward. According to a press release, the film has secured sales from distributors at Cannes and visual effects work has already begun. Filming will begin in 2012 with locations in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo, and London.”
An innovative group of South African students has had enough! Rhino horn is keratin, the substance of hair and nails. It’s an inert substance that has no known effect on any known ailment. That’s a medically proven fact.
“This is a message to the idiots who still use rhino horn for medicine. It doesn’t do anything, stop using it, stop killing our rhino!”
This four-minute video takes us through their quest, to collect human hair and nails, and deliver the harvested keratin to the Chinese embassy, to protest the slaughter of over 150 Rhinos so far this year. Last years total was 330 Rhinos. So at this point the total is already up on last years tally.
I recently returned from a trip to Germany to visit a dear friend of mine. She lives in a very small village called Junkernhees (pronounced “Yun-kurn-hees”) which is about 10 minutes North of Siegen.
Thousands of people visiting, or living in Cologne, have inscribed their name along with their loved ones into a lock and locked it to the bridge. The idea is to signify the strength of their long lasting love.
Northwest Germany is perfect this time of year. Everything is blooming and blossoming, and the temperature is just right! I have been to Germany 3 times before, but it was on this trip that I became aware of a bit of a competition between two larger cities in Northwest Germany. Apparently this conflict dates back to the eleventh century when ships carrying goods would pass Dusseldorf on the Rhine River on their way to Cologne where the goods would be sold at higher prices, but the actual explanation is still argued.
I came across this heart warming story about a brave 81-year-old man in Hong Kong who single-handedly fought off a gang of teenage muggers. Eight youths were arrested. A police official said:
“They pushed him to the ground and tried to rob him. The man fought back and the gang ran away empty-handed. They are still being detained and under investigation for assault with intent to rob.”
According to a police spokesperson, the 81-year-old identified only as Mak was assaulted in a pedestrian tunnel while on his way to morning exercises. It happened at 4.00am in the darkness of the early hours.
Today a client asked me an interesting question regarding the difference between a usufruct and a habitatio right that can be granted over a property when it is sold.
In this example the seller would like to keep usage of one of the three garages situated on the property for a home fruit bottling and canning business. She would like to register a right of usage over this part of the property.
South African Common Law recognizes three similar but different legal concepts that can be used for this purpose.
This grants the holder the right to use and derive profit from a property belonging to someone else. This may include the right to receive rental income including, for example, income from farming activities. The property may not be sold, altered or destroyed and it must eventually be returned to the owner. In the case of a deceased estate, this will be the person to whom the property was bequeathed. Continue reading Property: 3 Ways to Grant Legal Usage Rights→
On Thursday this week a nationwide class action lawsuit was settled. The historic Keepseagle settlement agreement requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay $680 million in damages to thousands of Native Americans and to forgive up to $80 million in outstanding farm loan debt.
The Indians filed the Keepseagle class action lawsuit 11 years ago. They alleged that for three decades Native American farmers were denied the opportunity to obtain low-interest rate loans and loan servicing from the USDA. The Indians alleged that this resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses for Indian farmers. They said that these loans were given instead to their white neighbors.
Native American Indians once inhabited the present United States from Coast to Coast. Today they number 4.9 Million (2008). Apart from language, the differences between Indian tribes is barely perceptible. They were once grouped into eight radically distinct languages, four of which are still in existence today.
With the Earth’s population exploding and nearly every arable acre already cultivated, the future of farming is a looming concern. For inspiration science is looking to the leaf-cutter ant which has mastered single crop agriculture and represents the apex of ant agriculture.
Monoculture crops are the rule in modern agriculture. This is why modern crops are especially vulnerable to disease. A pathogen that can infect one plant will likely be infectious to the rest.
Today the banana industry is being threatened by a fungus known as Tropical Race Four. This infection has resisted every counter-measure and may eventually doom modern bananas altogether.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the latest crisis has hit the Australian Pistachio nut industry. In December 2010 torrential rainfalls created ideal conditions for an outbreak of the moisture-loving anthracnose fungus. Australia’s pistachios originate almost entirely from a single cultivar developed in the early 1980s. Continue reading Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers→