Early warning of garden pests may be on the horizon

Garden pests are a major source of plant losses. A citizen science project called The Big Bug Hunt is setting out to change the way we deal with the bugs that plague our plants.

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Resolutions – in culture, language, and science

New year is a time for resolutions. Whether it’s to exercise more, learn a language, or be more environmentally conscious, this popular concept hits a peak in January. So let’s have a look at where resolutions have come from and gone to, in culture, language, and science.

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The whys and hows of attracting young children to science in South Africa

This is an article I wrote for the New Age on behalf of Pint of Science South Africa:

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“Why?” It’s the question that drives parents insane. “Why do leaves turn yellow?” “Because the weather is changing.” “Why?” “Because our part of the earth is moving further away from the sun.” “Why?” And it goes on. This inquisitive nature may drive parents to distraction, but the constant search for answers and the never-ending streams of “why” are the very things that should be nurtured in young children in order for the next generation of inventors and scientists to blossom. Continue reading

Art, spring flowers, and the discovery of a blue halo

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I have a sketch book, or as it was marketed, a visual journal. I think I prefer the name visual journal – each picture was something I chose to draw, not something that was put in front of me as in art class, and each picture has an added dimension of having a memory attached to it. And, as it turns out, sometimes a picture will end up having some form of scientific relevance too, as happened with my picture of spring flowers. Continue reading

Rainwater harvesting – tapping into a greatly underused resource

This article is specific to the context of the Cape Town drought, but the concepts can be applied in any water-scarce situation where there is the potential to harvest rainwater.cropped-rain.jpgAs you’ve probably heard, over and over if you live in Cape Town, dam levels are low. At 31% capacity, water storage levels are 25% lower than they were this time last year.  Although there are talks of shipping water from upcountry, and building a desalination plant, perhaps we should be looking to the skies – which deliver fresh water right into our backyard.

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