Category Archives: General Nonsense

How Playing Sports benefits both Your Body and Brain Science, Technology & Curiosity | Sport & Health 15 JUL 2016

I participated in lots of sports as a child during my school years, including cricket, tennis, baseball, chess, hockey, cycling, karate, and badminton, and it is one of my biggest secret hopes that both my girls get involved in, and more importantly, enjoy playing sport too.

field hockey girl juggling ball during game

Taking part in sport is of course fantastic when it comes to the obvious health benefits, but it is the other hidden side of playing team sports which is just as important – things like learning to work with and rely on others, the sense of satisfaction that teamwork can bring, the friendships that naturally arise, etc.

TED-Ed recently published a short lesson on this very topic by Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh, with a slick video animated by Kozmonot Animation Studio and narrated by Susan Zimmerman.

(Playing a team sport is by far one of the biggest things that I miss in my current stage of life, just by the way!)

Related Link: TED-Ed | YouTube

USA Sport Stadium Funding Sport & Health 21 JUL 2015

Naturally, sports stadiums in the United States are big. Very big. And very expensive too, partly because they keep seeming to try and one-up each other when it comes to newness and features.

miami marlins baseball stadium united states of america usa

Of course, everyone knows that there is very big money in American sports, one just has to look at the salaries earned by top NFL football players, NBA basketball players and MBA baseball players to see that. But what is surprising however is a lot of their mega stadiums aren’t actually self-funded – instead, the trend is very much to get the hosting cities to pay for everything!

John Oliver’s research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a look and came up with some very surprising (and infuriating) information on the topic:

Obviously here in South Africa we have our own stadium problems thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup (which was, admittedly, AWESOME!), but that said, it is rather nice having such a beautiful stadium like Cape Town Stadium around.

I just wish it hadn’t cost quite as much, and somehow become a little more self-sufficient and a little less reliant on my tax money!

Related Link: Youtube

FIFA Corruption, Sepp Blatter finally Resigns, and of course, South Africa looks Dirty Cartoons | Sport & Health 04 JUN 2015

Each and every year before a FIFA World Cup event, we get reminded by media outlets about the various scandals and controversies surrounding world soccer’s overseeing body FIFA.

Last year was certainly no different, with John Oliver and his research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver having a proper go:

Now of course scandal for FIFA is back again, with the surprise move of the USA arresting a dozen of the highest ranking FIFA officials in Switzerland on corruption charges – instantly opening up a massive can of worms and headaches for the football organisation.

(Particularly funny, because as noted, it’s taken the country with seemingly the least amount of interest in soccer to actually do something about this group that holds itself above countries’ laws!)

Needless to say, comedian John Oliver and his team immediately weighed in on the story:

The reality of all of this is of course that it seems long overdue, but at least it has forced the hand of Sepp Blatter and he has stepped down (at last).

Though of course, this could just be an attempt to jump ship before it completely sinks…

Sadly though, South Africa has now been drawn into the thick of it, and no matter how sports minister Fikile Mbalula and his team try to spin it, it is looking pretty much like we paid bribes in order to get the World Cup in 2010.

Sigh, can this beautiful country of ours not get a break or two sometime?

Of course, FIFA and the World Cup has been an inspiration for Zapiro on more than just a few occasions before, but this particular scandal seems to have brought out the best from one of South Africa’s most recognised political cartoonists:

My favourite editorial cartoon coming out of this debacle however has to be the one drawn up by the Dr. Jack and Curtis team for EWN (Eyewitness News):

top fifa officials arrested cartoon ewn eyewitness news cartoon by dr jack and curtis

Hilarious!

Related Link: Times Live | EWN | Zapiro | YouTube

Thailand and its Nazi Chic Imagery General Nonsense 03 JUN 2015

It has been well documented over the years, this weird acceptance of Hitler and Nazi imagery in Thailand. In fact, it is quite often seen as cool, a fashion trend that I guess could only be labelled as Nazi chic.

nazi chic - thailand nazi imagery - schoolgirl dressed like a nazi soldier

I don’t quite get it, but in the same breath it kind of makes sense – if you’re not exposed to a story then you tend to borrow just the bits and pieces that you see of it that seems cool: you know, like adoring beautiful WW2 bomber planes without giving a thought to the fact that they actually indiscriminately rained down death wherever they were tasked to fly over.

Needless to say, World War II, Hitler and his Nazis are pretty much glossed over when it comes to Thai history books – which makes sense because they’ve got more than enough history of their own to get through without having to worry about all the other countries’ problems!

Anyway, the issue recently resurfaced on the Internet again thanks to John Oliver’s research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Yeah, not so sure about Rip Taylor though.

Related Link: YouTube | Vice | The Daily Beast

Cheap Clothing – Just a Reminder that Sweatshops are still a Problem General Nonsense 27 APR 2015

I first encountered comedian John Oliver on Community (which I only picked up on criminally late). What I didn’t know at the time was that very soon I would become an avid fan of his entry into the world of American late-night talk and news satire: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Although sometimes they take it a step too far with some of their antics, overall, the writers of this show put forward a lot of big, pertinent topics that are well researched and will often cause your jaw to drop with disbelief once delivered, making it a firm favourite of mine to pick up via Youtube on a weekly basis.

A particularly hard hitting segment from this week’s show deals with the problem of sweatshops still being well and truly alive in this day and age – something that cheap clothing is probably the best indicator of:

South Africa deals with exactly the same problem mind you. So much of our homegrown textiles industry has been completely decimated by the impossibly cheap imports that no one can fairly compete against – unless they themselves ran a sweatshop environment of course.

As always, cheaper is always great for the buyer, but almost always never a great thing for the producer.

youtube last week tonight with john oliver

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdLf4fihP78

Cheerleaders in Rugby? Seems a bit Unfair and Unnecessary? Sport & Health 04 APR 2015

Recently I was at Newlands to catch a live DHL Stormers game, and as always the rugby action on show was fantastic. Yes, my home team lost against a superior New Zealand foe on the day, but the rugby was played hard and made for a worthwhile spectacle to behold.

super rugby stormers versus chiefs kobus van wyk running with the ball - newlands march 2015

As per usual, all of this Newlands rugby action was accompanied by the DHL Dancers, the cheerleader girls that have accompanied the rugby team for so many years now – and once again, I found myself questioning the role that they actually provide (other than being a source for some cringe-worthy comments, not to mention the occasional little-too-long stares).

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 2

Seriously.

I get that they are a titillating sight, something to look at during the breaks in play, but the whole thing seems well… a bit sexist and not something that should really have any place in today’s modern, more equal society.

If rugby was exclusively watched by men and Newlands was a bit of a men’s club, then I guess it makes sense, but the reality is that if you attend Newlands for a game then the crowd demographics are easily split 50/50 in terms of women and men – after all, most men travel to the stadium with their wives in tow (or vice versa).

Also, a high percentage of attendees happen to be children as well, so again, the half-naked dancing girls intended to titillate adult men doesn’t seem to quite match the stadium audience.

Super Rugby - Stormers v Reds, 25 May 2013

I think the only way you could kind of validate the idea of cheerleaders at a rugby game would be to make it more representative of the crowd in the stadium – and that means including male dancers and perhaps even throw in some kids into the mix.

While we’re at it, to keep it all fair, maybe only allow muscular guys with an aversion to shirts in the group?

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 3

I don’t know.

Cheerleaders. How is this possibly still a thing in 2015?

Food Myth Falsehoods Sport & Health 14 MAR 2015

The thing about statements is that if they get repeated often enough, then they become facts. Fact. (See what I just did there?)

Don’t believe me? Well I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that eating carrots is great for the eyes (despite the fact I’ve worn glasses and contact lenses pretty much since I was a teenager), not to mention the fact that you should never swallow bubblegum because it will stay in your stomach pretty much forever.

Oh, and don’t forget that it is a bad idea to give kids too much sugar unless you ARE looking for a loud, hyperactive time!

Right.

woman with seductive eyes blowing a bubblegum bubble

Well here are a couple of food myth falsehoods that seem to have stuck around for quite some time, despite the fact that by now most of them have well and truly been properly debunked:

Gum stays in your stomach for seven years

Generally, gum is made up of four general components, and our bodies can easily break down three of these. The gum’s flavorings, sweeteners and softeners are all no match for human digestion. It’s the gum base that sticks around. Gum base is made mostly of synthetic chemicals, and these chemicals give gum its chewy property. It’s designed to resist the digestive properties of the saliva in your mouth. But once it’s swallowed, even the gum base is subjected to the same treatment as regular food, and after it’s recognized as useless by your digestive system, it goes the same route as any waste product. (Read More)

Eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares

Not one I’m particularly familiar with, but to be safe the British Cheese Board has tested the theory and found no relation to eating cheese before bed and an increase in nightmares. One down. (Read More)

Sugar makes children hyperactive

In 1994, a double blind research study found that eating sugary foods did not affect the behaviour or cognitive skills of the children involved. Another study found parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive even if the sugar they had been given was a placebo. (Read More)

Your steak leaks blood when you cut it

Almost all the blood in your meat is removed during the slaughter, leaving in fact very little behind. The red liquid you find on your plate is actually just a lot of water mixed with a protein called myoglobin. (Read More)

Carbohydrates make you gain weight

Research shows that not all carbohydrates negatively affect your weight. Of course, limiting highly processed carbohydrates is always a wise idea but cutting out good carbohydrates can backfire and make you gain weight instead of lose it. It can also cause health problems that range from being annoying to being life threatening. (Read More)

You need to drink eight glasses of water a day

In general, to remain healthy we need to take in enough water to replace the amount we lose daily through excretion, perspiration, and other bodily functions, but that amount can vary widely from person to person, based upon a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, activity level, and climate. The “8 glasses of water per day” is a rule of thumb, not an absolute minimum, and not all of our water intake need come in the form of drinking water. (Read More)

Eating carrots will give you night vision

In World War II, Britain’s air ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force’s successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

Though the promise of night vision is not true, carrots do contain a healthy dose of vitamin A, which is what your body uses to synthesise the pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions. This means that if you have a vitamin A deficiency, seeing in darker conditions may be more difficult. Eating carrots will rectify this but only to the point of an average person’s vision. (Read More)

White chocolate is chocolate

To be classified as chocolate a product has to contain cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White “chocolate”, on the other hand, contains cocoa butter instead. (Read More)

Crusts will give you curly hair

This one I’ve never even hear of mind you. Anyway, whether you have curly or straight hair depends entirely on your genes. Food is not going to chang e your genetic makeup. This myth might have originated 300 years ago in Europe, when curly hair was seen as a symbol of health and prosperity. (Read More)

black woman biting into a carrot

Because remember, knowing is half the battle! :)

Santam and its One-of-a-kind TV Advert General Nonsense 06 MAR 2015

Back in the day, I used to insure with Santam, and actually quite liked them, which makes sense given that they have always produced some pretty enjoyable insurance-related television adverts over the years here in South Africa – and actually provide a pretty damn decent insurance  service to boot. (There, now who says advertising doesn’t work? :P)

Anyway, their latest television advert brings a smile to my face, not because I’m actually going to insure with them again, no, but rather because of the little twinkle of pride in my country that it invokes.

santam one of a kind country tv advert screenshot - hippo crossing

Essentially the set up is this: foreigners returning home and telling everyone about some of the unique quirks that makes South Africa… well South Africa.

If you are South African, then you’ll probably enjoy this. If not, then just know that all of it is absolutely true!

Love it! Just as Santam says on their advert reveal page:

“There are things that happen in South Africa, that are part of our lives. Some weird, some wonderful and some more serious. They’re one-of-a-kind things that you need one-of-a-kind insurance for. As South Africans, we’ve become so used to them, that we don’t even give it a second thought. But to foreigners, they’re often bizarre. 
”

Related Link: www.santam.co.za

Eskom Load Shedding Schedule General Nonsense 05 DEC 2014

Needless to say, we’re in that horrible situation of dreaded load shedding once again, which means it is pretty handy to be able to quickly locate the Eskom load shedding schedule once those Princes of Darkness announce that the lights are indeed going to go out.

Essentially there are two cases here – either you get your electricity directly from Eskom, or you receive via your municipality.

First things first, access Eskom’s dedicated load shedding site at http://loadshedding.eskom.co.za/. If you are a direct Eskom customer, you can search for your suburb/area and get the results directly from the source. If your search turns up no results, it is then suggested that you are perhaps a municipal customer and get a link to http://www.eskom.co.za/Pages/loadsheddingmunic.aspx.

Here on the Municipal Customer Load Shedding Schedule page you should find your Municipality listed (Gordon’s Bay falls under the City of Cape Town municipality just by the way).

To be honest, I’m only really interested in the City of Cape Town load shedding schedule, and that site then gives you a handy area color-coded map and corresponding table, all of which then tells you exactly when the power is going to be off.

Useful in other words, unless of course your power is already off. In that case schedule look-ups be damned!

[UPDATE] Eye Witness News (EWN) also has a pretty nifty load shedding tool available on their site.

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