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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Cape Town dam levels rise after storm, but nowhere near enough

    Great news, Cape Town. Your major dam levels have finally seen an increase week-over-week, albeit a tiny one. After Wednesday's punchy cold front and the weekend's steady rainfall experienced across the city, water levels in all six major dams have seen a slight buff. The Theewaterskloof Dam for instance -- the city's biggest reservoir -- is now at 15.3% capacity, up from last week's 13.6%. The Berg River Dam is up from 30.4% to 32.2%. Additionally, the Voelvlei Dam's level showed an increase too, but only by 0.4% to 16.6%. Image: City of Cape Town Weekly Water Dashboard report, 12 June 2017 Both Steenbras reservoirs...

  • Update: London suffers another disaster as #GrenfellTower burns

    Update, 12.40pm SAST: London's Metropolitan Police has confirmed that at least six people have died in the blaze that swept through North Kensington's Grenfell Tower Wednesday morning. "I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what is a complex recovery operation over a number of days," commander Stuart Cundy explains in a press release. Latest statement re fire at #GrenfellTower. Call Casualty Bureau if concerned about a loved one or if they've been found safe 0800 0961 233 pic.twitter.com/UvM41bFiuO — Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 14, 2017 Original article: Hashtags #LondonFire, #GrenfellTower and #NorthKensington were trending...

  • Cape Town Railway Station trends on Twitter after riot, train fire

    Update #2, 10.40pm: Cape Town's Metrorail service again took to Twitter suggesting that it cannot at present confirm how the train fire will affect Tuesday's commute. "Too early to predict service changes. MorningPeak service advisory at 04:30 tomorrow morning," it wrote. Too early to predict service changes. MorningPeak service advisory at 04:30 tomorrow morning — Metrorail W/Cape (@CapeTownTrains) June 12, 2017 Update #1, 10pm: Cape Town's Metrorail service has now issued an update via the Metrorail Western Cape Twitter account. "Problems with Metrorail electrical power feeds were responsible for major delays experienced this afternoon," reads the statement. "Teams if technicians are currently working across the...

  • GoFundMe campaign for Knysna Fire relief smashes crowdfunding goal

    A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign created to help the victims of the Knysna fires has raised three-times its goal amount in a single day. The fund, started by Knysna resident Natalie Grundlingh, was initially set with a £5 000 goal on the crowdfunding site, but in less than 36 hours more than £15 000 has been raised from around 300 donations. GoFundMe has also marked the campaign as "trending". Read more: Memeburn's coverage of the #CapeStorm and #KnysnaFire The Knysna Fire swept through the Southern Cape district on Wednesday, ahead of the intense cold front that lashed Cape Town, killing five people and...

  • Spree adds AI-powered image search to iOS app

    Online retailer Spree has today announced an app feature that allows users to find clothing items that are similar to uploaded images. Available now on the iOS app version, the retailer says it's the first in Africa to offer the feature that employs "the latest artificial intelligence technologies". The move, Spree explains, is a bid to remain ahead of disruptive trends in the retail industry. "Searching for items with photos and images saves consumers from having to type keyword combinations, which is especially challenging on mobile devices," Spree's head of customer experience Sven Schoof, explains. "In a world where words are commonly replaced...

  • #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...