Kanthan's blog

Raising interest rates — bad idea

20 May 2022 — Yesterday, in response to rising inflation, the South African Reserve Bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points. Once cannot really blame the team at the SARB who voted unanimously1 in favour of raising interest rates — “The primary object of the South African Reserve Bank...

I’m calling BS on this ‘loadshedding’

16 May 2022 — We can all understand “loss of generating capacity’. Units go out of service, the grid gets overloaded, etc. etc. But why would “loss of generating capacity” kick in only between 17h00-22h00 every day and be perfectly functioning for the other 19 hours? Especially as by 17h00,...

Explainer: Why does Russia now want payment in rubles?

23 April 2022 — For decades, Russia has been selling natural gas to countries in Europe. Initially, those countries would pay Russia in their own currencies (Example: Germany using Deutschmarks). In the modern era, those payments have been made in Euros. This year, after Russia began its “...

When incompetent journalism has financial consequences…

22 April 2022 — Two days ago, Netflix posted its first quarter results for this financial year. The share price plunged 31,5% — the biggest one day fall in over a decade. If you want to know why, consider these headlines: Netflix Loses 200,000 Subscribers, Counts Password-Sharing as...

Finland and Russia... "It's complicated"

21 April 2022 — Finland’s government is toying with the idea of joining NATO. And the decision will be made in weeks, not months, according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Finland has worked closely with NATO since the organization was founded in 1949, but has not made overtures to formally...

Is the Shanghai lockdown really about COVID?

20 April 2022 — There are some interesting words in the English language. Take the case of the verb “shanghai”. The word is derived from the name of the city on the east coast of China. In the late 19th century, there was frequent shortages of sailors willing to crew ships to far off...

Full cream versus low fat: the winner is...

19 April 2022 — Is low fat milk is healthier than full cream milk? If you’re fanatical about this because you think one is healthier than the other, let me set you straight: 1. Whole-fat dairy food intake is inversely associated with obesity prevalence. "Odds for global obesity (body mass...

IMF World Economic Outlook, Summary: 'We're Screwed'

18 April 2022 — The International Monetary Fund has released the April 2022 World Economic Outlook. Unsurprisingly, the ongoing Ukraine conflict is front and centre. Let me quote: War slows recovery The war in Ukraine has triggered a costly humanitarian crisis that demands a peaceful...

For womb the belles toil…

17 April 2022 — The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function, F Scott Fitzgerald said. And as I recalled those words, it sparked a David Bowie ear worm: 'Tis a pity she was a whore 'Tis my...

A brief history of our national roads

16 April 2022 — Many people will be travelling back home this Easter weekend and that sparked a thought rabbit hole about how our national roads have changed over my lifetime. So I went looking and found a Department of Transport map of our national road network from 1959 which confirmed a...

KZN Floods: A tale of four bridges

15 April 2022 — Durban, like many great cities around the world, is built on a river. The mighty Umgeni runs some 230 km from the Natal Midlands down to its estuary in the Indian Ocean (which Durban natives like me know as “The Blue Lagoon”). The Umgeni literally cuts the city in two. To...

KZN Floods: The cure for high prices

14 April 2022 — There’s a quote from one of my favourite books : “When I have water, I must drink wine; but when I have no water, I must drink water.” I arrived in my home town, Durban, Tuesday night, 12 April. Earlier in the day, eight weather stations in KwaZulu-Natal recorded new highs...

KZN floods: The world is melting!

13 April 2022 — The world is melting! The planet is breaking down! The outpouring of hysterical headlines over the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal have been enough to make a jackal puke.1 Let me take y’all back to Easter weekend of 2019 when the South African Weather Service issued a...

So, who is your favourite diplomat?

12 April 2022 — When I was a kid, someone told me that “a diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a tactful way in such a way that that you’ll look forward with pleasure to making the trip.” I thought of this earlier today watching yesterday’s press conference with US...

What about whataboutism though?

11 April 2022 — There are a number of ways we shut down conversations as human beings. In recent years, we created a term for one of those. We call it whatboutism or whataboutery (or variations on that theme). Example: “Black lives matter!” “What about Arab lives?” “That’s whataboutery....

No, I don't work there anymore...

10 April 2022 — Five years ago today, I stepped down as MD of the Yired group of companies and Chief Executive of YFM. It was a symbolic departure date exactly 10 years to the day I had started, 10 April 2007. I probably would have forgotten about this if not for that fact that a former...

In this era of book banning, a ray of light...

9 April 2022 — I have a particular point of personal pain in this sixth decade of my life — the number of books that are being pulled from libraries. I don’t want to get sucked into the destructive maw of assigning blame — this stupidity extends across political and religious lines. For some...

The green energy way to save the bald eagle...

8 April 2022 — The Seal of the President of the United States came about after an executive order issued by then US president Dwight D. Eisenhower becoming effective 4 July 1960 which reads: The Coat of Arms of the President of the United States shall be of the following design: SHIELD: ...

Punch-drunk idiots

7 April 2022 — I’ve never been a fan of boxing, mainly because I think brain damage is not the way I want to shuffle off this mortal coil. But I’m always fascinated by the concept of people being “punch-drunk”; they get dazed or stupefied by repeated blows to the head, and still they stagger...

Fake news, it's for real...

6 April 2022 — Got a shared video today via WhatsApp (as one does); security cam footage shows the inside of a barbershop, patrons having their haircuts. Two gunmen enter, ten shots are fired into the head of a customer, they flee the scene. “This jst happened in Umhlanga” said the...

Going after oligarchs? Dumb move...

5 April 2022 — The word “oligarch” was derived from the Greek word ὀλιγαρχία “ Oligarkhia” meaning ὀλίγος “oligoi” (few) and ἄρχω “arkhein” (to rule). The word originally referred to provincial lords in the Kingdom of Hungary in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Today, it generally...

Is this the real 'Great Reset'?

4 April 2022 — A number of significant events over the past few days. Let’s note some of them and look at what pulls these together. 1. In Hungary: The party of nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán has won a landslide victory in the country’s general election in spite of western media...

The appropriate time for a slap

3 April 2022 — This has been at the back of my mind ever since the Will Smith / Chris Rock incident last week. This is an except from Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" which remains one of the most influential books in my life to this day, Wynand half turned in his chair and looked at Dominique...

So you want green power? Read this...

2 April 2022 — I’m doing a bit of light reading this afternoon. (Well, it’s actually a hefty volume that weighs about 4 kilograms.) HVDC Power Transmission Lines Book is an Eskom publication from November 2021 and a copy has landed on my desk, courtesy of one of the principal authors. If you...

The world in sixty seconds ...

1 April 2022 — Seven years ago last night, I got on a plane from Johannesburg to London. I landed the morning of 1 April,  launched this amazing product I had co-designed with the BBC, did this panel discussion as well as two TV appearances, and flew back that night. The idea of a news...

I believe in unicorns...

31 March 2022 — The news earlier today that Vinny Lingham was backing an interesting new startup triggered an entire thought process rabbit hole. Let me take you down through it. Tech Central says the startup, called Waitroom is designed as a video meeting platform – with strict time...

An example of why I distrust many media reports

30 March 2022 — Today's from Moneyweb : "Take note if you are conducting a business from your private residence — Ratepayers must comply with their zoning provisions." So I hop across to Moneyweb. Story reads: People who are currently using their homes to conduct a business, whether...

Truth, lies, and sellotape

29 March 2022 — A few thoughts around what has been happening in the world recently. You decide which is which. The EU refuses to pay for Russian gas in roubles. They have called Putin's bluff. The Russia-Ukraine war is upending world order and will end globalization. Companies and...

Tears of laughter are the best...

28 March 2022 — One of the things that my mother and I have in common (apart from the fact that 50 percent of my genes come from her) is our love of certain writers. Peter O'Donnell,  creator of  Modesty Blaise, is probably at the top of the list. Less well known is that O'Donnell also...

Extraordinary renditions go mainstream

27 March 2022 — In July 2021, Nigerians woke up to the news that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of a banned separatist movement known as Indigenous People of Biafra, had been arrested and brought to the capital Abuja. Kanu , who also holds UK citizenship, fled Nigeria in 2017 while out on bail facing...