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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the dream of scientists and technologists for decades. From self-aware worker robots like those in Isaac Asimov’s stories, to murderous assassins like those in the Terminator movies, Science Fiction has paved the way for technology intelligent enough to interact with humans on an equal level.

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The past month has seen Mother Nature’s wrath unleashed along what seems to be the entire northern half of the planet. From floods in Bangladesh, India and Italy, to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and the soon-to-come Jose, human beings are being reminded that they are but a small part of the ecosystem they live in.

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The Department of Environmental Affairs has announced the 2017 winners of its annual greenest municipality competition. This competition has replaced the cleanest town competition, and looks at factors like waste management; energy efficiency and conservation; water management; landscaping, tree planting and beautification; and public participation and institutional arrangements.

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Science generally only makes the headlines when a new discovery is made, or something goes wrong. While scientists rightfully deserve the kudos they get for progressing mankind’s knowledge, those that are enhancing existing cures and technologies rarely get mentioned outside of academic circles. Their work, too, is done behind the scenes, and many of their advances are never noticed by the general public.

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Electric cars have been touted as one of the primary solutions to the world’s carbon emission challenges. China has set aggressive targets for electric vehicle sales to curb pollution and some European countries aim to be all-electric by 2040 or sooner. Even the US is pushing electric car sales, albeit for more commercial reasons.

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Most people have never heard of Etherium or Monero, but they have heard of Bitcoin. All three are cryptocurrencies – a form of digital money – and they are a few of the dozens of digital currencies available.

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The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has set the cat among the pigeons in its claims that the load shedding of 2008 and 2014 was ‘self-inflicted’ by Eskom. Not only does Outa believe load shedding was avoidable, but that “corrupt practices” exacerbated the situation.

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We keep hearing stories about how the economy is putting a stranglehold on all areas of our lives, but a recent Career Junction poll shows that those in the engineering and related sectors have not been as negatively affected as those in other industries – at least as far as their salaries are concerned.

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Charcoal has long been a favourite medium for artists, but a South African artist has taken this to a new level. Hannelie Coetzee has used targeted burning to create the image of a locust and grasshopper on grazing grassland near Johannesburg.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.

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