Archive for news

Big Picture: Remembering Tiananmen

Posted in General, Photography with tags , , , , on Saturday, 6 June 2009 by Deems

When this picture was taken I was a junior in high school and I remember seeing it in the news. 20 years on and thousands of people are still remembering. Big Picture celebrates the 20th anniversary of what happened at Tiananmen Square with a collection of photos from then and now.

June 4th, 2009, marked the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on student protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Beginning in April of 1989, thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform. By mid-May of 1989, hundreds of thousands of protesters occupied the square, staging hunger strikes, and asking for dialogue. Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and sent soldiers and tanks from the People’s Liberation Army, preparing to disperse the crowds. Late on June 3rd, 1989, the tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead. The first 17 photos below were taken in 1989, the rest are from this year, as people remember the events, the ideals, and the fallout from that fateful day. (32 photos total)


In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a Chinese protestor blocks a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Blvd. June 5, 1989 in front of the Beijing Hotel. The man was shortly pulled away and the tanks continued on their way. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)


Pod of 55 beached Pilot Whales at Kommetjie

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on Saturday, 30 May 2009 by Deems

Around 7:30 this morning a pod of (originally thought 47) 55 Pilot Whales started beaching themselves at Kommetjie Beach.

The NSRI are urging people NOT to go down to the beach as the throngs of people are hampering their efforts to rescue the whales and return them to deeper waters.

It still seems no one really knows why whales beach themselves but it’s thought that since they swim in large pods the rest of the whales may be following a sick/beached leader. Another theory is that since they rely on magnetic waves to navigate themselves that some coastlines may have strong magentic forces which lead the whales to believe they’re entering deeper waters and not the coastline.

You can see some pictures here, here and here.

Update: almost 3 hours later and it appears reports are coming in that they have had to resort to shooting some of the whales that keep returning and rebeaching themselves. More photos here, here, here and here.

Listen here for an on the scene audio report with Dave Bull from The Times with Lauren Cohen.

IOL News reports that steps to euthanise the rebeaching whales will have to be taken.

“We have tried everything but they just make a U-turn and keep rebeaching themselves,” said Wally Peterson, project manager for the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness group.

Rice said the whales would be shot through the head with a pistol.

“I feel quite sad but it is the right thing to do,” she said. – source IOL

Real-time News

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on Friday, 15 May 2009 by Deems

Isn’t the power of the internet, coupled with blogging and micro-blogging amazing?

I was at home this morning when I heard on the news about a fire in Cape Town that had gutted a backpackers lodge (just around the corner from our office building). 

At the same time I was checking my RSS feeds, reading email and I saw a new tweet from a mate of mine about the fire with a photo and a post on his blog about it.

A quick search of my local news feeds and Twitter and no one else had picked up on this yet. Only after I got to the office, and took a few pictures myself, did the other news agencies pick up on it.

Does it mean journoulists should be worried about their jobs – nope – but I do think they should be keeping their ears and eyes open to other bloggers and micro-bloggers. After all this isn’t the first time news stories have broken out on the Internet even before news agencies and journalists have picked up on it.

Loop Street backpackers fire in Cape Town

Taken from my office window this morning.


Nando’s ‘Julius’ up for auction

Posted in Funny, General with tags , , , , , , on Tuesday, 5 May 2009 by Deems

nandos_julius_puppetNando’s have done it again! First they brought you a great advertisement before the elections using their puppet called ‘Julius’. Then, Julius Malema and the ANCYL got angry and “forced” Nando’s to withdraw their advert, or else. Nando’s responded.

Now in a bid to prevent ‘Julius’ from gathering dust just sitting in a corner, they’ve put him up for auction, to the highest bidder (proably around R5) and the proceeds will go to the Self-Help Development Organisation, which helps young men to finish school and study mechanics, woodworking and electrical engineering.

You can find out more on the Dispatch Now blog here. [via the_dre]

Update: 6 May 2009
It appears that more than 100 bids have been received so far for the puppet, the highest being for R85 000.

The R85 000 bid was not too bad, considering that Nando’s had said it believed it would receive “at least R5 for him”.

Chauke said it had cost about R30 000 to create the hand-crafted radio-controlled ventriloquist dummy, the star of a recent television advertisement. 

He said Nando’s had not heard from the ANC Youth League president since it announced that his puppet would be auctioned for a charity group that funds, among other things, courses in woodwork, the subject Malema notoriously scored a GG for in matric, according to reports. – source News24

You can read the full article on News24.

Big Picture: Protests at the G20 summit

Posted in General, Photography with tags , , , , , , on Saturday, 4 April 2009 by Deems

Some striking phtos from’s The Big Picture of the protesting that happened earlier this week in London’s business district. There are always reason’s people protest but the violence that ensue’s is most likely always caused by the unruly ones who insist on chaos and then peer-pressure results in the rest following suit. Click here to view them all.

Thousands of protesters gathered in London, England on April 1st and 2nd to demonstrate against an array of issues, largely anti-capitalist or pro-environmental in nature. A large underlying theme was anger with the effects of the economic downturn and a call for accountability and responsibility. While the majority of protesters were peaceful, a number of them took to smashing windows and throwing debris at police lines. London police responded with baton charges and arrests. Similar protests are now taking place in Strasbourg, France, which hosts a NATO summit today. (36 photos total)


A demonstrator speaks with police during a protest in the City of London on April 1, 2009. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

RIP: Tony Hart

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , on Monday, 19 January 2009 by Deems

I have fond memories as a child in the early 80’s seeing Tony Hart and his art gallery on TV. What made is special for me as a child was his little plasticine character, Morph. It was the earliest claymation I can remember and was definitely a springboard for other Aardman Studios characters, like Wallace and Grommit. 


tonyhartArtist and children’s presenter Tony Hart has died, aged 83.

Hart, who lived in Surrey, had suffered from health problems for a number of years, including two strokes. His family said he died peacefully.

The affable presenter inspired children to paint and draw on shows like Vision On, Take Hart and Hartbeat for nearly 50 years before he retired in 2001.

Fellow artist Rolf Harris led tributes, calling Hart “a very gentle and talented guy”.

“He enthused and inspired a whole generation of kids into creating their own works of art, simple or complex.

Condolences go out to the Hart family, his friends and all his fans. Another legend has gone.

Online gambling, cheaters unmasked

Posted in Games, General, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, 4 December 2008 by Deems

We all like playing games in some or other shape or form – some more challenging than others, some more intelectually challenging than others. But one game that is becoming more and more popular is poker. And with the advent of the Internet and more and more connectivity to it, it’s now become easier than ever to play online poker, either through your local casino, having their own online gaming website, or other international gaming website, not affiliated with any casino. 

In the United States, online gambling is illegal, but since almost all of the gaming servers are hosted in countries outside of the US jurisdiction, there’s little that can be done. 

Last weekend I bought myself a 1000 chip poker set to play with at home with friends and family – I’ve always wanted a set of my own. Now, I’m by no means a gambler – I don’t play the poor-man’s-tax (lottery) and don’t visit the casino (a big one just 5 mins drive from where I stay) but I do like playing with friends the odd game or two for fun – or as a charity event with a few colleagues. Some people are obsessed with it and spend their own earnings, and those of others without the blink of an eye (after all they don’t want to show their tell).

It has become so easy (availability of sites to play on) to play online poker these days that everyone can do it – and if you don’t want to just play for funny-money, you can simply use your trusty plastic credit card and purchase some credits to play online. But even then, because you’re not dealing with the physical chips and money in front of you, it almost doesn’t seem real – well that is, until the end of the month when you get your credit card bill and you don’t know how you’re going to pay it off!

As with things like death and taxes, there is another thing that is inevitable – cheaters.

pokercomputerCBS’s 60-minutes recently did a story on how some online gamblers found out that they were being cheated out of their money by a player who kept on winning, no matter how they played. And, as they say, when the chips are down and the cards are dealt, it was uncovered that the guy cheating people out of their money, was none other than an ex-employee from the online casino, who had managed to find a work-around for the software that as an administrator could see all the other player’s cards on the table and thus would always end up the table winner.

You can read the full report on CBS’s website or view the video. Maybe next time think twice before playing online, for money.

Thanks to Connie for spotting this one and passing it on to me.