Kanthan's Blog

I'm grateful for the SANDF

President Cyril Ramaphosa reviews members of the SANDF
President Cyril Ramaphosa reviews members of the SANDF on parade at Loftus Versfeld Stadium during his inauguration on 25 May 2019
via SANDFCorpEvents/Twitter

There are some things in life that help me sleep easier, and one of those things is that we have a singularly incompetent South African National Defence Force.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home is over, for now

SETI@Home screensaver circa 1999
SETI@Home screensaver circa 1999

Some 21 years ago, when I was managing editor of the Cape Times, I had acquired as my desktop computer at work an Apple Power Macintosh G3 with its matching Sony Trinitron monitor.

It was both beauty and beast by the standards of the day; blue and white polycarbonate clocking in at 300 MHz. More importantly, it could effortlessly play the Star Wars Phantom Menace trailer which was the first movie trailer to debut on the Internet

Here's how to look at our budget deficit properly


South Africa's budget deficit for this year is R370 billion.

(That's the difference between the money government receives in taxes and the amount government spends by borrowing.)

This triggered a thought as to what we could have spent that money on as a nation, and as I started by taking a look at companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Remembering Fela Kuti because music

Beasts of No Nation album cover
Beasts of No Nation album cover 1989

Driving my 12 year old daughter to school this morning, and the iPhone god of randomness popped by Shakara by Fela Kuti.

And I told 12 that Fela had been beaten to death by Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, and she asked why, and I said that's what dictators do. But that I would check my recollection and get back to her.

Actually, I had misremembered. It was not Sani Abacha; it was Abacha's predecessor General Olusegun Obasanjo. Fela was not beaten to death; merely close to death.

My Super Tuesday prediction

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren

Today is Super Tuesday in the US.

This is the day when the greatest number of states within that country hold primary elections to determine who is going to be the presidential candidate later this year.

More than a third of the voting delegates to that presidential nominating convention are determined today.

The Republicans are holding their primaries too, but President Donald Trump has no competition to speak of, so today is all bout the Democratic nominee.

The real value of Boomers

US Treasury 1907
US Treasury 1907

The United States is braced for the single biggest transfer of wealth in history.

"Boomers" make up about 45 million households, worth about US $68,4 trillion, according to Cerulli Associates. an asset management research group. As they die over the next 25 years, their heirs will receive most of this, and those heirs are mostly millennials.

The question is, what will those heirs do with the money?

'I can't believe it's not butter!' redux

Black soldier flies mating
Black soldier flies mating

The Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, was once only found in South America, but today is quite ubiqutous. The United States Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy, Croatia, Malta, the Canary Islands, Switzerland, the Black Sea coast of Russia... Yes, and right here in Southern Africa.

Adult females can lay more that 600 eggs at a time. The larvae that emerge can grow to 2,5 cm. That's about an inch if you don't speak metric.

My budget takeaways

Aloe Ferox between Cofimvaba and Ngcobo

Aloe Ferox between
Cofimvaba and Ngcobo

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his 2020 budget speech yesterday. Brief highlights for me:

Should some religious groups be barred from foster care because of their beliefs?

Supreme Court of the United States - Roberts Court 2018
Supreme Court of the United States - Roberts Court 2018

A fascinating case has made its way to the US Supreme Court. 

In 2018, Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, took the city to court accusing it of violating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion.

This came about because the city of Philadelphia refused to place children for foster care with Catholic Social Services because the agency bars same-sex couples from serving as foster parents.