Italian Warship

The Carlo Bergamini is in town. It’s an Italian Navy frigate named after (shock) Carlo Bergamini, the Italian Navy Admiral, and it’s at the Waterfront. We tried to get a look around it, but approximately 74,000 people had the same idea, so we took the kids on a harbour cruise instead.

There are some photos of the big, grey ship here, but this was my favourite big, grey pic of the day.

After a superb wedding yesterday (not mine), during which I drank all of the wine in Constantia, and then a day in the Cape Town heat, I’m turning in for an early night tonight.

Snowboard Start

I flicked on the TV in the hope of getting a bit of Ice Hockey from the Sochi Olympics. Instead, I got Freestyle Snowboarding. And here’s the top of the course with one of the Finnish competitors about to start (or “drop in”, as it’s apparently known):


Yes. The guy next to him is knitting.

Off you go then, mate. Good luck with the run. Don’t forget to let go of my ball before you head off, hey? Wouldn’t want you getting tangled.

And before you ask: No, I have no idea.


When viewers turn on the NBC broadcast of the men’s snowboard slopestyle finals Saturday night, they might see an odd sight at the top of the course: a man knitting a scarf.

That man is Antti Koskinen, Finland coach, and at Saturday’s competition he was busily working cream-colored yarn with green needles. The scarf is something others on the Finnish team will add to before handing it off to Finland’s Summer Olympic team going to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

What they will do with a giant scarf in South America is unclear.

The idea for Koskinen to work on the scarf at the starting gate was that of Finnish snowboarder Roope Tonteri, who finished 11th Saturday.

“I think that it looks really weird, so it’s kind of funny,” Tonteri said. “Everybody just thinks, ‘What’s he doing?'”
Tonteri noted that his coach is a slow knitter, but that beats the alternative: Tonteri doesn’t knit at all.

Keeping in touch: contact details for

Bit of a boring one this, but probably a useful one as well. For me, at least.

Here’s how you can get in touch with me and stay up to date with the latest goings on on the blog.

Twitter: @6000 – best place to find me
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A Post about a Post about a Quota Photo

Because I have previously assured my readership that they will get (at least) one post per day here at 6000 miles…, and because I have other things to do aside from blogging, sometimes, when words or time are hard to come by, I’ll chuck up a quota photo so that even though you haven’t got incisive, witty social comment to marvel at, at least there’s something pretty there.

The Quota Photo moniker came (as he correctly assumes) from Brian Micklethwait of BrianMicklethwaitDotCom, and he has passed comment on both the phenomenon of Quota Posting and a recent Quota Photo that I shared on here.

All this because 6k likes to have something up, often.  And that’s the point of quota posting, for those of us who are suited to it.  If you have reasonable taste, then the mere fact of starting doing a blog posting ensures not only that something will go up, but that, really quite often, something really quite good will go up.  Like this photo, which I consider to be very good indeed.  Often what takes the time, with blogging as with life, is not doing it, but getting round to doing it.  The actual doing is often quickly done, and often very well done.

My thing is this. Not every quota photo will please every reader – I know that many of you come for the dramatic, educated and/or hilarious collections of words that so regularly adorn these pages. But if you don’t like it, don’t read it… or… look at it. You can even ask for a full refund if you wish. Good luck with that.
But just occasionally (and that aerial shot of Piet sê Punt is a good case in point), someone latches onto a quota photo and suddenly, it has more value than a simple placeholder and thus, as Brian points out:

Some of my best blog postings have happened because I wanted to put up any old something, however bad, and it turned out really good.

Whenever and wherever I can, I will continue to get a “real” blog post on here each day. However, when that isn’t possible, quota posts – and especially quota photos – will continue to be my fallback tactic.

And now we all eagerly await Brian’s Post about a Post about a Post about a Quota Photo.

1,300 different sorts of bugs found in Beijing smog

Here’s one I meant to blog earlier:


Beijing’s smog problem has long been talked about, but now it’s not just the unpleasant chemicals and particulates that are out to get the local population: a recently published study found shedloads of microbes were hitching a ride on the smog as well.

Chinese researchers have now used genome sequencing to identify about 1,300 different microbial species in an exceptionally soupy smog that hit Beijing in January 2013. Reassuringly, most of the microbes they found are benign — but a few are responsible for allergies and respiratory disease in humans. And on days with heavier pollution, the proportion of DNA from these allergens and pathogens increased, suggesting that they might present an additional health threat to vulnerable groups, such as older people or those with weakened immune systems.

It should be pointed out that this was a search for genetic material in the air samples, and while that means that you’re more likely to find anything that’s there, a positive result does also mean that the microbes could be either alive or dead. Spoiler: Dead ones are less likely to infect you. Either way, you really don’t want to be breathing them in.

The most abundant species identified was Geodermatophilus obscurus, a common soil bacterium. But they also found Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia; Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungal allergen; and a range of other bacteria typically found in faeces. 


Interestingly, the proportion of the bugs found are similar to those found in a similar survey done in Milan, Italy. Despite the fact that these cities are halfway around the planet from one another, the microbes are essentially the same.

And the other point to note was that microbe levels increased on smoggier days. Which, given that we have some quite smoggy days here in Cape Town is worth bearing in mind if you have asthma or some other respitatory disease.
And you’re here.
On a smoggy day.