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  • Cape Town dams now at 29%, water usage remains ‘far too high’

    It's been a good week for Cape Town's water crisis. First, the City debuted its new water calculator to help consumers better understand their water usage habits. Now, the latest dam levels are in, and they're looking positive. Overall levels across the six largest dams in the Western Cape system are up by 1.5% over last week. They now stand just 0.6% below the 30% barrier (pdf). Most impressive is the Berg River Dam, which is now 44.8% full after languishing at 41% last week. This still pales in comparison to August 2016's 62% marker. Steenbras Upper Dam saw a 5% jump,...

  • The YouTube app now has a DM tab

    Google has added yet another messaging feature to its repertoire -- and this time it's on the YouTube app. Dubbed the "Shared" tab, the feature allows you to send videos and chat with friends directly in YouTube. These friends are anyone you connect with via email, phone number or an invitation link. That's right -- anyone to whom you've ever sent an email will now have your channel sitting in their shared tab for whenever they get nosy. With the click of a button, your university tutors, your colleagues, that friend you stopped speaking to years ago: they'll know every video...

  • Here’s how ‘kidnapped’ model Chloe Ayling was saved by Instagram

    British model Chloe Ayling has said Instagram saved her when she was allegedly abducted and held for ransom in Italy. The 20-year-old claims that she was lured to a fake set, but when she arrived in Milan, two men grabbed and drugged her before shoving her into a suitcase. She awoke handcuffed and was told by masked men that she was to be sold on the dark web to the highest bidder. "When the buyer gets tired of the girl he can give them to others or if she’s not longer of interest she’s ‘tiger meat’," one of them told Ayling. Her...

  • Baleka Mbete declares secret ballot: the Twitter before and after

    South Africa's Speaker of the House Baleka Mbete has announced that tomorrow's vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be held under a secret ballot. This comes after an announcement made in Parliament's Goodhope Chambers on Monday. While the news is welcoming for opposition parties and a test of strength for South Africa's Constitution, it's Twitter that saw the most remarkable change Monday. Prior to the announcement, tweets were marred by a foreboding and defeatist tone, with many predicting that Baleka Mbete would declare an open ballot. "She won't! She will not do it!" one user exclaims. She won't! She will not...

  • SA election simulator game: you ANC’n nothing yet

    We've seen quite a few politically orientated games come out over the years, such as Democracy and Realpolitiks, but what about a local take on the theme? A group of university students are indeed working on an SA election simulator of sorts, due for release next month. The web-based game (actually called ECivix Election Simulator) is part of a youth empowerment project to "enhance and develop civic engagement and constitutional literacy", says Daniel Eloff, one of the people behind the project. The idea was conceived by a group of law, actuarial and economics students at the University of Pretoria, according to...

  • A partial lunar eclipse will be visible from South Africa tonight

    Great news, lunar lovers in South Africa. According to the South African Weather Service (SAWS), much of the country will tonight experience a partial lunar eclipse. This phenomenon occurs when the Earth blocks the Sun's light from reaching, and reflecting off, the Moon. "It will start at 19:23 local time and end at 21:18, with the maximum eclipse occurring at 20:20," SAWS writes on a Facebook update. For those in the extreme west of South Africa -- think Springbok, Saldanha and Cape Town -- the moon will only rise around 20 minutes prior to when the eclipse is at its maximum. South Africa...

  • Last week in trailers: horrified Jennifer Lawrence, Death Wish remake & more

    Last week in trailers was all about blood, gore and murder so if you're into that then get excited and maybe also seek a little help. From hostages to child soldiers to nuns, this week has all of your niche violence covered. So let's jump straight in. mother! Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has kept the details for his upcoming thriller mother! relatively quiet, and this short teaser was all that was offered last week. Sporting a stellar cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson and Kristen Wiig, the film tells of a couple whose relationship is tested when a group...

  • [Update] Mduduzi Manana: minister called ‘trash’ after assault video goes viral

    Update #2, 3.20pm: The Presidency is the latest governmental department to issue a statement on Nduduzi Manana. "President Jacob Zuma has learned with great concern and is disturbed by the allegations of assault on a woman patron at a nightclub in Johannesburg reported by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana," reads the statement, published to Twitter. "The South African Government has made violence against women a priority crime," President Jacob Zuma states in the release. "Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless...

  • Cape Town: calculate your daily water usage here

    How much water do you consume daily? Considering that the City of Cape Town wants its citizens to use less than 87 litres per day, you may be wondering just that. Thankfully the City of Cape Town has launched a tool that allows users -- albeit rather roughly -- to estimate their daily water consumption, and make changes to their lifestyle and usage habits. The tool itself is extremely simple. It's located on a quick-to-load, single-use website and features a number of daily activities involving water consumption to some degree. This includes showering, washing dishes, washing your hands and face and filling...

  • Google employee’s anti-diversity memo targets women’s ‘biology’

    A Google employee has come under fire for releasing a ten-page-long document on why diversity in the workplace is dangerous. The document, which was first reported by Motherboard, was circulated internally at Google before being released publicly by Gizmodo. In it, the author outlines how men and women differ biologically -- and how the company's diversity efforts should be examined in regards to its "costs and benefits". They argue that women are more people-oriented, anxiety-prone and less ambitious, and conclude that the workplace should not be made more comfortable for them because male employees would suffer. The document also claims that there are notable IQ differences between different groups of people...

  • Despacito vs See You Again: which YouTube video will hit 3bn views first?

    "Despacito" and "See You Again" are currently locked in an epic, brutal popularity battle atop the YouTube charts. As the first and second most watched videos on Google's video platform, both have a chance to become the first ever video to break the three-billion view milestone. At present, "Despacito" is the plucky underdog, standing at 2.889-billion views, but it has caught and passed previous most viewed video on YouTube -- Psy's "Gangnam Style" -- within two weeks. "See You Again" however is now less than 10-million views away from hitting the three-billion view milestone. It became the most viewed video on YouTube...

  • #IfTwitterDidntExist: the internet imagines the 140-character apocalypse

    What would you possibly do if Twitter didn't exist? That's one of the most important questions being asked by the internet right now. Founded in 2006 by now-CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter hasn't had the smoothest existence compared to its contemporaries. It was a breakthrough social network in many ways. While Facebook was toying with personal pages and Google possessed no tangible clue of what a social network is supposed to be, Twitter was the preppy kid with a brief but always sassy opinion. And users' opinion has always been at the fore of Twitter's social mechanics. While things looked up for Twitter prior to...

  • Google Play Store will no longer suggest ‘lower quality’ apps in search

    Google Play Store has made it easier for users to spot the "lower quality" apps on its platform from the genuinely useful. According to a new blog post, the company is actively focussing on privileging apps that exhibit stellar stability, and penalising those that show "excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes". "As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we recently enhanced our search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality," Google Play's product manager Andrew Ahn explains. Google Play rewards well-built apps by pushing them further up search listings "This results in higher quality apps...

  • 11 must-know tips and tricks for Facebook Messenger

    Facebook Messenger has grown from a necessary evil to a semi-decent service in its own right, spanning messaging (obviously), chatbots and more. The app is one of the more popular mobile downloads around, but here are a few more ways you can get the most out of it. Disable those pesky chat heads We're starting off with a simple but effective tip for an annoying feature: those weird chat heads. The chat heads are essentially those chat bubbles that pop up when you receive a message, obscuring part of your screen and just being obnoxious. In any event, you'll want to visit your profile...

  • ‘Hot Jupiter’: You probably wouldn’t want to stay on WASP-121b

    Human beings have long been searching for an alternative, habitable planet to fly to when they inevitably destroy their current home. But the exoplanet dubbed WASP-121b probably won't be labelled as a suitable candidate. Nearly double the size of Jupiter, and orbiting a star 900 light years from Earth, this particular planet was discovered in 2015. But only this week has the planet given astronomers more insight into what they call "hot Jupiters". For starters, the exoplanet has a stratosphere -- a layer in a planet's upper atmosphere that becomes increasingly warmer with height -- something that astronomers theorised exoplanets could...