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Author: Pierre Maré

The true value of mushrooms

It’s omajova season. The giant mushrooms are back. The termites have been busy, and so have drivers dashing off to harass termite nests and chase off whatever wild animals they find eating the things. Personally, having eaten a piece of omajova before, I have my doubts about their value as a culinary delight. I ate it with scrambled egg, and the egg had more flavor than the mushroom. I had a discussion with someone about the lack of flavor, to which she responded that it is nothing that garlic and butter can’t fix. Uncle Iconoclast has something to say...

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Annual reports: truth and beauty

I deal with annual reports from time to time, one of the more interesting facets of my work. I have watched them evolve over decades, and the changes have been positive. In its simplest form, the annual report is a set of financial statements, that may or may not come with a piece of interpretation from the head of the company. This is rarely satisfying to work with, or enough. The annual report has evolved to become one of the most important communication tools available to a company. That became apparent to me when I asked the financial accountant...

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Black and the colour of night

I have a goth streak in me that is about a mile wide. I do all the usual goth things: tolerance, good manners, reading vampire books and Neil Gaiman comics, thinking about metaphsysics, listening to Joy Division and above all, wearing black, or at least very dark blue or greyish, for a little bit of colour variation every now and then. I’m now pioneering the Namibian summer goth look by wearing black shorts and a black T-shirt with sandals or boots, also black. It’s taking a bit of time for me to get used to the contrast that my...

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Looking at customers and target markets

I read an interesting article on the effectiveness of big data. The article began with an anecdote of a father who was upset that his daughter was receiving vouchers for pregnancy products. It turned out that she was pregnant. Her online behaviour and browsing habits matched those of a pregnant person. Big data is a highly effective predictor of individual personality, behaviour and needs. It is collected online, through cookies. Most people enable or accept cookies in order to use the web. Websites give warnings that they use cookies. Unless you disable cookies on your browser, your information will...

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Chopsticks or spoons, which are best?

I understand western cutlery. I do not fully understand chopsticks. I suppose they were useful for eating when resources to manufacture knives, forks and spoons were scarce. I have spent too much time in these columns with the same things, the aspects of incredible human evolution brought about by the hyper-connectedness of social media, and current events. For the last year or two I have felt like a whiny little git, or one of those old guys who writes angry letters to editors beginning with the words ‘Dear Sir’. There are ideas that are far more interesting to me,...

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I’m thinking of taking up paranoia as a hobby.

It’s not that life has become too comfortable. It’s just that there is so much of it hanging about that I might as well take some enjoyment from it. It works on the same principle as the overworked person who gets ill. Sometimes lying in bed feeling revolting is the change that is as good as a holiday. There’s enough to be paranoid about, obviously, and with fairly good reason. For a start it seems that the Trump administration is looking to be a hawk. One of his advisors, a guy called Bannon, seems to want a war with...

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The changing face of newspapers

By zap zap blogspot The incessant coverage of Trump, including all the items on fake news and ‘alternative facts’ once again underscore the changing face of news delivery. Social media is shaking up news delivery. Television will survive in the form of clips. Radio will survive by virtue of the car. Print is evolving rapidly. A scan of the field shows that print reader numbers are declining, reporter numbers are in decline, and print editions are also in decline as they can be replaced by electronic delivery. There obvious implication is the loss of the captive audience for advertising....

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Offbeat 26 January 2017

I might have written this column about current events, but the main player of the moment bores me. Rather than thinking about it or meditating on overblown trolls and bullies, I’d prefer to watch a cheap exploitation flick. Chances of me doing that are zero. Chances of me riffing on the other thing are less than zero for now. The Internet is like Pandora’s box. It lets out all the evil and damaging stuff. You may immediately be thinking about racist sites and exploitative porn, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But there is another dark side to the thing....

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