Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thermodynamics Man

Driven to emotionally telling doodling during a singularly slow and repetitive physics lecture on the proportionality of energy input to the mass and temperature change, and very little else.
over and over again...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shadows and Snow

Two gorgeous pictures of shadows on snow, (completely unedited, I might add)

This I took while on a brisk morning walk to Savages to restock. The day was bitingly cold and beautiful.

And this I took that same evening on the way to the dining hall:

When it gets that cold, the only thing that makes it worthwhile is the snow...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bad Journalism: A letter to Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche reported live this evening on the life, views and murder of the controversial Eugene Terre'blanche. I was offended by the lack of professionalism and good journalism their presenter displayed repeatedly, and therefore decided to write to them.

Good day,
I just watched the Carte Blanche show about Eugene Terre'blanche's murder, and I would like to lodge a complaint against Carte Blanche, and against Bongani, for bad journalism, sensationalism and journalistic irresponsibility.

It was made clear from the beginning by your guests that the murder was precipitated by a wage dispute, not by their race, or which sports team they supported (for, you see, both scenarios are equally irrelevant in this case). This common knowledge is a crucial point, and one that any responsible journalist would be determined to propound. To my shock, it seems Carte Blanche was determined to do precisely the opposite.
Both guests were firm in asserting that no connections should be made between Julius Malema's hate speech and the murder at least until all aspects of the murder were clear, if at all. Indeed Eusebius Mckaiser began by saying that it was cheap, bad journalism - indeed an attempt to have a 'sexy headline' to claim so. This should have been a warning to Carte Blanche that all talk on the subject of Malema with respect to the murder should be over. Within seconds, however, Bongani - no doubt making his methodical and unthinking way through the poorly prepared list of questions - continued to mention the two juicy newsbites, asking repetitive and blunt questions that inevitably related them, thereby contributing to the problem.

Making such a connection, as I’m sure bad journalists desperate for a headline will, is harmful to South Africa and an already volatile climate. As a representative of Carte Blanche, Bongani should not have been entitled to an opinion. He is merely there to facilitate the story at hand in an appropriately disinterested manner. Were it his own talk show, he would be welcome to his own opinion, and his talk show alone would suffer for it. As he was live on Carte Blanche’s behalf, he should have been careful not to allow his poor journalism to colour the viewers’ generally positive view of the show as a balanced commentary on our world. Even after it was clear the list of questions before him had been rendered irrelevant and almost ignorant by the scintillating insights from the guests, he continued to press forward with question after question

Thankfully, Mr McKaiser repeatedly fielded and swiftly dealt with Bongani’s clumsy questions, deftly managing to turn them into informative and intelligent damage control. Indeed, after Carte Blanche played a short clip of Terre’blanche recounting a graphic and violent attack, Eusebius was quick to discredit its relevance, candidly saying that it was a great snipped for Carte Blanche to play, but was again, irrelevant to the murder. His voice was the clearest of reason and rational thought, refusing to buy into the cheap use of wild claims. If Mr McKaiser were not already a columnist in his own right, I would have no objection to his writing for Carte Blanche. I feel that there would then perhaps be some true journalism, rather than the sensationalism so often associated with bad journalism and - sadly - now with Carte Blanche.

As far as facts go at the moment, the murder was caused by a wage dispute, not by race or Malema’s hate speech, or who Terre’blanche was. Until further investigation is done, that is all it should be, and Carte Blanche’s report should have left it at that, for anything beyond ventured into the realm of dangerous and reckless speculation.

I would appreciate some reply as to whether Carte Blanche is aware of the nature of their transgression and irresponsibility, and whether there is to be some recourse with Bongani and the author of the questions, because I fear there are tumultuous times ahead, and the media are perfectly positioned to influence the course of whatever is to come. It would be a shame for Carte Blanche to be blamed for inciting or advocating any such outrageous claims.

-    Nikheil Singh

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I've spent countless moments hunched over flowers waiting for an obliging bee to settle. More often than not, their stops are too fleeting, they disappear into the flower too quickly, or my movement scares them off, so shots like this are few and far between, and precious.

Mail & Guardian