The dream of electric cars

Time to rev your (electric) engine. Funeka P. Nkosi of the CSIR writes in Science Today about electric cars, and the relevant research being done in South Africa.    Twenty years ago, it looked like the dream of the electric car was dead. Even though the first practical electric car was invented in 1884, these…

Toxic fungi: what’s in your food?

This article by Theodora Ekwomadu of North-West University about food fungi is not for the squeamish. It first appeared in Science Today. Here goes! In 1960 more than 100,000 turkeys died in the United Kingdom. The mass death – linked to peanut meal, containing chemicals produced by fungi known as mycotoxins – brought the existence of…

Every drop counts: watching water from space

In this article from Science Today, Keneilwe Hlahane of the University of Cape Town writes about how satellites are used to monitor the water quality in our dams. The water is green, a clear sign that it is polluted. Dense mats of algal blooms float on the surface of the dam, turning the water a dark…

Weighty matter: metabolic syndrome on the rise among SA’s Asian Indian population

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) in South African Asian Indians is becoming a considerable health concern. It’s not only confined to older adults either. Worryingly, this lifestyle disease was identified in 6.9% of the young adults tested between the ages of 15 and 24 years. This is the results from the most up-to-date study available on the…

How long until we lose the moon?

Interested in local research about the moon? Then read this article by Sphumelele Ndlovu of the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which first appeared in the latest edition of Science Today.   The Moon, every year, moves away from Earth by about 3.8 cm. It seems very small, about the…

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…