From Q&A to the Slumdog Millionaire

Arthur Goldstuck told me about the book Q&A by Vikas Swarup. What amused him was that the character’s name is Ramon Mohammed Thomas, similar to mine. And that I was on the South Africa version of the Weakest Link around the same time that the book was published. This book is on my to-read list.

So it’s no surprise to find out the book has been adapted into a film by the name of Slumdog Millionaire. The title character’s name has been changed and the story possible shorted for dramatic effect.

From Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, comes the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

For more info about FREE Screenings in your area, visit: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE website. Here’s the trailer one of the few movies praised by FilmThreat.com in reviews.

 

Mobile phone radiation damages memory: study

Exposure to mobile phone radiation worsens the short-term memory of rats, according to a new Swedish study.

A doctoral dissertation carried out at Lund University also found that groups of genes involved with behaviour and memory undergo changes due to repeated doses of radiation from mobile phones, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

Doctoral candidate Henrietta Nittby and her adviser, Leif G Salford, are in agreement that studies involving mobile phones must continue.

Nearly a decade ago, Salford was involved in a separate study which revealed that the electromagnetic radiation from mobile telephones created openings in the blood-brain barrier.

The openings allowed the blood-borne protein to leak into the brain, which caused a small percentage of brain cells to die.

In Nittby’s study, rats were exposed to electromagnetic radiation twice a week for 55 weeks. While the rats’ behaviour remained unchanged, their short term memory worsened when compared to a control group which had not been subjected to the radiation.

In addition Nittby discovered that, while individual genes didn’t change, groups of genes in brain cells involved with behaviour and memory did display a number of small changes.

Currently, no one knows for certain whether radiation from mobile phones is harmful to human beings.

Several countries have nevertheless issued warnings cautioning children from talking too much on mobile phones and to use hands free devices.

Source: The Local/TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

 

Interview on Chai FM, Jewish community radio station

[NB! I often receive phone calls or emails from people thinking this website is Chai FM. Please contact them directly via their websitebecause I was only a guest on the radio station a few times.]

Today I received an invitation to do my first interview with this new Jewish community radio station next week 10, Tuesday, 23 December 2008. We will be discussing what technology is popular among children, why it’s so popular and coping strategies for Jewish parents and families in general. The big take away for me learning about diverse South African groups is how strong families are in some and weak in others.

While doing my own background research I came across this promo video for the brand new Chai 101.9 FM Johannesburg, South Africa, a 24 hour a day Jewish radio station!

“Chai Fm is a Jewish community radio station broadcasting to the greater Johannesburg area on 101.9fm. The station is talk format with 20% Jewish music. Programming is determined by community research and reflects the diverse views of the community. Based on “Tools for Life”, Chai Fm provides programming that is informative, educational, entertaining and relevant to the community.

The objectives of Chai FM are to: Unite the Jewish community, to build the connection between the community and the land of Israel, to reflect ourselves to ourselves and to provide programming that is relevant, informative, intelligent, honest, engaging, reflects a diversity of views and is entertaining.

Chai FM is for all the Jews of Johannesburg, irrespective of observance levels, age, gender, race or financial status.

“The station aims to provide a platform for debate and a diversity of opinion” says Kathy Kaler, a director of Chai FM. She adds: “It’s so easy to think that our communities are insular and we can forget we are each part of a greater “whole”.

Chai FM was granted a community broadcasting licence in June 2007 and will begin broadcasting in September 2008.

Source: Teruah blog.

 

Lesbian Love in The World Unseen

The World Unseen Lesbian LoveI’m re-posting this directly from the Times Multimedia because I have been struggling to write anything original longer than 140 characters. Another reason for this is because my friend Natalie Becker has a small role in this film and she informed me about it beforehand and because I love watching movie trailers, this grabbed my attention. And so once I’ve watched the film I will update this will my own review. One thing that bothers me is that the two lesbian women are unusually attractive. Especially the women who is supposedly a mother. Also view the awesome website for The World Unseen.

Sheetal Sheth, the central figure that creates the tension in the plot, has some of the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen. And I’ll be looking for more of her earlier movies like Looking for Comedy in a Muslim World. And it turns out Lisa Ray is a model turned actress with a strong Bollywood background. This is not unusual in the movie business because who wants to look at average looking people in film and television?

Anyway here’s what The Times has to say about it, mostly like taken from another source like IMDB.

In 1950’s South Africa, apartheid is just beginning.

Free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community in South Africa by running a café – a safe haven of laughter, music and home-cooked food. A ‘grey area’ for those who fall outside the strict ‘black and white’ rules of the apartheid-led government.

Café regulars include Amina’s feisty waitress, Doris, her gentle “coloured” business partner, Jacob, and the sparky white local postmistress, Madeleine. Long accustomed to the racial barriers of the country and its new laws, Madeleine and Jacob nevertheless share a budding attraction.

Miriam, on the other hand, is a doting mother to her children and a demure, subservient wife to her chauvinistic, frustrated husband, Omar. Quietly intelligent, Miriam has never assumed that she has choices in life.

When Miriam meets Amina, their unexpected attraction throws them both off balance. Although Miriam manages to subdue her fascination with unconventional Amina, she finds herself slowly inspired to confront familiar and familial constraints. Shortly after their encounter, Miriam moves to an isolated life in the country, but, even here, apartheid is placing its cruel footprint on society and these injustices bring the two women together again, cementing the basis of their growing feelings.

Meanwhile, Jacob decides to pursue a love affair of his own and he and Madeleine begin a tentative, touching relationship. But the best intentions of both are overcome by practical challenges and indignities of simply spending time together.

Even the fearless Amina, faced with the strength of her feelings and with the reality of Miriam’s situation, starts doubting herself. And Miriam finds herself making some courageous choices that will change her own life forever.

Using the stunning South African landscape and jazz music of the time, The World Unseen explores a system that divides white from black and women from men, but one that might just allow an unexpected love to survive.

Genre: Drama
Director: Shamim Sarif

 

Internet turnaround has begun in SA

In the past year, the Internet user base in South Africa has seen its highest rate of growth since 2001, increasing by 12.5% to 4,5-million.

This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2008 study, released today by World Wide Worx. The study was backed by Cisco Systems, and the findings released during the Networkers at Cisco Live! conference in Johannesburg.

“The increase comes on the eve of the biggest shakeup in South African Internet access we’ve seen since the dawn of the commercial Internet in 1994,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “It is only the beginning of a dramatic turnaround, and is occurring despite numerous obstacles in the way of growth.”

Among these obstacles has been a highly restrictive regulatory environment, with the Minister of Communications only deciding late in the year not to oppose a court ruling that would allow all network operators to supply their own infrastructure.

The evolution and changes in the telecommunications industry could not have come at a better time in South Africa. “We believe these changes will lead to sufficient levels of competition, increase access to Internet usage and in turn, increase global competitiveness and economic diversity,” says Reshaad Ahmed, Senior Manager of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group.

“South Africa could, potentially, go from five major service providers to more than 300 overnight,” says Ahmed. “The combination of new licencees, policy directions, and municipality networks has set the stage for a highly competitive telecommunications marketplace, with consumers and businesses leading the charge toward choice, competition, and fair market value.”

Goldstuck describes the Minister’s decision as a pivotal moment, but one that should have occurred four years ago.

“In that time we saw growth slow to a near standstill, and the possibility of bringing access to underserviced area becoming ever more remote,” adds Goldstuck. “But the market has been anticipating this change, and numerous small, semi-legal networks have sprung up around the country in the past year. Many of these should emerge above the radar with their new licenses, along with new entrants into the market.”

The Internet Access in SA 2008 report shows that growth has come largely on the back of dramatic take-up of broadband offerings by small businesses, which alone accounted for half of the growth in the market, mainly through connecting office staff to their ADSL links. At the same time, the market as a whole has seen a continued dramatic shift from dial-up connections to broadband, with growth in both ADSL and 3G at more than 50%.

“We are seeing a broadband culture emerging in South Africa, held back only by the restrictions still placed on data capacity,” says Goldstuck. “These should start becoming a non-issue from the middle of 2009, as the first of the major new undersea cables enters operation. At that point, dial-up will effectively be dead as a connectivity option – it is more expensive, and utterly inappropriate to the changing nature of the Internet.

“Once everyone who is connected is on broadband or high-speed networks, the Internet will come into its own as an environment for business collaboration and personal interaction.”

The Seacom undersea cable, commissioned mainly by new market entrant Neotel, will increase South Africa’s international bandwidth 40-fold, and will mark the beginning of what World Wide Worx describes as a seismic shift in the Internet landscape in Africa. But it is only one of a series of new cables in the works, which will make the connectivity landscape completely unrecognisable for both South Africa and the rest of the continent by 2013.

“It spells the birth of an entirely new industry, and we are already seeing the market champing at the bit to become part of that industry,” says Goldstuck.

However, Cisco warns change won’t happen overnight.

“Only some of the 300-plus contenders will be in a position to manage their own net­works due to their ability to raise the necessary capital,” cautions Ahmed. “Those that do step up to the challenge must spend a significant amount of time building a business model that will be sustainable, innovative, and takes advantage of the strategic position with which a contender is faced, while employing the capabilities of existing service providers.

“We are therefore pleased with these findings as they indicate a positive trend for economic growth. We believe that pervasive broadband at the right price is a key enabler for economic prosperity.”

“It is imperative for all relevant stakeholders to drive broadband to encourage new services: skills, education, business interaction and lowering the cost of doing business,” Ahmed concludes.