Still in the dark about Earth Hour?

Yes yes, I’ve been told that Earth Hour is all about “raising awareness” about “climate change”. I’ve also commented that I really don’t think it’s necessary to raise any more awareness about something we can’t get through a single Pistorius-free day without having rammed down our collective gullet.

In addition, I may also have mentioned that Earth Hour gives slacktivists the perfect opportunity to enjoy their favourite pastime, namely thinking that they’re making a difference without actually making a difference at all. In fact, as that article on Slate pointed out, lighting an inefficient candle (which most bunny-huggers and pseudo bunny-huggers will do this evening) is actually more harmful to our precious environment than using a fat incandescent light bulb for an hour (or, by extrapolation, any given period of time). But how much more harmful?

Well, I’ve found someone who has done some rudimentary calculations to find out exactly how much:

I know candles are nice and romantic – but you’re taking paraffin wax, in the form of a candle, and burning it, very inefficiently, at a low temperature. This stuff is pure hydrocarbon – it’s a heavy alkane fraction distilled straight off crude oil. This stuff is getting so scarce that nations are prepared to go to war just to secure it, remember?

A candle flame burns at a low temperature – so it’s a thermodynamically very inefficient source of energy – and most of the energy released in a candle is wasted as heat, anyway.

Even if 80% of your electricity comes from coal and fossil fuel fired power stations, as it does in Australia, burning candles is very polluting and certainly very greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions intensive, even more so than electric lighting.

Luke Weston then spoon feeds us through his calculations, just so that there can be no confusion as to how he reaches his conclusion. I’m not going to reproduce all those calculations here, but suffice to say that the results (standardised for the amount of light produced – apples with apples and all that) are as follows:

A incandescent bulb produces 1.11g CO2 for each hour that it is burned.
A candle produces 10.69g  for each hour that it is burned.

Therefore, for every candle that is burned to replace electric lighting during Earth Hour, greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the one hour are increased by 9.6 g of carbon dioxide.
If the light output from a 40 W light bulb was to be completely replaced by candles, this will lead to the emission of an extra 295 grams of carbon dioxide per over simply using the electric lights – if the equivalent of one thousand 40 W bulbs are replaced by candles, that’s an extra 295 kilograms of CO2 emitted.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel it getting warmer already.

Thus, if you really want to “make a difference” this evening (a positive difference, that is), you’ll be far better off sitting in the dark for an hour. And, if you want to DOUBLE the your contribution to saving the planet, you could do it for two.

But then we have to remember that there’s football and rugby in Cape Town tonight which you’ll want to watch on your dirty, still not ever so energy efficient flatscreen TV, dwarfing any potential benefits of switching off your lights and (not) firing up a candle.

Fortunately, this darkness and/or watching sport will (possibly) restrict the amount of “other activities” that some people have been suggesting might be an enjoyable and romantic by-product of an environment-destroying candlelit evening. I say “fortunately” because my wife is away this evening because each baby produced from those “other activities” will add so much to your household carbon footprint that you might as well stop washing out those Marmite jars and begin weeping right now:

Take, for example, a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, and replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models. If she had two children, the researchers found, her carbon legacy would eventually rise to nearly 40 times what she had saved by those actions.

So. Please spend your Earth Hour in the dark. No lights, no candles, certainly no TV and ABSOLUTELY NO HANKY PANKY!

And even then, please don’t pretend that you’re actually making a difference.

When We Win

In the lead up to the World Cup in 2010, Bafana Bafana (the local name for the South African national football team) were undeniably brilliant. They won friendlies against everyone, and suddenly the nation believed we had a chance. Even in the competition, they played well: beating France and drawing with Mexico (including “that goal”). They went out in the first round, but they went out with their heads held high.

However, it’s been a different (or rather, indifferent) team since then. One miserable performance after another has left them the laughing stock of the nation. They slipped to 84th in the FIFA rankings (albeit with no lucrative Afcon qualifiers to play).
This year, nothing improved: a 0-1 defeat against Norway’s B team, followed by a goalless bore draw against Algeria further depressed and angered us. Then only managing another 0-0 against the Cape Verde Islands (population 500,000) in the first Afcon game had most of us reaching for the bottle. Again.

But suddenly, somehow, the nation believes once more. Because Bafana beat Angola 2-0 on Wednesday evening and suddenly everything is rosy again. Helpful results elsewhere mean that even a draw against Morocco will see us through tomorrow evening.

People are excited and none more so than our erstwhile Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile April Mbalula, who… er… had this to say:
(Please excuse me for reproducing it in full, but really, you must read it in full for the “full” effect.)

We stand here this morning as a proud and confident nation imbued by the resounding thrashing, walloping and gregarious defeat of the Angolan national football Team in Ethekwini by the our astonishing and call-heading warriors Bafana- Bafana, the crown jewel of the nation of the most popular sport in our country and the world over.

Like true warriors and combat ready soldiers, our national Team turned the misfortune of being denied goals in the warm up matches and first game versus Cape Verde into a promising and pending festival of goals during our last game against Angola. You the people of South Africa headed the clarion call:

To support our Team in the spirit and dictum of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Seaparankwe) our national hero and international icon when he said that leaders and winners show the stripes of their true colours not in conditions of easiness but it is through difficult circumstances that a real leader emerges and survive. As we have come to know and acknowledge that social condition throw up concrete circumstance from which leaders emerge and chart a new a path into the future.

To this day we know that the nation was disappointed and dismayed that Bafana Bafana were not resolute and determined in our quest for excellence and for quality and thus succumbing to foreign tendencies of negative media reporting and being bullied on the social networks. Not that they were not patriotic, but, it was a sign of not accepting the fact that in sport there is lose, draw or win. But your characteristic of a leap of hope and faith in our national team and never die spirit gave rise to our deep understanding and personification of the adverb that – “birds of the same feather flock together” and which propelled our Team to the 2 – 0 victory in our last game against Angola.

After all you remain a constant reminder to the national Team never to abandon a sport code that is an oasis of hope, livelihood and symbol of nationhood to us and billions of people around the globe.

To this extent your wish and hope that Bafana Bafana must win came through two days ago and for the reason that prompted Chief Albert Luthuli to pronounce at his life time and age that the Tempo is quickening- Asijiki, Siyaya phambili.!!! The Cup will be hoisted aloft by President Jacob Zuma and will be delivered to our people as a symbol and meaningful contribution to the quest for peace and unity of purpose amongst Africans here at home and in the Diaspora.

Our Team has once and for all unequivocally demonstrated that there is neither room nor place for prophets of doom and unpatriotic Johnny-come-lately in our national fiber, constitution and make up. We are a unique brand! Born in struggle and baptised in revolutionary fires!

In defeat we show unreserved humility and in success we deservedly glow and shine amidst the thunderous ululations, passionate singing, salutations of endearment and deafening blowing of the Vuvuzela’s that have become a trade-mark of football culture in our mother-land South Africa.

As millions of our South Africans patriots, African compatriots and curios and friendly spectators are witnessing and bearing testimony to another African extravaganza and spectacle unfolding and beaming in front of their human and mortal eyes, we are re-assured by our own collective realisation and laudable foresight of our fore-bears that the time for the re-awakening of the embedded and God-given talent within the African continent and her people looms largely on our horizon.

The evolutionary and revolutionary duty lies with the current generation to discharge its historical mission of delivering human solidarity, social progress, peace and stability through-ought the nook and cranny of our beloved continent leveraging on sport, amongst others, as a platform and medium for peace and total emancipation of the toiling and down trodden peace-loving people of Africa.

It is in this context that our eyes are cast way beyond explosive celebrations and symbolic ceremonies to embarking on concrete steps for the realisation of the African dream of a meaningful transformation and impactful development. Our National Development Plan, of which the National Sport and Recreation Plan is an intrinsic part and the Millennium development goals, lends to us the possibility and ability to lay and consign the ghosts, of Jan Van Riebeek, of Cecil John Rhodes, and of Verwoerd to the dustbin of history as we unite and democratise our country through sport and recreation.

The moment for which the majority and caring South Africans have been waiting for have now arrived. South Africa this is your time, we must all seize the moment as we take on Morocco this Sunday at the magnificent and majestic Moses Mabhida stadium.

We must support our brothers as we did amidst thunderstorms and heavy rains as our peoples’ determination and soul were not deterred by the bad weather as they gathered at the national stadium in Johannesburg, in South Africa for the official opening of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013. An African extravaganza and humdinger that was also observed and broadcast live through the nook and cranny of the African continent.

We ourselves as South Africans have been engrossed in the preparations to ensure sufficient readiness of our national team Bafana Bafana! Whilst at the same time extending our warm reception to our fellow African compatriots imbued by the spirit of Ubuntu, the highest state of humanity.

As the games progresses without any major hindrances, a sigh of relief beaconed our souls and fuel our patriotism and hope for the renaissance of the African Continent.

In the forthcoming games we need to ensure that our team score the requisite goals to reciprocate the good gesture of support from the Commander in Chief, President Zuma and from fellow South Africans. We must all play our part in ensuring that we all feel the stadiums in all the remaining and support all the teams and beat the drums for all the teams, right at the foot of the African Continent.

From now going forward we have it within ourselves to ensure that our national symbols such as our flag, the National Anthem and the Bafana Bafana jersey reign supreme in our consciousness and visibility throughout the length and breath of our country. We appeal to the host cites and all provinces to devise go to war plans and game plan campaigns that will sustain the current moment and lift us all to highest heights of the prestigious championship.

Government has also noted with shock the 419 scammers who are using the AFCON and Government respectable logos to attempt to solicit money from our soccer-loving nation. Please be warned that no Government Department is currently running any competition on the Afcon 2013. You would therefore not allow yourself to present any individual with your banking details or any personal information.

Wave the FLAG. We can see the colours of the rainbow.

Phambili Mawethu!! Ukwanda Kwaliwa ngumthakathi!!!

No. That’s actually genuine. Not a lost page of the pilot script for The Dictator.

There’s plenty to analyse and decrypt within that press release, but since I firmly believe that Bafana will get through to the quarter finals (thus succumbing to foreign tendencies of negative media etc etc.), I think I’ll save it to see what sort of reaction Fikile has then.

Expect fireworks.

Bafana Bafana v USA – Photos

As promised here, some few photos of the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Cape Town Stadium last night, to brighten up your day.

And while Cape Town put on a great show, Bafana were less impressive and went down to a (probably undeserved) 1-0 defeat after a 85th minute debut goal from 17 year old Juan Agudelo.

Of particular disappointment to me was the much-vaunted debut striker Davide Somma, who had promised to “destroy” the United States (presumably merely in a footballing sense) in a press conference earlier in the week and then did… nothing.
True, the service to him from the rest of the team was pretty woeful, but he looked confused by the passing game of Bafana and offered very little.
Still – apparently Pitso Mosimane was delighted with his performance – ?!? – and the fans loved him. Apart from those sitting around me, that is: they thought he was rubbish as well.

It was a good night out though – even if the football wasn’t of the highest quality – and you can relive bits of it by having a look at this Flickr set.

5 months on

5 months on from the most boring and disappointing games of football ever in the history of my watching football (all my life)…

…I am returning to a much warmer Cape Town Stadium to watch Bafana Bafana take on the USA in the Nelson Mandela Challenge. A full house of 52,000 is expected and even though kick off isn’t until 9:30pm, meaning that full time will be about 11:20pm and getting home will be about 4 hours before I have to get up for work tomorrow, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.


Some few live tweets/pics from tonight’s game here and maybe here and photos to follow as and when.

Blow for Bafana

Too tired to blog about politics tonight, too irritated to blog about the local supermarket and their disgraceful policy of selling out of date veg, dairy products and meat. So, because Bafana are leading Niger by one goal to nil approaching halftime at the Mbombela Stadium, a gratuitous – MAKE THAT 2-0!!! Bernard Parker, you biscuit! – (ahem) a gratuitous vuvuzela picture.

Much like England’s 4-0 win last night against Bulgaria, it looks like South Africa are going to make a great start to their qualifying campaign. And – were he still awake – this little fellow would be paaarrrping all over the house.

Fortunately for us all – he’s fast asleep upstairs.