2017 SCIENCE BUDGET GOES UP, BUT THE MONEY BUYS LESS

Analysis On paper, South Africa’s science and technology budget continues to edge up. On Wednesday, finance minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his national budget to Parliament, sharing out the country’s R1.56-trillion. The department of science and technology’s budget’s looks set to continue to increase: From R7,44-billion in 2015-16, and R7,43-billion in 2016-17,  it will be hitting…

20 Things To Know About SA’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap

You can find more original science content by Sarah Wild on Wild On Science. [View the story “20 Things To Know About SA’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap, By Sarah Wild” on Storify]

Malnutrition rises despite social grants

South Africa’s children are bearing the brunt of increasing food prices – and the effects may be permanent. More than one in five children in South Africa are stunted because of malnutrition, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2015 released on Friday. Experts warn that this will get worse as food prices rise. Childhood stunting…

From the Cradle to the grave? #NalediFossils

First published on wildonscience.com | #NalediFossils   They moved the bodies in one at a time, from the old with their worn teeth to newborn babies. If they had been modern humans, the Dinaledi Chamber would have been called a burial site. But the creatures are not human. Homo naledi (“naledi” means star in the local Sotho…

Door ‘slammed on open access’ to academic work

Anger has been growing over embargoes on published works that “limit access to knowledge and make academics’ work outdated”. South African universities and government agencies have banded together against international academic publisher Elsevier’s new hosting and sharing regime, which they argue “curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back…

Who’s who in Johannesburg’s zoo

Maintaining a zoo is not only a balancing act, it contributes importantly to the world we live in. There’s a science factor to it too, writes Sarah Wild of the Mail and Guardian. It informs the activities of the zoo, from what the animals eat to the habitats designed for them. It sounds like a breakfast…

Silent giants unlock story of climate change

Researchers are using baobab trees to learn about climate conditions that prevailed thousands of years ago. Engorged ancient baobab trunks could tell the story of climate change in South Africa over the past thousand years, according to a paper published in the journal PlosONE. Adansonia digitata, a baobab endemic to Southern Africa, can provide this…

Race ‘science’ resurfaces but not all is black and white

Sarah Wild of the Mail and Guardian interviewed Gavin Evans, a former South African journalist. He tackles the notion that intelligence is skin deep in his new book,Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep?  “The problem with Africa is that Africans don’t know how to do technology. Go look up race and IQ and you’ll see that…

Fracking out in the open at last

A team of researchers has R12.5-million and two years to consider the effect of fracking for shale gas on the Karoo. The strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of shale gas development has to be completed in two years – before exploration for the energy source begins in earnest, assessment leader Professor Bob Scholes said this week.…

SA crunches into the collider data grid

South Africa has joined the computing grid for the largest particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The collider, which straddles the border between France and Switzerland and is about 100m underground, is a massive particle accelerator, owned by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern). The super-conducting magnets in the accelerator…