Pangolin threat

Apologies in advance for the language, but with pangolins sharing the dubious pleasures of being the world’s most illegally trafficked animal, and a strong contender for host of the SARS-CoV-2, this headline just made me laugh:

From here.

It does seem likely that potentially unsavoury human behaviour may have (at least in part) led to the Coronavirus outbreak which is still slightly worryingly out of control. I suppose that if this leads to a decrease in pangolin smugglery (it won’t), then at least something good will have come out of this whole thing.

In the meantime, we’d better watch out for whatever novel diseases are carried by rhinos, tigers, elephants and hornbills (who knew?), and might be just around the corner as the next potential pandemic.

Drought posters: too much?

Local authorities in Cape Town have come under fire this week for their latest attempts to convince tourists of the severity of the drought in the Mother City, with critics saying the posters “go too far”, and are “frankly rather scary” and “wholly distasteful”.

The summer tourist season is approaching, and many residents have expressed concern that transient visitors will either be unaware of our water crisis or simply won’t care, and would therefore waste our precious resources. Tourism is huge business in the Western Cape, with 1.5 million international visitors spending a massive R18 billion in the province in 2016. It’s clear that without that money, Cape Town would be in deep trouble, but running out of water completely would obviously be a disaster.

However, those same residents were stunned at the authorities response, with shocking posters which are set to be displayed prominently in the arrivals area in the airport and at popular tourist sites around the city.

Elsie Grootbek of Newlands was aghast:

Look, of course I know that the drought is a big issue, but South Africa does have a bit of a reputation and posters like this really don’t help with that. This is terrible. Which moron actually thought that this would be a good idea?

Reaction to other posters was equally incredulous. Fanie Praatbaie, a guest house owner in Melkbosstrand, couldn’t believe the posters and was concerned what effect they might have:

It’s bad taste and really off-putting. We’ll talk to our visitors, one to one, and explain the water crisis. We don’t need this sort of thing welcoming our tourists. It might even spark vigilante action if one of our guests takes a 4 minute shower or something. It’s hugely worrying.

However, government representatives were quick to point out that this ‘shocked’ reaction was exactly what they were after.

Spokesperson Willem van der Maydup told us:

It’s really not meant to be threatening. It’s just designed to make people think when they turn the taps on in their hotel rooms. Water is the lifeblood of any city, and we want visitors to value our water as if it were their own blood.
I showed one of the posters to my 6 year old son last week and it’s clearly had an effect: he hasn’t even gone into the bathroom since then. Or slept.

It’s unclear whether the backlash will force the authorities to change their mind on the controversial campaign, but with the local tourism season just around the corner, it may be too late to come up with an alternative means of getting their important message across.

Football: Cape Town City win PSL title

There were amazing scenes at Cape Town City FC HQ this morning as it was confirmed that Cape Town City FC (the artists formerly known as Mpumalanga Black Aces FC) announced that they have secured the 2016/17 PSL Title in their inaugural season.

Aces/City actually finished 3rd when the arduous, old fashioned process of actually playing games and getting points was taken into account, but as their spokesperson Purchase Status told the assembled SA football press this morning:

We realised that since we had just bought our way into the league, we might as well go the whole hog and buy the title as well. It doesn’t always have to be about winning, getting points and your playing ability.
If you give local bloggers enough free caps and keyrings and stuff, that’s almost the same as being a real local club. Naturally, it’s a small step from there to buying the title.

Indeed, in the PSL, money talks: while we were at the City press conference, news came through that Amazulu – who finished in 5th place in the NFD in 2016/17 – had bought their place in the PSL for next season. But paying for position and honours isn’t always plain sailing, as Status went on to explain:

We made Bidvest Wits an offer that they couldn’t refuse, but they did refuse it, so then we simply threatened to buy their whole club and move it to Cape Town, and suddenly they changed their mind and sold us the 2016/17 title.

Plans are being made for a victory parade through the city, but no-one is sure whether it should be in Mbombela or Cape Town. Either way, we’re told that huge billboard-sized pictures of hundreds Cape Town City FC fans are being printed to line the route – wherever it may happen.

We’ll be spraying the crowds with JC La Roux bubbly. Sure, it’s not real French champagne, but then this isn’t a real club or a real title, so it kinda fits.

Who knows what the 2017/18 PSL season will bring us, aside from a poorly-attended, often interrupted, absolutely pointless charade in which the clubs with the most money will simply buy their way to where they want to be?

This is a blog post about a news website article about a scientific paper

“The Lay Scientist” Martin Robbins opens the sluice gates of his reservoir of satire and lets the contents loose on the Guardian website:

And I can’t really do it justice here – you have to read it yourself by clicking the link above. Suffice to say it’s damn accurate – in fact, the only bit it really omits is the blatant scientifically incorrect statement somewhere within the article.

Even the commenters are getting in on the act: