Johannesburg Tremor “M5.3″ – USGS

Preliminary indications suggest that the tremor felt by most people in Gauteng this lunchtime was of Magnitude 5.4 and was centred approximately 6km east of Orkney on the border of North West and Free State provinces.
The recorded depth of the tremor was 10km – that’s quite shallow and explains why it was so widely felt.

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Interestingly, zooming in on that epicentre lands you right in the middle of the Vaal Reefs Mine complex.

M 5.3 – 6km E of Orkney, South Africa

Time: Location: 26.986°S 26.741°E
Depth: 10.0km

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Ebola: anti-hysteria

Following my description of Ebola as a “Superstar Disease“, microbiologistic people all over the world are queuing up to agree with me:

Indeed. And then there was sciencey author and journalist Maryn McKenna, who was lured out of her temporary hermit status (she’s busy writing a book and doesn’t have time for all this real life stuff) by the Ebola hyperbole, noise and nonsense:

The Ebola outbreak has been building in West Africa for a while, but when it was revealed at the end of last week that two American aid workers had caught the disease — and that they were being transported back to the US for treatment — the news and the reaction to it instantly filled every channel. Over the weekend, so much misinformation and outrage got pumped out that it feels as though there’s no way to cut through the noise.

McKenna’s reaction was to compile a compilation of sensible reactions, columns and opinion pieces on Ebola for Wired.

That I am anti-Ebola panic — and especially anti-Ebola media scrum, which was disgraceful — does not mean I am not concerned about Ebola where it is authentically a problem, which is in the expanding epidemic in West Africa. It is a dreadful outbreak, it needs attention, and it says something ugly about us as a society that we only really noticed it when two Westerners were injured by it. But, again: The conditions that are pushing that epidemic along do not exist in the US.

To be fair, I think that the world (although perhaps not the USA) was concerned about Ebola and the Daily Mail had begun with its scare stories before these two aid workers were repatriated for treatment. Maybe it’s because we’re on the same continent or maybe it’s because the US remains entirely US-centric that here in SA, we’re somehow more aware about the Ebola outbreak and have been for a while.
So yes, same continent, but Africa is big: Sierra Leone’s Freetown is closer to Miami than it is to Cape Town. But then we’re all just a flight or two away anyway.

If I worked for the CDC (albeit that they’re not always 100% perfect) or any of the organisations involved with the transport or treatment of the two Americans in Atlanta, I’d actually be rather offended that people thought I’d be so sloppy at my job or poorly-trained enough to pose a danger to people in the surrounding area. It’s not like I go up to local scaffolders and suggest that their scaffolding isn’t safe. Well, not often, anyway.

Before you get carried along with the hype, you’d do well to go and have a read of some of the stuff McKenna links to; my favourite being this one.

3 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in annoying people, in the news

Dog tired

It’s been a dog-dominated, sleep-deprived weekend. I asked my wife if she’d bitten off more than she could chew.

“No,” she replied, “I’ve bitten off more than I thought, but I can still chew it.”

I’m not sure that this says more about my wife’s determination or her dietary habits.
Or her gob capacity.
And right now, I’m too tired to care.

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Colin arrives

Colin is here and it’s like having a new baby in the house. Excitement, no sleep,  apparently random defaecation events and a check up at the vet. (Yes, we were actually so tired after our daughter was born that we once took her to the vet. She’s now the only six year old in Cape Town who is vaccinated against distemper.)

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Colin is officially called Tigger by the rest of the family, because the breeder told us that she was the bounciest of the litter.
She’s already made the place her own and I’ve consequently resigned myself to fifth place in the house (still just ahead of the goldfish).

2 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in project colin, the parenting bunny

Coffee Trend Observations

This observation was made by one of our number yesterday evening as some in our party ordered cappuccinos after dessert:

Cappuccinos are so yesterday, guys!

I was unaware of this fact (I don’t drink cappuccinos anyway).
Perhaps cappuccinos are out of date because they’re named after the 16th Century Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum.

The individual in question then ordered a latte, which is of course named after the Intergalactic Scientific Company’s Prototype Latte Hyperspace Warp Drive.

That should be in vogue for the next few hundred years then.

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