South Africa:What It’s Like Curating Ancient Fossils – a Palaeontologist Shares Her Story

analysis By Gaokgatlhe Mirriam Tawane, Ditsong Museums of South AfricaNot many people can say their working days involve living in the past – but as a museum curator, that's a big part of what I do.
Curation is an interesting field, and one that's not well known or understood. It involves preserving and managing a collection of some scientific significance; tangible scientific assets housed either at a museum or a university. A curator safeguards these heritage objects for future generations.
That's no easy task, particularly when you're curating a specialist museum that houses a collection of fossils and other heritage objects such as ancient art and artefacts.
I'm the curator of the Plio-Pleistocene collection at South Africa's Ditsong National Museum of Natural History. This collection comprises of hominin specimens from a variety of sites located in the Cradle of Humankind.
As is often the case in the world of palaeontology, where we deal with scar..

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East Africa:Hope for Northern White Rhino As Surrogate Southern Conceives

Photo: Mark Carwardine/WWF
A southern white rhinoceros grazes (file photo). By Allan OlingoA southern white rhino has conceived through artificial insemination, increasing hopes of saving the northern white rhino subspecies.
Researchers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, USA, announced on Thursday that the seven-year-old female southern white rhino christened Victoria is pregnant and she will now be watched over the next year-and-a half to see if she will successfully deliver a calf.
This has been seen as a big breakthrough, as it is the first step towards saving the northern white rhino species through artificial insemination. The last known northern white rhino, Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, two months ago.
“The corroboration of this pregnancy through artificial insemination is not only historic for our organisation but also provides a critical step in our effort to save the northern white rhino that is at the brink of extinction,” said Barbara D..

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South Africa:Where Hominid Brains Are Concerned, Size Doesn’t Matter

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: Small Brain Didn't Hold Homo Naledi Back!
International researchers were surprised to find that Homo naledi, a small hominin, had a remarkably complex, human-shaped brain.
Johannesburg — The recently-discovered species Homo naledi may have had a pint-sized brain, but that brain packed a big punch.
New research by Ralph Holloway and colleagues – that include researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa – published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the imprints of the brain upon the skulls of this species, called endocasts.
The research highlights the humanlike shape of naledi's tiny brain, surprising scientists who studied the fossils. These findings draw further into question the long-held belief that human evolution was an inevitable march towards bigger, more complex brains.
The discovery of Homo naledi by Professor Lee Berger of Wits University and his team at the Rising Star caves in..

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Africa:Why Nuclear Power for African Countries Doesn’t Make Sense

opinion By Hartmut WinklerOver the last few years reports have surfaced of a range of African countries planning nuclear power plants.
At the moment, the only nuclear plant in operation in Africa is South Africa's Koeberg, producing 1.86GW of power. This, according to some African leaders, is about to change. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently made the astonishing statement that his country is planning 30GW of nuclear power by 2026. That equates to 16 times the current total of nuclear energy on the entire African continent.
Uganda's is only one of a number of countries interested in nuclear power. Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom has boasted that it's concluded nuclear power memoranda of understanding with Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan and Zambia. Uganda is also on the list.
Most African countries suffer from severe electricity shortages. The majority need to double their generating capacity to meet current needs.
According to International Energy Agency ..

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Ghana:One Percent of GDP for Science and Technology Research – -Minister

By Solace Esi Amankwa and Abu MubarikThe government will be spending one percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on science and technology research, Professor Frimpong Boateng, Minister for the Environment, Science and Technology and Innovation, has disclosed.
Professor Boateng noted that the current budget of about 0.25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was inadequate and not even enough to pay scientists well.
He was speaking at the commissioning of the first-ever Museum of Light at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra.
The commissioning of the Museum of Light coincided with the International Day of Light which focuses on harnessing the potential of light and light-based technologies for development.
“This is what the president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been saying all along since his inauguration that for us to make any headway, we have to use science and technology in our national development,” he said.
Prof. Boateng also noted that nati..

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Zambia:Rosatom, Zambia to Construct Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology

State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom and the Republic of Zambia signed a general contract for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST).
The signing took place during the 10th international Atomexpo-2018 forum in Sochi. On behalf of Russia, the document was signed by General Director of State Specialized Design Institute JSC (GSPI) Vyacheslav Galushkov, on behalf of Zambia – by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Zambia Mabvuto Sakala. The signing procedure took place in the presence of the General Director of State Corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev and the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Zambia Mathew Nkhuwa. Construction of the center is the first joint project of Russia and Zambia in the field of nuclear technologies.
General Director of the State Corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev said:
“Signing the contract opens a new chapter in the partnership between Russia and Zambia. In the nearest future, we..

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Uganda:Museveni Receives Delegation of Cuban Scientists

By Emmanuel AinebyoonaEntebbe — President Museveni yesterday received a team of Cuban scientists who are on a 10-day working visit to Uganda.
The core reason for the visiting Cuban delegation is to develop a strategy of bringing Gavac anti-tick vaccine into the country.
The Cuban scientists led by Dr Hector Luis Machado Morales from the Heber Biotec S.A. firm in Havana, were received by President Museveni at State House in Entebbe.
They were accompanied by their Ugandan counterparts led by Prof Anthony Mugisha.
According to a press statement issued by the State House last evening, the two science teams are scheduled to work together.
“President Museveni urged the scientists from Cuba and their Ugandan counterparts to expend their efforts in the fight against ticks in Uganda,” the statement read in part.
The start
At the meeting, Prof Mugisha informed President Museveni that the programme implementation will begin with the hard hit districts in the country targeting 500,000 cattl..

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West Africa:West Africa Taps Solar Energy Potential

By Bram PosthumusIn South Africa, workers will soon begin construction of a new 100 megawatt solar power plant near the town of Pofadder. In Morocco, expansion of a giant solar power plant near the city of Ourzazate will soon increase its capacity to 580 megawatts. Solar energy has been slower to arrive in West Africa, but growth is underway.
West Africa’s largest solar power station was officially opened in November 2017. It’s at Zagtouli, on the outskirts of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. It cost $55 million to build; the money came from France and the European Union. Zagtouli now delivers 30 megawatts to the national power grid.
Before Zagtouli, this was West Africa’s largest, at Bokhol, in Senegal. It opened in 2016, cost $30 million to build but the money story here is different.
Charlotte Aubin, founder and director of Greenwish, a renewable energy company, was closely involved. She helped create the first Independent Power Producer, or IPP, with money from Senegalese inv..

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South Africa:Human Ancestor Had ‘Remarkably Complex’ Brain

analysis By Shaun SmillieHomo naledi only had a brain the size of an orange, but scientists now believe its brain punched way above its weight, enabling it to perform a number of human-like behaviours.
In a new study that appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of international researchers were surprised to find that Homo naledi, a small hominin, had a remarkably complex human shaped brain.
This discovery goes against traditional evolutionary thought that holds that it was the emergence of big brains that drove human evolution.
The team, which included members of Wits University, were able to study naledi's brain by examining the endocasts – the imprint that the brain left upon the skull.
They found traces of the brain shape on a collection of skull fragments and partial crania from five adult individuals that had been excavated from the Rising Star cave, in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg. One of these crania contained the clea..

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Kenya:Satellite Launch Misplaced Priority, Wasteful Venture

opinion The successful launch on Friday of the First Kenya University Nano Satellite — Precursor Flight (1KUNS-PF) — with the potential of conducting commercial Space missions that previously required large satellites is a technological milestone worth noting.
Sure, our third world peers might consider regarding us with some more respect. Moreover, as noted by the University of Nairobi vice-chancellor prior to the launch, the satellite will help the country to effectively collect data on climate change, wildlife mapping, earth mapping, weather forecast, coastline monitoring, transport and logistics.
IMPORT EGGS
Nevertheless, in a country, that imports eggs from South Africa, millions of toothpicks from China and over 500,000 tonnes of vegetable oils, according to Kenya Bureau of Statistics, methinks such a grand gesture by the UoN in partnership with the duo of Japanese and Italian tech firms is an unnecessary sideshow and an insult to the millions of jobless and poverty-stricken ..

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