Kanthan's blog

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...

Thoughts on the Lia Thomas furore

26 March 2022 — This is a transcript of my off-the-cuff thoughts on this subject on the Liberty and Friends show last week. This goes back to my most basic rule of life, which is "don't be a dick". In this case, "don't be a dick" basically means that if someone comes up to me and clearly...

Saudi Attack: brace for another oil price hike

25 March 2022 — Spectacular pictures coming out of Saudi Arabia this evening after a Houthi militia attack on an Aramco facility in Jeddah. The Saudi government has already effectively declared force majeure on disruptions to oil supplies. "The Kingdom declares that it will not incur...

Madeleine Albright: I wonder whether she will be missed?

24 March 2022 — Some thoughts on the occasion of the death of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: "if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the...

The crime of being born a girl ...

23 March 2022 — I'm a hard cynical bastard. I learned well from the apartheid thugs who murdered Steve Biko in that most geopolitics leaves me cold. But this morning I was in tears. Six months ago, the United States fled Afghanistan as the Taliban marched into the presidential palace in...

Is this a dagger I see before me?

22 March 2022 — It's exactly a month today since I wrote these words about Russia's hypersonic missile capability: "Russia's 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missiles are known to be able to take out targets up to a 1 000 km away traveling at Mach 8. A US warship launching Tomahawks against...

What's going on on with China companies listed in the US?

21 March 2022 — Last year, July 2021, China's answer to Uber, DiDi Global, listed on the New York Stock Exchange . That IPO based 288 million American Depository Shares (ADS) at US$14 apiece gave DiDi a valuation of +/– US $73 billion and effectively put it in the same ballpark as their...

Lessons learned north of the Limpopo

20 March 2022 — I had a rare opportunity to spend three weeks in Harare, Zimbabwe between February and March. Here are some things I learned. Seasonal rainfall is huge concern for most Zimbabweans because almost every person I encountered is into farming. Relatively small patches of land...

God does not play dice ...

19 March 2022 — A high-school friend who is a singer / songwriter shared a new composition with our class group yesterday. It's a very catchy jingle with its core theme in the chorus: Is it one God or some religion That everybody needs Or do we shake those shackles off And use reason...

Now I know why it's called Zoom

18 March 2022 — Ever since the dreaded virus from the country which must not be named as the point of origin, online meetings have become a thing for even obscure corners of the world. For most of us, that means Zoom; because hardly anyone I know uses Microsoft Teams unless their company...

Tracking Russian Satellites

17 March 2022 — Multichoice has come under flack lately from keyboard warriors after Russia Today fell off the company's DSTV offering. “Sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union [EU] have led to the global distributor of the channel ceasing to provide the broadcast feed to all...

10 reasons why Taiwan is doomed

16 March 2022 — Let's talk about Taiwan and why I believe they are destined to go the route of Ukraine. These points are lifted from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2021 Annual Report to Congress. Let me quote selectively from 52 pages of Chapter 4. 1. Improvements...

Who pays the price for sanctions?

15 March 2022 — Three rainy seasons in a row have failed in the Horn of Africa and its surroundings. The next seasonal rains are supposed happen this month, and that hasn't pitched up yet. Chances are they will not. We can blame this on La Niña, a frequent complex weather pattern that...

The paradox of progress in the absence of human rights

14 March 2022 — Some years ago, I drove from Johannesburg to Lüderitz on the Namibian coast for a friend’s wedding. As I approached the town, the dysfunctional railway line which once linked Keetmanshoop to Bahnhof Lüderitz (as the Germans who built it in 1906 called it), frequently vanished...

Animals can sense weakness

13 March 2022 — Theodore Roosevelt is said to have said: “If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” There's an abundance of wildlife video showing hyenas taking down lions. The hyenas attack the lion's testicles first. This causes the lion to sit down and then it'...

Best friends forever...

12 March 2022 — I attended a birthday party today; my mother's best friend turned 90 during the week. They have been friends for 75 years. And so, in honour of the occasion, here’s my mother's speech at her bestie's birthday: ஓம் Celebrating a birthday is a happy and memorable event in...

'I never knew...'

11 March 2022 — Two things of significance for me today: 1. Russia called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council claiming that the United States was funding research to create biological weapons in Ukraine. 2. YouTube blocked access to the biggest Russian media...

Kiss of the Woman-Spider

10 March 2022 — Japanese folklore tells of the Jorōgumo which is a type of Yōkai 妖怪, ("apparition"). Tales dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867 AD) say that this particular apparition is a spider that can shapeshift into a beautiful woman. She seeks men to seduce, binds them in her silk,...

No, I did not enjoy Dune

9 March 2022 — I have a great-nephew who is an acclaimed filmmaker. I like his film reviews — I like reading them because he offers really nuanced insights, and I'm glad he shares them. So, this was his review of Dune (2021) reproduced here with his permission: Where do I even begin. Dune...

Israel and Russia: it's coming together

8 March 2022 — Israel’s prime minister  Naftali Bennett was in Moscow Saturday, 5 March 2022. He was at the Kremlin to meet with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. After a 3 hour meeting, Bennett headed to Berlin to meet German chancellor Olaf Scholz. If you’re wondering why you haven’t...

Israel and the US: it's coming apart

7 March 2022 — As far back as I can remember, Israel has been able to rely on one constant in its engagements with the rest of the world — the unassailable support of the United States of America. When Donald Trump was elected, he elevated the Middle East to the top of his agenda: Trump...

Here's why petrol at R40/litre looks real

6 March 2022 — 1.     South Africa has been in import mode for fuel in the recent past. What that means is that instead of importing crude oil and refining it locally into petrol, diesel etc, we are now directly importing those fuel types separately. The tilt to imports was caused by the loss...

It gives me hope when I see things like this...

5 March 2022 — Some wise words on a chat group I visit occasionally. I'll let them speak for themselves. What I'm seeing is that we all look at the situation through the lens of our own experience and perspectives. I agree with this and have recently been raked over the coals by US and EU...

Let the dogs bark...

4 March 2022 — This evening’s train of thought, triggered by recent events in that part of the world with hot women, ugly men, and nukes, naturally ended with a bottle of vodka. Let me explain. In 1472, Ivan III, Grand Duke of Muscovy, completed the expansion of what was once a medieval...