Get on board


South African musicians are discovering a new way of getting seen and heard. A fledgeling online outfit called "Taxijam" has been inviting them to board a taxi for a five minute ride during which they are filmed and recorded performing a number of their choice. Taxijam uploads this footage, unedited, onto the web.

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How now brown cow?

While local economists are predicting  that things will begin looking up in 2009, head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has said that 2009 will be "a bad year, with recession for most advanced economies and growth decreasing for emerging economies". Institute of International Finance managing director, Charles Dallara says that we are in the midst of "the most severe, globally synchronised recession in modern economic history." fet-040108

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Fire storm

fet1-150209These images of southeast Australia were taken just hours apart on the 7th of February by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The photograph below shows a parched but smoke-free landscape before the region erupted in a host of out-of-control bush fires which have since claimed the lives of more than 200 people and millions of animals. In the later picture (right) a large plume of smoke is seen spreading southeast, driven by fierce desert winds that grew out of giant dust storms to the northwest of the country.
(NASA image – MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight)








I want to ride my bicycle

fet220209191 years ago, on February 17, 1818 German nobleman Baron Karl Christian Ludwig von Drais de Sauerbrun, patented a transportation device which he called a Laufmaschine  which translated means "running machine". A Karl Drais memorial website at calls the event " the big bang of personal mobility".

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Hole touches Earth's edge

Each year in September and October, the size of the hole in the Ozone layer reaches its peak. On October 9,  2000 it drifted so far north that the citizens of Punta Arenas, Chile, the world's southernmost city, were warned to stay indoors to avoid being sunburnt, which can happen in as little as seven minutes when there is not enough ozone. In September 2000, NASA measured the 'hole' or ozone depletion area and put it at a record 28.3 million square kilometers, an area three times the size of the entire land mass of the United States.


Satellite image of the Ozone Depletion Zone in September 2000 Right: The location of Punta Arenas ( and Google Maps)


Right to see

malariaMike Rhode, head archivist at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C is working to make military medical images, from the Civil War to Vietnam,  available on photo sharing website Flickr. So far, over 800 images out of the half a million scanned have been uploaded.

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Bad weather ... in space

fet290309At 11:18 on the morning of September 1, 1859, 33-year-old British  astronomer Richard Carrington, was carefully copying the outlines of a group of sunspots visible on the image of the sun projected by his telescope onto a screen, when two intensely bright eruptions of white light appeared. Carrington ran to call somebody to witness what he was seeing. When he returned about a minute later, "it was already much changed and enfeebled." By 11.23, just five minutes later, the brilliant beads of light had disappeared.

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A delicate mission

On  the 22d of September 1887 Nellie Bly was commissioned by the New York World  (a newspaper owned by Joseph Pulitzer) to have herself committed to an asylum for the insane in New York, "with a view to writing a plain and unvarnished narrative of the treatment of the patients therein and the methods of management".

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