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SA school kids excel at global science fair

Three South African young scientists have returned home with outstanding prizes after competing at the Oğuzhan Özkaya Education-Karademir Science Energy Engineering Fair in Izmir, Turkey.

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Projects by Joshua Sylvain de Miranda, grade 10 at Tyger Valley College and Este-Lize Graham grade 10 at Hoërskool Menlopark, both in Pretoria, were selected to exhibit at the OKSE2F while competing against 600 other participants at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in October 2017. Joshua won first prize/gold medal in the chemistry category while Este-Lize won second prize/ silver medal in the biology category.

Waheed Amanjee, a grade 11 learner from Creston College in Port Shepstone won second prize/ silver medal in the engineering- energy category at the science fair. He was selected for his impressive research entitled: FootBit: Step into the Future. His project is inspired by the need for efficient renewable energy sources worldwide. There is a dire need for innovative and efficient renewable energy sources so more people can have access to electricity. The problem is that most present forms of renewable energy are reliant on sources that humans are not in control of and are usually very expensive.

The device that Waheed came up with is simple, effective and economical. The range of energy harvested on the shoe sole, is able to power a 50V LED light, Arduino and charge a battery. “This invention will assist in reducing the human species’ carbon footprint and place Africa on the forefront of innovation in renewable energy.” says Waheed.

In March this year, Waheed was selected to represent Africa at OKSE2F after taking first place in the Innovation Category at the Buskers Festival in Zambia.

For his project titled, “Fire Redundancy Effect of Non-toxic Chemicals”, Joshua aimed to develop a flame retardant that would delay the spread of fires in informal settlements. “The research involved investigating the variables that affect the behaviour of fire, the dangers and obstacles that fire departments face when responding to fires in informal settlements and going into informal settlements to investigate building materials used and how flame retardants could delay the spread of fires,” says Joshua. Joshua determined that using a solution of Borax and Boracic Powder as a flame retardant on building materials would delay the spread of fires.

The project Este-Lize exhibited at  OKSE2F is entitled “Can laser light enhance cell division?”, and seeks to explore the effects of using a continuous wave laser to irradiate TZM-bi cells at a fluency or power density of 5J/cm2. “The irradiated cells were compared to the non-irradiated cells of the control group to determine if laser interaction with cells can enhance or inhibit cell division. The outcome of this project will provide a clearer understanding of the effects that lasers have on cellular processes taking place within cells at in-vitro level,” says Este-Lize.

OKSE2F aims to bring together high school students from all around the world to present their scientific and technological researches and to make them share their culture. To this end, young people are invited to exhibit their research projects in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, energy, mathematics-computer and robotics.

“Every year we are impressed by the ingenuity shown by the participants at Eskom Expo. Their commitment to finding innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems such as sustainability is admirable. Eskom Expo recognises and rewards their contribution to the global knowledge base,” says Executive Director of the Eskom Expo, Parthy Chetty.

OKSE2F and the Eskom Expo are both organisations that invite young people to present their projects on their platforms and to make social and cultural exchanges with their peers from all over the world. The science fair took place from 4 – 10 June.

“At Eskom we have a huge need for talented scientists and engineers and by supporting the Eskom Expo we are able to invest in developing a pipeline of talented technical specialists. The Eskom Expo isn’t just about cultivating an interest in the sciences but through strategic support we encourage young scientists to pursue their interest at a tertiary level. This long-term vision means that in a few years’ time these scientists will begin to serve South Africa in areas beset by a scarcity of skills,” says Thava Govender, Eskom Group Executive: Transmission and Acting Group Executive Sustainability & Risk.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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