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…

Monday Menu: What happens when athletes have to quit?

So what happens to former elite athletes once they become too old to chase their Olympic dreams, or have to retire because of forced injuries? Many of those who develop injuries such as osteoarthritis don’t take it well. This can lead them to feel distress and suffer from sleep disorders and alcohol problems. This is…

Monday Menu: WCape students and their waterpipes

Is waterpipe smoking a “passing fad” among young people, and especially students, or is it the start of a different strain of the tobacco epidemic? The literature is divided on this issue, says Lara Kruger of the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics. “Some researchers argue that it is too early to comment, whereas…

What’s on KZN’s crowned eagles’ menu?

  This one’s for bird lovers, especially those who spend their time watching the feathered inhabitants of KwaZulu-Natal. A new study in the Ostrich journal sheds light on exactly what African crowned eagles in the province eat. Remains of 195 collected items of prey were collected from 17 nest sites. Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), vervet…

Plastics are the death of sea turtles – @Scibraai Monday Menu

Pieces of plastic floating in our oceans are creating an often life-threatening problem for our sea life. Of the 40 loggerhead turtles that died after being stranded along the southern Cape coastline in one month alone, 24 (60%) had ingested debris such as plastics, fibres and pieces of packaging material. In an article in Marine…

How climate change is causing pied crow numbers to soar

Pied crows, or Corvus albus, are a natural part of the landscape of southern Africa. They are bold, common, and familiar. But over recent years, especially in South Africa, there is evidence that there are many more of these birds, write Susan Cunningham and Arjun Amar in The Conversation   The increase is worrying some conservationists who fear it…

How neurosurgeons can look at your brain through your eyes

Paediatric neurosurgeon Llewellyn Padayachy of the University of Cape Town is part of a team of scientists that refined a static ultrasound imaging technique used by doctors to treat conditions such as hydrocephalus. In The Conversation he writes about the work being done.  For many years scientists have been trying to find a way to measure the…