Google Maps Pac-man

For a limited time only: Play pac-man on your local streets:

Go to Google Maps, find yourself an area with lots of roads (Cape Town CBD will do nicely), and look for the big Pac-Man icon on the bottom left:


At which point you zoom in to street level and Strand Street et al become your feeding grounds:


Control Pac-man with the cursor keys, eat the blobs and look out for the ghosts. What? Oh. Sorry. I didn’t know you’d played it before.

Apparently this is an April Fool’s ‘Eater Egg’ from Google, so it won’t be around forever. So go play now.
(Hint: use dual carriageways to avoid being eaten)

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Near-miss probe begins

Remember the Three German Warships Off Struisbaai? The Three German Warships that weren’t really doing anything very sinister? That was, until they tried to blow up a fishing boat with 10 people on board later that evening.

These things happen.

Captain Jaco Theunissen, spokesman for the SA Navy’s joint operations division, said on Saturday: “The South African National Defence Force acknowledges that the unfortunate incident that was reported on in the Cape Times on Friday, March 27 did take place.”

The navy has said warnings about naval exercises are sent out as navigation warnings on radio and to all fishing clubs and harbours. Day has said he got no warning.

To be fair to the Three German Warships, it’s actually unclear whether it was one of them or their SA Navy counterparts which fired the shots.

Fishing boat skipper, Anthony Day (perhaps understandably), isn’t happy though:

“…no one from the navy has contacted me. It is very disturbing that you can nearly take someone’s life away and you don’t even contact them.
I understand they don’t want legal implications, but if I shot at someone in the street, I would be locked up, and here nothing happens.”

Fair point, but if you fired a dual-purpose 62-caliber, 76-millimeter gun manufactured by OTO Melara at someone in the street, there would be other questions to be asked as well, like “Where on earth did you get that massive gun from?” and “Wasn’t there a house at the end of this road – you know – where that heap of smouldering rubble is now?”

And then, yes, you’d be locked up.

Seriously though, this was an unbelievably careless incident, which could have had huge implications and led to loss of life, and thus it needs proper, thorough investigation by someone senior in the naval hierarchy. I guess that means they’ll be bringing in the big guns.


2 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in cape agulhas, in the news, that's a bit mad, this is south africa

In step

In each photo I have of my Mum and Alex, they seem to be in synchronised step.


File under: Strange observations when introspectively browsing your Flickr.

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Second Language London

I know – another London post. But this is interesting and kind of fun: a tube map with the second most common languages (after English, innit) spoken at each stop.

Tube map14FINAL_opt

You’ll need to click it to make it bigger.

A few things struck me immediately: the huge number of Bengali speakers in East London (the size of the dots relates to the percentage of speakers of that language). Perhaps unsurprisingly,Bengali is the second most spkoen language in London overall.
Also, the way that the groups stick together: that brown diagnonal of Lithuanians in the South East, equally, the dark orange of Punjabi in the South West and the light pink of Gujarati in the North West.

Afrikaans makes an impact too – in dark green, right at the top of the Northern line: Colindale, Burnt Oak and Edgware.

UPDATE: A beagle-eyed reader on Facebook notes that I may have got my Romanian and Afrikaans mixed up. This is always hapeening to me and has led to many unfortunate incidents here in SA (although, they are nothing, NOTHING! compared to my struggles on that recent trip to Bucharest).
A more detailed look at the map reveals that she’s almost certainly correct.

Two points arise from this:

1. The linguistic diversity of London is such that the researchers ran out of different colours to use, and
2. Well, where’s the Afrikaans then?

It took me a while, but I got there in the end – the penultimate stop eastbound on the central line: Theydon Bois. No, I’d never heard of it before, either, but I’m not sure how I’d missed it, given that it’s THE major large residential village of choice at the junction of the M11 and M25. Claim to fame-tastic.


When I knew Saffas in London, it was all Acton and Putney – now replaced by Arabic and French. There are a lot of French speakers in London, which, as the cartographers point out, might include French speakers from North and Central Africa as well, although:

Since London is now the sixth biggest French city and has a resident member of the National Assembly to represent expatriates, it is a fair bet that many are from France

Linguistic diversity is rampant too:

Around Turnpike Lane 16 languages are spoken by more than one per cent of the population, topped by Polish at 6.7 per cent.

More details here.

2 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in learning curve, uk

Coleen is new bonnag champ

I know. You’ve been on the edge of your seats waiting for the results to filter through from the Isle of Man. And I can now officially reveal that the new World Bonnag Champion is Coleen Cowin, having beaten off some strong competition from two time Champion Vanessa Callin. In fact, bookies’ favourite Callin seemed all set to make it a hattrick of wins before a bewilderingly disastrous incident with the bicarb.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the competition, it was only Mrs Clague that let the Clague household down, with hubby Gordon taking first prize in the men’s event and son Bryce demolishing his opponents with a magnificent Manx Bunloaf-style bonnag in the youth section. This being the 21st century, it’s less likely that Mrs C will be cast out from the family in shame.
But still, if she was, who could really blame them?

The 2015 Championships were nothing if not innovative, with a gluten-free bonnag side tournament and a Mandoza-inspired 50-50 bonnag competition, whereby a half-plain, half-fruit bonnag is presented to the judges in kwaito style.

If you want to make your bit for World Bonnag stardom in 2016, now seems a good time to start with a basic fruit bonnag recipe (the plain bonnag really being suitable only for industrial building projects, IMHO) like this one:

Fruit Bonnag
2½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup currants
1 tbsp margarine
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 large tsp mixed spice
1 few drops vanilla essence
1 cup or more buttermilk
Rub the butter into the flour. Add other dry ingredients.
When will mixed, add buttermilk and mix.

Bake about 1 hour at 180ºC.

Cast out Mrs Clague.


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