Friday, November 14, 2008

3km-thick brown cloud over Asia

"How Now Brown Cloud?"
Beijing - A three-kilometre thick cloud of brown soot and other pollutants hanging over Asia is darkening cities, killing thousands and damaging crops, but may be holding off the worst effects of global warming, the UN said on Thursday.

The vast plume of contamination from factories, fires, cars and deforestation contains some particles that reflect sunlight away from the earth, cutting its ability to heat the earth.

"One of the impacts of this atmospheric brown cloud has been to mask the true nature of global warming on our planet," United Nations Environment Programme head Achim Steiner said at the launch in Beijing of a new report on the phenomenon.

'Silver lining' not that bright

The amount of sunlight reaching earth through the murk has fallen by up to a quarter in the worst-affected areas and if the brown cloud disperses, global temperatures could rise by up to 2 ° Celsius.

But the overall effect of slowing climate change is not the silver lining to a dark cloud that it appears to be.

The choking soup of pollutants may hold temperatures down overall, but the mix of particles means it is also speeding up warming in some of the most vulnerable areas and exacerbating the most devastating impacts of higher temperatures.

The complex impact of the cloud, which tends to cool areas near the surface of the earth and warm the air higher up, is believed to be causing a shortening of the monsoon season in India while increasing flooding there and in southern China.

Speeding up meltdown

Soot from the cloud is also deposited on glaciers, which are at the centre of environmentalists' and politicians' concerns because the glaciers feed Asia's key rivers and provide drinking water for billions.

There the particles capture more solar heat than white, reflective snow and ice - speeding up melting of a key resource. At a monitoring station near Mount Everest, soot has been found at levels which scientists say would be expected in urban areas.

There is also a high human cost. The report estimates round 340 000 people are dying prematurely because of damage to their lungs, hearts and risk of cancer.

Scientists are still studying the impact on crops, but possible problems include falling harvests because of less energy for photosynthesis and higher ozone concentrations.

There may also be damage from acidic and toxic particles in the cloud that land on plants, and wider changes to weather patterns may dry up or flood fields.

"The emergence of the atmospheric brown cloud problem is expected to further aggravate the recent dramatic escalation of food prices and the consequent challenge for survival among the world's most vulnerable populations," the report said.

Worldwide problem

One consolation, however, is that if the world stopped emitting the particles that form the cloud, it could be expected to vanish in weeks, unlike many longer-lasting greenhouse gasses.

The ingredients that make up the cloud are little different from the smog that cloaks many of the world's large cities, particularly in developing nations.

But scientists have realised this local pollution is a global problem, because of the way it rises and spreads.

"We used to think of the brown cloud as a regional-scale urban problem, now we know because of fast transport it travels vertically for three to four kilometres and spreads," said Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, head of the UN scientific panel which is carrying out the research.

There are similar brown clouds over parts of Europe, North America, Africa and the Amazon Basin, though research so far has been focused on the Asian cloud which stretches from the Arabian Peninsula to the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, October 10, 2008

JSE South Africa Indices

All Share Index



ALSI Top 40



Gold Mining



Industrials 25



Financials 15



Resources 20



JSE Fri Oct 10 2008 12:35:00






Global Market Crisis

A trader puts his hand on his head on the floor of the New York Stock exchange, Thursday, October 9 2008 in New York City. After a day in which the markets showed early promise in gains, the Dow fell 678 points, falling below 9000 points at the end of the trading day. (Spencer Platt, AFP)

Global Market Crisis

An investor reacts as he looks at the stock price monitor at a private security company Thursday in Shanghai, China. Chinese stocks have fallen, giving up earlier gains in volatile trading that matched the reaction elsewhere to interest rate cuts aimed at easing the global credit crunch. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.8 percent, or 17.64 points, to 2,074.58 Thursday. (AP)

Global Market Crisis

Traders work on the floor of the Brazilian Mercantile and Futures Exchange, in Sao Paulo on Thursday. (Andre Penner, AP)

Global Market Crisis

Dealers react during morning trading session at Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Friday, October 10 2008. Japan's Nikkei index has fallen more than 10 percent in early trade following massive losses on Wall Street. (Katsumi Kasahara, AP)

Global Market Crisis

A Chinese investor reacts in front of a stock price board showing falling prices at a private security firm in Shanghai on Friday. Chinese share prices opened sharply lower following a new round of losses on US and European stock markets. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, opened down 78.63 points, or 3.79 percent, at 1,995.96. (Mark Ralston, AFP)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

South Africa's Future. This e-mail was forwarded to me, it's a really good read! Time for Change...

A lot of things have happened over the past few months.  Maybe too many things, one on top of the other, which has resulted in us feeling    "uh,oh - this is going just like Zimbabwe".  Suddenly everybody is researching property in Perth !
I mean we've all read all sorts of kak about Jacob Zuma, The Health Minister, Jackie Selebi, Bob Mugabe, Crime, Eskom, Petrol, Food Costs, Bafana Bafana, The Arms Scandal, Schabir Shaik, Rising Interest Rates, Tony Yengeni and even Steve Hofmeyer's perforated poephol.  And of course the endless detailed stories of various rapes, murders and hijackings.  And where is it ?
It's on every news bulletin, on every website, in every magazine and every newspaper.  You can't help but read it, see the headlines, hear the rumours.  It's everywhere !  It's like I was slowly being brainwashed.  And what's worse - I started to get that naar feeling in my gut.  And let me tell you it feels kak !
On the 4th May I read the Sunday Times interview with our new Springbok Rugby Coach.  (He hasn't done anything yet, but I am really starting to like this oke - by the way!)  He said ....The local media thrive on negativity.  They have nothing good to say about their country.  If there is something bad about this country, the local media will break a leg to be the first to write about it.  They're a bunch of negative people who live in a world of their own, and are merely there to earn a living and not make South Africa a better place"
Do yourself a favour - and read his statement again.  He hit the nail on the head.  Our journalists are a sorry bunch of scumbags.  They twist and distort any story to sensationalize it as much as possible.  And all so that they can sell their product - you miserable bunch of arsewipes !
Don't get me wrong.  There are problems here.  Yes, we do have high crime stats, it is becoming more and more expensive to live.  But hey, they have problems overseas as well.  It's true, our government are a sorry bunch.  Not worth a vote.  But my point is that we are not hearing about anything else.  Many ordinary people are busy doing extremely good things every day - but none of it is newsworthy.  Now here's a truth - there are about 6,6 billion people on our planet.  According to WHO there are about 56 million deaths per year.  Which means that roughly 153 400 people die every single day.  With 153 400 deaths per day it really wouldn't be too difficult to find disasters, accidents, catastrophes, murders, muggings and general mayhem to write about - would there ?  It's pretty easy actually.
And during the same time period about 350 000 beautiful, miraculous, perfect, pure, happy, untainted precious babies begin their journey on this planet.  And do journalists write about this ?  Of course not.  But if a six-month-old baby is stabbed to death you'll never stop hearing about it.  The fact is that bad news sells best.
I have become sick and tired of the continued obsessive focus of the media with everything that is negative.  I'm all in for free press - but really this has gone way overboard.  The media have gone beyond the simple task of reporting on what is happening.  They are now CAUSING some of it by their own actions.  The media have helped to perpetuate a cycle of violence and destruction.  The media poephol's need to cheer up and get a life or piss off and get another job.  The media really need to seriously stop with their sensationalism and scandal.  They need to start doing their job more creatively and seek out and give headline space to the good things that are going on here in South Africa.  Trust me - it's there.
Let's take last Sundays' newspaper.  Taking out the sports pages - and only focusing on the front nine pages.  (which is really what makes up the paper these days) - it only involved 280 people.  That is 0.00058% of our population.
This is not the first time there's been doom and gloom.  Every few years the same thing happens.  We experience massive economic growth, everyone is optimistic and buying Nescafe Gold, holiday homes and Mercs.  The positivity gets ahead of itself and the economy overheats, and then the panic sets in because the economy seems to be collapsing, when in fact it's simply making an adjustment back to a resonable level.
It happened in 1989, when South Africa defaulted on it's international loans and the stock market and the rand crashed, it happened in 1994 when the ANC took power and everyone thought war would break out, it happened in 1998 when interest rates hit 25% and you couldn't give your house away and it happened in 2001 when 2 Boeings flew into the tallest buildings in New York.
On each of those occassions everyone thought it was the end of the world and there was no light in sight.  And on each occassion, the world did not actually come to an end.  It recovered and in fact things continued to get better.  Make sure that you take a mental note of what is happening right now, because it will happen again and again and again.  If you don't recognize the symptoms, you'll be suckered into the same negativity, and forget to look for the opportunities.
It's easy to be negative.  Subconsciously, it's just plain easier to do.  Why don't the media dedicate more time to the real facts of our country ?  The fact is that we are in better financial shape now than we were 20 years ago.  The fact is that Johannesburg is the worlds largest man made forest.  And what about the corruption free achievements of the vast majority of our public officials.  You know why ?  Because good news is soooo
South Africa still has the best weather in the world.  We're lucky enough to possess a huge chunk of the world's resources, i.e: gold, platinum, coal, iron.  8% of the world's silicone is mined right here in Mpumalanga - did you know that ?  The growth in India and China will continue and so will their demand for our resources.  Our government has already embarked on massive infrastructural projects (some of them a bit late - like electricity).  These projects will pump large sums of money into our economy.
Every day about 48 million South Africans wake up,  hopefully brush their teeth and get on with their lives.  Many of us perform little acts of respect, compassion and kindness each and every day.  And that's what got me thinking.  I stopped reading the newspapers.  I stopped watching the news on TV.  I stopped listening to the news on the car radio.  I changed my website front page.  And I stopped listening to negative people with all their chirps and kak.  As a result I stopped focussing on what was going wrong in my life.
I took the time to wake up a little earlier - drink some rooibos and watch the sunrise.  Fortunately, where I live I can see the sun rise over the sea.  Some of you oke's may not be so fortunate.  I began to read about the good that is going on in South Africa.  Do yourself a favour and visit  I started reading non-fiction again.  The TV remains off while we eat and conversation has been stimulated.  I have started the whole gym thing again.  I started watching the National Geographic and Discovery channels.   I take the time to walk out in my garden (taking care to miss the rottweilers landmines).  Hell, I have even started walking on the beach again - something I haven't done in years.  Fact is that I have started living again - from the inside out.
Fact is you can't change your thinking in order to improve your behaviour.  You need to change your behaviour in order to improve your thinking.  So if you, like me, are feeling anxious, concerned, depressed or just plain gatvol in general - why not try changing your behaviour and DOING something different from today.
Visit the website often
Get into nature parks as often as you can
Walk barefoot on your lawn or on the beach
Watch the sun rise or set
Play your favourite music - especially when the news comes on
Find out and speak about all the good that is going on
Take a mental note of everything you need to be grateful for
Read an inspiring book - Lance Armstrong's books come to mind
Give that taxi in front of you a gap
Drink herbal tea in the mornings
And don't let the media infuence your mind.  Next time you're standing in the Woolies que buying those choc balls that you are going to scoff all on your own - don't buy any of the gossip mags or newspapers they so coveniently position by the tills.  
2008 will be a tough year.  But this is also the year where opportunities can be seized.  While everybody else is whining and moaning, get yourself onto the front seat of the inevitable boom that we will experience in the latter part of 2009 and the years beyond that.
Ignore the media and their doomsday forecasts.  Install a timer on your geyser, go back to single ply paper and drink Ricoffee for a couple of months.
Cheers ..............

Donkey locked up in jail.

Found this story on
This has goto be the funiest thing ever! Read on...
Mexico City - A donkey is doing time in southern Mexico for assault and battery.

The animal was locked up at a local jail that normally holds people for public drunkenness and other disturbances after it bit and kicked two men near a ranch in Chiapas state, police said on Monday.

Officer Sinar Gomez said the donkey will remain behind bars until its owner agrees to pay the men's medical bills.

"Around here, if someone commits a crime they are jailed," Gomez said - "no matter who they are."

The owner, Mauro Gutierrez, told The Associated Press he would try to reach a friendly arrangement to pay the men's bills, estimated at $420.

The victims said the donkey bit Genaro Vazquez, 63, in the chest on Sunday and then kicked 52-year-old Andres Hernandez as he tried to come to the rescue, fracturing his ankle.

"All of a sudden, the animal was on top of us like it was rabid," Hernandez said.

Police said it took a half-dozen men to control the enraged burro.

Chiapas police have thrown animals in the slammer before, including a bull that devoured corn crops and destroyed two wooden vending stands in March.

In 2006, a dog was locked up for 12 days after biting someone. His owners were fined $18.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Noticed the "HITMAN"s Mercedes Benz parked in fromt of the Office of the Prime Ministers building in Windhoek, Namibia on 19/05/2008
With a number plate like that, on a Mercedes Benz parked in that sort of location, makes for an amusing picture. You can't help wondering whos going to get "hit"or "wacked"!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Food for Thought by Katja Wenn

"The thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die"
Truer words have never been spoken. The question though behind these words is what truth should one live by. The one which our heart whispers into our soul? Or the moral that society has given us to live and love by. Every human being is filled with a deep sense of longing. Some are primal and others are so deeply embedded in our subconscious that we are no longer aware of them. This sense of longing is the driving force behind our actions, our thoughts. This sense of longing defines who we truly are because due to it we act as individuals.
What idea can one live or die for. The idea of fortune? Maybe, but what is fortune? Is fortune the balance in your bank account or is fortune perhaps the happiness that one carries in ones heart. The happiness of knowing one is loved and cherished? Some say that the "gut feeling" will tell you which is right for you, but what if that gut feeling has been influenced by certain circumstances that we could not possibly control. The emotional state of human beings changes with every experience we have. Some become distant and other become unsure and confused. With this change in the emotional balance does the gut not change as well? If this is the case, one can not always rely on ones "gut feeling"
So how to solve this dilemma "The thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die"?
Which is it for you? What is your truth and what is your idea? Have they changed over the past due to experiences you had and if so why? Do you think that they are right, that this change is truly who you are, or just a mirror image of your past which you have allowed to affect you so profoundly, that you have willingly changed the core being of who you are?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


One of my favourite aircraft, the infamous DC6. This particular DC6 is based here in Windhoek at Namibia Commercail Aviation (Pty) Ltd (NCA) Eros Airport. The company is owned and operated by Mr Chris Schutte. I shot these pictures today from my house with Sonja's FujiFilm S5700 FinePix Digital camera at 10X optical zoom, as it was quite a distance away. The shot with the landing gear out was taken just before they did a "beat up" on runway 01. If only I had know they were going to to a "beat up", I would have raced out to the bridge off the apron on the northern side of runway 01 to get some awesome pictures of this beautiful aircraft. Oh, and lets not forget the awesome sound of those roaring engines! It gives you goose bumps all over your body and you land up with a smile on your face that just stays there! I hope to get some closer pictures of her on take-off sometime soon.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How they steal money out your bank account these days (2008)

Here are some frightening methods used lately to steal money out of your bank account.
Take note that these attempts are currently happening in South Africa. Below is the exact description I received from a very reliable source via e-mail. This is what happens when you have offshore accounts or local accounts.

First tie they sent us an anti money laundering from to fill in (By post to fax back) from JP Morgan Bank (all details correct except Nigerian fax Number) As we had just moved an account to them we were expecting such a form as it is a legal requirement when you have a new account with a banking establishment. Fucking clever! That one was really close because they had all details including correct signature. They were only caught because they did not follow the correct procedure. They requested that they sell all our accounts, liquidate all share holdings and transfer the proceeds to a bank account in Beijing after the fees had been deducted. 90% of our life savings. We now have a red flag on our account and they wont process any transactions unless they see us face to face….requires an international trip!

Next they called HSBC and said that (after stealing a statement from our post box) they had forgotten the Internet logon and code and were dully given it… They tried to process a transfer to a bank account in New York! However because the account had not had any withdrawals from inception they phoned us to confirm (on the farm 3 days ago). We have now red flagged this account as well and deactivated all Internet and phone banking! Can only use account Face to Face….again. This was a substantial amount but not too bad. Incidentally, their fraud department said that they are having so many problems from the SA accounts that they are no longer willing to open any new accounts across their branches world wide for anyone living in SA.

Third one on all shareholdings in SA. Once again post stolen. They took a statement from our broker and photo shopped the logo onto a letterhead. Did their homework used all right names phone numbers etc. Attached a from an "auditing" firm and introduced them as the company auditors and that they required information from clients in order to complete their audit…..account numbers, signatures etc…..we called the company (did not fill form in) as by this stage we were very wise to what goes on …..this account is now also closed with face only visits for withdraws.

We have now put a withdraw stop on all our other accounts and red flagged them all as it is only a matter of time! We are watching our SA bank accounts with interest…..

Anyway after much thought we decided the following:

All finances are kept under lock and key at home (and the keys are locked in a locked box and the locked box key is locked in another cupboard….info theft from home not likely.

Copy made of hard drive at home by maid for mates…..password protected.

Hacking…both run up to date antivirus, spy ware etc. software, besides no passwords and half details not on either compute r.

Common denominator…all attempts were linked to a postal incident. We are now changing our postal address for sensitive documents and moving to email where possible. Failing that we will take up a PO Box in London!

Now run all my personal info off a memory stick which is never attached when on the Internet. Stays around my neck in case computer stolen…they just get work stuff… the lengths you have to go to. So anyway quite a complicated process.

And there you have it. Comments are welcome. Please note all comments are moderated.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Global Warming Tailspin

Global warming is a very real thing. Everyone is aware of it save for
the sceptics.
The worst reality of global warming besides the fact that it is real
is the fact that there is no way to curb it in any way, unless we
lower world population. Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is very real
accurate and filled with undeniable truth. Some governments and
countries save America of course, are trying feebly to lower emissions
with energy saving bulbs, hybrid cars and wind driven turbines
Sadly however this is doing very little to curb global warming. Every
day there are more and more people on this planet. Our global
population is growing faster than you can imagine. With more people
comes more demand on the planet. The basic demands are food, water and
shelter. However in today's high tech world, our demands are hugely
higher. Everyone wants more and more, be it a house with electricity,
cars, televisions, cell phones, boats, planes and businesses. The
creation of all these modern day wonders demands huge amounts of
resources and energy, energy which results in generating heat warming
up the planet and resources which are slowly, but surely running out
at alarming rates.

Businesses mean economy and wealth. Wealth means more buying power
which means more products. More products, means more demand. More
demand means more energy and more resources. And so the viscous circle
is born.