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Future Tech

  • China’s pioneering cotton seedlings are dead after lunar night freeze

    A few days ago, we were excited to report that cotton seeds had sprouted on China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft, currently stationed on the dark side of the Moon. But the glee was short lived. The sprouts have now withered away and died, announced Chongqing University, the academics responsible for the experiment. It's not because the spacecraft is a terrible gardener either. The Moon just isn't a great place to grow cotton -- or anything -- apparently. Unlike Earth, the satellite doesn't have a dense atmosphere to support life, and as a result has practically no temperature regulation. Even though the cotton, together with...

  • China’s cotton seedlings are now sprouting on the Moon

    When China landed its Chang'e 4 spacecraft on the far side of the Moon earlier this month, the country wasn't only set on planting its flag on the surface. Instead, it's interested in planting actual plants too. On Tuesday, the Chinese National Space Administration announced that it has successfully sprouted a cotton seedling on the Moon's surface, this according to a South China Morning Post report. It's the first time vegetation has grown on the natural satellite orbiting our planet. There are a few things to point out though. For starters, the Chang'e 4 didn't dig a hole on the Moon, drop...

  • 5 simple road tripping tech tips and tricks

    Bottom line: you shouldn't use your smartphone while you drive, but that doesn't mean your shotgun pilot can use it, nor does it mean not travel with it. In fact, smartphones have become almost as essential as fuel for travel, whether in public transport or private car. Other technology too are playing more important roles too. Here are a few tech tips and tricks for making the most of your road tripping this December. Mount your smartphone before you start the car This might seem obvious, but it's not when you're in a rush. Using your smartphone while driving isn't just illegal (in some...

  • Uber launches 24/7 hotline in South Africa

    Uber South Africa has launched a telephonic support line which will be available around the clock throughout the festive season. According to a press release published on Monday, the company explained that the line can be used by passengers, current drivers, or those who wish to become drivers to voice concerns or ask questions. The hotline is only available through the Uber app's "Help" section. In the case of an emergency, the company still asks that drivers and riders call 10111, South Africa's emergency and police hotline. Feature image: Memeburn

  • A whole lot of Jellyfish are washing up on Cape Town’s beaches

    If you're heading to one of Cape Town's beaches this weekend, you may find that much of the fluffy white sand is actually covered in jellyfish. Over the past few weeks, a vast number of the sea creatures have washed up on some of the city's beaches. The Two Oceans Aquarium on Thursday detailed the phenomenon in a blog post, which has been recorded at Milnerton Beach, Lagoon Beach, Melkbosstrand, Bloubergstrand, as well as some beaches along False Bay. The cause is not yet understood. View this post on Instagram 🐙🌊🐙🌊🐙 #qualle#kapstadt#bloubergstrand#südafrika#strand#sommer#sonne#urlaub A post shared by San Dy (@x_san_dy_x) on Dec 4, 2018 at...

  • Uber is now more expensive to use in South Africa

    As of Friday 7 December, your Uber trip to the airport and back is going to cost a bit more than it did before. The ridesharing company announced on its blog that fares will be adjusted to make the service a more "reliable economic opportunity for drivers, as well as an affordable option for riders". "For driver-partners, this will help to ensure that they are able to maximise their earnings while on the road," the company added. "The change in fare prices will allow driver-partners to earn more in order to make up for the rising cost of business and living...

  • Sir David Attenborough: climate change threatens ‘collapse of civilisations’

    On Monday, legendary naturalist and the voice of your favourite animal doccies Sir David Attenborough gave a rousing and urgent plea for nations to address climate change. Speaking at the COP24 UN conference in Katowice, Poland, the 92-year-old man represented the "voice of the people" and spoke of future hardships, of the collapse of civilisations, and the extinction of species if climate change is not addressed. "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon," he told the delegation. The message was buoyed by a montage of people's...

  • 3 Android load shedding apps for South Africa

    Load shedding was a buzzword, albeit a much maligned one, during the early years of this decade. But according to every South Africa's favourite provider of electricity, Eskom, it may make a sudden return. A report by Moneyweb on Monday revealed that a number of Eskom's coal power stations have just 10 days of reserve stock remaining. "In the meantime, the power utility is using costly diesel plants to supplement the power generated by its coal-fired fleet," the report by Antoinette Slabbert continued, further suggesting that loadshedding may come sooner rather than later. Because it's always better to be prepared (someone please...

  • Mozambique’s Maputo-Catembe suspension bridge is now Africa’s longest

    Africa's new longest suspension bridge is now in Mozambique's capital city. The Maputo-Catembe bridge -- which joins the southern and northern coastlines of Maputo Bay -- was opened on Saturday. The suspension spans a little under 700 metres, but the bridge is around three kilometres in total length. It stands 141 metres tall too, and was largely funded through Chinese investment and built by Chinese engineers. And yes, China is pretty good at designing and building these things. Five of the country's suspension bridges are among the world's ten longest. View this post on Instagram Ponte Maputo-Katembe... Últimas fotos antes de começar a...

  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe hits 95km/s while orbiting the Sun

    Launched in August, NASA's Parker Solar Probe recently undertook its first dangerous steps towards the Sun. The probe this weekend announced itself safe and fully functional after it endured its first perihelion, or close pass of the Sun's surface. Wednesday at 4:46 p.m. EST, mission controllers at @JHUAPL received the first signal from #ParkerSolarProbe after its close approach to the Sun, indicating that the spacecraft is alive and running well after the intense conditions near the Sun. https://t.co/mk08l10FOt pic.twitter.com/PYFC4aT3C7 — NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) 9 November 2018 The probe is  Sun to better study our closest star's solar winds and spots, and...

  • NASA’s JPL takes its Halloween pumpkin carving competition very seriously

    You'd think building robots that explore other planets would be a fulfilling job, but employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory take carving Halloween pumpkins just as seriously. For the past seven years, the JPL crew -- which include bright minds working on the company's rover mission to Mars in 2020 -- have held an "unofficial" pumpkin carving contest that lets engineers demonstrate their creative muscle. And you think building spacecraft was flexing. According to co-organiser and engineer Mike Meacham -- whose team won bronze in 2017 for a "green Frankenstein gourd that hovered in mid-air, suspended by a mini-parachute and an air...

  • Durban’s King Shaka Int’l lands its first direct flight from London

    The first direct flight between London's Heathrow and Durban's King Shaka International Airport has touched down in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Arriving at 5.20am, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was the first direct flight between the two hubs after the route announcement was made in May. Flight BA41 lasted a little over 11 hours. A warm welcome to @British_Airways as they touched down @kingshakaint for the very first time. We are pleased to have you be part of the KSIA family. pic.twitter.com/SDxKis8QZT — King Shaka Int (@kingshakaint) 30 October 2018 "A warm welcome to @British_Airways as they touched down @kingshakaint for the very...

  • Mpumalanga is not a good place to take a deep breath, Greenpeace reveals

    Mpumalanga is known as a beautiful, green province in South Africa that contains part of the world renowned Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon. But Greenpeace Africa claims the coal-powered area is hiding a far darker secret in thin air. According to the organisation, the South African province is the world's biggest hotspot for the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), outranking Germany, India, and China This is according to analysed data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 5P satellite, which highlights air pollution in the atmosphere, between June and August 2018. "The EDGAR global emissions inventory was overlaid with the satellite data to...

  • Uber rides in London will be hit by a ‘clean air’ tax

    As the world becomes smoggier, companies that rely on gas guzzling vehicles become more responsible for the future of clean air, and the planet as a whole. The latest firm to feel the heat is Uber. According to a report by Engadget, the company will introduce a "clean air" tax on rides taking place in London. But it's not going to combating global warming directly, or reducing the city's growing pollution issues. Instead, the 15 pence per mile tax, which Uber believes will be enough to raise some US$260-million, will go towards helping drivers purchase electric cars. This forms part of the company's...

  • MyCiTi claims EFF is behind bus strike, seeks court interdict

    As the MyCiTi Bus strike continues into its fourth day, the company has made an official statement on behalf of the City of Cape Town, announcing that it's seeking an interdict from the Western Cape High Court. “The City of Cape Town will, within the next few hours, apply for an urgent court interdict to protect MyCiTi personnel, passengers, and assets against those participating in an unprotected strike that has turned violent,” said the statement, which was posted on Facebook. According to the post, Wednesday’s protests saw two female bus drivers held hostage, buses stoned, and bus keys stolen to prevent...