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MG’s #Science Voices: Is lightning’s ‘blast’ as bad as its strike?

How close does a person have to be to a lightning strike to be at risk? How far does this pressure blast wave extend? Ryan Blumenthal, a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, has been researching lightning’s pressure blast wave effect on humans for the past 10 years. This newly emerging field is known…

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#Science Voices: A new ready-to-eat twist on old grains

A locally produced nutritious ready-to-eat composite meal produced from locally available indigenous grains using non-traditional low cost processing methods could be a possible solution to the malnutrition situation in rural African communities. Nokuthula Vilakati, a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria, does research on this.This is her story in the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices…

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Save indigenous Zulu sheep and you save rural farmers

Zulu sheep are valuable to farmers because of their ability to brace the harsh environment in the KwaZulu-Natal region, writes Thembinkosi “Mnqobi” Xulu, a MSc candidate at the University of Zululand. This article was first featured in the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices supplement. In the green plains of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal, small skinny sheep graze. With their…

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Science Voices: Meatless Mondays might be harmful in SA

Is skipping out on a meaty meal to save the environment doing more harm than good? Nicolette Hall, a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria, explains in an article that is part of the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s Science Voices series. It began as a solidarity and social responsibility campaign during the World Wars to…

Arvind Ramessur of UNISA (Photo: HARTRAO)

Science Voices: Astrophysical jets in distant galaxy could teach us physics

In the dark and cold chasm of space, huge jets of charged particles erupt around a super-massive black hole, writes Arvind Ramessur, a MSc candidate at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Black holes, whose gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape, are usually found in the hearts of galaxies, known as active…

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SCIENCE VOICES: Finding ways to prevent cricket injuries

Pace bowlers are at particular risk of sustaining injuries, writes Benita Olivier, a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand. There is a great need for research to help with such injury prevention. Dale Steyn is performing a stylish delivery — a gentle run-up, a slight side bend — resulting in an astonishing ball…

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SCIENCE VOICES: ‘Insect farming’ a possible industry for rural communities

For some southern African communities, stinkbugs are a culinary delicacy, writes Cathy Dzerefos in an article that forms part of the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices series. Dzerefos is a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand. “If you have thongolifha you can leave the meat!” says a middle-aged office worker at Komatiland Forests. “Thongolifha is…