Sunday stuff to do – blogging about space rock

It’s Sunday and there’s stuff to do. Exciting stuff like polyfilling and painting, poisoning the front lawn, drinking beer and watching football. Being mindful that any one of those activities could go on late into the night and also aware that there have been strange server error things going on at the far end of my internet and equally odd connection problems at this end, I thought it best to pop a quota photo up just in case I don’t get time or inclination to blog later.

But then came the story of the meteor over Gauteng and suddenly, the quota photo plan was reserved for another day. Big quota photo fans need not be disappointed as all (if not more) of my quota photos come from my flickr photostream, so you can always go on there and fill your boots, pixel-wise, if that’s what floats your metaphorical boat.

But on with that meteor thing. Twitter has been going mad – well, there were a couple of mentions, anyway – with people claiming to have seen it, claiming that a friend had seen it or claiming that they hadn’t seen it but wishing that they had seen it.
But what were people actually seeing? Eyewitness News sets the record straight. Sort of.

Johannesburg and Pretoria residents have come forward, claiming they spotted a meteor in the skies on Saturday night.

People in Gauteng saw the bright light at around 11pm on Saturday night, heading towards the north of Pretoria.
“We saw this big green ball of fire: it kind of came out of the sky, out of the blue,” one resident said.
“There was sudden flash. Like an orange stripe in the sky, followed by a very bright explosion where the sky lit up as if it was daytime,” another explained.

So it was green out of the blue (blue skies at 11pm?!?) and “it kind of came out of the sky”.

Now, even granted that this individual must have been shocked at such a shocking experience, that’s a whole lot of confusion in one single sentence. I defy you to succinctly imagine something “kind of coming from the sky”. Sure, I can imagine something coming from the sky and I can imagine something not coming from the sky. However the concept of something “kind of coming out of the sky” confuses me.
It’s like picking up one of Telkom’s stiff little ADSL hamsters in Bloemfontein and declaring it “kind of dead”.
No, a meteor is an all or nothing thing. And they always come from the sky.

I’m actually discounting the second witness statement completely as he was probably just drunk and passed out before waking up at sunrise. Thus, the sky lighting up “as if it was daytime” was probably due to it being daytime. The orange glow would have been wholly unfamiliar, given the recent weather in Gauteng.

This story is ongoing. There has been no official response as yet, because it’s Sunday and all the Government departments and official bodies in South Africa are closed. Not that I want anyone to invade or anything, but if you’re going to (and who’s to say that you haven’t already?) then Saturday at 11pm would be a great time to do it. That way, you’d basically have about 30 hours grace to settle in and make the Union Buildings your own, unpack some boxes, do a spot of decorating, change the locks etc (bring your own locksmith) before anyone realises what is going on and starts grumbling on Monday morning.

And even then, they’ll probably only moan if it’s raining and they can’t go and lie in the sun on their unexpected day off.

UPDATE: Wow. OK, now I get it.

Footage from the security camera of the Mustek building in Midrand of the meteor shower that took place on 21 Nov 2009. 

The Great Aussie HippoPig Shoot Story

More from the country which brought us the lunatic ninja kangaroo – a man has shot a hippo.

A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Northern Territory.
Nico Courtney, 27, was out spot-lighting for pigs with mates in the Douglas Daly region on Saturday night when he accidentally shot the vulnerable African rainforest dweller.

Pigs with mates? Why only shoot pigs with mates? Is it like some sort of a two-for-one deal?
What if you see a pig with no mates? Is he safe? Because if he is and the pigs get wise to this, then there’s going to be a whole lot more single pigs around and that does not bode well for the continuation of the species.
But then again, neither does you shooting them, I guess.

Stories about sightings of African wildlife wandering the NT outback have long been shared amongst locals.
But it wasn’t until Mr Courtney stumbled on the dead hippopotamus, after shooting what he believed to be a wild pig, that he realised the campfire yarns about free-ranging exotic animals were true.

Now, I realise that this was a pygmy hippopotamus and therefore rather small and also that it was dark out there in the bush. But stumbling on an animal that you’ve just shot dead is just plain clumsy. It’s not like it’s going anywhere. It’s dead. It’s lying right where you shot it. Just look where you’re putting your feet in future.

“From the tail end it looked just like a big pig,” Mr Courtney told News Limited.
“We got out and had a look at it and thought: that’s not a pig, it’s a hippo.”

OK, well done – although I think we’ve now established that your eyesight really isn’t great.

“Then we thought: you don’t get hippos in Australia.”

That’s actually a damn good point. You don’t get hippos in Australia.
And you’re in Australia. Therefore, it can’t be a hippo. I’m loving your logic.
But how on earth can you make it not be a hippo anymore?
I know – maybe try going to bed and let the effects of the evening’s festivities wear off:

Mr Courtney went to bed hoping to reassess the situation in the daylight, but woke to find it was, in fact, still a pigmy hippo.

Well, there’s a huge shock. No magical porcine transformation as you rested.
Sure, evolution has a lot to answer for as far as the pygmy hippopotamus is concerned. It certainly looks like it has some catching up to do. But it’s not going to evolve into a pig overnight.
Especially when you’ve already misidentified it by looking at its arse, shot it, tripped over it and then gone to bed in the hope that it will make some miraculous species jump. 

A spokesman for the Douglas Daly Research Farm, where the hippo’s body was stored on Sunday in a cold room, told AAP the Darwin Museum had expressed an interest in the animal. It was sent to the taxidermist on Monday.
However, it is understood that the carcass may have been left un-refrigerated for too long and, as a result, may be unsuitable for display.

Given that it’s just been shot dead, I think a lack of refrigeration would be the least of its worries.

Mr Courtney told ABC Radio on Monday he would never have shot the hippo had he known what it was.
“It is not really a trophy or something you would brag about, it makes me feel sick,” he said. 

Your buddies all go out and shoot some boring old pigs and you bag a virtually extinct pygmy hippo and that’s not some kind of trophy? Are you really telling me that being known in every bar in Douglas Daly as “that bloke that shot the hippo” makes you feel sick?

That’s free beer for life, right there. You’re a hero, mate. Live the dream.

Hang on a minute!

Cape Town‘s Integrated Rapid Transport Strategy has hit another snag ahead of the World Cup next year:
Fare dodgers.

Apparently this guy got on without paying a cent.
Fortunately, the police were quickly on the scene to arrest him.


This one has been doing the rounds here for the past couple of days, but I think it’s only fair to share it with my overseas readers as well. As we say here in Africa: Only in Africa!

Bovine Blockage

Incoming from The Tall Accountant:

I turned into Upper Buitengracht St this morning in front of our building (in the CITY CENTRE) and had to drive around 2 cows!
I kid you not – photo on the way.

And here it is, with the cattle safely removed from the dangerous traffic flow.


It looks like Sheffield on a Friday night. But without the vomit and the fighting.
“Leave ‘im, Buttercup – ‘e’s not worth it!”

For those of you who don’t know where Upper Buitengracht Street is (let alone how to pronounce it), here’s a map showing you just how close this is to the actual centre of the city of Cape Town.


As The Tall Accountant says:

This tops the goat that was loose about a year ago.  

Absolutely. And that thing with those chickens.

When I go…

When I go, I don’t want a big fuss. I fully intend to be around for a long time yet and then I’ll just quietly slip off if that’s OK.
No lying in state for a week (especially if it’s summer) for people to come and pay their last respects and comment on how I’m looking so much better than I did last week (when I was, at least, alive).
No fancy horse-drawn carriage parade through the street while crowds of wailing locals throw flowers and rocks as I pass by. I don’t need that.

All I really ask is a few close friends and family, Morten Harket’s Spanish Steps and some decent tuna and cucumber sandwiches at the wake.

Oh – and not to be stuck in the back of a Medi-Sprint bakkie next to some TB specimens and a box of flat-bottomed 96-well assay plates.
If that’s not too demanding.

People ask why I’m always carrying my camera around with me. Well, it’s because if I didn’t, I’d miss stuff like this.

I have no idea where Medi-Sprint were delivering it to, but I guess there probably wasn’t actually any real need to sprint, when you think about it.

Medi-Sprint’s tagline is: We Deliver – You Relax.