Malema: the future of SA

Of all the things that will come with a Jacob Zuma presidency, perhaps none is quite so scary as the prospect of ANCYL Leader Julius Malema holding any position of authority.
While I am not a fan of the constant ZumaRumas™ which are regularly circulated by antagonistic, hysterical whities with racist agendas*, the thought of Malema being allowed near anything or anyone important fills me with dread.
The mechanic that serviced my car last week looked a bit like him and now my air-con has packed up. I recognise this is no reflection on Mr Malema himself per se, but it just seemed horribly appropriate and thus I felt I should include it here. 

I am also not a fan of radio stations doing prank phone calls. For me, just because someone is (in)famous, doesn’t mean that one should be able to ring them up out of the blue, imitating some other person, confuse and embarrass them and then broadcast it for all to hear. However, I’m going to make an exception here, as “Whackhead” from Highveld 94.7 in Jo’burg calls Julius Malema (via his PA) and “chats” to him.
While pretending to be Barack Obama.

Listen and weep:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MbvTksmdg]

For me, the scariest bit is that Malema fails to actually say anything.
Is he overawed? Is he confused? Does he even know who Mr Obama is? 
Can Julius Malema get out anything more than mumbled, one word answers while talking to the most powerful man on the planet?

No, he can’t!

I know it’s not a fair situation to judge someone on, but please, for the love of all that is holy, couldn’t he have embarrassed himself by at least chatting to “Mr Obama”, perhaps congratulating him on his election victory, hypocritically spending $150 million on a big party, maybe talking about his visions for Africa – ANYTHING!
Just not “yebo” and “ugh”. Those are not the words of a competent politician.
But those are the words of Julius Malema.

* As Thabo Mbeki (remember him?) said last week, “It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country.”

Quote of the day

From the always-entertaining Brian Micklethwait on the dangers of writing blog entries in advance and then getting them to automatically post while you’re away on holiday:

I’ve never really felt right with that.  What if an atom bomb goes off, and there I am still blogging about, basically, kittens?  (I know, the internet would not be at its best either, but you get my point.)

Yes, that would be a little difficult to explain to any survivors.

SA’s UK Drug Hell!

Or should that be UK’s SA Drug Hell?


SAA: powered by weed (allegedly)

As fifteen flight and cabin crew from the daily SAA Jo’burg to Heathrow flight were arrested after 50kg of cannabis was found on board, South African rugby player Matt Stevens, now living and “working” in Bath, UK, failed a drugs test and looks set to be banned from the sport for two years.  

Stevens has admitted to taking “a substance” “while out with friends” and admits he has a drug problem, although he insists that they were not performance enhancing drugs. Anyone who has been watching his recent performances won’t be surprised by that assertion.
Obviously, they were recreational drugs, and probably imported from Jo’burg.

Which brings us neatly onto the SAA arrests, and I’m pretty sure they’ve got the wrong people. Anyone who has ever flown SAA will testify that they never send baggage to the right place. I’m pretty sure that 50kg of weed was meant to go to Miami or Sydney or Athens.
Perhaps the police in those cities should be looking at the incoming SAA flight crews and see which ones are nervously searching in the galley cupboards and looking confused. There’s your suspects.

Microsoft Voice Command for the X1

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 – the appropriately abbreviated SEX1 – can do most everything. OK, it’s struggling slightly on watering the garden and I must confess that I had to help it out slightly with explaining what steps Jacob Zuma can still take to avoid seemingly unavoidable prosecution for being naughty with money. But aside from horticultural dampening and the legal minefield facing our President in waiting, it’s pretty awesome.

Thus, when it was suggested to me that it could possibly be made to be slightly more awesome, I snorted in a rather rude and derisory fashion. Aside from a hosepipe attachment, this was surely as good as it got, right?

Wrong.

Step forward, Microsoft’s Voice Command 1.6. I’ve been having the time of my life since I popped this little app on my phone. Because yes, I know you can get phones with voice dialling, but this is a bit different.

Users can go beyond today’s limited voice options by using speaker independent phonetic speech recognition and text-to-speech technology. Instead of requiring users to pre record all of the names of their contacts, the software is designed to recognize the commands users say without any training, resulting in effortless, hands-free communication.

So yes, it’ll call the wife if you ask it to. But then, you can ask also it what time it is, what date it is; it will chat to you about your upcoming appointments – even tell you who will be in your next meeting or you can ask it to play Favourite Worst Nightmare  by Sheffield’s finest Arctic Monkeys* and it will launch into Fluorescent Adolescent recorded live at The Leadmill.
Which is pretty cool.

There’s a lot to learn on the X1 and I don’t think I’m getting anywhere close to complete knowledge just yet, but every step I take, I’m getting more impressed.
Now, does anyone have a beta version of Sprinkler for Windows Mobile?

* by literally just saying “play Favourite Worst Nightmare”…

Heathrow alternatives – the Runwet

On a day when the big news in the UK was the Government’s long overdue approval for a third runway at Heathrow airport, a pilot in New York went out of his way (literally) to show how Gordon Brown et al could have saved £9 billion by simply utilising the River Thames as an alternative landing area.


Greenpeace: Nearly right. But… not. Now, go and have a wash.

I guess a few of the bridges may get in the way, but one must consider the advantages of a centrally-located landing area, ease of access to public transport (especially water taxis) and the picturesque views of London landmarks for passengers as they come in to land.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, on the starboard side of the aircraft, the Houses of Parliament and on the port side, County Hall and the London Eye.
Thank you for flying British Airways.
Lifejackets are located under your seats. Brace for impact.

This water-based option also provides the opportunity to open aquatic runways – or “runwets” as I like to call them – in smaller cities and towns*. Beautiful Cambridge might have to shift some of the punts off the tourist-laden Cam, but it would save that horrible cross country road trip to Luton and provide direct access to college for overseas students.

Further north, the planes could land on the crunchy crust of pollution that sits proudly atop the waters of the Mersey in Liverpool. It could be called the Paul McCartney Mersey Runwet, to go with the John Lennon Airport, situated so inconveniently out of town.

    
Cambridge and Liverpool – diverse runwets in the UK

If you think about it, runwets would be self-perpetuating. As more planes are able to take off and land from runwets worldwide, CO2 emissions will increase, global warming will accelerate, ocean levels will rise and there will be more space for more runwets. Pretty soon, the whole planet will be one big runwet and Kevin Costner will make a hugely expensive flop of a film about it.

Just remember – you read it here first. As usual.

* There will be no option to land at a runwet in Bloemfontein, as there is no water anywhere in the Free State. Fact.