RIP Dawn

Dawn Pilatowicz died last night. Dawn was one of the most inspirational people I’ve met. Warm, generous, kind-hearted, wise. I first met Dawn through our involvement in the Talent Exchange, a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) that started here in Cape Town. She lived with polymyositis, a muscle-wasting disease. Her power was in a remarkable… Continue reading RIP Dawn

South Africa in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index

It’s been a while since I looked at the World Press Freedom Index. South Africa was ranked 21st in the world when I first started looking back in 2003, and had slumped to 52nd back in 2013. Looking at the rankings since, there has been a notable improvement from 2013 until 2017. While the Nordic… Continue reading South Africa in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index

Election arithmetic

It’s almost election time, and with 48 parties standing nationally (and a further 32 standing only at provincial level), there are lot of hopeful party leaders out there. It’s safe to say the majority of them are going to be very disappointed when the results are announced. Let’s look at some election arithmetic: First, nationally:… Continue reading Election arithmetic

The Emerald Isle?

At its peak, following the last ice age, Ireland was covered in forest. The first humans, initially hunter gatherers, arrived around 9000 years ago. About 6000 years ago the forests began to disappear as farming began to take hold. By 1600, forest cover was still substantial, but as population pressure grew, and in particular clearance… Continue reading The Emerald Isle?

Patreon meltdown

Patreon just made one of those decisions that look good when explained to investors in the boardroom, but are utterly suicidal when rolled out. They changed their fee structure, so that instead of the finance fees being charged to creators, they are now charged to patrons. The motivation is sound. Previously, the actual amount paid… Continue reading Patreon meltdown

Observatory energised

Democracy, ideally, represents rule by the people, but in a world with powerful centralised nation states, antiquated voting systems, and social media quickly spreading misinformation about remote events, in practice, it’s far from that. Just look at the state of most so-called democracies. But democracy in its current incarnation can work reasonably well at the… Continue reading Observatory energised

Before the Flood

Today I watched Before the Flood with Dorje. The film is currently freely available on National Geographic’s Youtube channel. Of course I’ve talked to him about climate change, meat eating, pollution etc, but it’s different seeing it presented visually, and it seemed to have much more of an impact on him. Words alone will struggle… Continue reading Before the Flood