SOFS

(with apologies to Alice Cooper)

And so just like that, it’s the end of the school year.

The Boy Wonder finished his time at Junior School with a great year, ending on a high note with really good results and an award for Academic Excellence in Science. And this year is a biggie, with him moving on to what passes for High School in his system. It was a good way to sign off.

I may have mentioned before that the SA and UK school systems are a complete mystery to me: The SA system because I was never part of it (and neither of my kids have been), and the UK system, because it’s fundamentally changed since I was in it. Equating the end of Year 6 with the end of my third year at Middle School seems about right, but then, I didn’t go to High School for another year after that (starting directly into the second year there) and my school year finished several months earlier (or… er… later, I guess) than the SA ones.
Even though my kids aren’t in the SA system, at least their school still respect the local seasons.

Our little girl – not so little anymore – also had a wonderful year and has really developed in character and confidence. She finished with the highest marks in her class. And yeah, I may be showing off a little about how well they’ve done here, but I am so very proud of what they’ve done this year. Also, I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and it’s only the third time this year that I’ve done something like this (see here and here for the others), and if you can’t share your good news and your kids’ achievements on your blog, then there’s something very wrong with the world.

A well-deserved break for all concerned now then. With no packed lunches to make and no school run, I awoke from uneasy slumbers (because of this) at a heady 7 o’clock this morning. Just another 6 days in the laboratory and then I’ll be joining them. This is the life.

Safety

Our little corner of Africa is a long way from anywhere important, which can sometimes be a bit of an inconvenience. It’s about 8 hours driving or 2 hours flying to even get out of the country. And then you’re going to find yourself in Namibia, which is lovely, but which is also rather a long way from anywhere important.

However, this geographical solitude seems to have paid some dividends when it comes to avoid nuclear holocaust:

Yep. Unless your Spanish and/or Portuguese is up to scratch, or you really, really like snow, it looks like Cape Town (ok, and a bit of Namibia too) is the place to be once Kim Jong-Un starts throwing his metaphorical toys out of his metaphorical cot.

Water plan

So it seems that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille didn’t go for my amazing plan which would have solved Cape Town’s water worries for the next 25,000 years.  Who on earth knows why, but never mind. I’m not about to give up just yet.

Using some of the science from that post, but leaving the chunk of ice the size of Wales out of the equation, I’ve come up with another idea. Obviously, this one won’t help us out for quite as long as the whole 25,000 years thing, but if you’re going to leave a chunk of ice the size of Wales out of the equation, there are clearly going to have to be a few compromises made.

So here goes…

We’ve all popped a bottle of wine or a can of beer into the freezer to get it chilled quickly, and then forgotten about it. The result is both upsetting and messy – wasted beverage, exploded glass, split can, sticky freezer.
That happens because the major constituent in both wine and beer is (sadly) water. And chemistry tells us that water increases in volume by 9.05% when it’s frozen, whereas bottles and cans just… don’t. Oops.

That increase in volume is key to my plan though. The Cape dams are short of water volume at the moment – that’s literally the issue which is concerning us all going into the summer – so why not freeze all the water that’s in there, and get us an extra 9.05% of volume straight away?

I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations, and I’ve worked out that with the current liquid volume of stored water standing at 324,455Ml, freezing it all  would give us an extra 29,363,177,500 litres in solid volume. Best bit – we don’t even have to destroy Franschhoek like we were going to do with the iceberg – this extra icy volume will easily fit within our existing dams.

It’s certainly not 25,000 years worth of water, but equally, it’s not to be sniffed at either.

I’m going to pop into the CBD this afternoon and present this plan to Ms de Lille. This is neither rocket science, nor brain surgery. In fact, my biggest issue is which music to do my presentation to: I wondered about Ice, Ice Baby, but I think that Pump Up The Volume suits it better.

If Patricia wasn’t willing to listen before maybe she will now. I can’t be reasonably expected to keep coming up with plans of this level of genius forever.

Goodbye Yoshi

Last Saturday morning, we headed down to the 2 Oceans Aquarium for an exclusive members only event to say goodbye to The Queen Of The Aquarium.

After more than 20 years wowing visitors to the Aquarium since arriving in Cape Town as by catch on a Japanese trawler, Yoshi the Loggerhead Turtle is about to be released. She’s grown from the size of a dinner plate when she arrived to a 187kg behemoth today. She’s 25 years old now and ready to go and see the big wide world, meet a handsome Mr Turtle and hopefully contribute to the numbers of Loggerhead Turtles worldwide. She’ll be satellite tracked for up to 3 years, so we’ll still know where she is and what she’s up to for a while yet.

The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that the training that the aquarium guys have been doing to build Yoshi up for her big day has definitely had an effect. Her behaviour was very different from usual: she was very active, very busy. Usually, when we’re there, she’s dozing like a beagle in her favourite corner. Not today.

The kids had a great time making Yoshi souvenirs at the craft tables before Communications & Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart and Turtle Conservation Coordinator Talitha Noble gave us a great presentation all about turtles and Yoshi’s time at the aquarium, and then there was a pretty decent breakfast as well.

We had a great time.

I was waiting for tears as we left – I’d even brought tissues in preparation – but no-one seemed very sad to see us go Scoop was remarkably stoic and we made it out with no huge issues.

Obviously, we’ll miss Yoshi, but she’s definitely off to a better place (no, not like that). For all that she has been a great ambassador for the Aquarium and for turtlekind, Yoshi’s true home is the ocean.

Godspeed, Yoshi!

Some few photos here.

Wait the what now? (or ‘More Lightroom Confusion’)

Remember earlier in the week when I was a little bewildered over the options that Adobe was giving me for my photo editing software?

You know, the post with the lines like:

I don’t recall there being two Lightrooms when I installed it just a few weeks ago. Suddenly there’s Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC (which is the new name for Lightroom CC).

and:

I want to talk about Lightroom versus Lightroom. The new version versus the… the new version versus the old version which is the new version.

Thankfully, through a heady mix of good luck and vaguely informed guesswork, I think I managed to select the right version (for me, anyway). And I got free access to Adobe Photoshop too. Excellent.

And I was at peace.

Briefly.

Briefly, because this morning, I woke up to an email:

All-new “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC”? So, is this different to the other two? Or is it the same package as one (or both of them?) of the them, just under a different name? Worse still, the email was entitled “Adobe Capture CC”, which just adds further confusion to an already baffling stew. And how did that dog get up there? Presumably, he was lifted up there by the hippie hanging out of the passenger window, but why? The roof of a vintage Mercedes estate is no place for a canine. He wants to be sniffing around in the corn. Get him down. Now.

But I digress; the dehaze tool, which had disappeared in the new version of Lightroom Classic CC (which is also the old version of Lightroom CC, not to be confused with Lightroom CC, which (lest we forget) is the new version of Lightroom CC) apparently makes a welcome return in one (or more?) of these software packages.

I have absolutely no idea which one, so I’m just going to switch on my laptop and see what happens.