Blog Entries

Racist emoji

30 August 2020 — Have you ever heard someone says something that sounded completely outrageous, and you turned around to see a smile on their face and heaved a sigh of relief? Humans rely on a wide range of signals to communicate with each other, and most of these are non-verbal: What we say...

Yes, but is it paedophilia?

4 July 2020 — Even after his death, there continues to be outrage — deserved, in my opinion — around Jeffrey Epstein's 36 recorded counts of sexual abuse. Some of his victims were 14 years old. But this is 2020, and even well-meaning people commenting on the matter get taken to task, for...

Some thoughts on GDP

22 August 2020 — I was asked a question: "Would I be right in saying GDP is not always a good indicator of an economy?" My response: "GDP is an important piece of a larger puzzle which should never be looked at in isolation." Here's a brief explainer: GDP (gross domestic product) is the...

My grandfather

19 July 2020 — My grandfather was born 16 December 1903. Twenty four hours later, the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane. In 1914 when he was 10 years old, World War I broke out. When it ended in 1918, he was 14. 22 million people were dead From 1918 until the time he turned 16 in...

Rats and dogs

3 April 2020 — Can dogs be trained to sniff out Covid-19? Medical Detection Dogs, a UK NGO founded in 2008 on the premise that dogs can be trained to sniff out diseases, is hoping this is the case. They are working in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (...

Smoking killjoys

2 April 2020 — In Italy, cigarettes and other tobacco products in that country can only be sold by designated tobacco shops called "tabacchi". These outlets are ubiquitous and easily recognisable by very distinct blue sign with a large 'T' and the words 'sali tabacchi, valori bollati'. The...

Day 6: The political game-changer

1 April 2020 — Many people have noticed that the Ramaphosa government has quite efficiently been rolling out water supplies to communities following the declaration of the Covid-19 State of Disaster. Not only water supplies; provisions for emergency housing in the form of tents or other...

Day 5: Beware the police state

31 March 2020 — Just a brief, philosophical note today on Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778), Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. Rousseau was famously against property rights. I quote: The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said 'This is mine', and...

Day 4: Covid-19 crisis will prove to be the death rattle of the EU

30 March 2020 — Italy, country of my eldest daughter's birth and home to some of my dearest friends, has borne the brunt of Covid-19 tragedies thus far. As I write this, 812 people have died in the past 24 hours pushing the death toll to 11 591. There will be much speculation in the years...

Day 3: Check your privilege; seriously

29 March 2020 — As pictures roll in from around the country of our urban masses crammed into peri-urban slums (which we sanctimoniously refer to as informal settlements), many of us have taken to sharing sentiments about how privileged we are to be relatively safe within our middle-class and...

No time for tears

28 March 2020 — Edcon CEO Grant Pattison reportedly broke down in tears this week on a conference call to suppliers. "We only have sufficient liquidity to pay salaries... which we deem a priority during these uncertain times." There was much sympathy for Pattison when the story broke. "His...

Boris's Bravado

27 March 2020 — Day 1 of lockdown in South Africa greeted with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement today that he had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The news was greeted with mirth and derision by the usual suspects. They pointed to BoJo's previous...