In summer white sharks regularly swim close to swimming beaches in Cape Town, but are not usually a threat. (Image: Enrico Gennari and Alison Kock) Sharkspotter Eric Myeko keeps a careful eye on the beach from the vantage point of Boyes Drive.Jennifer SternWhat is it about sharks that frightens people more than more common hazards? There are those who will not enter the sea for fear of sharks, but will blithely cross busy intersections, travel in rush-hour traffic, and drive long distances between cities. They even sit in chairs and toast bread for breakfast. And statistics show that these activities are far riskier than swimming in the ocean.Perhaps people are afraid of the things that make big headlines. Car accidents are commonplace – and as for the toasters and chairs, in 2005 chairs killed 652 people and toasters 791, while only 9 people were killed by sharks worldwide. That’s according to the Rethink the Shark Campaign, a joint venture between Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium, AfriOceans Conservation Alliance and Save Our Seas.According to Pat Garret, managing director of the Two Oceans Aquarium, there has been an average of one serious shark attack a year and one fatal shark attack every 2.3 years over the whole South African coast for the last 40 years. And, he adds, shark attacks only occur in deep water; there is no record of anyone being bitten by a shark in the surf zone.Not one person was killed by a shark in South Africa in 2008 – but the figures for toasters and chairs are not available.Perhaps it’s simply a matter of bad PR. The perception is that sharks mean-eyed, cold-blooded monsters that hide in the deep and only show themselves to wreak havoc on innocent swimmers and surfers.Well, they’re not. If they wanted to eat people, Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town would be the McDonalds of the shark world. Humans are easy prey, so it is obvious that sharks really are not interested in us. We probably aren’t nearly as tasty as seals.Ripples of panicThat doesn’t alter the fact that one shark bite can send ripples of panic throughout coastal communities. And two in a short space of time is cause for a major rethink of recreation habits.When JP Andrews lost his leg to a shark off Muizenberg in 2004, only a few months after the fatal attack on Tyna Banks at nearby Fish Hoek, the ramifications spread beyond the friends and family of the victims. Surfers – a notoriously superstitious bunch when it comes to dealing with the “men in grey suits” – stayed out of the water. This not only made them miserable, it also impacted on the livelihood of a number of people, one of whom was Patrick “Rasta” Davids.Davids earned his living as a car guard at the beach. He had developed a good relationship with regular beach users, particularly surfers, and started keeping car keys for people heading into the water.After the attack, at the suggestion of his longstanding car guarding clients, Davids went up onto Boyes Drive to see if he could spot the sharks close inshore, and let the surfers know when it was safe to go into the water.“I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says, “but then I met the trek fishermen, and they taught me how to check the sharks.”Trek fishermen are an integral part of coastal life in the South Peninsula. They stand up on high ground looking for fish and, when they spot a shoal, head down to the sea, where they row out with heavy nets to encircle the fish, returning to the beach where they pull their catch in by hand in the same way their ancestors have done for generations. And these guys know the sea, so they gave Davids his first sharkspotting lesson.That was the genesis of Sharkspotters, an organisation now in its fifth year.Someone donated a pair of polarised sunglasses, which made a big difference, and then Gregg Bertish from Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club donated a set of two-way radios in return for getting two of the Clifton lifesavers trained in sharkspotting.Then they came up with the idea of a flagpole with different coloured flags to indicate the shark status of the ocean. A green flag indicates that the water is clear, and the spotters can see there are no sharks. A black flag means the water is not clear enough for the spotters to be sure there are no sharks inshore. A white flag with a black shark on it indicates that there is a shark close inshore and then, when it has left, the flag is replaced by a red one to show that the danger has passed, but that the shark or sharks may still be close by.When raising the white shark flag, the spotters on the beach also blow a siren, which warns surfers and swimmers to get out of the water.The flagpole was erected on City Council property without permission so, once it was noticed, the council made the usual official enquiries.On hearing the purpose of the flags, they promptly donated about R4.5-million (US$450 000) in funding for five years, and are ready to bankroll the next five years.Year-round spottingThe programme is simple but effective. The beaches under constant surveillance include Muizenberg, Fish Hoek and Glencairn, mainly because these have convenient high vantage points from which to observe the ocean. One spotter on the mountain is in constant communication with another on the beach, who controls the siren and flags.Sharkspotting is run all year in the main sites, but the popular Blue Waters, Mnandi, Strandfontein and Monwabisi Beaches are also included in the December and January holiday season. There are no convenient mountains overlooking these beaches so the observation is from life-saving towers.“Altogether, there are about 34 spotters,” says Davids. “They work five-hour shifts, either from 8am to 1pm to or 1pm to 6pm. You can’t work longer than that. Your eyes get tired looking at the sea all the time.”What he doesn’t mention is that the spotters are out there in all weather – blazing sun, freezing wind and icy rain. As long as they can actually see the surface of the sea, they’re on duty.While sharks are the focus, the spotters see other things, too.“We see accidents, mountain fires, near drawings and stuff,” says Davids. “And then we report it.”The spotters make constant notes of their observations, and the resulting data is “incredibly valuable,” according to Alison Kock, a marine biologist with the Save our Seas Shark Foundation based in Kalk Bay.“They note the seasonal and daily trends not only of sharks, but also whales and dolphins,” she adds.The programme has reduced shark attacks to exactly zero. “In the five years that the spotters have been operating, there have been no incidents on the beaches involved,” says Davids.“It’s a brilliant system,” says Kock, “and I would like to see it implemented all around the world.”Creating employmentThe aims of the programme are two-fold. The obvious one is increased safety for beach users, but it creates employment, and the spotters are encouraged to further their education through the programme.“Most of the guys were unemployed,” says Davids, “and we see a lot of matriculants who can’t find work. So we’ve trained them up, and got them to do further courses.“All the guys have done first aid courses. And I’ve done a computer course at False Bay College, with the help of WWF. And a skipper’s licence and a driver’s licence, too.” Car dealer Williams Simpson has also donated a pickup truck to the programme.The spotters also go out in the research boat with Kock when she does her electronic tracking and shark observations.“It gives them a better understanding of the animals,” she says.Davids has started doing a tour guide course and, Kock explains, the other spotters are encouraged to go this route, too.“The tour buses stop on Boyes Drive to chat to the spotters, and to take photographs,” she says. “It’s become a tourist attraction.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.Related articlesLife’s a beach in South Africa The Great Whaling Debate Big fests for big beasts SA manta a star in Atalanta Saving our vulnerable sharks Useful linksSharkspottersTwo Oceans AquariumRethink the SharkAfriOceans Conservation AllianceSave Our Seas
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With pollination in Ohio corn fields occurring in July, much of what you see now is what you will get come harvest. For soybeans though, August is the most important month for production. If the rains aren’t as prevalent and sunshine prevails as the calendar turns, Asgrow/DEKALB Technical Agronomist Jeff Rectenwald tells The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins that the soybean crop may turn out to be really nice this year.
Then there is AugmentedID, a facial recognition technology using algorithms, from Polar Rose, a startup that delivers photo-tagging tools for Flickr. With this application, you can hold your phone up to a person’s face and see their online profile, contact info, social networking links, and any other information they’ve chosen to share. Time to Dial Down the Hype?We think marketers need to carefully consider whether AR will truly benefit their clients before blindly hopping on the AR bandwagon. Case in point: Best Buy said their AR ads exceeded expectations, with more than double the number of users than they had planned trying them out. But that number was only 6500 out of a Sunday ad circulation of 43 million. Out of those 6500, 12% actually clicked through to other Best Buy websites, a number the company touts as “fairly decent.” Although the company plans to do more AR campaigns in future, they’re also of a size to be able to engage their customers in a variety of ways on a number of platforms. Smaller companies may not have the luxury to do the same.And we are not the only ones thinking that AR is about to hit its full hype potential. Gartner shows that in their latest report, “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2009,” AR is steadily climbing towards the “Peak of Inflated Expectations.” 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Augmented reality — or the addition of a layer to the world before your eyes (aka the “real world”) using technology — is the next big tech trend. Already making its debut in everything from mobile apps to kids toys, “AR” will clearly soon be talked about by everyone the way they used to talk about “social media” and “Web 2.0” before that.While augmented reality has its uses — although many of them just involve oohing and aahing at nifty apps — this trend is already in danger of being over-hyped, even though it has barely gotten off the ground. AR Apps We’ve Seen So FarWe’ve been fascinated by augmented reality for some time now, especially after we got wind of a new mobile application built for Google’s Android platform called Layar. The app, an augmented reality browser, “layers” sets of data on top of your mobile phone’s viewfinder as you point the camera at the city around you. At the moment, though, mobile applications such as these are being primarily designed for Google’s Android platform, as its open nature allows developers to access the phone’s hardware and the video feed. However, we’re on the verge of seeing an explosion of AR apps thanks to the soon-to-launch update for the iPhone OS. The next version, due in September, is widely expected to provide an official means of accessing the necessary controls to make AR apps possible through a new Application Programming Interface (API). Already, apps like acrossair’s “Nearest Tube,” a train finder for the London underground, are poised to go live as soon as Apple is ready.AR Discovered by Marketers. Let the Hype Begin!Don’t look now, but marketers have discovered augmented reality and have started to incorporate it into their advertising campaigns. This can only mean one thing: we’re about to be inundated with pitches and products touting AR products…not to mention AR ads. Perhaps we should have clued in to this coming deluge when we saw how Mattel was pitching their next-gen action figures for the comic book-inspired “Avatar” movie. (Hold the included 3D tag up to a webcam and the toys come to life on your computer screen!) Only days later, we’re getting emails from Kia Motors — yes, the car manufacturer — about the company’s new “augmented reality Facebook application.” Using the computer’s webcam, the players of Kia’s “Go Hamster Go!” game control the action using their facial expressions. (Is that really augmented reality, though, or is it just neat?)There’s also news about a company called Metaio, creators of a mobile AR platform that lets people leave and view notes and 3D animations in places using their phones. And since Metaio is known for working on marketing campaigns like the AR Lego packaging, there’s little doubt that they could soon start including ads on the new platform. Once our interest was piqued, we began imagining what future apps could be built using this platform, thinking up everything from people search to place data.Only days later, another mobile AR app made the news: TwittARound, an app which shows you nearby tweets. Designed for the newest iPhone hardware – the iPhone 3GS – it taps into the phone’s GPS and compass to determine your physical location. It then floats the avatars of nearby Twitter users across the screen. You can click these icons to see those users’ tweets. The problem with over-hyping this technology prior to it really taking off is that it could become diluted and meaningless before we even have a chance to explore the potentially world-changing applications it could help create. (And no, we don’t mean these AR exotic dancers.) But don’t get us wrong: for a while (possibly a long while), we’re going to be completely enamored of each and every AR-infused application that passes us by. However, there will come a time when AR, like every over-hyped buzzword that came before it, will be overused, its meaning skewed and stretched to encompass anything vaguely interactive, whether it’s truly AR or not. Let us instead heed the words of Robert Rice, CEO of Neogence Enterprises and Chairman of the AR Consortium, which he shared in a recent interview with Tish Shute: “Don’t be misguided by the gimmicky marketing applications now. Look ahead, and pay attention to what the visionaries are talking about right now… AR has long-term implications for smart cities, green tech, education, entertainment, and global industry. This is serious business, but it has to be done right.”Image credits: Best Buy ad, AdAge; Hype Cycle Chart, Gartner; AR on the mobile, Flickr user Mr.Whisper Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Now we’re seeing big box electronics retailer Best Buy incorporate augmented reality into their printed ads. Their recent augmented Sunday circular featured a 3D image of a Toshiba notebook computer. (Hold the ad up to a webcam and the laptop comes to life!) Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… sarah perez Tags:#Features#Trends#web Related Posts
The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Channel View What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#mobile#Product Reviews#web frederic lardinois Related Posts As many of you probably know, we launched our very own iPhone app a few weeks ago. From within the app, you can read stories from all of our channels, including ReadWriteStart, ReadWriteEnterprise and ReadWriteCloud. In addition, you can share posts on Facebook and Twitter, read our Twitter feed, and send posts to Read it Later and Instapaper. Our friends at ZURB, a Bay Area interaction design and design strategy firm that has worked with the likes of eBay and Facebook, took a closer look at our app earlier last month and we would like to share their findings with you.Using the company’s Notable tool, ZURB gave us a lot of great feedback about the design of our app and it only seemed fair to share this with you. In the past, ZURB has critiqued web designs ranging from CNN and Twitter, to TechCrunch and MSN. Here are some excerpts from ZURB’s excellent critique. You can find the complete design review here.Hompage What the Next Version of Our App Could Look LikeZurb was also nice enough to mock up a better home screen for us. Here is what the next generation RWW iPhone app could look like: Get the AppIf you haven’t downloaded our iPhone app yet, head over here and give it a try. Rest assured that we have already taken some of ZURB’s feedback into account for the 1.1 version of our app. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement
With the campaigning for the bypolls to four Assembly seats in Punjab coming to an end, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders on Saturday exchanged sharp words as parties made their last-ditch efforts to woo the voters.In Punjab, bypolls in Phagwara, Jalalabad, Dakha and Mukerian Assembly constituencies will be held on October 21. The results will be declared on October 24.Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was in Mukerian to campaign for the Congress candidate, hit out at the SAD saying that people have rejected the Akali Dal and its leadership was a spent force. Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said Capt. Amarinder’s admission that by-elections’ result would not be a referendum on his government was a clear indication that he has admitted defeat.Trashing Mr. Badal’s charge of no development in Punjab under the current regime, Capt. Amarinder also ridiculed his statement that he (Capt. Amarinder) was not accessible to the people.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday morning sought an extension of the 24-hour deadline set by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to present proof of its ability to form the next government in the State. Mr. Koshyari had invited the party late on Monday.A day after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government and present evidence of its ability to do so within 24 hours, show the willingness and ability to form the government, the party sought another 48 hours to provide adequate papers leading to governor on Tuesday morning.However, the NCP’s letter seeking a 48-hour extension, led to the Governor’s Office recommending President’s Rule in the State, which was subsequently accepted by the Union Cabinet late in the afternoon.NCP’s ally, the Congress, and the Shiv Sena, which has sought support from the party to form the government, were kept in dark about the letter submitted to the Governor.Addressing a joint press conference with Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and K.C. Veugopal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said there was no reason to inform the Congress and Shiv Sena about the request for extra time.“We fought the election with the Congress. The Governor had asked the NCP to show our willingness and ability to form the government. I do not think it was necessary to inform others about asking for more time,” he said.On formation of a government with the Shiv Sena, Mr Pawar said the two parties would discuss and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programmes if the Sena was to be supported.The NCP maintained silence throughout the day about its demand which allegedly led the Governor’s Office to believe that the party would not be able to assemble the numbers. The Governor on Monday had also denied extra time to Shiv Sena delegation led by Aaditya Thackeray.“We had only sought extra time. We had not expressed our inability to gather 145 MLAs to form the government. However the Governor chose to recommend President’s Rule. That’s his decision, but now we have got ample time to attain the required number,” said NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik.Congress leader Ahmed Patel insisted no final decision could be taken without formulation of a common minimum programme by the three parties.He also condemned the imposition of President’s rule and said the Congress was not given an opportunity to form government.
Mumbai: A day after his meeting with Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil triggered speculations about him joining the ruling party, NCP MP Sunil Tatkare on Wednesday asserted his “unflinching” loyalty to party chief Sharad Pawar.Tatkare called on Patil, also Revenue Minister in the state government, at his official residence here on Tuesday, the day three MLAs of the NCP resigned from the Assembly. The trio and an MLA from the Congress joined the BJP on Wednesday morning. In a video message, Tatkare said he met Patil and some other ministers over public works to be carried out in his Raigad constituency. He said it was “wrong” to malign his image by spreading such rumours of crossover. During his meeting with Patil, Tatkare discussed about construction of roads in his constituency on a hybrid annuity mode. The NCP leader said he conveyed the demands of Kunbis from Dapoli in his constituency for a land for community purpose to Patil. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”I met Chandrakant Patil, Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal and also Minister of State Dada Bhuse (of Shiv Sena). I met four principal secretaries and secretaries too. I met these people in my bid to fulfil promises made to the people during Lok Sabha polls,” Tatkare said. “My unflinching loyalty is with Pawar Saheb only. It is wrong to malign my image by spreading rumours,” he added. He said the NCP will rise again like a proverbial phoenix bird under Pawar’s watch in the Maharashtra Assembly polls, due in September-October this year.
APTN NewsThe government has signed off on a bill to remove sex-discrimination from the Indian Act.Lillian Dyck, a First Nation senator from Saskatchewan, confirmed on her Facebook page the vote on the bill known as S-3 took place Monday.“I am relieved and happy,” Dyck posted.“It’s not perfect but we in the Senate from all caucuses will ensure that the clause implementing the removal of the 1951 cut-off gets enacted!”Dyck is a member of the Senate’s Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which refused to move the bill forward without an amendment to who gets status.It introduced an amendment to eliminate the discrimination she says has been hard on Aboriginal women since the Act was introduced in 1876, by preventing them from passing their status onto their children like men do.The government agreed to the amendment but introduced a cut-off date of 1951. That stalled the passage again until this week.Dyck promised to keep an eye on it.“The Senate will not allow the equality to be delayed indefinitely,” she said on Facebook.“The government has to report back to us and to the House of Commons at five months and 12 months after consultations on implementing the inclusion of the pre-1951 group.”The bill is now awaiting Royal Assent before it becomes law.