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Calling Soweto science fans

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Brainiacs from Soweto will get a chance to discover how space scientists, robotics experts and radio astronomists solve some of the world’s biggest problems and mysteries this Saturday during a STEM Community Day.

The day is hosted by the P-STEM Foundation, a South African Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) advocacy organisation founded to promote STEM education, careers and entrepreneurship and is co-sponsored by EMC Corporation, a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Exhibitors the likes of Red Bull Amaphiko STEM innovators, HartRAO Planetarium and EMC will be demonstrating the best the field has to offer.

Jonas Bogoshi, Country Manager for EMC Southern Africa, said the P-STEM community day offers a unique opportunity to engage grassroots communities with top-level science opportunities.

“It is a privilege to be in a position to build South Africa’s future capacity in these crucial fields. We are a nation of amazing problem solvers, and community days like these help inspire young minds to jump out of the box.”

Visitors can help solve interesting puzzles, interact with scientists, learn how robots work, and even do robotic programming themselves.

Additional resources will be on offer at the STEM Resource Centre and the Siyafunda Download Centre. Role models involved in the organisation’s work will likewise be present to interact with visitors.

Taking kids from STEM ignorance to STEM excellence

P-STEM has already started with the roll-out of a series of school talks that will continue into 2016.  This will be supplemented by community days, after school programmes, bootcamps and role modelling.

Emma Mahlo, STEM Programmes Administrator, today said that in the midst of an immense STEM skills shortage and unprecedented youth unemployment, community days like this one go a long way to create awareness

“We want to remind South African kids that they can be the changemakers who make the world a better, more sustainable place to live in. Our target is therefore to get 30% of learners who attend our talks and events signed up for our after school programmes.

“For most, our events are the very first time they encounter STEM and what it stands for. We plan to not only build interest, but also develop their skills and confidence in this field and remove obstacles in the way of filling the country’s skills shortage.

“STEM is fun and engaging. And with the live experiments and demos at the stands of our After School Programme we will be inspiring young minds to help solve the mysteries of the universe and the big issues facing our world.”

Date: 30 January 2016

Venue: No 671 Tshianda Street, Soweto. (Just off Chris Hani Rd/ Old Potchefstroom Road)

For enquiries, contact Emma Mahlo, 011 0339780

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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