The science of what Doom bug spray does to humans

You writhe in pain, your limbs twitch uncontrollably, you get convulsions all over your body, your heart stops, you stop moving, you die. This is what happens to you when you are sprayed with Doom insecticide. Also, this only happens if you happen to be a pesky insect who has upset a human overlord. This…

Carrion plant’s (only) little helper

Not all flies attracted to foul-smelling carrion plants help with its pollination In the life cycle of smelly yellow carrion plants (Orbea lutea subsp. lutea), all flies are not created equal. Their flowers, which quite literally reek, lure insects from far and wide that are attracted by the smell of decaying matter and faeces. However,…

Birdie num num: Stone Age people loved it too

Fancy digging your teeth into a meal of pigeon breasts or dishing up guinea fowl legs? Middle Age Stone men and women did too. Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute carefully looked at bones collected in the Sibudu Cave near Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal. Sibudu Cave – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Sibudu…

Scibraai Monday Menu: About fussy eaters, schooling and African horse sickness

Do you have a fussy eater in the family? Want to know more about why some teachers never move to different parts of the country, and how it could influence the quality of schooling in South Africa? Or about how the movement of horses in Namibia and South Africa might in fact be causing African…

The simple bread tag – a menace to society?

It seems that the simple bread tag has its disadvantages. For one, it’s a choking hazard. In the latest edition of the South African Medical Journal, researchers and paediatricians associated with Stellenbosch University elaborate on three cases in which they had to remove this small piece of plastic from someone’s throat. Don’t think at all that…

Some secrets behind Tsonga names

There is nothing arbitrary about how Vatsonga people of Southern Africa receive their names. This is because a name isn’t seen as just an ordinary label provided for the sake of convenience to distinguishing one person from another. It is carefully thought out and considered in advance. “Xitsonga names are not just mere tags but provide…

SciBraai’s #SONA2015 round-up

Science plays a crucial role in improving the state of the nation. Here’s our twitter round-up from Zuma’s #SONA2015, focusing on energy & water, developing our ocean economy, agriculture, broadband access, health (HIV & TB) and rhino poaching. Zuma’s 9 steps: Science will be key to 9 steps for boosting SA economy, esp energy crisis, agro-processing, infrastructure & operation phakisa!…