A coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Why South Africa is finding it difficult to wean itself off coal

South Africa has made domestic and international commitments to climate change mitigation. But the country continues to depend on coal-fired power plants, which provide 92% of its electricity. A key challenge for the country in dealing with electricity shortages is that the bulk of power comes from coal, which is harmful for the environment and…

SKAHack participants produced a number of apps to save water in different ways. Image credit: Fronne.

Eight water data projects from last weekend’s SKAHack

While the past week may have seen massive downpours, it doesn’tmean the drought and water shortages are over. This is why Geekulcha hosted its most recent hackathon – the SKAHack – to encourage developers to help find solutions for problems in their community. Named after the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), SKAHack was held in the Eastern Cape…

Dr Katie Smart and a historical map of the Witwatersrand Gold Fields. Credit: Wits University

Green diamonds of the Witwatersrand reveal earth’s shifty secrets

A group of researchers at the Wits School of Geosciences have pin-pointed the age at which the earth’s plate tectonics began. Their results were recently published in an article in the Nature Geosciences journal. In an interview with SciBraai, lead author on the paper, Katie A. Smart, explained the significance of the study. “We are…

A juvenile West Coast lobster. Photo: Jarred Knapp

West Coast lobster not worried about climate change?

The West Coast rock lobster’s natural ability to adapt to varying environmental conditions may be its saving grace when it comes to climate change. This is according to research conducted by aquaculture scientist Dr Jarred Lee Knapp of Stellenbosch University. His research shows that these crustaceans have a natural ability to physiologically adapt to rising sea temperatures…

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Some truths about lightning: when thunder roars, go indoors

There are many myths about lightning. Almost all cultures on Earth have their own beliefs about what causes it, writes Ryan Blumenthal, a senior specialist at the University of Pretoria, in The Conversation Africa. Firstly, we need to know how to think critically about lightning. Why are there so many myths about lightning? Could it be that…

Photo: Engela Duvenage

[LISTEN] The Science Inside: The drought episode

This week The Science Inside radio show looks at the drought and water crisis hitting South Africa. Find out exactly where your water comes from with Dean Muruven from WWF SA’s #JourneyOfWater and take a look at how Cirrus Water Management is using atmospheric water generation to make water out of thin air. With the help…

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Better get used to this heat

When the maximum temperature approaches 36 degrees around 2pm in Jozi, I’m like, screw this, I’m done; let’s pick it up after dark. And then I thank the flying spaghetti monster I’m not in Pretoria right now. I’m lucky enough to have that kind of flexibility, and many other people are lucky enough to enjoy…