Everybody’s talking about…

** Tuesday morning UPDATE: click here **

…the moerse storm which is due to make landfall in Cape Town late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Big storms are always big news, but because of our ongoing drought, this one is definitely more eagerly anticipated than most. It’s also arguably the biggest since this puppy hit us in August 2008.

Here’s the latest satellite image of our friend off the South West coast right now (0800 Monday): that dark area with a horn on it like some sort of malevolent unicorn.

So – some numbers:

Currently (Monday morning), Windguru is predicting 53.8 welcome millimetres of rain beginning at 11pm on Tuesday and continuing until Thursday evening.

Storm enthusiast Bryn de Kocks says:

The Boland area in particular seems likely to receive large amounts of rain, especially towards the mountain catchment regions where rainfall is likely to be heavier due to orographic effects. We should be able to expect rainfall measurements anywhere from 50mm to 100mm in the far SW Cape and Boland area.

And given the extreme nature of the deep low pressure area right now, this seems appropriate:

The rain is great, but I’m looking forward to the wind, which will be topping 100kph (Wednesday lunchtime) and which will be playing its part in generating swells of 11 metres (Wednesday afternoon/evening). Worryingly, this coincides with high tide on Wednesday (14:28), and with the moon almost full, there’s likely to be some flooding along the west coast.

Still, have camera, may well venture out.

Thursday looks to be the coldest day of the week with a chilly maximum of 12°C. So if you’re in Cape Town, wrap up warm and do your bit to try to help those less fortunate. And remember your emergency numbers:

  • Flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions – 0860 103 089 or SMS 31373
  • Electricity outages/disruptions – 0860 103 089 or SMS 31220.
  • Road Closures, delays on roadways and deviations – 0800 65 64 63
  • Weather Reports – Cape Town Weather Office (021 934 0749/0831), weatherline (083 123 0500), listen to alerts on the radio and television or visit www.weathersa.co.za
  • Emergencies – 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone

And look out for updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Another attack

Another attack, more outrage, more division, more strong words.

No solutions.

There will be a vigil, prayers, candles, hashtags and a minute’s silence. But give it a week and we’ll all have moved on and forgotten about it. The only reminders will be the banners across the bottom of the profile pictures of our more dramatic Facebook friends.

I’m tired of being told that this is the new normal, tired of being policed on which adjectives I’m allowed to use when describing the individuals involved, tired now of this cycle of horror and distress followed all too quickly by acceptance.

We’re told that hundreds of terror plots have been foiled, and that’s to be congratulated. But when things like Manchester and London Bridge happen (because that’s how we describe them now – just the geographical location – we all know what we’re talking about), then whatever measures are being taken are clearly not robust enough.

Don’t ask me what to do. I’m a microbiologist. If you want to know what eight spots in the second panel of an immunological test for latent tuberculosis means, then I can tell you. It’s the politicians and the leaders who get paid the big bucks – our big bucks – to make the policies which should explicitly prevent these attacks from occurring. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist (which I’m not either) to see that whatever policies exist right now around this area need to be strengthened. It’s not for me to say how. I’ll look at your blood test and tell you whether or not you’ve been exposed to TB. You stop the terrorists from killing innocent people on a night out.

And yes, some rights might get trodden on, some individuals might get offended, upset, angry. So be it. The needs of the many and all that. A van and some knives, a jar of homemade TATP surrounded by screws in a backpack? That’s nothing compared to what these people would like to be able to do, nothing compared to what they are aiming for. So put on your big girl panties, take a deep breath, and make those decisions which you know are going to be unpopular with some people.

Because hashtags and candles aren’t ever going to stop people being murdered.

London music tonight

If you’re in London tonight, lucky you. You get the chance to go along to this:

Baroque Remix is a new classical club night launching at the arts venue, IKLECTIK, Old Paradise Yard SE1 7LG, on June 3. The night will feature baroque DJs alongside live instrumental performances from Carla Rees (baroque flute) and Liam Byrne (viola da gamba). Combining music from across the centuries including drum loops, hip hop and R&B samples, the evening will reimagine the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Live sets will showcase the diversity and beauty of the historic instruments, presenting a mix of old music and new.

Yes, Baroque music and hip-hop. That’s right.
I heard some of it on 6 music yesterday morning, and it’s really different, really refreshing, really GOOD. Here’s Benjamin Tassie‘s Baroque Remix:

A project to bring classical music to a new audience, to educate, to remove the ‘stuffiness’ which dissuades a lot of younger people from approaching it. And, in doing so, creating something incredibly new and unusual.

I cannot wait to hear more of this.

Water great idea

We’re rather short of water and thus any way of saving water is a good way of saving water, even when it seems a bit silly. Like the City stopping people wearing board shorts to its swimming pools (back when they were open). It’s that desperate.

But no-one wants to (or will) jump through hoops to save water. People are lazy. You need to make it easy for them.

So well done to our kids’ school for this simple plan to save just a little bit more:

One of the measures that takes effect immediately is that students may come to school in their sports uniform on the days that they have extra murals or matches. This should reduce the volume of uniform needing to be washed at home.

So my boy will wear his football kit to school on Mondays (match day) and Thursdays (training day), and my girl will wear PE kit to school ahead of her pilates on a Wednesday, instead of wearing their usual uniform and then getting changed for their afternoon activities.
Three sets of extra uniform not washed each week might not seem like much, but with 400+ kids in the school all following this advice, well, that’s when you start to make a difference.

If you have kids in Cape Town, why not suggest this idea to your school? And please share this post for awareness.

STATS: June and the shortest day – Cape Town

We’re into June (cue comments of “where does the time go?” etc.) and Cape Town (last time I checked) is located deep (about 33 degrees deep) in the Southern Hemisphere.
The relevance of those temporal and geographical observations is that June contains our shortest day. And this year, much the same as every other year, June 21st has won through once again. [polite applause]

Note: I’m writing this on the morning of June 1st, but as I don’t know when you’ll read it, some of the tenses might be a bit off. What a tense situation (lol, geddit?) that may would have will been!

Today, June 1st, in Cape Town the sun rose at 0743, will reach its meridian at 1244, and set at 1745, giving a daylength of 10 hours, 02 minutes and 08 seconds.
Today is 52 seconds shorter than yesterday. I know you’ll notice/have noticed.

On June 21st, in Cape Town, the sun will rise at 0751, reach its meridian at 1248 (33 degrees (who knew?) above the horizon), and set at 1744, giving a daylength of 9 hours, 53 minutes and 32 seconds.
That’s more than a second shorter than June 20th was and a whole 2 seconds shorter than June 22nd will be.

BUT…

The days only get longer because the sun sets later. The sunrise continues to be at 0751 until June 24th and then gets even later (0752) until 5th July. However, this delay is offset by the later sunset to the extent that by July 8th, we’re back to a daylength of over 10 hours.

On June 21st, the sun will be 152.034 million kilometres from Cape Town, and while than might seem quite a long way away, we’re going to drift even further away until (again, obviously) the 5th July when we will be 152.092 million kilometres away. That might not sound like a big difference, but that’s an extra 580,000 km, meaning that the sunlight will take an extra 1.935 seconds to reach us on July 5th as it does/did/will have did on June 21st. I know you’ll notice/have noticed/have will did taked note.

For comparison, Cape Town’s longest day is December 21st.
On December 21st, in Cape Town, the sun will rise at 0531 (2 hours and 20 minutes earlier than June 21st), reach its meridian at 1244 (80 degrees above the horizon), and set at 1957 (2 hours and 23 minutes later than June 21st), giving a daylength of 14 hours, 25 minutes and 05 seconds (4 hours, 32 minutes and 27 seconds longer than June 21st.)

As for Cape Town’s latest sunset this year: you missed it (or maybe you didn’t, but it’s gone already) it was 2001 on January 6th. The sun that day was “just” 147.101 million kilometres away. Light from the sun took 16.648 fewer seconds to reach us on January 6th than it will on July 5th. And light goes fast, hey?