Archive for the 'Environment' Category

The human planet

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Among the many creatures that have lived on this planet, humans are unique in that they not only tamed the wild and created large urban societies, but increasingly we are having an impact on the very fabric of the earth itself – and it’s not always for the better.

Words: Michel Cruz

When it comes to the ‘human planet’ we hear all sorts of things, many of them foreboding and some even seemingly contradictory – like there is too little space, too much development, that the population is exploding and the natural environment slowly dying, but also that the population is greying, that we’re not having enough children to replace ourselves. We consume and pollute too much, we are/are not contributing to global warming, that there is no global warming, that we will all have to work to 70 and beyond yet artificial intelligence will take our jobs away. We’re depleting the earth’s resources, that there will be land and water wars to replace today’s oil wars, that there is unemployment yet the labour force is shrinking. More immigration means economic growth but also more unemployment, and occasionally even that decades of overpopulation and over-exploitation have taken us to the cusp of a demographic collapse brought on by environmental decay and epidemics. (more…)

Elon Musk – Visionary of the Future

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

In an age when we desperately need visionaries to lead the way, Elon Musk is a multidisciplinary engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and futurist with the drive to do what today’s politicians can’t – change the world for the better.

Words: Michel Cruz

There have always been visionaries and inventors, from Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo to Jules Verne, but more than anyone else today South African-born Elon Musk is the renaissance man of the hour. This is an era where we look in vain to our leaders for answers to the pressing environmental, social and economic issues that beset humanity. Decade upon decade, there is no change, no action and no transparency. We seem to be locked in an ever-increasing spiral of uncontrolled technology development that has the potential to disrupt our economic system and the fabric of society. Global warming, population growth, pollution, growing disparity in wealth and the rise of artifiial intelligence are the spectres that stare us in the face, yet they are barely addressed by those in power. (more…)

The tones of taste

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Tones of Taste- Michel CruzThough they relate to different senses and experiences, colour and taste are so entwined as to overlap in meaning – making yellow synonymous with lemons, brown with chocolate and orange with, well oranges. The strength of the relationship is revealed when you imagine a topsy-turvy world in which beer is green, tomatoes brown and rice blue…

We associate colours and tastes to such an extent that we mix them, speaking of lemon yellow, lime green, tangerine, plum red, chocolate brown and so on. In fact, many of the characteristics we ascribe to a certain tone, such as fresh green or deep burgundy, are at least in part drawn from the foodstuff they remind us of. Naturally there are also variants, such as white chocolate, green tomatoes and brown rice, but while we have grown used to these it feels odd to stray too far from the combination of tones and flavours that have become engrained in our brains, as well as our eyes and taste buds. (more…)

The Mysterious ‘Face on Mars’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Life on Mars Michel CruzDo Sphinx-like monuments and water irrigation systems point to the existence of an ancient civilisation on Mars? Among a great many other conspiracies, NASA is being accused of ‘covering up’ what it really knows about the red planet, reports Michel Cruz.

In July 1976 NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft was put into orbit around Mars, on a seemingly standard mission to look for suitable landing sites for the impending Viking 2 mission. As its cameras scanned the red planet’s surface, however, they suddenly came across a feature so incredible that it would not only spark off a sensation, but also a legion of fanciful hypotheses about life on Mars. The images beamed back to earth by Viking Orbiter 1 were of a land form that so strongly resembled a human face, complete with eyes cast in shadows, a narrow nose and frowning mouth, that to many it had the unmistakable appearance of an Egyptian Pharaoh. And so the mysterious ‘Face on Mars’ was born, capturing the attention of millions across the world and completely overshadowing what had started as a scientific probe into the mysteries of our nearest planetary neighbour. (more…)

Discovering beautiful lakes on our doorstep (Part 2)

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Laghi di Monticchio, Italy In my previous blog you will have read all about our adventures in and around the fair town of Potenza. If not, go right back to start and catch up before reading on…

So having chanced upon the wondrous Laghi di Monticchio after our laborious travails through the hills of Basilicata, we promised ourselves to come back and explore this little hidden paradise properly. This is exactly what we did a few days later, following the much easier route from Calitri along the gently winding valley road en route to Melfi. Well before that town, however, you turn off and upwards towards Rionero in Vulture. (more…)