writings, musings, ramblings, snapshots


Welcome to my digital archive

This site is mainly a collection of my writings over the past 32 years. (I've been writing for longer than that, but this record of my digital life began at Princeton in 1986).

The easiest way to find something here is to use the search box. Type in a subject and chances are I've written about that at some point.

I appreciate feedback. Feel free to message me on twitter or email kanthan dot pillay at gmail dot com. If you find anything here to be useful, feel free to share it.

What I wrote on this day years ago...

Hurling money at it won’t work, Blade

18 January 2012

Not many of us today remember the name of Samuel Pierpont Langley who was born 1834 and died early 1906. Langley was an American academic, astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer who attempted to make a working piloted heavier-than-air aircraft – what we today call an airplane.

Langley’s first success came in May 1896 when a model flew slightly more than a kilometre after a catapult launch from a boat on the Potomac River -- a distance ten times longer than any previous experiment. On November 11 that year another model flew more than 1,5 kilometres.

Policing our forces

18 January 1999

NOT so long ago, our affable Minister of Safety and Security — him of the broad smile while expressing discomfort — announced the unfreezing of some 2000 posts in the South African Police Services. (Actually, this was a couple of years ago, but no matter.)

Some months later, we in the news business began to ask the usual questions related to delivery; such as: "When will these 2000 positions be filled?"

Surefire signs of a banana republic

18 January 1997

Here they are -- the wholly unofficial top 10 signs that you are in a banana republic...

A RATHER large Afrikaner of our acquaintance -- known affectionately to those of us who like him as "The Big Boer" -- has very definite ideas about our continent.

"Look at Africa from the sky at night. There is only darkness. Johannesburg is a glittering jewel. Cross the border and the lights go out. Ja boet."

My favourite writings...

Angels in desolation

6 August 1999

'In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty,' Phil Ochs once said ...

DAWN was breaking over the magnificent desolation of the Karoo landscape as cats eyes flung themselves towards me along the road pointing toward an infinite horizon.

The butterfly that stamped

24 September 1999

This is the 9th month of the year 1999. There are 99 days to go to the last year of this century. Do you feel a sense of destiny?

A BUTTERFLY flapped his wings in East Timor, setting up gentle spirals of air currents that grew as they intersected harmoniously with others nearby. He lived gloriously for a few short hours, mated, and died. Night fell and the remnants of his wings tossed and turned, no longer with life of their own, in the now strong breeze.

The stars looked down silently upon the scene. They had seen it before.