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News

  • Sewage documentary: blue flag rep objected to City

    The City of Cape Town has disputed claims made in a documentary on its sewage disposal processes. However, a South African environmental body and local blue flag operator expressed its concerns to the municipality over a year ago, it has emerged. In a letter obtained and verified by Memeburn and addressed to the City of Cape Town in July 2015, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) expressed concerns over the city's practice. The city makes use of three major marine outfall systems to pump sewage into the ocean. "WESSA is deeply concerned about the continuing impact of the discharge of...

  • Sewage documentary: City of Cape Town hits back

    The City of Cape Town has responded after a documentary, uploaded to YouTube, went viral. The video, titled Bay of Sewage, examines the city's practice of pumping effluent into the sea. The documentary alleges that the practice is creating "serious and growing problems" for marine life and humans. However, the city has hit back against the documentary, saying it showcases "evidence in a selective and sensationalised" fashion. "The city is confident that effluent from the outfall is not affecting inshore water quality. All available evidence contradicts the video's assertions," it wrote in a press release. How does it work? The City of Cape Town claims that the...

  • Project Murphy: a bot that answers ‘what if’ questions

    2016 has truly been a year for bots, as AI and machine learning combine to do some astounding things. Now, Microsoft has revealed a new bot, dubbed Project Murphy. The purpose of the bot though? Well, it's akin to Futurama's "what if" machine, coming up with imaginative image-based answers to your hypothetical "what if" question. For instance, asking "what if Donald Trump wore a dress?" yielded this result. You can even ask questions like "what if Barack Obama was Bernie Sanders?", with the bot spitting out a relevant image. Like what you see? Then you can reply with a smiley face to get...

  • Your body: the ultimate time-keeper

    How do we tell time? Looking at your watch or the clock can merely tell you what the measurement of time is and the relation to that measurement. So what exactly is time? More importantly, how does our brain know what time it is? Simply put, there is no complete answer, according to professor of neurobiology and psychology at UCLA, Dean Bounomano. Who also happens to be a member of the Brain Research Institute (BRI). "The circadian clock is probably the best understood of the brain's timekeepers. And truth be told, organisms don't even need a brain to anticipate the earth's daily rhythms....

  • The shape of South Africa’s game dev landscape

    The Interactive Entertainment South Africa group has launched a third industry survey (and the first not held under the Make Games SA banner), revealing plenty of insights into the local landscape. 31 active game development studios in the country responded to the survey, with these firms having directly created 255 jobs, the study found. The number of permanent jobs has seen a 16% increase, from 152 to 176 positions. The value of these gaming studios was pegged at R100-million in 2015, making for an 85.6% jump over 2014. The study also found that these studios released 103 games in 2015. In terms of...

  • Cape Town restaurant slammed over ‘racist’ incident

    Popular Cape Town restaurant/bar Clarke's has been hit with a slate of poor reviews on social media after an alleged racist incident took place on Friday. According to patron Nicholas Vries, a "random white lady" sat down at his table and insulted his group of friends, calling them "common coloured and just being full on racist". After repeated requests to management to have the person removed, Vries said his group was told to leave instead and the person was allowed to stay. A second person, Lee Sophia Piedt, ostensibly part of Vries's group, corroborated the story in a post on the Clarke's Facebook page. "The...

  • Feathered dinosaur tail found in amber

    In what must rank as one of the coolest discoveries ever made in palaeontology, scientists have found a feathered dinosaur tail, preserved in amber. The tail includes vertabrae, feathers, soft tissue, while the amber also plays host to a prehistoric ant and plant matter, National Geographic reported. The dinosaur tail, found in northern Myanmar, was described in a Current Biology study as being about 1.4-inches long (just over 35cm), with brown and pale/white feathers. Analysis of the tail also revealed that it had eight vertabrae, the publication added. In a rather interesting spot of information, the sample was found at an amber market,...

  • It’s official: Fitbit buys Pebble, no more watch sales

    After days of rumours and leaks, Fitbit has officially acquired "specific assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development". The deal doesn't include the hardware unit, with sales of its existing smartwatches being halted. The move will see Pebble being dissolved as well. "With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category," said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, in a statement. "With this acquisition, we're well positioned to accelerate the expansion of...

  • Another Stellenbosch bullying video makes rounds on Facebook

    Just when you thought the bullying videos were over for the year, another incident stemming from Stellenbosch has social media up in arms again. The new video, taking place once again at Stellenbosch's Luckoff High, was initially uploaded to Facebook by the Crime Intelligence and Community Awareness (CICA) page. According to CICA, the incident took place this week at Luckoff, and was sent to them by a follower. The video depicts a larger female pupil attacking a smaller female pupil. Although the video is just under 60 seconds long, a few punches are thrown before a male pupil steps in to...

  • Cape Town resident slammed on Twitter for Facebook post

    Update 1.20pm, 5 December: Cape Town resident Vanessa Hartley has published an apology to her Facebook timeline, before deleting her account: I would like to apologise for comments that were made on Facebook via my phone as my phone was at the bar … and someone thought they were very funny but now they upset me and a lot of people. Original article: Twitter users were on Sunday outraged after a Facebook post published by Cape Town resident Vanessa Hartley went viral. Hartley, a resident of Hout Bay, Cape Town, posted the below status update to her timeline, questioning the number of...

  • This YouTube doccie might put you off that Camps Bay swim this summer

    Without question, Cape Town has some of the world's prettiest beaches. From Big Bay in the north, to Boulders in the south, the Peninsula is blessed with natural beauty bar none. But it seems that humans just can't help but stink up the place. This is at least according to a new short documentary published on YouTube. Titled Bay of Sewage and created by Mark Jackson, the flick takes a look at the City of Cape Town's waste disposal methods, namely pumping raw effluent into the sea around Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. Camps Bay is suffering from sewage outflow, according...

  • Fitbit to buy smartwatch maker Pebble for ‘small amount’?

    Fitbit is reportedly close to buying crowdfunding superstar Pebble for an undisclosed amount of money. According to a report from The Information (paywall), citing "three people briefed on the deal", the exact price hasn't been revealed but it's thought to be "a small amount". A source told TechCrunch that the company is to be purchased for between US$34-million and US$40-million. The news comes a few months after the smartwatch maker decided to lay off some staff. The company laid off 40 employees in March, equivalent to about 25% of its workforce, with CEO Eric Migicovsky blaming an unfavourable fundraising environment. Pebble's management reportedly rejected previous offers to purchase the company Pebble...

  • After Trump win, internet to get Canadian mirror (kind of)

    The US election has forced tech companies and other entities to look closely at their operations, owing to the imminent Trump administration coming into power. At least one pivotal entity, the non-profit Internet Archive, has taken to creating an insurance policy in Canada, in the form of a mirror. The Internet Archive is behind the landmark Wayback Machine, a service which charts the internet's history and has already saved billions of URLs. The Wayback Machine sees between 300 million and 750 million webpages being saved every week, capturing old articles and forgotten websites. In other words, creating a mirror won't be a trivial task...

  • VLC preview offers 360 photo/video support

    360 videos and photos are becoming one of the more popular formats out there, but there are still significant challenges to be had. Playback is one of these obstacles, but a new app from the VLC crew (VideoLAN) shows a lot of promise. VideoLAN has released the VLC 360 tech preview, allowing you to play 360 photos/videos on Windows 7 and later or MacOS 10.10 and later. As for capabilities, the 360 tech preview supports 360 video playback using the "Spatial Video spec", as well as 360 photo/panorama support via the "spherical spec". Either way, you can swipe through content using...

  • Black Friday: Takealot disabled mobile website due to load

    Between the photos of chaos at Checkers and websites going down, it's clear that retailers have been overwhelmed on Black Friday. In fact, Takealot announced earlier today that it disabled its mobile website to cope with the massive spike in visitors. "We planned for the expected increase in site visits over our Blue Dot Sale weekend, but the interest in the sale has far exceeded our expectations," the company wrote in a Facebook post. "In order to accommodate more visitors on our website and app we'll be deactivating the mobile site until further notice. We're sorry for any frustration caused, our engineering team...