Showing the importance of evidence

Late last month, I attended the MRC Early Career Scientist Conference which was two days of young scientists talking about the work they were doing. I got to hear about the different research being conducted all around the country and there were a few presentations that I want to share with you because they show how relevant evidence can be to people’s daily lives and come from a South African context. As far as I know all the research that was presented is unpublished and all I have to go by in reporting is my memory and the one page abstracts in the conference booklet. Continue reading

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Updates: Aan and Nando’s

There’s not too much new about the Alexander Aan case but there are a few things I missed when I originally wrote about his sentencing. There seems to be some disagreement with what he wrote. I originally read, and quoted, “God doesn’t exist” but now I’m seeing “God does not exist.” Of course that’s not really that big of a difference and it’s probably not even worth worrying about since he probably posted in Indonesian and not English. A little more serious was that I missed part of his sentence. Not only was Aan sentenced to 2,5 years in jail but also fined Rp100 million (about US$10 600). This article has some information on the groups that are supporting him.

Back in South Africa, there has been positive news regarding Nando’s anti-xenophobia advert. If you remember it was banned by the SABC, DStv and e.tv and M-Net for supposedly having a xenophobic undertone and in case people misunderstood it. This week, TopTV announced that it would show the ad on a number of it’s channels. One of the positive knock-on effects of that decision is that DStv has now lifted it’s own ban on the advert. Hopefully the other channels will soon follow suit.

UPDATE: Not worth making a new post for this but Nando’s has said it’s no longer interested in showing it’s ad on DStv.

Being against xenophobia is the same as encouraging it?

Apparently that’s so. Nando’s most recent advert was designed to promote diversity in the country. It did this by humorously making all the foreigners disappear in a puff of smoke till all that was left were the Khoisan. If I remember correctly (I can’t view the ad at current) it ended saying something like “True South Africans appreciate diversity.” The message is an important one, we come from all over but where you come from doesn’t matter. We are all humans and should all learn to live with each other. Continue reading