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Take a radio trip back in time

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To celebrate World Radio Day on 13 February, Ford South Africa highlights some rock and pop music milestones over the past several decades.

From in-car AM to FM radio, eight-track tape players to cassette tape decks, in-car CD players to iPods and beyond, we’ve come a long way in how we listen to music in our cars.

To celebrate World Radio Day on 13 February, Ford South Africa highlights some rock and pop music milestones over the past several decades. And classic rock aficionado Benjy Mudie, host of ‘The Jukebox on 702’, takes us on a trip down memory lane, sharing some of his favourite memories of listening to music on the car radio.

1950s

“Back in the late Fifties, when I was a young boy, whenever Bill Haley and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around The Clock’ used to come on the radio, I remember my dad turning it up and pointing to the big dial of the car clock.” – Benjy Mudie

13 February 1950 – Peter Gabriel is born. One of the founders and original lead singer of Genesis, he goes on to have a successful solo career. In 1987, the now-iconic video for his song ‘Sledgehammer’ rakes in a record nine MTV Video Music Awards, still the most wins for a single video in the VMAs to this day.

1960s

“My dad loved muscle cars, and in the early Sixties he had a red Ford Fairlane 500. When The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ used to come on the radio, I remember we kids used to scream out the “yeah, yeah, yeah” part of the chorus.” – Benjy Mudie

13 February 1961 – Frank Sinatra launches his own label, Reprise, under Warner Bros Records. Although he vows he will never sign any rock artists, Reprise will go on to become the home of many influential US acts, including Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, and The Beach Boys.

13 February 1967 – The Beatles release the double A-sided single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane’ on Capitol Records in the US, which peaks at #1 on the charts.

1970s

“When I worked in the EMI stores in 1974 and 1975, I had an old, fawn-coloured Ford Prefect that my folks helped me buy. It had an eight-track and radio combo, with four large and loud speakers that blasted LM Radio until it was shut down by the Frelimo government in 1975. The song I remember turning up whenever it played was The Who`s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ – Benjy Mudie

13 February 1972 – Led Zeppelin is forced to cancel a concert in Singapore when officials won’t let them off the plane because of their long hair.

13 February 1973 – Elvis Presley takes ill during a concert in Las Vegas. He is attended to by Dr Sidney Bowers, who is later gifted with a white Lincoln Continental (produced by Lincoln, a division of the Ford Motor Company), in appreciation for his services.

13 February 1974 – Robbie Williams is born. In 1990, the then-16-year-old is the youngest member to join Take That. After he quits the boy band in 1995, he goes on to have a hugely successful solo career, becoming the best-selling British solo artist in the UK, with a record 18 Brit Awards under his belt, and also the best-selling non-Latino artist in Latin America.

1980s

“In 1981, I remember AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ ruling the airwaves. During my time working for WEA Records (later Tusk Music), I listened constantly to radio in the car, flipping through the dial, checking what WEA tracks were being played by each station. The one I heard the most in 1983 was éVoid’s ‘Shadows’, which was a huge buzz for me as they were hometown friends of mine (I played bass in the original band), and I had signed them to WEA.” – Benjy Mudie

13 February 1982 – Pink Floyd’s album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ marks 402 weeks in the charts. Released in March 1973, the now-legendary album has racked up more than 1 500 weeks on the Billboard chart – a record that has yet to be broken, and continues to sell around 8 500 copies a week.

13 February 1988 – Michael Jackson buys a ranch in California which he names Neverland, after the fantasy island in the story of ‘Peter Pan’, about a boy who never grows up. Neverland becomes the artist’s private residence, and the grounds contain, amongst other things, his own amusement park and petting zoo.

13 February 1989 – The Brit Awards is hosted by Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood. Winners include Phil Collins for British Male Solo Artist, Annie Lennox for British Female Solo Artist, Erasure for Best British Group, Fairground Attraction’s ‘First of a Million Kisses’ for Best British Album, Bros for British Breakthrough Act, Michael Jackson for International Male Solo Artist, Tracey Chapman for International Female Solo Artist, and U2 for Best International Group.

1990s

“In 1998 I started my own label, Fresh Music. That same year, local band Egyptian Nursery had a huge radio hit with ‘God`s Window’, and I always turned that up in my car, because they were my first signing.” – Benjy Mudie

13 February 1996 – Take That announce they are disbanding, prompting the UK government to set up counselling phone lines for distraught fans. Across the pond that same day, Tupac Shakur releases his fourth studio album ‘All Eyez on Me’. He will pass away in Las Vegas exactly seven months later.

Beyond 2000

“I still listen to car radio, but generally avoid the mainstream stations who play generic wallpaper pop. I mainly listen to Hot 91.9 for classic pop and soul, and Mix FM for classic rock. Plus every so often I dial over to Classic FM for chill tunes, and when I really feel I need some happy time, it’s Bollywood tunes on Radio Lotus. Although I host ‘The Jukebox on 702’, I never listen to myself.” – Benjy Muddy

13 February 2005 – Readers of ‘The Sun’ newspaper vote George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ the greatest British pop single of the past 25 years.

13 February 2012 – Adele wins all six categories she is nominated for at the Grammy Awards.

13 February 2015 – Bob Dylan’s 36th studio album ‘Shadows in the Night’ debuts at #1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart, and #7 on the Billboard 200.

Ford SYNC

The sophisticated in-car infotainment systems available in new Ford vehicles today have almost 90 years of development behind them. And the latest generation of Ford Motor Company’s award-winning SYNC system is at the cutting edge of this technology.

Besides being able to tune into your favourite radio stations, or play your favourite music, it offers a myriad other features like voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, estimated travel time, and voice commands to make hands-free calls, read text messages through the speakers (SYNC even understands emoticons and popular abbreviations), send quick replies by selecting from a list of pre-set text responses, listen to voicemail, and climate control.

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Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon

On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.

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Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.

“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.

Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion.   In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.

A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.

David Noton advises:

  1. Download the right apps to be in-the-know

The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky.  Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.

 

  1. Invest in a lens with optimal zoom  

On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.

  1. Use a tripod to capture the intimate details

As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.

  1. Integrate the moon into your landscape

Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.

  1. Master the shutter speed for your subject 

The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability.  By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.

 

On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!

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How Africa can embrace AI

Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.

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To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.

These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.

Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed

AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.

According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.

It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.

Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.

It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.

Combining STEM with the arts

Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.

As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.

For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.

“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.

Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.

Revisiting laws and regulation

For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.

Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.

Preparing for the future

With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.

To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.

It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.

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