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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • #KnysnaFire: locals turn to Facebook, WhatsApp for help

    Social media, for all its pitfalls and swathe of untruths, is seemingly the best way to keep abreast of new information emanating from a disaster. Take the #CapeStorm and more recently the #KnysnaFire for instance. Read more: Memeburn's ongoing coverage for the Cape Town storm and Knysna Fire The fire, which ravaged areas around the town of 70 000 people, is now heading towards Plettenberg Bay, the Eden District Municipality announced on a Facebook post Thursday morning. "Knysna looks much better, but our new high risk area would be the Bitou area. Currently people in Harkerville , portion of Kranshoek and by...

  • Facebook activates Safety Check for Cape Town’s storm-affected

    Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature for those in Cape Town following a severe cold front that lashed the city Tuesday evening through Wednesday. It's an unprecedented event for the social network in Cape Town. Facebook has used the feature a number of times since launch, but more recently during the 22 May Manchester suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert which killed 22 people. But while some people are wondering why Facebook has activated the feature for the city, the justification is pretty clear. The City has announced that five people have died as a result of the storm, which...

  • Tornadoes and Katrina: the totally fake news from Cape Town’s storm

    If you're reading this piece, good for you. It means that you're actively searching for the truth among the steaming pile of manure that is "fact" on social media. There have been a number of fake images and videos circulating on social media during the intense cold front currently lashing Cape Town and surrounds. Thanks to swelling public interactions, they've also gone viral. And that's not a good thing. Considering the severity of the storm -- the fact that people are now homeless in the likes of Imizamo Yethu, Khayelitsha and Mfuleni -- should be more than enough reason for people...

  • #StormHelen: Twitter names Cape Town’s storm after Helen Zille

    It's common practice for the United States' National Hurricane Centre to give storms common names, but not cold fronts. Cape Town seems to think that this should change. As Wednesday's #MotherOfAllStorms draws ever closer towards South Africa, Cape Town believes that the weather system should be named after the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille. Alert: An extreme storm is coming tonght and tomorrow across WCape. I will post regular updates. Pls prepare for v strong wind and rain. — Helen Zille (@helenzille) June 6, 2017 After the above tweet was posted, #StormHelen began trending across South Africa around 4pm Tuesday, just...

  • South Africa’s in recession again, and people are blaming Jacob Zuma

    Statistics South Africa has today confirmed that the country's economy is shrinking. "The country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has contracted to -0.7% in the first quarter of 2017," the national government's news portal wrote in a press release. The nominal GDP, which stood at R1.1-trillion in Q1 2017, was down by R17-billion over Q4 2016 with trade the biggest loser. The SA economy moved into #recession with Q1:2017#GDP down 0,7% following a 0,3% contraction in the Q4:2016 https://t.co/zDyVIRpqJM pic.twitter.com/0QUTUhkOdT — Stats SA (@StatsSA) June 6, 2017 Largest negative contributor to growth in #GDP in Q1:2017 was trade, catering & accommodation industry, down by 5,9%...

  • Track Cape Town’s storm in realtime with these 3 free resources

    You might've heard passing reports about Cape Town's inclement weather forecast today. These reports suggest that the oncoming cold front will be one of the fiercest the city has seen in quite some time. While you'll likely need an umbrella before leaving the house tomorrow, you can also track the progress of the front as it sweeps across the peninsula. Cape Town’s winter storm coverage: Cape Town storm: what’s running, delayed or cancelled in the city #StormHelen: Twitter names Cape Town’s storm after Helen Zille Alerts ring across Twitter as Cape Town’s Wednesday storm bears closer Much like hurricanes and other weather systems, cold fronts...

  • Alerts ring across Twitter as Cape Town’s Wednesday storm bears closer

    Weather is usually a subject of awkward small talk, but in Cape Town in 2017 it's all everyone is talking about. While the city's dam levels have dropped to just over 19% this week, today also sees what could be one of the city's most vicious storms in 30 years. Cape Town’s winter storm coverage: #StormHelen: Twitter names Cape Town’s storm after Helen Zille Track Cape Town’s storm in realtime with these 3 free resources A number of warnings have been issued this week by a slew of official sources, from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) to the Western Cape local government. And...

  • Reddit celebrates World Environment Day with r/TinyAnimalsOnFingers

    Today the globe celebrates all things great and beautiful on social media, as World Environment Day begins the week. Google has already published a green-fingered doodle to mark the occasion, and shed some light on its green efforts. Twitter has been awash with the hashtags #withnature and #WorldEnvironmentDay. Reddit however? Well, it's gone one step further. The social news aggregation service has a slew of subreddits dedicated to the beauty of the environment, but /r/TinyAnimalsOnFingers is trending today. And for good reason: it's exactly what you need to get through Monday. "This subreddit is dedicated to creating a menagerie of pictures of tiny...

  • Cape Town women ‘assaulted’ by Uber driver, ‘threatened’ by SAPS

    Update: Upon request for comment, Uber's representatives sent Memeburn the following statement. We are deeply committed to the safety of all who use the Uber app. Immediately upon hearing of any situation involving a rider or driver, Uber takes the necessary steps to investigate the allegation and is in contact with both the rider and driver to offer support. Uber has an incident response team who are trained to deal with any critical safety issues and works with the relevant stakeholders in order to resolve any incident with a matter of urgency. We are constantly developing new technologies to ensure safety before,...

  • Snapchat Spectacles now available in five major European cities

    Snapchat Spectacles are now available in a select number of European cities, seven months after the wearables launched in the United States. The company first hinted that a move across the Atlantic was an option, suggesting that the glasses would be sold at tourist spots across the US first. And judging by the initial offering of European cities, the company is sticking to that philosophy. Spectacles have landed in Europe! https://t.co/KdmMnzNkYW pic.twitter.com/JpWMU2fxWY — Spectacles (@Spectacles) June 2, 2017 Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris and Venice are the chosen cities, all noted for their high tourist volumes. ‪Snapbot at London Eye, UK 🇬🇧 ‬ A post shared...

  • UberEATS doughnut promo in Cape Town, Joburg causes mild Twitter frenzy

    Today marks National Doughnut Day in the United States, but the likes of Uber South Africa also see cause for celebration. Across the Atlantic, the UberEATS division is today hosting promotions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, focussing on delivering those sweet treats with holes at their centre to its users. In Johannesburg, the company has partnered with Krispy Kreme. "We’ve teamed up with Krispy Kreme to deliver their most sought after doughnuts. With a tap of your UberEATS app, 12 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnuts could be yours for R12. Enter the code KKEATS to get these delivered free of charge," Uber writes on...

  • NASA’s groundbreaking Parker Solar Probe to visit the Sun in 2025

    As ambitious as Icarus might've been, even he flew a little too close to the Sun. But in the non-fictional world, NASA is planning to do exactly the same. But, you know, replacing those wax wings with a massive heat shield. The Parker Solar Probe, a multi-billion-dollar unmanned mission to the Sun has been made concrete this week, with a timeline and mission outline. The probe, renamed in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will travel to the Sun, and try extremely hard to not burst into flames. It will be aided by a fat carbon-composite heat shield that'll allow the craft to...

  • Parliament takes swipe at Jacob Zuma, ANC through WiFi hotspot names

    We know that politicians often mock and chastise one another in Parliament through points of order and the like, but what about WiFi hotspots? In a rather tech-savvy jibe at President Jacob Zuma and the ANC, it seems that parliamentarians have found a new way to mock the president and the ruling party. According to a tweet posted by DA member of Parliament and shadow minister of energy Gordon Mackay, these were some of the "wifi networks at Parliament today". Some of the wifi networks at Parliament today 😂: pic.twitter.com/ebmLUjluHm — Gordon Mackay MP (@GordonMack_) June 1, 2017 The tweet was published on...

  • South Africa’s nSight1 nanosatellite makes history 300km above the Earth

    South Africa's first privately-owned nanosatellite dubbed the nSight1 has been successfully launched into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS). The nSight1 began its journey to the space station on 18 April 2017 from Florida, aboard a Cygnus cargo spacecraft powered by an Atlus-5 rocket. It joined 28 other nanosatellites from 23 countries on its journey. South Africa's government news agency suggests that the satellite weighs in at just 2.5kg, and is the first privately-owned nanosatellite launched by the country. "The satellite is an important milestone, demonstrating the outcome of the capability established through the Department of Science and Technology's ongoing investment...

  • Coconuts: Cape Town entrepreneurs feud on Facebook after ‘blatant’ foul play

    We've been giving avocados stick this month on Memeburn, but today, we're looking at two coconut-orientated Cape Town startups locked in a social and legal battle. A piece published on blog Fury Marketing this week details the story of Jenna Leigh Smuts -- the owner of small Cape Town business Coconut Connection. Smuts is accusing Heather Cheung -- her former business partner -- of stealing her business. Cheung refutes these claims, suggesting that Smuts registered the business as sole shareholder without her consent. Cheung currently owns the competing business dubbed Coconut Connect. The maelstrom While the original business is three years old, it...