Photo: The Conversation

Species without boundaries: a new way to map our origins

by Francis Thackeray, University of the Witwatersrand More than 145 years ago, Charles Darwin argued that Africa was the continent from which humans evolved in prehistory. We now know he was right. We have the evidence to prove from prehistoric remains that our distant human relatives go back at least seven million years. Certainly, the fossil…

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Xenophobia in SA: How prejudice is born

“Prejudice is a group phenomenon. You don’t have a personal feeling about someone who has something different, just by yourself. It’s somehow created, somehow part of social norms.” – Social psychologist Prof Gillian Finchilescu from the University of Witwatersrand, who has been studying prejudice for years. This week The Science Inside looks at xenophobia, xenophobic violence…

IBM announced that it would be opening a research laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand, in the Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg. (AFP)

IBM research lab to work with the cool kids

Multinational research company IBM announced on Friday that it will be opening a research laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand, in the Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg. The premises was once a bar, and still has a long bar counter and heavily-graffiti’ed walls, but in a year this will be one of the top information…

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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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Scibraai Sides: Criminals beware: CCTV specialists know what they are doing

Closed circuit television (CCTV) footage was in the news this week as part of the so-called “Anni Dewani Honeymoon Murder Trail” in Cape Town. With this in mind, one has to wonder just how well most CCTV operators actually are in detecting anything untoward. The answer? If it’s a specialist watching, “skelms” are in trouble! This…

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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…