Are you gonna do Earth Hour?

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It’s amazing what we as a species, are capable of doing through concerted, unified, synergised, actions… Imagine if the world could work in unison to make sure that the Earth was around for future generations? Well, this is something that can be done by all of us (imagine if we did it regularly), and it doesn’t need a government, or bureaucracy, or approval – just do it!

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Earth Hour – Saturday 28 March 2009, 8:30PM

The hour the world unites in a stand against global warming

Bold, simple and accessible, Earth Hour 2009 has one major aim: to show governments, individuals and businesses that it is possible to take action on global warming. The world can no longer wait; and the first step is as easy as turning off a light. In 2008, 50 million people across 35 countries switched off their lights for one hour. This year, in what we hope will be the world’s largest mass participation event, Earth Hour will be the culmination of one billion people around the globe, in more than 1000 cities from business, government and the community turning off lights as a message to leaders of the world in the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009 that we need a commitment to actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the short and long term benefit of the planet.

At a time when economic pressures are high, and anxiety about the worlds’ economic and environmental futures are burdening governments and its people, there could be no better time to advocate solutions driven action that will make a positive difference.

Earth Hour 2009 will be a major call to action for every individual, government and business to take responsibility and play a part in ensuring a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks across Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and The Americas will go dark. People will join together to celebrate, discuss and think about the future. Cities that have already signed up include: Sydney (Australia), London (UK), Rome (Italy), Dubai (UAE), Los Angeles (USA) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) among others.

  1. Companies will engage with staff and customers and reap the benefits of delivering genuine corporate social responsibility strategies
  2. Mayors and politicians on all sides of government will embrace the large scale recognition of such an importance public campaign and engage on the burning issues in their electorates
  3. School children across the globe will discuss Earth Hour in classrooms and at home with their families
  4. Parents will embrace the opportunity to defend their children’s future; and
  5. The internet generation will blog, email and text to rally friends to take part

WWF South Africa is planning an exciting national campaign to get 1 million dwellings and offices to switch off their lights and 3 million South Africans to sign up on www.earthhour.org.za.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has honoured us by agreeing to be the patron of Earth Hour 2009 and City of Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille has also pledged her support. To demonstrate South Africa’s commitment we will switch off the lights illuminating Table Mountain for an hour on 28 March.

Sign up now at www.earthhour.org.za and tell your friends and family to do the same.

Switch off on 28 March 2009, 8.30 to 9.30pm – at work as well as at home.

Already, through the extensive WWF International network, Earth Hour will be delivered in over 60 countries, the number growing each day. Our campaign needs your commitment – from participation, organisation or potential sponsorship. Earth Hour is a message of hope and action. Imagine what we can do if we act together.
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;-)

Spread the word: South Africans abroad can vote overseas

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Just in case you didn’t know:
The Constitutional Court ruled this morning that expatriate South Africans have the right to vote!

Only those already registered will be eligible to vote, and must notify the chief electoral officer of their intention to vote by March 27. The London Voting Station will be South Africa House/ SA High Commission.

To check if you are eligible to vote, visit:
https://www.elections.org.za/AmRegister/amregister.aspx.

Hat tip: SA Business Club newsletter

* Update – from the SA LegalBrief Today newsletter *

Constitutional: Registered expats cleared to vote
The Constitutional Court yesterday ruled unanimously that South Africans living abroad had the right to vote if they were registered. The court ruled that section 33 of the 1998 Electoral Act unfairly restricted the right to cast special votes while abroad to a very narrow class of citizens. It declared this section to be unconstitutional. As a result, all citizens who are registered voters, and who will be out of the country on 22 April, will be allowed to vote in the national (not provincial) elections ‘provided they give notice of their intention to do so, in terms of the Election Regulations, on or before 27 March to the Chief Electoral Officer and identify the embassy, high commission or consulate where they intend to apply for the special vote’. Handing down the first of two separate judgments, Justice Kate O’Regan said the right to vote had a symbolic and democratic value and those who were registered should not be limited by unconstitutional and invalid limitations in the Electoral Act. However, notes a report in The Times, a second judgment by Justice Sandile Ngcobo found that unregistered voters overseas could not vote. The limitations had been in effect since 2003 and the applicants had not explained why they had left the challenge so late. This follows an application by the Freedom Front Plus on behalf of a Pretoria school teacher working in the UK, as well as representation by the IFP, the DA, the A-Party, a lobby group, and an independent group of South Africans living overseas.

Political parties across the board have welcomed the ruling, according to an SABC News report. The Freedom Front Plus says it is a victory for democracy. Party leader Pieter Mulder said it was difficult to say whether the ruling would have an impact on the outcome of the elections, but that was not the point. DA chairperson James Selfe predicted that the ruling would improve the party’s performance in the elections: ‘We will benefit differentially from this decision,’ he said. The DA would in coming days decide whether to launch a separate legal bid to secure voters abroad the right to cast ballots for provincial governments as well. ‘It is a matter that we need to think through thoroughly.’ Figures had shown that most registered voters lived in the UK and the DA might extend its campaign to reach the large expatriate community there. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, Selfe also said the DA was planning to bring forward new legislative proposals to clean up the whole business of the rights of South Africans abroad to vote. ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte is quoted as saying the ruling was in line with the ANC’s view that every effort should be made to ensure all South Africans, including those temporarily living abroad, be given an opportunity to cast their votes in elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission has no idea how many expatriates might vote, says a report in The Times. It notes more than 5 000 South Africans living abroad have already applied for a special vote, but the final number is anyone’s guess, the IEC’s chief electoral officer, Pansy Tlakula, has conceded.

Although the decision will not have a major impact on the elections, it is significant – both for the message it conveys to South Africans living abroad, and for what it says about the current state of our country today, writes political commentator James Myburgh on the Politicsweb site. He says the decision to disenfranchise overseas South Africans was a thoroughly mean-spirited one. The old ruling clique of the ANC clearly felt their departure to be some kind of rebuke – and so sought to punish them. In his affidavit to the Constitutional Court, IFP leader and former Minister of Home Affairs, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, wrote that a senior official had explained the ANC’s rationale as follows: ‘They left us in the lurch and do not deserve to vote.’ This petty and vindictive attitude was carried over until recently. By contrast, writes Myburgh, Judge Kate O’Regan’s reasoning in the judgment is broadminded and generous. She noted that SA is now part of a global economy which allows citizens of this country to study and work abroad: ‘The experience that they gain will enrich our society when they return…. The evidence before us, too, shows that many South African citizens abroad make remittances to family members in SA while they are abroad, or save money to buy a house. To the extent that citizens engaged in such pursuits want to take the trouble to participate in elections while abroad, it is an expression both of their continued commitment to our country and their civic-mindedness from which our democracy will benefit.’ Hopefully, writes Myburgh, extending the right to vote to citizens abroad will foster a continued sense of belonging, and help keep alive the desire to return.

Persistence. Decision. Direction. Design. Patience. Results. Fitness. Salvation. Future.

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Today was another eureka moment for me.

I was in the gym, and to check I pulled myself up on the pullup bars. I did 3 pullups. I could also hang from the bars for 30 seconds without a problem. After my bodyweight workout I did an interval cardio run and it felt great. Better than I have in a long time. During the run I was thinking “What the crap is going on, this is great!?” and “What’s different? What have I changed to get here?”.

So I reflected on the last few years and this is what I came up with:

Firstly, I’ve got a long, long, long high road still to travel. This post is not about chest beating. This is about small inches that create momentum, which result ultimately in self knowledge and self reliance.

Ten years ago I played hockey 6 days a week, and ran a winder (1km on a hockey field) in 3 mins and 5 seconds. I wasn’t an elite full time athlete then, but I was close enough to compete with the best in my age group and province (who were also among the best in the country). In my mind I’m still 22…

Seven years ago I weighed in at 125kg (275.6 lbs or 19.7 stone), had a left ankle that was swollen and full of scar tissue, a left side weak from a broken collarbone, was drinking 2 or 3 cokes and eating 2 or 3 chocolate bars a day, I couldn’t touch my toes standing up, couldn’t run without getting shin splints, couldn’t do pullups or pushups, and sure as hell felt crap (and probably looked it too – when I look at old photos I wince, but that’s life). I look at that as my brute strength phase.

From three to four years ago I was working 18 hour days, 7 days a week, non-stop. Fitness and health wasn’t a priority. I can remember coming home one Friday night and tucking into a full tin of Pringles chips, a full huge Morrisons £3.99 chicken and bacon pizza, a half litre of diet coke, and two Magnum ice creams, while watching either Akira or one of the Ghost in the Shell movies. Then going on valiantly to do another few hours of work afterwards. Most of my friends had taken me off their social lists and being alone on weekends felt normal. That was also a brute strength phase.

Two years, and up to a year and a half ago, I had shoulders that wouldn’t let me lift my laptop bag more than waist height or open a kitchen cupboard (left shoulder, then right shoulder – both from falling while snowboarding and not being strong enough to carry the fall). I was probably about 110 / 112kg then. My overwhelming sense was that this wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my life. There had to be another way. So I saw a physio for my shoulders, and started in earnest. I look at that as my decision phase.

A year ago I was doing curls, bench presses, shoulder raises and getting better at running. Shinsplints were still common when I pushed it, and I had dropped to about 108, getting to 106 when doing a lot of cardio. But something was missing and it didn’t make sense for all the effort I was putting in. Still, persistence carried through, and I started educating myself. It became obvious pretty quickly that despite my biological background, human physiology from 10 years ago wasn’t going to give me the answers – so I became a sponge. I look at that as my search for knowledge phase.

Today I tipped the scales at 101kg (that’s 222.2 lbs or 15.9 stone), but more importantly for me I was able to do 3 pullups in a row. I thought “I am getting stronger, I can lift my own weight!“. I haven’t been able to do that since my early twenties. But that in itself isn’t what this is all about – my eureka moment was that persistence and patience, through gradual design and conscious direction, has created results that have made me realise that I was my own worst enemy all along. So this evening I celebrate, but tomorrow I go back to work – I still have a long way to go. I look at this as my being smart sponge phase.

If you’re reading this, whatever you’re doing that you’re passionate about, or that you’re doing to change your life, don’t give up, don’t stop, don’t listen to anyone else – you won’t regret what you’ll learn or gain in the process.
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Evolution problem “Summary and folder mismatch, even after a sync”

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Been getting a weird error message on Evolution, “Summary and folder mismatch, even after a sync” for my Sent items folder, which seems to have been sorted out using the following solution. I couldn’t find the “~” file in gnome terminal (ls -la revels nothing, ls -ld * same), and problem seems to have been sorted out by deleting the summary file alone…

Still love Evolution – way better than Outlook IMO ;-)

Office space available in Bryanston, Johannesburg

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A mate of mine has some desk / office space available in the Bryanston area. I worked there recently, and think it’s an awesome space – clean, well lit, parking is safe, and plenty headroom – you’re defo not in a basement! Ideal for a contractor, consultant, startup, one or two man band.

Details below:
4 Karen Street
Lyme Park
Bryanston
2191
(opposite to St Stithians School)

Available immediately.

R3500 per month which includes:
· Secure parking
· Aircon
· Electricity
· Kitchen
· Storeroom
· Internet connection (excessive usage will be billed at R99 per GB)
· Cleaning services
· Roof terrace with braai area
· 24 hour security
· Printing/scanning/faxing
· Receptionist
· Access cards to complex
· Boardroom (subject to availability @ R 200/hour)

Phone lines installed and active already but will be billed according to usage of that extension.

Contact: Brad Allen
Tel: (011) 463-0588