Quick links: Various

Weekends are generally rather slow but for anyone that does visit, here are a few interesting titbits. Links cover UCT, Voyager space probes, Pakistan blasphemy case and criminal justice in South Africa.

Firstly I’d like to congratulate the University of Cape Town for two recent achievements. The Telegraph named it the 3rd most beautiful university in the world, after Oxford and Harvard. Some of the universities there look amazing so I definitely encourage going through them. It’s also had it’s position as the top university in Africa confirmed in two ranking systems for 2012/2013. It was ranked as 154th in Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings and in the top 200 for the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Still on an academic note, Voyager 1 is going to soon be the first man-made object to leave the solar system! Soon is a time-frame of days to years, but, although the article is over a week old, a glance at the NASA page didn’t seem to show that it had happened. When I tried to bring it up at a party people didn’t seem too impressed and I’m hoping my readers here will be more appreciative. I’d like to include some of the highlights from the article here.
“more than 11 billion miles from the sun”
“68 kilobytes of computer memory”
“17 hours for a radio signal from Voyager 1 to travel to Earth”
“carry gold-plated discs containing multilingual greetings, music and pictures”

Now to update an earlier link. The young girl accused of burning a Koran in Pakistan has been released on bail. Hopefully the case will be dropped, especially as a Muslim cleric has now been arrested for planting evidence on her.

Lastly, and back in South Africa, there’s a very sad story. A 16-year-old was arrested for stealing a R49 (A little under $6) pair of shorts. That’s wrong and he was caught and was meant to attend a court hearing. He didn’t show up, was arrested and sent to a prison with hardened criminals. He got sick, went to the prison hospital and was raped by a man doing a 15 year sentence for murder! He’s had a mental breakdown and left school and the Centre for Child Law is suing the state in an attempt to highlight this sort of problem in the “justice” system. I think a large part of the problem here is focussing on punishment rather rehabilitation of criminals, particularly youths. They (and perhaps other first offenders too) should not go to prisons where they have high risk of being raped, getting into drugs, being drafted into gangs and essentially forced into a life of crime. Then again with all the problems in the country I shouldn’t be too surprised that these things happen.


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