SASHG & YRF 2013 conference

The large gap in posting at the beginning of October was due to the Southern African Society of Human Genetics (SASHG) 2013 conference and the associated Young Researchers’ Forum (YRF), the latter for students and postdocs. This saw me travelling north to Johannesburg for just under a week to see what was happening in the world of South African genetics and to present my own work at both the YRF and SASHG conference. There was far too much to go into detail for so I will just focus on a couple of highlights. Continue reading

Was Varsity Newspaper’s article racist?

UCT's dating poll (source: News24)

UCT’s dating poll (source: News24)

It seems a graph in UCT’s student newspaper, Varsity Newspaper, has caused quite a bit of a stir after publishing a pie chart with the title, “UCT votes on most attractive race.” (Story on News24 and iol.)

With South Africa’s extreme sensitivity to racial issues it didn’t take long for people to start denouncing the paper. According to News24:

Some Twitter users, including human rights activist Zackie Achmat, voiced their disapproval. @ZackieAchmat referred to the chart as “racist nonsense”. Another user, @ednake89 tweeted “this is the kind of bullshit UCT’s Varsity newspaper publishes”.

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Theism versus atheism: Uninspiring VC Open Lecture

John Lennox (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Last Tuesday I attended the Vice Chancellor’s Open Lecture at UCT. The topic was “A Matter of Gravity – God, the Universe and Stephen Hawking” and given by Oxford mathematician Professor John Lennox. I thought it’d be a good opportunity to see the theistic side being well-presented by a man who was highly educated and had debated Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, amongst others. Overall, I found myself disappointed by what didn’t strike me as a particular good lecture. You can read the UCT summary, as well as get links to the recording, over here. Continue reading