Thursday, 28 June 2012

Discover London

Here are an extra couple of places to visit in London - Shae Bloem wrote the article for Supernova, and she sent us these to add to our Supernova extras:

You don't have to look all over the place to see great creatures of the Earth. The ZSL (Zoological Society of London) Zoo has over 720 animal species to gawk at and they're all in the same place. There's an Amphitheatre that hosts the 'Animals in Action' display that will blow your mind - incredible birds in flight, hunters and scavengers showing you their food-catching skills on the ground. Take a treetop trip through London's only living rain forest, full of marmosets, tamarins, sloths and a tamandua. Take the Gorilla Kingdom tracking trail and meet the colony of western lowland gorillas. If that seems too scary, take a swim at Penguin Beach. Launched in 2011, the beach is an imitation of a South American beach landscape with 100 Macaroni and Humboldt penguins. Prepare for things to get wild in here!

Sea Life
Two million litres of water, thousands of creatures, 500 species, 65 displays, 40 different sharks, 30 plants and foliage species, 14 themed areas in just three floors! You don't want to paddle past this deep-sea-in-the-city experience. One of Europe's largest marine life collections, Sea Life London Aquarium guarantees a swimmingly good time. See Cuban crocodiles, a family of poison arrow frogs, brown sharks, black tip reef sharks, penguins, Antarctic spider crabs, piranhas, and even endangered species. Get involved in feeding some animals, watch beautiful diving displays and even touch some of these exquisite animals. Take a dauntingly exciting Shark Walk or watch gentler green sea turtles water-waltzing. You don't have to be underwater to live the underwater adventure - see for yourself!

Discover more of London in Supernova issue 5!


Our journalist who wrote the 'Photo Time' article had so much more to say! He wrote this little bit about digital photography and traditional film photography, the darkroom and camera lenses.. So give it a read - it's pretty interesting! Over to Francois Joubert:

Digital versus Film
All modern day cameras are digital cameras, but if you go back ten years, digital was only starting to take over from the film cameras. If you go even further back, you will find that film was the king of photography for over 100 years!

What is film? Film is the stuff that the camera uses to create the picture on, much like the canvas on which you paint a painting. Like canvas, film can only be used for one picture and that is why you had to constantly buy it. On the surface of the film there is a very fine layer of chemicals that react to light and it is these chemicals that create the picture.
Digital works very differently, the digital sensor acts as the film in a digital camera, but the picture can be removed from the sensor and is then saved on the memory card. A sensor acts more like a blackboard then: where you can constantly draw pictures on it and erase them to draw new ones. The reason why digital took so long to overtake film is because the technology to make the quality of a digital camera better than the quality of a film camera was very hard to manufacture.

There are still people today that prefer to use film rather than digital cameras, because the quality of film is so spectacular! The problem with film is that after you take the picture you still have to do a lot of chemical processes on the film before you can actually look at your picture, where with digital cameras you can see your picture immediately. You also have to buy film to take pictures, where with digital it is all free except for the memory card used to store the photos on.

The darkroom
The darkroom is exactly what the name says it is, it is a dark room. The darkroom is a room that is used to perform chemical processes on film so that the picture can be seen. These processes are called 'developing the film'. After you've developed the film, you can see the picture on the film itself, but if you want a picture, you have to print the film on a piece of paper by using a certain machine, depending on the type of film you used. The reason you have to do all these things in the darkroom is because the film still has the chemicals on it that reacts to light and you have to do the developing in very low to no light conditions. Even some of the paper used for printing is sensitive to certain types of light. 'Black and white' paper can safely be used in red light as seen in movies, but colour paper cannot be used in any type of light. Developing photos in a darkroom takes a lot of effort and even more patience, and is one of the leading reasons that film is not used so widely today.

Did you know the first cameras did not have lenses? They were only boxes with a small hole in one side and a piece of film on the opposite side. So simple! A lens makes a camera much more versatile though, as well as the quality of the image a whole lot better. Today, you get a wide variety of lenses. Some lenses are specifically made to take photos of small things really close up, like a magnifying glass, while other lenses can zoom very far and others can take a single picture of a very wide area from close by.

There are two parts of a camera: the lens and the body. The body is the part with all the knobs and dials, and where the digital sensor or film is located. Most everyday cameras you can buy have the lens built into the body of the camera, but on the more professional cameras, the lenses can be removed and interchanged with one another. A very common saying in photography is: “A camera is only as good as its lens”, so no matter how good your camera is, if you have a low quality lens, your pictures will be low quality as well.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sci-Bono provides some more fun

Julia and our new publishing intern, Magdaleen, checked out Sci-Bono's new holiday programme. As usual, they reported back that is was amazing, so we had Magdaleen write up a review of the day for us:

Located in Newtown Johannesburg, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre hosts a variety of workshops during its Wind and Water holiday programme for children of all ages. These workshops take place from 9am to 5pm every day, but there are also a lot of interesting things to do at the centre in between workshops.

The centre has more than 350 mathematics, science and technology exhibits. These exhibits do not require any previous knowledge as their aim is to help learners understand the science they are surrounded by in their daily lives. The exhibits are interactive and parents are often seen also engaging in them.

An example of such an exhibit is the car sponsored by BMW. Learners can sit in the vehicle and experience how it works, but all the different parts of the vehicle are also on display. These displays show the finer workings of gears, engines and various mechanical components. By simply turning a lever or pressing a button learners can see how these components work.
Another display allows learners to get a feel for construction. There are foam bricks and a structure where learners can build the walls of a building. There is also an assembly line and a crane they can operate to drop their foam bricks in the right places.
Some displays involve more physical activity, for example the Science of Soccer exhibit. Here learners get to test their response times by kicking a soccer ball in a match-like simulation area.
The Supernova team visited a workshop at Sci-Bono on building Water Rockets. The team at Sci-Bono explained to the group that by using a bottle, some cardboard, water and a bicycle pump you can build a rocket that will shoot high into the air. The following materials were used:

·         Plastic 2 litre Coke bottle 
·         Cardboard
·         Colour paper
·         A stopper
·         A pump
·         Sellotape
·         Scissors
·         Glue gun

The coloured paper was folded into a cone and sellotaped to the bottom of the bottle to form the top of the rocket. By making a cone shape the rocket becomes streamlined. The cardboard was cut into fins, folded and glued to the sides of the bottle to allow the rocket to stand upright. The rocket was then filled with water and secured onto the pump. As air is pumped into the rocket the pressure builds until the rocket shoots off into the air leaving only a spray of water behind.

Launching the rockets caused a lot of excitement among the children who attended the workshop and they assured us they would be doing the experiment again at home.

Sci-Bono also offers Science Shows where learners get to see various chemical reactions and learn where these chemicals are used in practice. Other exhibits include themes on sound, electromagnetism and renewable energy amongst other things.

Children can explore the centre alone or in groups and there is a restaurant with a variety of snacks and meals on offer.

Sci-Bono is a definite must-see for curious kids during their school holidays. Entry fees are R10 for children under 6 years and R20 for adults. Parents can phone 011 639 8400 for more information.  

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Look At Our Furry Families

This past Saturday the team at BK Publishing decided to give a helping hand and volunteer at Wetnose. It was a blast and actually got us to talking about our own little loves. So here we are - pets 'n all:

Benoit and Hansa

I have an Africanis dog named Hansa. He's 8 months old and full of energy! He is a wonderful companion and he runs like the wind when he is in the veld. He sometimes drags his blanket or pillow to where we are so that he can sleep close to us. When he is really lazy or tired he eats out of his bowl while lying down with his front legs on each side of the bowl. He makes chimpanzee sounds when he is looking for us around the house. We go for a run most mornings and he goes hiking everywhere with us. He goes to puppy school on Saturdays and often visits my parents to play with his best friend Channel.

Andrea, Jessie and Jilly

We haven't had pets for a long time (our garden is too small), but when we lived in a bigger house with a huge garden, we had two really cool dogs – a fox-terrier/bull terrier mix named Jessie and a Dachshund named Jilly, among a menagerie of two budgies, several goldfish, silkworms and a hamster. What I loved most about them is that they were really a big part of our childhood. Jessie was a real love of a dog – very loyal. Jilly thought she was the Queen of Everything (typical snobbish behaviour of a Dachshund, but somehow endearing). Jessie was a bit crazy and ran around screeching at dragonflies with a Coke bottle hanging out the side of her mouth. She would also jump up against the side of walls like a free runner. Jilly would try and copy Jessie with a Coke bottle, but would end up just chewing on the bottles instead. My sister and I used to give them treats and flowers off one of the bushes in our garden. Somehow they thought they were tasty (a bit weird, I know...). Jessie was a bit difficult to hug as she jumped around a lot like a little lamb, but Jilly loved laying in front of the heater or having a bath, lifting a leg at a time to scrub her tummy with shampoo.

Julia, Xena, Rambo and Kitty Anne

I’ve got two dogs, namely Rambo and Xena. Rambo and Xena are brother and sister, and both are Boerboels. We got them as puppies in 2005, when my sister and I returned from our trip to England - it was a surprise from my parents. Both our dogs are named after fictional heroes. Xena specifically was named after my favourite TV programme as a child called Xena: Warrior Princess.I’ve also got a cat named Kitty Anne. Kitty Anne was adopted. She showed up at our house one day and we all fell in love with her. Now she’s taken over the house! My doggies and cat aren’t just pets, they're part of the family. Rambo is the serious one in the pack, whereas Xena is the caring one who is very sensitive to human emotions. The cutest things they've ever done? Rambolikes battling the war of the blankets and laundry day. If you are looking for a missing sock, the one to ask is Rambo. He’s our resident wolf because he literally howls like a wolf sometimes. He is also our weatherman. We always know when the rain is coming. Rambo likes to go for drives on the back of our bakkie, but Xena is very afraid! So be warned if he jumps up... you first need to go for a drive, otherwise you will never get him off. Xenahas the cutest face, but she’s very naughty! She is the healthiest dog we’ve ever had! We’ve got a mango and plum tree in the yard, and Xena loves eating the fruits from the tree. I love how she always wants to play, but don’t underestimate her... she’s fast and very strong! Often Xena will give you this look and stare... then you know she wants more cuddles and attention... she loves to be stroked behind the ears.

Mari, Jacky and Sparky
I have a mixed-Dachshund called Jacky and my fiancé and I
have a lively Jack Russell called Sparky. Sparky doesn't live with me though. I love how much emotion they show - Jacky gets annoyed if I go away for long periods and shows it by ignoring me for a couple of hours after I get home. It's actually sweet! Sparky is just such a bundle of love and hyper-activity, if he wants some food or attention he just suddenly becomes a cute and calm little man who just wants to cuddle. When Jacky wants attention she starts to doggie-talk, making funny noises with quiet barks and growls. It's a continual cutest thing. One time we got Sparky a new dog-tag for his collar, it was a tubby thing, silver and glittery. He was so confused by this new thing hanging under his chin, he tried to catch it by swinging his head and hopping around - too funny! They get special dog food and quaint bedding both inside the house and in the garden. Every now and then we get them a little treat. There is no doubt about the amount of cuddles and playtime they get on a daily basis. I love my little man and old lady!

Nadia and her animal farm

Three doggies and a cat. The dogs are two Yorkshire terriers named Lady Francesca, "Lady" for short, and Jessie who is her momma. We also have an old, white Maltese poodle named Holly, however, she goes by many different names including Lolly, Lolly Pop, Louise and Lovings. Our kitty cat, named Savana, is a bit of a wild child that roams the streets of Faerie Glen and only returns to sit on my legs while I am sleeping. I love that they are the the last creatures to wish me well when I leave the house in the morning and the first to greet me when I come back. They think I'm awesome. Lady is a very sensitive little pup and whenever I am sad she will come find me and crawl onto my lap. She is my sunshine. Our dogs and cat are treated like queens. Everyday they get a mixture of pellets, chicken and pets' mince. At least once or twice a week they get to travel around the block and bark at the other doggies. Best of all is that they get to sleep under my covers until I leave home and sometimes they just stay there until I get back.

We would like to dedicate this post to Jessie, who passed away over the weekend - rest well baby girl!

Monday, 25 June 2012

An Exciting Initiative!

Here is a press release we got just last week:

15 June 2012, Middelburg:- Columbus Stainless (Pty) Ltd’s corporate ethos states that a business is not only measured on its ability to satisfy customers and reward stakeholders, or on safety and environmental sensitivities, but also on how it adds value to the community in which it operates. 

As part of its own commitment to corporate social investment (CSI) as well as its Youth Day celebrations, Columbus Stainless today handed over 75 DeskBags, school uniforms, and school shoes to HIV/AIDS orphans cared for by the Vukanethemba Home Base Care (Vukanethemba) in Mhluzi, Mpumalanga. The PVC billboards used to make these DeskBags was donated by leading outdoor advertising company, ADreach.

“As a responsible corporate citizen and an active participant of the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Stainless realises that Middelburg has a relatively small community but that there are many needs,” says Jo Mabhena, General Manager of Human Resources for Columbus Stainless. “We identified Vukanethemba Home Base Care as a non-profit organisation that needed our assistance.”

Vukanethemba purely survives on donations but makes a remarkable difference in the community by helping to provide quality life to those living with HIV/AIDS. As part of their daily responsibilities, the 17 employees at Vukanethemba see to the needs of 80 AIDS patients and their families, which include daily home visits, feeding, washing, and dressing patients that cannot help themselves. Further, they also help with counselling and ARV treatment, as well as providing breakfast and lunch for 56 HIV/AIDS orphans daily.

“Our decision to support Vukanethemba’s AIDS orphans was driven by our shared commitment to making a difference among the local community.  Not only will their supported children benefit from the new school uniforms but we are particularly excited about the advantages associated with the DeskBags.

“DeskBags are durable and fully functional school bags made from recycled PVC billboard materials, that when folded open, allows for portable desk support too.  As many of the children stay in informal settlements, and do not have access to a desk or table at home, the DeskBags will provide them a work surface to do their homework or studies on.”

Madelain Roscher, Managing Director of DeskBags adds that recent studies by UNESCO revealed that there are as many as 4 million children in South Africa who do not have access to school desks.

“Education is one of the most important elements in a child’s life and while many children are eager to learn, their lack of facilities can considerably hamper their educational development and they could subsequently struggle to become positive contributing members of society,” says Roscher.

“Many children do not have access to formal classrooms, and are forced to either kneel on the ground or work on make-shift desks during their school day, which as you can imagine is extremely uncomfortable. In addition, a number of these children walk considerable distances to and from school carrying books and other supplies, and we didn’t want to add to their load, so we created the all in one solution, the DeskBag.”

DeskBags are also eco-friendly, waterproof, and light enough for even pre-primary scholars to use.  Each DeskBag also comes standard with reflective binding that allows children to be easily spotted when walking in the rain or dark.

“Over and above supporting needy children in our immediate community, we are also supporting a wonderful enterprise development initiative as DeskBags are produced by disadvantaged women who were previously unemployed,” concludes Mabhena.

For more information on how you can get involved with DeskBags, join their Facebook page on: