first_img25 August 2014Establishing whether the recent earthquake in South Africa’s North West province was purely mining induced, or caused by natural tectonic shifts in the earth’s crust, is not a simple matter, experts said during a recent panel discussion hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.It is also possible, they said, that stresses caused by mining triggered a natural event deeper down. This why seismic data always had to be carefully analysed after such events.The earthquake, measuring a magnitude of 5.5 on the South African local magnitude scale, occurred just before lunchtime on 5 August with its epicentre near Orkney, a mining town in the Klerksdorp district. One person died when a wall collapsed, several miners were injured, and there was some structural damage to buildings.Within minutes of the event, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the location and magnitude of the event on its website. It also listed a depth of 10 kilometres.However, as the CSIR’s Professor Ray Durrheim noted, the “technical terms” page on the USGS website states that a default depth of five or 10 kilometres is often used in mid-continental regions when the depth is difficult to estimate. Not having read this page, some local experts prematurely concluded that the earthquake was a natural event and not mining-related, as mining activity in the region takes place up to depths of 3.5 kilometres below the surface.Three days later, the US data was corrected to state a depth of 4.1 kilometres, indicating that it could indeed have been mining related.According to Professor Andrzej Kijko, director of the Natural Hazards Centre of the University of Pretoria, the maximum magnitude of mining-induced quakes – those entirely caused by human activity – is approximately 3.5. These happen when rock layers near mine workings shift.“We have, however, been mining for more than 80 years in Klerksdorp, creating stresses which can activate a pre-existing geological fault that lies much deeper,” Kijko said. “This can then trigger a natural earthquake.”According to both Kijko and Durrheim, the fact that the tremors were felt so far from the epicentre, even in Durban and Cape Town, indicated that it was a low-frequency event, more typical of movements near an old fault in the earth’s crust, rather than the brittle mining rock being displaced.Professor Herbert Uzoegbo, a structural engineer from the University of the Witwatersrand, who specialises in the response of buildings to seismic events, supported the view that the earthquake might have been a natural earthquake triggered by mining. He based this on the fact that there were higher vibrations in tall buildings than in lower ones, also indicative of low-frequency events.Uzoegbo added that building codes, especially in South Africa’s mining areas, might need to be refined and better enforced. He said he had seen structural damage due to poor workmanship and design, including buckled and collapsed walls, cracks and the shifting of a house on its foundations.One example of particularly dangerous building design, he said, was the parallel placement of several walls in one structure, increasing the risk of a domino-type collapse if an earthquake’s shock were to hit the building from the wrong side.In 2006, Durrheim and his colleagues presented a report to the Department of Minerals following a magnitude 5.3 earthquake which killed two miners in Stilfontein on 9 March 2005. The finding then was also that that earthquake was related to mining, and one of the recommendations was that seismic monitoring in the area needed to be improved.In response to the report, the South African Council for Geoscience, which operates a national seismographic network involving the registering and mapping of all seismic events throughout the country, established three additional networks focusing on the country’s mining regions.The CSIR has also been collaborating with Japanese experts to measure seismic activity in South African mines, as part of a five-year-programme aimed at mitigating risk and developing local skills.According to Durrheim, South Africa’s deep mines are like “earthquake laboratories”, in which the Japanese experts with whom the CSIR is collaborating can learn a lot about earthquake physics, while supporting local experts with state-of-the-art technology transfer and training.Japan is a world leader in earthquake research. The country directed renewed investment into this type of research after the devastating Kobe earthquake, which killed 6 434 people in the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture in 1995.While the Japanese researchers focus on the monitoring of natural faults activated by mining, the CSIR experts have placed sensors such as seismometers, tilt meters and strain gauges near mine openings to measure mining-induced seismic activity. They drill holes near faults in the rocks and place the sensors in there to get the best data.“Ultimately our data informs the seismic zoning of the country, providing guidance on the construction of buildings such as homes, schools or factories, in regions prone to earthquakes,” Durrheim said.The experts agreed that it is not possible to predict the times or locations of future earthquakes, but the data show that they are likely to recur in mining regions, even after mining has stopped. This has already informed planning for disaster management structures in the country.Source: Council for Scientific and Industrial Researchlast_img read more

first_img• South Africa has a diversified economic base and an economy that offers world class business services in areas such as information and communication technology, transport and logistics, and financial and professional services. We have strong and transparent public institutions, and are committed to responsible macroeconomic management of the economy.• South Africa has a sound regulatory framework that provides protection for investors and our commercial and legal practices are in line with those in the rest of the developed world. South Africa ranks 14 out of 140 countries in the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2015/16 in terms of the efficiency of our legal framework in settling disputes, and comes 24th in terms of judicial independence. In the same report, South Africa also ranks high in the enforcement of property rights, coming in at 24th place.• In terms of our attractiveness as an investment destination, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2015/16 indicates that:• South Africa has improved by two places in terms of its business sophistication environment and now stands at 33rd out 140 countries.• South Africa also stands at 50th out of 140 countries in terms of technological readiness (up 16 places from 2014/15).  In terms of innovation, South Africa improved by 5 places to stand at 38th.• In terms of financial market development South Africa stands at number 12 of 140 countries, and is the most diversified on the continent.• To support investment into the country, government has finalised the new Protection of Investment Bill, which aims to balance the rights and obligations of investors and government while also preserving the right of government to regulate in the public interest.• One of our most significant interventions has been the establishment of a One Stop Inter-Departmental Clearing House which will provide efficient support to investors to ensure that South Africa offers an investment friendly environment.  This will be operational by the end of 2016.• Incentives and support services for investors in the Special Economic Zones programme are also being developed by the DTI.• South Africa will attract investors in the manufacturing sector through the DTI-led incentives such as the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme and the Manufacturing Investment Programme. Over the medium term, and starting in 2016, government will review all incentives to assess their effects on economic growth, productivity, competitiveness, the balance of trade and employment.• The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) remains a central component of government’s strategy to diversify the economy. This includes direct transfers and tax incentives. In the 2015/16 fiscal year, government set aside R24 billion in tax incentives and R16.2 billion in direct funding to support industry.• New growth sectors such as oil and gas, metal engineering and capital equipment and agro-processing will be targeted for intensive government support.• Recalibration of industrial finance will aim to strengthen the package of government and development finance institutions’ support for the productive sectors.• Growing the oceans economy with a focus on marine transport and manufacturing remains a central component of South Africa’s industrial imperatives.• Operation Phakisa was launched in 2014 to ensure rapid economic development in key sectors.  The first sector to be identified was the ocean’s economy which currently contributes R54 billion to GDP but has the potential to contribute R177 billion.• Mining Phakisa is currently underway which will contribute to South Africa’s drive to add more value to its mineral resources. This could be achieved through the beneficiation of our mineral resources (focussing on five value chains i.e. platinum group metals, iron & steel, titanium, polypropylene and capital equipment for the mining sector).• Education Phakisa is also currently being implemented.  This will ensure South Africa is able to make the right investments in identified areas to produce the skills required to drive the economy. Producing the right skills for the economy will contribute positively to the market’s ability to absorb skills while equally producing the required skills.• Many international companies have increased their investment and expanded their South African operations:Mercedes has invested R 2.4 billionGeneral Motors has invested R 1 billionFord has invested R 3.6 billionMetair Group has invested R 400mGoodyear R 670 millionBMW has recently increased its investment by R6 billionVW has increased its investment by R4.5 billionBeijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) announced an investment of R11 billion in a vehicle manufacturing planHisense has expanded its South African operations and has recently started exporting into the SADC region from its South African baseMarriot Hotels has announced it will increase its South African footprintStarbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Facebook have chosen to set up office in South Africalast_img read more

first_imgHERO4 Silver Firmware Update 2.0The HERO4 Silver improvements are very similar to the HERO4 Black updates. However, you won’t have the ability to shoot at 240fps with the Silver model. It should also be noted that there is now a time-lapse video mode included in the HERO4 line. This might prove to be an awesome feature for outdoor travel videos and photography.New Features on the HERO4 Silver Firmware Update 2.0:Time Lapse Video modeAuto Image RotationAdds 30 photos for 6 seconds burst modeDefault Video ISO is now 1600Add HiLight Tags during playbackNew gesture to display the last photo or video capturedAutomatically locks the display after the camera goes to sleepNew Reset option for camera Wi-Fi settingsDisplays night lapse shutter time on the camera status screenNight Lapse stability improvementsIt is also rumored that a new GoPro Drone will be announced at NAB 2015!What do you think of these new GoPro firmware updates? Share in the comments below. GoPro is at it again, adding more functionality to their already awesome HERO4 line of cameras.HERO4 Black Firmware Update 2.0The GoPro feature updates come via a new firmware update. The most notable new feature added to the GoPro HERO 4 Black is the ability to shoot 240fps video at 720p. Unfortunately this added feature won’t utilize the entire field of view, so it’s almost like shooting on a cropped sensor.New Features on the HERO4 Black Firmware Update 2.0:Time Lapse Video mode720p 240fps video mode (Narrow FOV only)2.7K 60fps video modeAuto Image RotationShots 30 photos for 6 seconds Burst ModeDefault ISO is now 1600Added Reset option for camera Wi-Fi settingsNow Displays Night Lapse shutter time on the camera status screenLCD Touch BacPac ImprovementsDelivers the ability to add HiLight Tags during playbackAdds new gesture to display the last photo or video capturedAutomatically locks the display after the camera goes to sleepGeneral Improvements + Bug Fixes: Night Lapse stability improvementslast_img read more

first_imgApple is unveiling its latest iPhone on Wednesday, but its older phones will get a software upgrade as well. A new operating system sports a different mapping service and a built-in bond with Facebook.Apple has said that its iOS 6 software will sport more than 200 new features, though some won’t be available on all devices. It will be a free upgrade for iPhones released since 2009, as well as last year’s and this year’s iPad models. It will also work with newer iPod Touch devices.With the launch of new iPhone, Apple is expected to provide details as to when the software update will be available for older phones.Here are some highlights of iOS 6:Apple’s mobile devices will have a mapping program, built in-house.New Maps application In the past, Apple has given prominent billing to Google Inc.’s mapping app. But the two companies have increasingly become rivals as people buy more devices running Google’s Android operating system. Google also has been keeping some features, including turn-by-turn directions spoken aloud, exclusive to Android.Apple’s new Maps application will have a voice navigation feature. It will have real-time traffic data and offer alternative routes as traffic conditions change. It will also include “flyover” three-dimensional images taken by helicopters hired by the company to fly over major cities. Google has been dispatching its own planes to produce similar 3D images.Apple’s map program will be integrated with its Siri virtual assistant so that you can ask for directions and pose other questions.FacebookThe new software promises better integration with Facebook. The upgrade will enable you to log into Facebook just once, and then you will be able to post to the social network from a variety of apps. You can also post about websites directly from Apple’s Safari browser.Facebook will be integrated with Apple’s online app store so that you can declare that you “like” specific apps there, as well as songs and movies in iTunes. Events in Facebook’s calendar and birthdays of Facebook friends will also appear on your phone’s calendar.Enhancements to SiriIOS 6 will have enhancements to Siri, which interprets voice commands and talks back to the user. It is also coming to the iPad for the first time. Siri, introduced last October with the iPhone 4S, is supposed to get better at fielding questions about movies, restaurants and other things.Apple says it is partnering with Yelp Inc. so that Siri can include ratings and prices of restaurants when you ask her about places to eat. The company is also partnering with OpenTable Inc. to make reservations. Siri will now be available in more languages and more countries.Apple also says it’s working with car manufacturers to let you use a button on the steering wheel to talk to Siri, allowing you to keep your hands on the road. Apple says General Motors Co., BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes are among the automakers that have promised to offer Siri integration in the next 12 months.CallsApple’s new software will give you more options for preventing messages and text notifications from disturbing you at night.You can control how and when you get back to people. If you can’t call someone back right away, you can set a reminder to call that person back later or have a text message sent directly to the caller.There’s a “call when you leave” feature that reminds you to call back when you are leaving a building or office. The phone can detect when you are leaving.New Passbook feature Apple’s new Passbook feature will be a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.When you get to a Starbucks, for instance, the device will bring up your gift card if you have one and if you have the location feature turned on. Likewise, when you get to a movie theater or baseball stadium, the ticket will pop up. Passbook will also alert you to gate changes and flight delays once you have a boarding pass stored.Passbook could be the foundation for a new digital commerce hub for Apple, especially if the iPhone 5 includes a “near-field communication” chip that enables payment information to be transferred by tapping a device on a terminal at a checkout stand. A few Android phones use this technology to process payments with a feature known as Google Wallet.advertisementlast_img read more

first_imgSix stories in the news for Wednesday, Nov. 7———FEDS TO APOLOGIZE FOR HOLOCAUST INCIDENTPrime Minister Justin Trudeau will issue an official government apology today for what he will call the country’s moral failure when Canada closed its doors to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. The apology is months in the making and will focus on the decision by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1939 to reject an asylum request from more than 900 German Jews aboard an ocean liner that was nearing Halifax. Instead, the MS St. Louis returned to Germany and the passengers scattered in Europe. More than 250 of them died in the Holocaust.———CLEMENT QUITS SHADOW CABINET AFTER SHARING EXPLICIT IMAGESLongtime MP Tony Clement has resigned from the Conservative shadow cabinet after he shared explicit sexual images and a video of himself electronically. Clement says the images were sent in the last three weeks and he believed they were going to a “consenting female.” However, he now says the person was trying to extort him and he has asked the RCMP to investigate. “I recognize now that I have gone down a wrong path and have exercised very poor judgment,” Clement said in a statement Tuesday.———PLAQUE SALUTES MP AND VET WHO DIED BY SUICIDEA First-World War veteran who also sat as an MP will be remembered in the foyer outside the House of Commons. A bronze plaque bearing Lt.-Col. Samuel Sharpe’s likeness is to be unveiled during a ceremony on Parliament Hill today, the latest sign of the country’s changing attitude toward the psychological harm that Canadian soldiers have suffered from war for generations. Sharpe took his own life after returning from the war. The Royal Canadian Legion last week took the unprecedented step of naming the mother of the first soldier to die by suicide after serving in Afghanistan as this year’s Silver Cross Mother.———SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT EXPECTED ON HALIFAX CFL BIDThe group aiming to bring a Canadian Football League team to Halifax is expected to make a “special announcement” today. A media advisory says Maritime Football Limited Partnership and CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie will make the announcement at Saint Mary’s University at 1 p.m. The group, made up of former Arizona Coyotes co-owners Anthony LeBlanc and Gary Drummond and AMJ Campbell Van Lines president Bruce Bowser, is looking to secure a conditional expansion franchise to begin play in Halifax in 2021.———PAROLE HEARING TODAY FOR DRUNK DRIVER WHO KILLED 4A parole hearing is scheduled today for a drunk driver who killed three young children and their grandfather in crash north of Toronto three years ago. Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. The September 2015 crash in Vaughan, Ont., claimed the lives of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville.———SICK INMATES CALL FOR INTERCOMS IN JAIL CELLSInmates with chronic health issues at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility are raising concerns about the lack of intercom systems to alert correctional officers if they face a life-threatening situation in their cells. David Wade Smith, 43, and Chase Marinoff, 20, are inmates at the Halifax facility who have chronic health conditions and say they should have access to an emergency system if they fall ill. The issue of a lack of intercoms has come up in connection with the 2014 death of Clayton Cromwell, a 23-year-old inmate who died in his cell of a methadone overdose.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Matthew Vincent Raymond, accused of killing four people including two Fredericton police officers, is due back in court. The judge is to decide whether to appoint a new defence lawyer.— The RCMP is holding an on-the-record technical briefing regarding CRA phone scams and call centres in India.— The BC Coroners Service will hold a public inquest into the death of 26-year-old Abdi Gani Mahamud Hirsi, who died after a police-involved shooting in Vancouver in 2015.— The Edmonton Police Commission is scheduled to announce the city’s next police chief.last_img read more