Features

Crime fighting in the digital-age

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Technological advancements have shown that apps can be a fundamental part of our safety regime. According to Business Tech, from April to December 2016 ,“over 960,000 serious crimes cases [were] reported to the SAPS, averaging over 3550 crimes every day, or 148 crimes every hour”.

Namola also dubbed the “Uber for Armed Response”, is an app launched by the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria to improve their response time in emergencies, as it instantly sends out emergency alerts to police officers. Brooklyn SAPS Captain, Colette Weilbach, explained that once an alert has been sent, the nearest Brooklyn SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police Department vehicles that are Namola app compliant are able to see the exact location of the incident. She says, “While on route to an incident the officer is able to receive messages from the citizen and phone them if they need more information.” Yusuf Abramjee, Namola Chief Ambassador says, “Namola is the fastest growing safety app in South Africa. It’s top on the App Store charts.”

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Period brain: the bloody truth

KATHERINE ATKINSON

Women have always been subject to discrimination and one such form of discrimination is society’s portrayal of a menstruating woman.

Earlier this year, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience published an article that debunked the notion of “period brain” finding that menstruation does not affect a woman’s cognitive functioning. The study which followed 68 women over two menstrual cycles, was led by Professor Brigitte Leeners and a team from the University Hospital of Zurich and Medical School Hannover. The study tested three cognitive aspects by making women perform ten cognitive tests at different stages of the menstrual cycle. It found that the levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in a woman’s system had no impact on their attention, working memory or cognitive bias. Although Professor Leeners said that more research with larger samples of women needs to be done, these findings are significant as they dismiss the patronising perception of menstruating women.

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Shining a light on skin damage

REBECCA WOODROW

Skin is the human’s largest organ and the first on the frontline when we expose ourselves to the elements. Our region’s climate has made sun damage a prevalent skin affliction; the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) says South Africa remains the country with the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world.

A UP student is susceptible to sun damage, especially when Pretoria’s particular climate is brought into consideration. Gauteng’s proximity to the Tropic of Capricorn means summer sunlight is direct, and the seasonal heavy rain clouds are not adequate shielding from UV rays, and the province’s dry winter offers little protective cloud cover. Students’ pedestrian habits and varied daytime responsibilities expose them to the sun directly. Acccording to CANSA, “for every 300 meter rise in altitude, there is a 4% increase in direct UV radiation.” This means that people living in Pretoria and surrounding Highveld areas are more prone to sun damage, compared to coastal areas, due to the high altitude on the Highveld.

Sunblock is not worn habitually on a large scale by students. This is because the product can be costly, time consuming to apply, and it is not always comfortable.

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The history of hashtags

GEMMA GATTICCHI

The term ‘hashtag’ was added to the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2014 as “a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorises the accompanying text (such as a tweet).” Also known as the ‘octothorpe’, the hashtag has transitioned into one of the most recognisable symbols in recent years.

Apart from its prior uses, the hashtag as we know it today was introduced in 1988 on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Here, users communicated with each other through channels indicated by hash signs. Their use in IRC was similar to their use today; grouping messages and visual content into categories in order to easily view the related content.

The hashtag has since shot to fame after former open source advocate and Uber Developer Experience lead, Chris Messina’s 2007 tweet, “how do you feel about using the # (pound) sign for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Here he became the first person to use the hashtag on Twitter, as it is currently used, by asking his followers how they felt about using the hash to group conversations. Initially, Twitter founder Evan Williams said hashtags would be unpopular due to their technical approach, but 10 years later its popularity has contradicted his statement.

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Tourism – a thriving industry in an ailing economy

DITEBOGO TSHAKA

A tourism and migration report from Stats SA said that “tourists increased by 2.5% from 691 414 in June 2016.” The WorldTravel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that travel andtourism contributed R402 billion to the South African economyin 2016 (9.3% of GDP) and is expected to grow by 2.5% toR412.2 billion (9.4% of GDP) in 2017. According to Stats SA,turnover in the mining and quarrying industry faced an 8.7%decrease, a 6.4% decrease in the construction industry, anda 6.0% decrease in the manufacturing industry. Stats SA alsoreports that the “South African economy moved into recessionwith the reported decrease of 0.7% in GDP during the firstquarter of 2017, following a 0.3% contraction in the fourthquarter of 2016”.Professor Berendien Lubbe, Head of the Tourism ManagementDivision under the Department of Marketing Managementdefines tourism as an “industry that serves people who traveloutside of their usual place of residence for more than 24 hoursfor purposes such as holiday, business, sport, religion or visitingfriends and family not related to the exercise of an activityremunerated from within the place visited”.In South Africa, tourism makes up 4.5% of overallemployment and, according to Prof. Lubbe, is an industry“strongly focused on the concept of ‘decent jobs’ as well”.

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