Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach

One beautiful sunny morning, a few days ago, while walking the long stretch of beach named Grotto Beach near Voëlklip on the Hermanus coastline, I came across this amazing sight — the after-birth of a Southern Right Whale, washed up on the beach. At least, that’s what I think it was.

The whale that is seen most often in Walker Bay is the Southern Right Whale, so my assumption is that it once belonged to a Southern Right. However, other species do make an appearance occasionally so one can’t be certain.

I didn’t know what this was at first. It looked alien lying there half buried in the sand. I took these photographs and it was only a few days later, after doing some on-line research that it finally dawned on me — it was a whale’s placenta. Continue reading “Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach”

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Drone That Crashed Inside Pakistan – Is It The Festo SmartBird?

festo-smartbird

An alleged US spy drone crashed into Pakistani territory last week. Strangely, it looks like nothing seen in that theatre before. Stranger still, it looks a lot like the Festo SmartBird an amazing robotic bird.

The thing is, there are some significant differences. For one thing the Festo SmartBird flaps it’s wings while the drone that crashed in Pakistan is thought to have had some form of propulsion — like a propeller perhaps.

According to an Express 24/7 correspondent, Mohamamd Kazim, the drone was surveying the border when it crashed near the Pishin Scouts Frontier Corps Base compound in Chaman, 300 meters inside the Pakistani-Afghani border (5 Photographs). Continue reading “Drone That Crashed Inside Pakistan – Is It The Festo SmartBird?”

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Aviation Artwork of Local Hermanus Artist Derrick Dickens

derrick-dickens

Internationally renowned artist, and local Hermanus resident, Derrick Dickens’ aviation artwork featuring aircraft of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, as seen here, is the subject of a recently published book.

This magnificent work of 168 pages is entitled Illustrated History of the Fleet Air Arm – Stringbag to Shar 1938 to 2006. It features paintings of every type and mark of fixed-wing front line aircraft to serve in the FAA from 1938 to 2006.

The forward was written by the Admiral of the Fleet, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip also chose the painting Swordfish, on page 6 of the book, which now hangs in Buckingham Palace. Continue reading “Aviation Artwork of Local Hermanus Artist Derrick Dickens”

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Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

fishing-on-the-bot-river-estuary

It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.

This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.

Conventional wisdom, and experience, has it that garrik, steenies and large mullet are the most likely catches. These along with leervis, steenbras and elf are popular angling and table fish. Continue reading “Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary”

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Adriaan S de Lange Local South African Sculptor and Painter

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.” Continue reading “Adriaan S de Lange Local South African Sculptor and Painter”

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Native Indian Class Action Lawsuit Scores $680 Million From USDA

apache-indians

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. Continue reading “Native Indian Class Action Lawsuit Scores $680 Million From USDA”

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Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers

ant-fungus-farmers

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. Continue reading “Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers”

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New Contender For World’s Hottest Chilli is Hot, Very Hot

chilli-garden

Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Chilli. That’s the name of the new contender for the title of the World’s Hottest Chilli. Marcel de Wit, who was involved with developing and growing it had this to say about eating it:

“I had hallucinations, I had to lie down, I couldn’t walk for 20 minutes, dizzy. This chilli was so severe. I will never, ever do it again, I can tell you that.”

The fiery new chilli is rated at an incredible 1,46-million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). To get an idea of just how hot that is pickers at the town of Morisett, 89km north of Sydney in Australia, must wear gloves and avoid any skin contact due to the acute burning sensation that would result. Workers who boil and mince the chilli into puree for sauces have to wear chemical masks and protective clothing to avoid the fumes. Continue reading “New Contender For World’s Hottest Chilli is Hot, Very Hot”

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Jewish Passover and Christian Easter: What Do They Have In Common?

It is a little known fact that, in the early Eastern Christian churches, the timing of the celebration of Easter was based on the date of the Jewish Passover.

According to ancient records Jesus was crucified just before Passover. The famous last supper was the day before that. While the sacrificial lambs were being slaughtered for Passover, Jesus was undergoing crucifixion and so became the ultimate sacrificial lamb. Continue reading “Jewish Passover and Christian Easter: What Do They Have In Common?”

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Fantastic Realism Art Work of Russian Artist Boris Indrikov

boris-indrikov

Boris Indrikov is a talented and original artist born in Leningrad in 1967 and now lives and works in Moscow . From 1991 to 1997 he was a book designer and worked as an illustrator for the popular science magazine “Chemistry and Life.”

He has been a member of the Creative Union of Artists of Russia and the UNESCO International Federation of Artists since 1998. Boris has exhibited works at a number of shows in Russia and abroad. He exhibited at the Moscow Art Fair, Art-Manezh in 2002 and 2003, and Drommar in Nykoping, Sweden in 2004. He currently works in painting, graphic design and small-form plastic. He works mainly in fantastic realism. Continue reading “Fantastic Realism Art Work of Russian Artist Boris Indrikov”

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