How to Save the Rhino? Like Superman defeated the KKK…

The only way to end rhino poaching is to stop the demand of Rhino horn. And the only way to stop the demand of rhino horn is to parody the buyers – relentlessly! 
Here’s a story from Mental Floss magazine about how Superman defeated the KKK in 1948: 

In the 1940s, The Adventures of Superman was a radio sensation. Kids across the country huddled around their sets as the Man of Steel leapt off the page and over the airwaves. Although Superman had been fighting crime in print since 1938, the weekly audio episodes fleshed out his storyline even further. It was on the radio that Superman first faced kryptonite, met Daily Planet reporter Jimmy Olsen, and became associated with “truth, justice, and the American way.” So, it’s no wonder that when a young writer and activist named Stetson Kennedy decided to expose the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, he looked to a certain superhero for inspiration.

In the post-World War II era, the Klan experienced a huge resurgence. Its membership was skyrocketing, and its political influence was increasing, so Kennedy went undercover to infiltrate the group. By regularly attending meetings, he became privy to the organization’s secrets. But when he took the information to local authorities, they had little interest in using it. The Klan had become so powerful and intimidating that police were hesitant to build a case against them.

Struggling to make use of his findings, Kennedy approached the writers of the Superman radio serial. It was perfect timing. With the war over and the Nazis no longer a threat, the producers were looking for a new villain for Superman to fight. The KKK was a great fit for the role.

In a 16-episode series titled “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” the writers pitted the Man of Steel against the men in white hoods.

As the storyline progressed, the shows exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets. By revealing everything from code words to rituals, the program completely stripped the Klan of its mystique. Within two weeks of the broadcast, KKK recruitment was down to zero. And by 1948, people were showing up to Klan rallies just to mock them.

A UK Porn Filter will lead to a higher birth rate

I’ve been wondering about the effects of the UK’s proposed internet porn filter on society. 

A (potentially negative) side effect will be an increase in the birth rate and a subsequent increase in health care costs.

My reasoning goes as follows: people who watch porn have less sex. Thus, if people start to watch less porn because of a filter, they’ll have sex more frequently and we’ll see an increase in pregnancies. 

We know that countries with high internet usage have lower birthrates, but this correlation has typically been ascribed to wealth and education, rather than internet usage. Perhaps it’s time to consider other reasons (easily accessible porn) for their lower birthrates? 

Here are some interesting facts: 

  1.  >35% of all porn in the USA is consumed by individuals who earn >$75K pa. Only 11% of households earn more than $75K. See this and this.
  2. Wealth correlates strongly to lower birth rates. Read about the Demographic Economic Paradox here
  3. High broadband penetration correlates strongly to low birth rates. Of the 34 countries with the highest internet penetration, none are in the top 75 countries with the highest birthrate. Only two, Israel & Mexico, are in the top 100. See here and here
  4. One third of all internet usage is pornography
  5. Porn kills your sex drive. See this, this & this or go and find any forum with 100s of replies from people experiencing the same thing. 

Of course, correlation doesn’t always mean causality. And it can also be argued that low birth rates are not a positive thing (who’s going to take care of ever longer living aged people?)


Quote of the Day

“With Great Problems come Great Opportunities!” – me

Porridge for Chess – Phiona Mutesi

My sister, Elodie, is getting married next weekend.

When I was young, I loved chess. As a 7 year old boy though, I didn’t have many people to play it with, though. Elodie, was 4 years old at the time. I taught her how to play chess and she picked it up quickly, but she lost interest in it just as rapidly as she lost interest in most of her boyfriends in later years. (until Justin came along). 

So I made up a story. This being the early ’80s and South Africans still being taught to hate & fear the Russians, I told her that if she couldn’t play a good chess game, men from Russia will visit and chop off her head. She believed me and within a few short weeks  Elodie was South Africa’s best 4 year old chess player… 

I was reminded of this today as I read about Phiona Mutesi. Phiona grew up in the Katwe slum of Kampala, Uganda. Her family was starving. 

She heard about a sports centre that was giving free chess lessons. And free porridge. She went there with her brother, but was chased away because she was too dirty. 

“My brother was very annoyed and took me back to my mom. My mum told me to never go back to chess, but I went back because I wanted that cup of porridge” 

She walked six kilometres ever day to play the game. Two years later, she won the Uganda women’s junior championship. 



What if money was no object?

 When I was 5, I wanted to be an astronaut. By the time I was 6, I wanted to be a pilot.

When I was 18, I still wanted to be a pilot, but I went to study medicine instead because A) The money looked good and B) I could get into med school.

I convinced myself that I could become a “flying doctor”, thus satisfying my itch to take to the skies. After 3 years of med school I quit. It was one of the scariest things I had to do. Largely, because quitting is humiliating and I have an almost unhealthy habit of persevering. Which is why I didn’t quit it after the 1st year, when I had already lost interest.

I don’t think spending 3 years of my life studying medicine was a waste, and I did learn some valuable things about the human body, but mostly I learnt some valuable lessons about life. I always had an interest in computers & electronics, but growing up I always thought of this interest as a “hobby”, something I would do in my spare time while I “worked” doing something else.

After med school, I took a year out doing various things and was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to go back to university to study electronics and computer science at UCT. Purely because I wanted to learn about it. I didn’t even think about making money from it. In the back of my mind I knew I would find a way to do what I love (building technology) and get paid for it. I’m by no means a billionaire, but it’s worked out okay so far 🙂

Earlier this year, I quit running Skyrove, and I had to start looking again. Do I want to continue doing what I’m doing or find a new career? I looked at all the fulfilling things I did in the last 8 years and realised that some of my most enjoyable moments were in teaching, educating and mentoring young technology entrepreneurs. I have an intense interest in education and my passion for technology has not wavered. I’m doing what I love (first) and I get paid for it (second). The video below is magic. You need to watch it and think about it and dream about it and make sure your kids do so as well. Share it!

Backstage with the Dalai Lama

Sent from my iPod

Orange Farm Internet Cafe

Tomorrow I am going to Orange Farm township in Soweto to deliver & install some equipment at an Internet Cafe! Group of amazing South African geeks/entrepreneurs have been contributing computers (Dial-a-Nerd), wireless backhaul (Internet Solutions), Anti-Virus (ESET Southern Africa) and asked me if Skyrove could provide a billing system (Currently the owner, Lennox, has to write down the times people start & stop using the computers and then charge them afterwards)??

Excited for my first trip to Soweto! (Btw, if anyone in Joburg is free & keen to join, please let me know! Need to be there by 3pm)??

Mandela Day 67 Minutes: What I’ll be doing

1. Take the time to select an African micro-entrepreneur on Kiva and lend them some moolah to get started??

2. Skyrove??will be donating a wireless router to Grandmothers Against Poverty & AIDS??in Khayelitsha. I'll be taking some time to set it up.??

That's it! That should take up 67 minutes, cost a few hundred Rand, but have an impact that can be measured in thousands of Rands.??

Internet Access is a Human Right – Help provide internet access in the ME

Internet Access promotes Freedom of Speech. Therefore, blocking
Internet Access restricts Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Speech is
recognized as a Human Right and it therefore follows that Internet
Access also is.

You can help ensure that more people in the Middle East have Internet
Access by donating to an Avaaz initiative to “blackout-proof” protests

p.s. I take no particular side w.r.t. regime change in most ME
countries, as I simply don’t know enough about ME politics.

Zwelinzima Vavi – time to prosecute tender corruption


At The Daily Maverick Gathering