Space/Time/Gravity: A century later, the last prophecy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity is fulfilled
- J Brooks Spector
In a project that has taken decades, an international team of scientists that includes an astronomy researcher from UCT and another from the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) have made a groundbreaking discovery. Using radio waves innovatively through a relatively old telescope, the team of scientists peered past the dust particles in the Milky Way that had obscured their view for years and added 883 new galaxies to the map of the sky. It’s a discovery that not only fills in significant blanks, it also completely changes our understanding of where our own galaxy is travelling to. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
This week the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting on the Zika Virus concluded that the outbreak of the Zika virus is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern but saw no health justification in restricting travel and trade in areas affected by the virus. There was no mention of the complexities of South Africa’s poor sexual and reproductive health services, should a possible outbreak occur. By MARION STEVENS.
The rains have come and the hills of Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, are green again. The stench of rotting cattle that clogged the air in October, November and December is gone, but here and there white ribcages of the thousands of cattle that have died dot the fields. The toll on the 75,000 cattle farmers in the area has been great. By YVES VANDERHAEGHEN & DONNA HORNBY.
In an era where established and once influential newspaper titles across the world face enormous financial pressures and have been decimated by dwindling readerships and huge staff layoffs, Tom McCarthy's “Spotlight” is a celebration of the Fourth Estate and its ability to hold power to account. The film is not only about the shocking decades' long systemic sexual abuse and rape of children by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston Archdiocese and those who colluded to cover it up, but also the courage of an editor and the dedication of a small, relentless team of journalists who exposed it. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The Exploring Consciousness film collective is celebrating two decades with a retrospective film festival; 20 of their best, covering fields as diverse as biography, philosophy, mysticism, medicine, ecology and animal communication. Enquiring minds, gather round from 31 January – 7 February. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
What would happen if you were raped or beaten by a female perpetrator? Would you report it to the police? Receive trauma counselling? Tell your family? Think about it, really think about it. Because, according to some first-person narratives, doing any of these things won’t go as smoothly as you might expect. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
It is almost impossible to know how leopards are faring in South Africa. They are secretive animals that are mainly nocturnal, solitary, and range over huge areas. Counting them requires intensive research using expensive technology such camera traps, which can only be deployed over small areas, far smaller than the areas in which hunting quotas are determined. Hunting them will speed up their extinction. By DON PINNOCK.
By normalising violence and its consequences through the media, violence is seen as almost natural to black people. This practice means it is acceptable to show the deepest pain and most private anguish for all to see, for no other benefit or news value other than to reinforce the stereotype of black people being violent, and overly emotional. By WILLIAM BIRD.
We, the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, would like to commend Minister Bathabile Dlamini (President of the ANCWL) for risking being vulnerable and for spelling out her frustrations in her letter to men regarding patriarchy, power and the continuing oppression of women in all spheres of society. We support her. By MARION STEVENS, TLALENG MOFOKENG & ANDREA THOMPSON.
The decision to begin the process for the procurement of nuclear plants was published in mid-December 2015 in the Government Gazette, but oddly signed by the previous Minister of Energy, Minister Ben Martins. We are of the view that this is a significant development, although the nuclear programme is not a done deal just yet. Public concern is still warranted as the nuclear deal remains shrouded in secrecy and is following worrying patterns all too familiar when one considers the history of the arms deal. By SALIEM FAKIR and GARY PIENAAR.
In a policy brief published by the Medical Research Council on January 5, the medicinal value of cannabinoids was officially – and historically – recognised in South Africa. Three days later, the president signed into law the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act of 2015, a piece of legislation that theoretically allows Big Pharma to feed our dagga to us in pill form – or, if we like, through a straw. KEVIN BLOOM reports.
Hunters argue that their activities only take out older animals that are past their breeding lives and therefore have fulfilled their purpose. Such specious claims have been perpetuated for decades and have been mostly accepted by a gullible audience. Science shows clearly, however, that the elderly of many species still breed and make a vital contribution to the structures of their society. Removing them artificially upsets all sorts of behaviour around reproduction, collective wisdom and, certainly in the case of elephants, discipline within herds. By PETER BORCHERT for UNTOLD AFRICA.
The purpose of arrest can only be to ensure an accused’s attendance at court. No other purpose is lawful. It is not up to an arresting officer to determine whether an arrested person should be detained pending criminal trial. That is a decision reserved for the judiciary alone. By ANDREW FAULL and JOSEPH SHAW.
Every year, I asked my dad to take me to that water slide, to that section (the part Ms Sparrow et al have claimed as hers – “our beach”) because it looked like awesome fun and I wanted to splash too in a wooden log on a water slide, and every year he gave the same answer “next year, my darling”. By FATIMA HASSAN.
From the time I was 12 years old, the only person I wanted to meet was David Bowie. Apart from The Beatles, he had something of the late 60s moondust that fell off the music comet of that time, leaving a silver tail in a black velvet sky. It was a true magic that filled us with a feeling that anything was possible in the realm of The Thin White Duke, the Stones, Dylan, the Fab Four and many more. By BEEZY BAILEY.