General

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According to a recent report by Accenture, around 5.7 million South African jobs will be at risk over the next seven years due to digital automation. In a country with the worst labour-employee relations in the world (we are ranked bottom out of 137 countries), not to mention our extremely high unemployment rates, the Fourth Industrial Revolution could lead to a local crisis on an unimagined scale.

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The dire state of South Africa’s schools is well documented, but while much has been said about the poor quality of our education in general, and our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in particular, there is an increasing crisis that has not been spoken about enough – what poor literacy will mean to us as a country.

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For years, we have heard about the promise of the MeerKAT radio telescope, which will help us see further into space than we have ever been able to before. With a decades-long build time, every new discovery made by the telescope in its incremental stages highlights the potential once it is completed – and once the full Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is operational.

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Sport on a national level is so much more than the game being played: It becomes a representation of a country; of its abilities, its superiority (or inferiority) compared to its neighbours; its standing on the world stage. This seems to be true whether athletes are representing their country at huge events like world cup tournaments or smaller sporting events.

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The fact that climate change is a real problem may be up for debate among denialists, but that the fact that the world has seen many extreme weather patterns over the past few years is undeniable. Not only do the denialists ignore the evidence of increasing levels of flooding, drought, typhoons and other extreme weather, but they are ignoring the scientists who have studied these phenomena and found that the world’s weather patterns are changing as a result of a variety of factors – primarily human.

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Every year, organisations of every variety come up with reports and lists on all sorts of topics – from economic growth, to industry-specific insights, to social issues. The United Nations, for example, releases a “happiness index”, looking at – as the name implies – which countries in the world boast the happiest people.

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In the movie Back to the Future, the main character, Marty McFly travels from 1989 to 2015. Many of the “futuristic” technologies he encounters have become common in our day-to-day lives – in fact, many were available way before 2015 – but some are still seemingly impossible to achieve.

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A week and a half after the Rand reached new highs against the backdrop of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment, his cabinet reshuffle, and South Africa’s “new dawn”, the currency has plummeted once again. This was the result of the fact that Parliament voted to establish a multi-party committee whose sole function will be to discuss amending section 25 of the Constitution in order to expropriate land without compensation.

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Last week saw the latest tragedy in a long string of tragedies that have become almost commonplace in the United States since 1999: another mass shooting. Almost 20 years ago, the Columbine High School massacre shone an unpleasant light on America’s gun-loving society, with 13 people – of which twelve were teenage students – dying at the hands of fellow students. The latest school shooting, at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, saw 17 people killed.