Stripes-Man continues to assist local police

A new superhero in our midst – at least he’s trying. :


He could probably still  have done a better job than SAPS at the Oscar Pistorius crime scene.

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V.G.B, the SABC and e-tv

Ah, splendid! A welcome return of letters to The Southern Suburbs Tatler, although this one is an SMS, I believe. (To express your viewpoint via this particular medium to this particular publication, SMS “TAT” (yes, really) to 32263.)

That what V.G.B did. V.G.B lives in Pinelands, so we probably shouldn’t take his/her viewpoint too seriously, but still, if he/she is going to take the time and make the effort to SMS “TAT” and then have his/her rant, it’s only fair that we should at least read what he/she had to say. Which was this:

IMG_20140328_111556Quoth V.G.B:

Who sees to the content of what is shown on TV? Why can’t that person do their job properly? The shows on TV are mostly repeats. Please employ somebody who knows that they are doing. The SABC is going down the drain. And, why are you showing porn on etv? Have you at etv got no morals? Then you wonder why there is so much rape and kidnapping in your community

V.G.B, Pinelands.

Woah! That’s a whole lot of questions and opinions in one single SMS to 32263, V.G.B.

My first issue with your first question is that you seem to have tacitly answered it within your second question. You are seemingly aware that it is the job of one person (who can’t do it properly). Are you perhaps looking for a specific name? “Bob”, perhaps? And why do you think they’re not doing their job properly? Maybe it’s just you that doesn’t like repeats (it’s not, but I bet you never considered that). Maybe other people like repeats because they missed the first broadcast. Maybe you’re just watching too much TV. Have you really got nothing better to do, like trying to escape from the 531 hood or SMS’ing to your local newspaper or something?

The SABC, you tell us, is going down the drain. Is this something you’ve only recently noticed, or is this statement the culmination of a decade or more’s worth of square-eyed research by your good self? I’m just asking because many of us came to that conclusion quite a while ago. Surely an expert on matters televisual such as yourself would also have noted this before now.

But you’re not content with poking fun at the ailing national broadcaster, are you? Oh no, etv is in your sights as well. It’s not entirely clear if you believe that the same individual (“Bob”) is also responsible for the content of what is shown on etv as well, but if so, you clearly remain quite disappointed in their scheduling abilities. Why are they showing porn? Well, obviously, as you state, it’s because they have no morals. Or because there’s a market for it. Which probably means that you think everyone watching has no morals. But then… how do you know etv is showing porn? Have you been watching it (solely for SMS-to-the-local-rag research, obviously)? Did you see that one with the plumber last Friday? Excellent cinematography, I felt.

Now, not only is this individual (“Bob”) scheduling repeats on SABC and showing porn on etv, he’s also apparently wondering why there is so much rape and kidnapping in his community. (How do you know where he lives, by the way?)
Your lack of any conjunction here leaves it unclear if you are linking these activities, but let’s assume that you are, in which case, let’s remind ourselves of the lack of any link between porn on tv and rape.

But then, that still leaves us the thorny issue (eina!) of why etv showing porn (and having no morals) should affect the prevalence of kidnapping in any given community. I have searched extensively and have failed to find a single article linking (or even suggesting any sort of link between) late night televisual sexual proclivities and kidnapping. Or burglary. Or money-laundering. Or any other crime, really. Do you have some other, hitherto unseen, evidence for this etv porn/community kidnapping link? Perhaps you have someone in mind who is simply so appalled by the choice of repeats or amoral smut that he goes out and steals people off the street as alternative entertainment or maybe even, as some sort of bizarre protest?
Or did you just choose a couple of random crimes to bolster your none case for the rubbish “Bob” has been giving us on Welfare TV? I wonder.

I guess that we can only hope that etv don’t start showing repeats of porn. Pinelands would simply not survive your apoplectic rage at such a coming together (careful now) of your much-maligned, twin travesties. )My concern is not for Pinelands, obviously, but for any collateral damage to surrounding, more important, suburbs.)

Having read the above, you may feel that I don’t really appreciate your insight into the issues of the day, electronically transmitted to the pages of the Tatler and then stuffed halfway into my letterbox. But that’s simply not the case. It’s merely that I don’t agree with anything you’ve said in this particular effort.
I’m sure that if you get your little 3310 out again this week, we can enjoy further discussions about other fascinating topics on here again this time next Friday.

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Busy today, but here’s a nice little video from the Cape Brewing Company, showing the passion of Head Brewmaster Wolfgang Koedel for his work:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

And, in true Blue Peter style: here’s one I drank earlier, complete with angelic halo. It’s lovely stuff.

Thanks, Wolfgang.

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Stopping the Spread

Infectious diseases are infectious. It’s kinda where they got their name from. I love infectious diseases, I always have. And, since I left University (about n years ago now) if it wasn’t for infectious diseases I wouldn’t have had a job.


As I’ve mentioned several times on here, infectious diseases are far from being beaten by the supposed might of humankind. In fact, they’re actually winning our war against them, what with their rapid reproduction and their pacy genetic mutations. Still, we have had some small successes.
One of the other things which makes life difficult for us puny humans is the diverse tactics which we have to employ in order to achieve these positive outcomes. And here come a couple of good cases in point.

China has more than halved its tuberculosis (TB) prevalence.
Now, as you’ll know, TB is very close to my heart (not literally), and this is truly a huge battle for China to have won/be winning. It’s being fought with the joint weaponry of money, organisation and a huge expansion of a community-based disease control programme.

Lead researcher Dr Yu Wang, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said: “One of the key global TB targets set by the Stop TB Partnership aims to reduce tuberculosis prevalence by 50% between 1990 and 2015.
This study in China is the first to show the feasibility of achieving such a target, and China achieved this five years earlier than the target date.”

And it gives hope for other countries with high TB rates, South Africa included. And we do have, even as part of this apparently completely dysfunctional government of ours, a pretty decent guy heading up the Department of Health. I have high hopes that he will be very interested in this aggressive approach demonstrated by China. As we know:

TB remains a big issue in many countries, including India, Russia and many African nations. Better diagnostic tools and treatments are still needed.

Indeed. No quick fix here, but please be aware that I’m working on it.

And then a wholly different approach to stopping a wholly different disease – attempts to combat the recent Ebola outbreak in Guinea include banning the eating of bats:

[Health Minister] Mr Lamah announced the ban on the sale and consumption of bats during a tour of Forest Region, the epicentre of the epidemic, reports the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah from the capital, Conakry.

People who eat the animals often boil them into a sort of spicy pepper soup, our correspondent says. The soup is sold in village stores where people gather to drink alcohol.
Other ways of preparing the bats to eat include drying them over a fire.

And yes, Ebola loves bats. They’re widely recognised as the probable reservoir for the virus (i.e. where it hangs out before it kills loads of humans) and if you’re going to eat a bat packed full of Ebola virus, surprise surprise, you’re going to catch Ebola virus.

Ensuring that Guinea’s Ebola patients take a cocktail of antibiotics daily, as China has done with its TB patients, would have about as much effect as preventing those Chinese TB patients from eating bats.


There is no one set approach here, no magic bullet. Different diseases require radically different methods of prevention and cure.
It’s nice that we’re beginning to get at least some of them right.

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Here’s what you see when you track global shipping by satellite

There’s recently been a bit of interest in the satellite tracking of global transportation.

Remember when we showed you a visualisation of what the flights over Africa and the world looked like? And remember I mentioned that Marine Traffic was a great app for your mobile device? Well, combining those two ideas, gives you this:


Amazing, hey? The southern hemisphere land masses look like they’re being suspended on numerous cotton threads. And you can see why we so regularly observe big ships going around Cape Agulhas.
In addition, you can see the immense importance of the Suez and Panama Canals, and the English Channel, too.

Sadly, if you want to have this global AIS-satellite data added to your current (and free) terrestrial-based Marine Traffic portfolio, it’s going to cost you upwards of €269 (R4,000) per month. Eina!

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