Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

18 February 2011

Anglo eyes sacred land

Anglo eyes sacred land: "A subsidiary of mining giant Anglo American is considering mining coal near the environmentally sensitive Mapungubwe world heritage site in Limpopo."

Coal of Africa’s Vele colliery mining site, which lies 5.4km east of the Mapungubwe National Park & World Heritage Site. Picture: Nick Hiltermann

 How on earth does one get the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve internationally declared as a biosphere and, at the same time, allow a coal mine to be established there? 

02 February 2011

Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring

The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.
The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

update Feb 2011

Mubarak’s Going to Saudi Arabia, CIA-Backed Forecasters Say

Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule of Egypt is probably coming to an end, and that means he’ll likely leave Egypt right after he leaves power. (Dictators don’t usually stick around the countries they dictated.) So where would Mubarak flee? One data mining company, backed by the investment arms of Google and the CIA, has an educated guess.

“If you want to know where he’s going next,” says Recorded Future CEO Christopher Ahlberg, “you’ve got to know what he’s done in the past.”
George Orwell was right.

01 February 2011

Farmers apply for the right to cruelly murder our predators to protect their assets

As with all controversial legislation, notice of the proposed "Norms and Standards for the Management of Damage Causing Animals" (puke) was quietly slipped open for comment during the 2010 festive season when everyone was away on holiday, out of touch or unable to object.

Fortunately I was around and managed to submit my objection letter before the deadline of 26 December 2010. We had just 30 days to oppose these farmers and government officials who think they have the right to decide the future of our biodiversity and use cruel, murderous traps to maim, torture and kill our predator friends. All of this in the name of the untouchable god they call profit. I have seen non-predators caught in gin traps too mind you. Anything from Egyptian geese to aardvarks get caught.

In support of the proposed legislation, sheep farmers boldly dared to make presentations about how these leopards and jackals are affecting their export figures. It makes me sick the way money is still considered more important than biodiversity. If we allow these farmers and government officials to continue to dictate to us, we are going to be left with a decimated environment in just one generation. Let's take our inspiration from the Egyptians and start fighting back. I'm gatvol, are you?

The deadline was subsequently extended to 31 January 2011. Dead on cue, today I received an automated response from the department of environmental affairs confirming receipt of my objection. (Less than 24 hours after the deadline. They really are in a hurry to get this one through!)

So despite the fact that the bullet is through the church on this one, please keep an eye on its progress and object again if necessary.

There is a wonderful organisation called the Landmark Foundation which goes out to help and where possible save and rehabilitate animals maimed by gin traps and the like. They are also behind a wonderful initiative to launch the Fair Game brand which indicates products that are wildlife friendly. they are working with companies like Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay. Please support them if you have the financial means, alternatively watch out for the Fair Game label and buy only products with that label.

I think through the food I buy and I look for environment and earth friendly options, but one does not always think about the woollen socks you buy to keep warm in winter. They may well be made from wool, from a sheep raised on a farm where the farmer ruthlessly uses every means possible to eradicate leopards, jackals and other magnificent non-human animals.

Thank you Landmark Foundation for raising these issues and for doing something to make a difference.