Kanthan's Blog

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.

RIP, Shaun Johnson

Shaun Johnson conversation

My last conversation with Shaun Johnson on Facebook

Woke up to the news that founding editor of the Sunday Independent, Shaun Johnson, had passed away and was momentarily incredulous. Born November 1959, he is just two years older than I am. 

I have a flashback now to sitting across from him at his desk circa October 1999; he as Managing Director of Independent Newspapers Cape, I as Managing Editor of the Cape Times.

"Shaun," I said to him, "this is the third year I am drawing up budgets for the Cape Times, and this is the third year that I am asked to make cutbacks. When does it stop? When do we reinvest in journalism?"

Who guards The Guardian?

Guardian screenshots from Twitter

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This Latin phrase traces back to the work of the Roman poet Juvenal, written around the late first or early second century, It translates to "who will guard the guardians?"

Surprisingly, the original context was not in the sense of the modern meaning of who will police those in power; it rather dealt with marital infidelity.

The original text: audio quid ueteres olim moneatis amici, "pone seram, cohibe." sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? cauta est et ab illis incipit uxor.

Corona versus Ebola: some stats

Ebola in DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo announced their tenth outbreak of Ebola in 40 years on 1 August 2018. The number of cases has exceeded 3 000, making it the country's largest-ever Ebola outbreak. It is the second-largest Ebola outbreak after one which hit West Africa from 2014-2016.

Key stats from then to date via Doctors WIthout Borders:

  • 3423 total cases
  • 3304 confirmed cases
  • 2244 deaths

Contrast this with Covid-19, as the Corona virus is more formally known.

Free speech versus the right to bear arms?

The Liberator 3D-printed hand gun

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents government passing laws prohibiting freedom of speech.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the individual right to keep and bear arms.

But what if they are in fact the same thing?