Donate to VWS

After the last 24 hours, with seemingly the whole of the Cape peninsular ablaze, the amazing work of the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) has been highlighted once again. They’ve now been out fighting the huge fires for well over 24 hours, battling high winds, smoke and temperatures in excess of 40ºC today.


The VWS rely on donations from the public and businesses to meet their annual running costs, and if you want to help them out with a once-off donation, here are the details you need:

Bank Deposits or EFT Payments can be made to:
Volunteer Wildfire Services
Branch: Foreshore
Branch Code: 108309
Account Number: 1083321226

If you make a donation, please use your name as a unique reference as well as sending us an email so we can thank you for your valued contribution.

Alternatively, you can make a credit card donation via their Givengain page – again, they ask that you drop them an email if you do that to “keep track of incoming funding for the auditors”.

There are other longer term ways to support the VWS, including adding them as a beneficiary on your Woolworths MySchool card or pledging money each month, via their pledge page (which also has their equipment wishlist on it).

Good cause alert: please give what you can.

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Lego Beagle coming soon?

More beagle news? Sort of – but this is actually Beagle news, with a capital B. And that’s because it relates to the ship that Charles Darwin did his stuff on. Proper nouns FTW.

It’s now been 180 years since Darwin’s voyage to South America and those infamous Galapagos finches, and as history shows, he went there on the HMS Beagle, a ship so named because it chewed everything it got hold of and continually ran off with people’s socks. Darwin wasn’t actually meant to be looking at birds and animals: he was the ship’s geologist. The naturalist on board was, of course…?
Exactly, you have no idea because he didn’t come up with anything particularly spectacular in the field evolutionary theory. 1-0 to the Darwin bloke.
(For completeness, the ship’s naturalist was Robert McCormick, and he never ended up on the back of a ten quid note.)

Anyway, one of the ports of call on the voyage of the Beagle was Santiago in Chile (another was Cape Town, but that’s not important right now). And it’s there that Luis Peña, a Professor of Opthalmology, has created a 2,024 piece Lego replica of the HMS Beagle and he’s hoping that with enough support, Lego will actually produce and market an official Beagle kit. It’s simple and free to support his quest to get the most famous ship in the history of scientific exploration in the form of small, interlocking plastic blocks: you just click here.


Luis’ project has already attracted 4800 “signatures”. If it gets to 10000, Lego will officially review it and consider making the kit. I think that’s quite cool.

You can read more about Luis Peña and his interest in Darwin and the Beagle here.

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Arrow man

This is impressive. Very, very impressive.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

I like watching things in slow motion: you see details that you’d never previously considered; you can see what’s actually happening.

Byron Ferguson obviously has an amazing talent – his brain and body working almost robotically to detect his target, calculate its trajectory, then aim and fire an arrow from an old-fashioned, homemade bow in milliseconds – but I’m not sure how impressed I would be if I was to go to one of his shows. In real time, and without the close-up shot, there’s a certain degree of optical dexterity and even trust required to see and believe what Byron does.

That’s not to suggest that what he does isn’t incredible. It really is. But for me, the camerawork and the images it produces are even more amazing.

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No filter, no nothing. Just wow.
I popped outside to see the progress of the fire on the mountain above Muizenberg (spoiler: the fire is winning right now) and was rewarded with a superb Cape Town sunset.


I’ve said many times that this place does all the hard work for you when you are looking to take a decent photograph.
I think this point-and-shoot just underlines my correctness. Once again.

(P.S. One more on Flickr here.)

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Enchanted Forest

A quick QP after a long, boozy afternoon.


I wish I’d taken my camera along to catch this amazing light in Newlands Forest. But I didn’t, so this will just have to do.

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