Between science and society: Northern Cape communities struggle with the telescope in their backyards

“Will the SKA affect pregnancies in the area?” The question comes in Afrikaans, in a rough voice belonging to someone who has lived a much longer, harder life than this middle-aged man appears to have lived. We’re in Vanwyksvlei, in the Northern Cape. Outside the last light is draining from the timeless Hantam Karoo landscape.…

Karoo in rep en roer met bou van MeerKAT-skottelantennas

Die Karoo-landskap 85 km van Carnarvon sal oor twee jaar besaai wees met 64 skottelantennas wat elk byna 20 m hoog staan. Alles is reeds bestel om elke groot en klein deeltjie van elk van dié skottelantennas te bou. “Oral in werkwinkels wat deel is van die projek kan jy instap en hulle is besig met MeerKAT,”…

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.…

Fracking in Karoo gets a R108m injection

The R108-million investment in shale gas research, announced in Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s budget speech, was “positive” and showed “government is taking time to investigate”, World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s Saliem Fakir said. Shale gas has been touted as a way to curb climate change and reduce the world’s reliance on coal, but has been…

#SciBraaiSides 18 July 2014

Your favourite Friday brain bite is back! On this week’s SciBraai Sides: a new water beetle, social grants, game fences in the Karoo and inequality within race groups. Marinade your mind: Written by Engela Duvenage. Graphic by Anina Mumm. New water beetle named after Cederberg’s leopards The gravelly river bed of the Matjies River in…

Fracking harmless if done properly

Episode 14 of The Science Inside looked at fracking in the Karoo. Are farmers’ concerns of water contamination valid? Is fracking the best way to solve South Africa’s energy supply problems? How will the beautiful Karoo scenery be changed by fracking?