Tags: project

StreetNames

Something that I have idly been pondering for a few weeks now has to do with the renaming of streets. Durban, the most populous city in KwaZulu-Natal has renamed a lot of them in the last decade or so. Since I mentioned it obliquely on Twitter (1, 2) earlier, I thought I would write it up here. Durban has probably gone further than most large South African cities with regards to renaming roads and streets. (Certainly I have heard more about it there, but that might be proximity). Many of these are uncontroversial, where a road described what it did and now commemorates someone. * “Ruth First Highway” is a better name than “Northern Freeway”. * Old Fort Road ran in front of the Old Fort and is now KE Masinga Road. Others have changed who was commemorated, which can raise hackles: * Jan Smuts Highway was renamed to King Cetswayo Highway. * Stanley Copley Drive is now RD Naidu Drive Still others have links to other places, usually the places the people who built the area are from: * Blair Atholl Road is now Rodger Sishi Road * Kensingston Drive has become Adelaide Tambo Drive (The full list is available on […]

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Borehole Grapher/Mapper

As part of AEON‘s baseline study in the Karoo, a group of my colleagues are undertaking a large scale hydrocensus in the area near the Western Cape/Eastern Cape boundary. At the moment, this entails visiting a large number of boreholes, recording some general information about them, and, where possible, recording the electro-conductivity of the borehole. They are also going to be doing other tests. The ultimate goal of this is to narrow down which boreholes we will be monitoring on a recurring basis. This has lead to a large amount of readings, associated with a given depth, being recorded. Excel is painful to use, because there is no consistency in the depth of boreholes, so while some tests may only have 20 readings, there is one with nearly 300. This precludes automated graphing in Excel. So, I have written a Python script to do this for me (mostly as practice, but hey, this will be pretty useful for the people actually working on it). I got this working adequately, and then realised that since I have coördinates for each borehole, I could graph the results. Looking around, I settled on leaflet.js to do the mapping part of it. As such, […]

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OpenCon 2014

So, I got to go to my first international conference. And what a conference. I suspect it may have spoiled me for future ones…. Apart from the fact that I could say that I literally flew to Washington DC for the weekend (OK, and the Friday and Monday) which was such a short time, it was fantastic. There are already a couple of good review posts out there (cf: Karin Purshouse, Ross Mounce, Hilda Bastien at Scientific American, Emilie Champagne) so I am not going to try and replicate them, but talk more about my own experience. First off, Washington is a pretty cool place, especially the bits we were in. Lots of lovely old buildings, stone-clad buildings, parks, statues and memorials and so on. The Metro is also pretty cool, and driving my car to campus today was a bit weird after how easy it would be not to have one there. Also, I got to go to MUSEUMS. I managed to find the time to visit the National Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Library of Congress. All totally awesome, and who can argue with an entry price of “free”. I will probably put […]

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Worthwhile Causes

Over the last few months I have come across two causes that I think are worth supporting. Map Action The first is Map Action ( http://www.mapaction.org/ ). This organisation is based in the UK, and provides first response mapping in disaster situations. This may sound a trifle odd, but think about it: if the midden hits the windmill in a big way, you need to know where the most manure is, in order to start organise sorting it out. You also need to know what is needed to clean up the manure. So the maps that get made are relevant to the situation, answering questions like “Is there a first aid post in this area?”, “Which areas have clean water?”, and “Where are communication lines cut?” which are of immense importance when organising a relief effort. The people on the ground are all volunteers, and drop everything at short notice to go and provide vital initial mapping services. Once other relief services, such as the Red Cross or MSF, become more established, Map Action hand over to them. Now, partly because I love maps, I think that this is fantastic. It utilises modern software, a diverse group of people and […]

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Construction Day

So I built a few things today. The first was finishing my stilts off: I think I might need to replace the current velcro straps with something that I can pull tight, but we shall see. These are a pretty modest 50cm or so high, and largely experimental. I might make so taller ones once I get the hang of these. The second item was a rola bola (also termed a balance board). Basically a PVC pipe and a 12mm thick board of shutterply. Feels very strange, sort of like floating. The last item was a box to put all my toys in: This still needs to be painted, but has room for quite a bit more stuff. It currently has a whole mess of balls, mostly for workshops/teaching, my clubs, a diabolo and a couple sets of poi. Quite a successful day, I think. If anyone wants designs or more photos, email me or get in touch on twitter.

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Landscapes

Yeah, so this is not a race report, but it is of interest. The current curator of @curateZAR happens to be a travel nut (that might be putting it mildly…). Since I travel a far bit in northern KwaZulu-Natal, I figured she might like some of the photos I have taken. Without further ado: Hope these are enjoyed.

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