SA scientists win AU awards

first_imgScience in Africa is to come under the spotlight through the AU Scientific Awards. (Image: Nasa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Prof. Jean-Pierre Ezin AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology+251 11 551 7700RELATED ARTICLES • SA hosts world science meet • African science reporting shapes up • Open access to SA journals • SA scientist lauded for polar workJanine ErasmusTwo South African scientists have walked off with top honours at the inaugural African Union Scientific Awards. The awards programme was launched in September 2009, and the laureates were announced earlier in 2010.Witwatersrand University’s (Wits) Professor Diane Hildebrandt and Professor Patrick Eriksson of Pretoria University were singled out for the prestigious honour from 48 entries sent in from all over Africa.Two categories were judged – Life and Earth Sciences, which Eriksson won; and Basic Science, Technology and Innovation, which Hindebrandt won. Each received a prize worth US$100 000 (R731 061).President Jacob Zuma was quick to applaud the achievement of the two scientists during the awards ceremony, which took place in Addis Ababa during the 14th AU summit.“I say with pride that South Africans continue to display excellence in various fields in the international arena,” said the president.“On behalf of the South African people I wish to congratulate Professor Hildebrandt and Professor Eriksson, and wish them well in their endeavours to make Africa and the world a better place to live.”Top achieverHildebrandt, one of South Africa’s top chemical engineers, is a professor of sustainable process engineering in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, and is also co-director at the university’s Centre for Optimisation Modelling and Process Synthesis.She started her career as a process engineer at South Africa’s fuel giant Sasol and obtained her BSc, MSc and PhD in chemical engineering from Wits University. Her career at her alma mater now spans more than 20 years.Hildebrandt was the first woman chemical engineer to earn an A rating from the National Research Foundation. A prolific author, she has more than 50 papers to her name.Winning awards is not a novelty for her – she’s already been honoured with the Vice-Chancellor’s Researcher of the Year Award in 2002; the Bill Neale-May Gold Medal of the South African Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2000; the Meiring Naudé medal of the Royal Society of South Africa in 1997; the Distinguished Researcher Award of the University of the Witwatersrand in 1996; and the President’s Award of the Foundation for Research and Development in 1996 and 2010.“I’m grateful for the award and look forward to making further contributions to Africa and its development,” she said in an interview with University World News, adding that there are many scientists who strive to improve conditions for all Africans, often under difficult circumstances.Internationally respectedEriksson is head of Pretoria University’s Geology Department, a post he has held since 2006. He joined the department as a lecturer in 1982 and rose to a professorship 12 years later. Eriksson completed his PhD in 1984 and obtained a higher doctorate from Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich in 1998.He lectures in sedimentology and his research focuses on the evolution of Precambrian (sedimentary) basins. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Geological Society of Africa, and still finds time to act as editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences.The National Research Foundation gave him an A research rating in 2007.Well respected on an international level, he founded the Global Precambrian Sedimentation Syndicate in 1997, an informal working group comprising 16 eminent scientists from South Africa, the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Australia, and India.Accepting the AU award, Eriksson paid tribute to his peers on the continent.Boosting African scienceThe AU Scientific Awards programme is aimed at inspiring the continent’s best minds to bigger and better achievements, and also celebrates their efforts to boost entrepreneurship in science and research, attract investment into African science, and establish scientific centres of excellence in Africa.The African Academy of Sciences, Twas (formerly the Third World Academy of Sciences) bureau in Africa, and the Network of African Science Academies adjudicated the awards.Winners are selected according to several criteria, including the number of publications they have written or co-written, the number of graduate research students they have mentored, and the relevance of their work in tackling the challenges facing the African continent as well as the ease of application.Besides the AU Science Award, also up for grabs are the AU Young Scientist Award, handed out on a national level to promising researchers under 35 years of age, and the AU Woman Scientist Award, which is region-based. These prizes fall into the same two categories as the main accolade.last_img read more

Get close to the wild at Mosetlha

first_img28 July 2010South Africa boasts hundreds of luxury game lodges charging dollar rates for tourists to “experience the African bushveld”. There’s a lot to be said for the five-star safari option – but does being waited on hand and foot really constitute an authentic bushveld experience? And what if you can’t afford to pay all those dollars?Some of South Africa’s national parks have basic accommodation, and there is always the alternative of staying in a nearby town or resort and driving into the park each day – but that’s also not the ideal way to experience the bushveld.MediaClubSouthAfricaFree high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. Fortunately, there is another option, combining reasonable down-to-earth comfort with a really close-up bush experience, as my family and I recently discovered on a trip to the Madikwe Game Reserve. Lying near the border between South Africa and Botswana, it goes by the name of Mosetlha Bush Camp.Roughing it in styleMosetlha was started in the early 1990s as a rustic camp with basic facilities, a place where rangers-in-training and other wilderness enthusiasts came to learn about wildlife conservation during Operation Phoenix, a project to reintroduce game into the Madikwe area.As more and more lodges were built in the reserve and the number of tourists increased, Chris and June Lucas, with their daughter Caroline, opened Mosetlha to the wider public. But they kept the camp’s ecological ethos and relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere.At Mosetlha, you do things for yourself. There’s an old-school donkey boiler, with water heated in a drum over a fire for bucket showers, and you also take your own water to flush the VIP – ventilated improved pit – toilets.That may sound a little rough and ready, but this really is a comfortable form of camping. In fact, it isn’t actually camping at all. Guests stay in raised wooden cabins, with canvas awnings over the front and back to allow maximum appreciation of the sights and sounds of the bush – including, at night, the not-too-distant howls of hyena. There is no electricity, but oil lamps give a warm and cosy glow.Mosetlha may be a place where you can get the dust of Africa on your feet, but you don’t do everything for yourself. Sumptuous but simple meals are served up from the camp kitchen and eaten communally. In between there are lazy late mornings and early afternoons when you can snooze or read a book. After dark, a roaring fire encourages the cheerful swapping of anecdotes over a glass of wine or a beer from the honesty bar. You settle very easily into the indulgent rhythms of camp life.The focal points of each day are, of course, the morning and evening game drives. Operation Phoenix was tremendously successful, and today Madikwe boasts an abundance of wildlife. With a large mammal population of over 16 000, the reserve provides some of the best game-viewing in the country.Our visit yielded, among other sightings, a close-range encounter with lions at a zebra kill, a pack of wild dogs (very rare), both white and black rhino as well as a leopard up a tree. On one occasion, a pride of lions – moms, dads and cubs – sauntered up to our Land Rover and strolled casually past on either side, leaving our party a little perturbed.You’re guaranteed to see some great game at Madikwe, but there is a lot more to enjoy besides. For the twitchers, there are over 340 bird species to spot. Amateur geologists can take in the striking topography of the area, with numerous koppies and even low mountain peaks rising from the savannah plain.And there’s nothing quite so gratifying as that moment when, just as the off-road bumps are starting to take their toll, your guide stops the vehicle and you climb out to discover a table, magically produced and laden with goodies: coffee and rusks for those brisk mornings, or drinks and snacks in the evenings while the orange disc of the sun slips below the horizon.I told you this was roughing it in style …Rich in historyGood game rangers are walking encyclopaedia when it comes to flora and fauna – and they love to share useful bits of trivia – such as the fact that the collective noun for giraffes is a “journey”. Mosetlha’s knowledgeable guides can also tell you almost anything you might want to know about the region, including its unusual history.Places such as Groot Marico and Mafikeng Road have been immortalised in the stories of Herman Charles Bosman, and the area regularly attracts literary pilgrims for whom the place has a special resonance. But long before Bosman invented his famous serio-comical narrator, Oom Schalk Lourens, the terrain had been criss-crossed by Mzilikazi and the Matabele people, Boer and British soldiers, traders, explorers, hunters and missionaries.If the spirits of the past haunt Madikwe, it is a gentle haunting. Like so many of South Africa’s game reserves, it is a place of tranquillity and astounding beauty. Unlike any other park, however, it is also home to the unusual and memorable wilderness experience that is Mosetlha Bush Camp.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

After Effects Video Tutorial: Fireworks

first_img18Duplicate the composition and practice recoloring each composition to get different results. 9Duplicate the first shape layer (the one with 12 copies) and adjust it to where the keyframes line up with the duplicated (24 copy) layer. 2Set the points to 3 and the scale to 100. Set keyframes on the position of the polystar path, the scale of the transform of the polystar path, and the overall transform scale. 6Add a repeater to the shape. Set the copies to 12 and rotation to 30. 10Set the rotation of the Layer 3 to 15. Have any tips for making these fireworks even better?Share in the comments below. 5Easy ease all the current keyframes and in the graph editor adjust the keyframes so that the majority of the motion happens at the beginning of the shape layer. 4Move forward 10 frames. Set a keyframe for the position to 0,300. and set a keyframe for the transform: polystar scale to be 0,100. 3Adjust overall scale to 0,0 and the transform polystar scale to 50,0. 16Color and stylize each individual shape layer. 14Easy ease your keyframes and smooth the position so it slowly rises to it’s place.center_img 11Create a new rectangle for the “rocket” set the size to 960,3. 13Move the playhead to the point at which the fireworks explode. Set the keyframes to: size 0,3 and position 0,0. 15Offset the explosions so they look like they happen after the rocket reaches it’s peak. 8Change the copies of the new layer to 24. Set the rotation to 7.5. In this Premiumbeat exclusive tutorial we show you how to create shape based fireworks in After Effects.The following shows how to make some awesome shape based fireworks in After Effects. The tutorial covers:Shape RepeatersThe Graph EditorKeyframing4th Grade MathAlthough this tutorial is specifically designed to show you how to create fireworks, shape modifiers are a great tool for any motion graphic artists to learn – these concepts can be applied to any number of motion graphic situations. If you are wanting more info about using shapes to enhance motion check out our post on secondary animation.More of a reader than a watcher? Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. Click any image for larger view.  17Drop the comp into another comp. 1Create a new composition. Add a polygonal shape layer with no stroke and a white fill. 7Duplicate the layer and offset the keyframes by a few frames. 12Set start keyframes for the size and position of the rectangle. Size to 0,3. and Position to -960,0.last_img read more

Becoming Uncomfortable with Your Comfortable Illusions

first_imgThere is some part of you that is dissatisfied and knows that you can be more than you are now. Almost no one believes they are the very best version of themselves, and as far as I can tell, no one has ever reached their full potential, not DaVinci, not Einstein, and certainly not you or me.When you look at the results you generated at the end of each week, something gnaws at you. You know you were capable of doing more, but another week has passed, each one looking very much like the one that preceded it. Are you working smart enough and hard enough to bring your goals to life (the very meaning of the word “hustle)? Are you as productive as you should be?If your life doesn’t resemble the ideal you hold in your mind’s eye, and if you don’t have what you want, you are no different from most of the human population on Earth. You are very literally surrounded by proof that what you want is possible, and people who started behind the starting line you stand on now have found a way to have what you want.My philosophy is that one of the ways you will judge your success, in the end, will be the contribution you make to others and the causes you care about. It’s difficult to contribute unless you take care of what is written in three paragraphs above. Solve for those, and you have solved for contribution.Your IllusionsIf you are not yet who you want to be, it is because you are comfortable with the illusion that high school and college was the end of your growth, your development, and your education, none of which quite prepared you to be the best version of yourself.If you are not exerting the effort necessary to bring your goals to life, they will not come into being. It is doubtful that you cannot do what is required, and it more likely that you are trying hard enough. You are comfortable with the illusion that you are doing what you need to do.If you are like most people, you have settled for what you have. Maybe what you have is enough. Or perhaps you are just comfortable with the illusion that you have all you need—or all you deserve.The first step to improvement is to refuse to be comfortable with the illusion. From this illusion, you can see the next. From that one, you will see the one that follows. Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

Mystery shrouds death of student

first_imgAfter bodies of a 22-year-old Delhi University student and her uncle were found in two different parts of the city within a span of few hours last week, no clear leads have emerged in the case. The woman’s death has been confirmed as murder but that of her uncle is shrouded by mystery. Mehrunissa, who was pursuing B.A from Janaki Devi College, was found strangulated to death at the same Inderpuri house where she lived with her 32-year-old uncle Mehendi Hasan. The family hails from Amroha and Mehrunissa’s studies and Hasan’s coaching for competitive exams were what brought them to the Capital.Hasan’s body was found on the track near the Sarai Rohilla station a few hours before that. But whether the death was accidental, which prima facie is the case according to the police, is still being investigated.For now Hasan has emerged as the prime suspect but the police are yet to connect the dots or have zeroed in on the motive. The angle now being probed is that he first murdered Mehrunissa and then jumped in front of the track, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Vijay Kumar.The family first learnt of Hasan’s death on April 4. On reaching there, his brother, Danish, identified the body. With the key recovered from his pocket, Danish went to the Inderpuri flat in West Delhi where Hasan and Mehrunissa lived. Meherunissa was lying dead on a mattress on the floor. There were strangulation and nail marks on her neck. No suicide noteAccording to the railway police, Hasan’s death appeared to be a case of accident but under the given circumstances, they transferred the probe to West District.The fact that Hasan had locked the room before leaving, lends credence to the suicide after murder theory but he did not leave any suicide note. Mr. Kumar said that Hasan was an alcoholic and was frustrated because he had not been able to crack the Civil Services or any other competitive exams.last_img read more

Wrestler Sushil Kumar demands ‘fair trial’ for Rio Olympics

first_imgSushil Kumar on Tuesday said he wants fair trial to choose the best wrestler to represent India in in men’s 74kg freestyle for the Rio Olympics. Narsingh Yadav had clinched India’s berth for the Summer Games.Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is yet to take a call on whether to hold the trials in men’s 74kg freestyle category between veteran Sushil and Narsingh.”All I am asking for is trails. I am not saying that you send me to Rio because of my glorious past. I am only saying that whoever between me and Narsingh is better, should represent the country at Olympics. Since a quota belongs to the country and not to a particular individual, thus, when there are two good contenders, there must be a fair trial. There is a procedure that should be followed,” said Sushil.”Even the reigning world and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs had to undergo trials to make it to the US team for the Rio Games. It happens everywhere,” he added.With WFI yet to decide on holding the trails, a lot of speculations are doing the rounds.”The Sports Authority of India and government have spent a lot of money on my preparation and it is only just that I am given an opportunity to prove that I have utilised every bit of that,” Sushil insisted.’Preparations are top class’Bronze medallist at 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver winner at London Games four years later, Sushil said his job was to prepare himself well for the Rio Games and not think about trails.advertisement”I would not have asked for the trials if I was not well prepared. I am asking for it because I am feeling extremely fit and my preparations are top class. I am confident of doing well if I go to Rio,” said the 32-year-old wrestler.”I have been at three Olympics already and won medal twice. My only aim is to win another medal for India.”Narsingh had secured the Olympic quota place for India last year at the World Championship in Las Vegas after winning a bronze medal in 74kg. Since then the Maharashtra grappler has been staking his claim for the berth.But former world champion Sushil pointed out that there had been trails in the past also whenever there were more than one able contender for a particular weight division.”Trails took place in the past. Before the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Last time, there was no competition, thus the trails did not take place. There was no one to challenge me in my weight category last time. But this time, the situation is different,” he stressed.Training hardSushil had won Olympic medal twice in men’s 66kg freestyle category but since moving up the weight division to 74kg, he participated only at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where he finished with a gold medal.Currently training in Sonepat, Sushil said he had a fruitful stint in Georgia recently and is continuing to train at Sonepat.”I have been training very hard. I had a very satisfying stint in Georgia recently. Now I am back and continuing to train very hard at the camp in Sonepat,” he concluded.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Businesses Urged to Adopt Environmentally Friendly Practices

first_imgThe Government is encouraging private and public businesses to adopt environmentally friendly practices through its Green Business Jamaica (GBJ) programme.Sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Government of Japan, the project will see the country enhancing the legislative framework to support the development and implementation of a national sustainable consumption and production programme.The programme is being implemented through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).The launch was held on May 25 at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston.Under the programme, the Government will undertake detailed sets of subactivities for the development of sustainable consumption, production and waste-management strategies.Minister without Portfolio  in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who delivered the main address at the function, lauded those private-sector entities already involved in the programme and encouraged more businesses to get involved and ‘green’ their operations.“This voluntary step to make your businesses more environmentally friendly shows a willingness to support the development of our country and growth of the gross domestic product in a manner that facilitates sustainable consumption and production,” he said.Meanwhile, Director of NEPA’s Environmental Management and Conservation Division, Anthony McKenzie, said the programme is a key element in supporting the private sector to comply with national and international environmental standards.“Green Business Jamaica adheres to basic and sustainable consumption and production practices and aims to build a shared vision of sustainable lifestyles. It integrates sustainable practices across sectors and develops tools and incentives to assist in capacity building, to achieve sustainable lifestyles and empower individuals and businesses to adopt sustainable habits through education and participation,” he explained.One of the activities under the project is the pilot of the GBJ Certification Programme. It is designed to help business operators to incorporate best practices in the area of environmental stewardship, in an effort to reduce operational costs and sustain natural resources.The programme is voluntary and gives businesses the opportunity to promote and implement environmentally friendly processes in the core elements of their operations, while practising high standards in pollution prevention and resource conservation in line with global standards.Businesses that receive GBJ certification will be able to display the approved Ecolabel sign or logo on their establishments, stationery or packaging to signify that they are doing their part to protect the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.Additionally, certified businesses will be included on the GBJ list of certified companies.last_img read more