African journalists are very familiar with the “big stick” – the unmistakable threat of violence that haunts their work. To help them get around this problem, and other difficulties dogging the progress of the media in Africa, a new prize looks to encourage innovations that can revolutionise the African media landscape – and organisers have brought out the much less familiar “big wallet” to do just that. By SIMON ALLISON.
Two of the most telling trends in the new vehicle market at present are the growing popularity of crossover vehicles and SUVs, and increasing demand for more compact, more efficient cars. The new Audi Q3 addresses both in a premium package that also promises comfort and performance. But price may prove to be the most important factor of all. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
He was a boy who grew up in poverty on the Cape Flats, but that didn’t stop him from dreaming. He wanted to win the Nobel peace prize or even just have a job where he could wear a shirt and tie. Parker’s living the dream alright, as the founder of a massive social non-profit that changes lives and has gone global. By MANDY DE WAAL.
We’re already living a future where our desire to use technology to share and interact freely with others has been perverted, according to a privacy expert. Increasingly, the devices and software we use listen to and watch us, potentially for nefarious purposes. The worst of it is that we allow it. This is the future Eben Moglen, Columbia University law professor and Software Freedom Law Centre chairman, foresees. By OSIAME MOLEFE.
Virgin Galactic has come to town to open space travel sales to Mark Shuttleworth wannabes who boldly want to go where few men or women have gone before. From a famous split infinitive to a glimpse of infinity perhaps. But you might want to ensure they've sent a space minesweeper ahead to get rid of the space junk first. By MANDY DE WAAL.
In a new vehicle market as competitive as the South African one, producing a good car simply isn’t good enough anymore: it has to be exceptional. Opel is hoping its latest compact people carrier will exceed the most elevated expectations. Besides, the new Meriva has a few tricks up its sleeve… By DEON SCHOEMAN.
Sometimes you have to zoom out from an issue to see the bigger picture. Sometimes you have to zoom right in to see the magic of how its smallest components resonate with each other. But at some point you will realise that maybe, just maybe, there’s another way of looking at things. By GUY LIEBERMAN.
On the day America’s proud Discovery space shuttle was escorted into a museum to take on its new role as an artefact, news broke that South Africa’s home-grown electric car – the Joule – seems to be heading in the same direction. But without ever being used. ALEX ELISEEV explores what went wrong and what the consequences will be.
As Nasa continues to mothball its moribund space shuttles, ferrying them hither and thon to sundry museums, they are also putting 60 years of space exploration to sleep. SpaceX hopes to be the first private company to monetise space transport. On 30 April, we’ll find out if that’s possible. By RICHARD POPLAK.
The competition among the Big Three German brands – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – has never been tougher, regardless of segment. But when it comes Audi’s RS cars, the BMW M-badged monsters and the Mercedes-Benz AMG line-up, pride also comes into play. The C63 AMG Coupé is Merc’s retort to the Audi RS5 and BMW’s M3. DEON SCHOEMAN tries to tame the beast.
Chevrolet’s Captiva range has evolved into a convincing compact SUV since arriving in South Africa five years ago. It links a choice of drivetrains and value-added spec levels to a well-conceived interior and satisfying dynamics. The recent addition of an advanced turbodiesel engine fills an obvious gap in the current range, albeit at a premium. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
Meet “Dr.” Loren Cordain, from Colorado State University’s department of health and exercise science. He has assembled the “science” behind the paleo-diet fad, which encourages postmodern humans to eat as our caveman ancestors ate. Turns out, our forebears may have had a more sophisticated culinary repertoire than Doc Cordain and his acolytes assumed. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Toyota’s Innova is what many would consider the perfect vehicle for South African families: spacious, rugged and versatile, with bullet-proof underpinnings promising that legendary Toyota reliability. There’s lots of nice kit, too. However, local car buyers are a discerning bunch. DEON SCHOEMAN reckons this Jane might be too plain for some.
If the Square Kilometre Array bid was a rugby game between South Africa and Australia, the latest call from the referee would be: “Both of you have invested so much, we’re going to spend another month deciding how we can end this so everyone wins”. For the scientists, this is not the end of the world. But for the fans in the stands, yesterday’s news was an anticlimax. By ALEX ELISEEV.
Nigeria will probably pass South Africa as the continent’s powerhouse in the next 20 years. Why? Because that country’s underworld acts as a bellwether for the potential of its overworld. If you want proof, look no further than the unfolding AT&T “IP relay” scandal, in which Nigerians play a defining role. By RICHARD POPLAK.
What comes to mind when you think of Stellenbosch? Graceful Cape Dutch buildings, rolling vineyards, perhaps the university. But you may have to update your mental entry to include being the first municipality in Africa to offer free wireless Internet access. REBECCA DAVIS had a look at its new wi-fi coverage.
With service delivery protests breaking out around the country, and the Auditor-General's revelations on the horror show that is municipal finances in SA, wondering what your local mayor is worth might be a burning question. Thanks to a data-journalism tool created by Media 24 Investigations you can now find out, and do something about it if she or he isn’t worthy every cent they’re getting. By MANDY DE WAAL.
The Lexus IS could be considered the brand’s knight in shining armour. It was the advent of the IS – ostensibly a BMW 3-Series/Mercedes-Benz C-class competitor – that brought the nameplate within reach of a wider South African motoring audience, and provided the sales volumes vital to viable dealerships. The new Lexus IS350 is meant to extend the marque’s reach, but DEON SCHOEMAN questions its success in that quest.
South Africans have always enjoyed convertible cars. And as far as affordable drop-tops go, Volkswagen’s Golf-based Cabriolet has typically been a popular choice, despite a dearer asking price. It’s taken a long time to arrive, but finally, the latest-generation Golf is now also on offer as a sunshine model. By DEON SCHOEMAN.