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Helen hit a bad pothole and it damaged the wing of her Z4 as well as the aluminium rim. The insurers arranged the repairs and we took it in to the panel beaters. I asked them to quote on all other imperfections that they could find so that the exterior of the car would be perfect. There was a bit of this and a bit of that and the quote came to something over R15 000. I got to thinking. “I wonder if this would be covered by the insurance”. I phoned our insurers, MUA, and yes, they would cover…

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Way back in 1972, Terry Harbour sat in the office of David Emanuel, CEO of Adendorff Auctioneers (Pty) Ltd and made a life changing decision. He would form his own auditing practice called Terry Harbour & Co and David undertook to be his first client. Shortly after that, he was joined by recently qualified Pete Grenville, and they changed the name to Harbour Grenville & Co. At that time, I was the Managing Director of Contronics SA (Pty) Ltd and we became their second client. A year later, when I quit Contronics to start MI Thermocouples (Pty) Ltd, it was…

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Three years ago, I wrote an article titled In search of the quickest way to solve Sudoku puzzles. Oh my! How embarrassing. At that stage, I was doing “Expert” Sudokus and thought that was the end of the road. All I could do from there on out was to get quicker and quicker. Then my App ( Sudoku – Classic by Beetles Studio) dropped a bombshell. It gave me an option to level up to “Extreme”. I suspect that it only does this if you have paid for the App. I clicked on it and tried my first Extreme…

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My vision changed dramatically from when I had new lenses in March to when I went to the optometrist again in November. He told me that it was either diabetes or the start of cataracts. I checked clear for diabetes, so he sent me to an ophthalmic surgeon, who confirmed that I was, indeed, developing cataracts. In the early stages, this can cause your lenses to change shape, hence my change in vision. He booked me in for the operation a week later and I got scared. I knew that I would be conscious, and could imagine seeing this guy…

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I’ve recently followed my wife into the world of art, and have become fascinated with the challenge of portraiture. To create a face on a piece of paper that makes you feel as if that particular person is there looking at you is remarkably difficult, especially if it is someone that you know really well. But it’s not really art, more of a craft, because you work from a photograph and, because the addition or subtraction of even a millimetre makes a huge difference, it becomes kind of technical. Then I moved on to colour and that’s when I went…

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We discovered Honest Chocolate. It is truly the best and has caused an uptick in our consumption of Cointreau, which, as I’m sure you will agree, is the ultimate companion to a quality craft chocolate. We were amused to find that on the segments of each slab are the letters D O N T B E A F R A I D O F T H E D A R K.   This is a constant reminder of something that we struggle with when we are sketching. Beginners, like us, painstakingly draw their subject, shade it in, feel…

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We had already made the decision to relocate to Knysna. We based it on the beautiful coastal scenery and the forests. Then, before we moved, we started taking an interest in air quality. There’s an American standard that measures AQI, the Air Quality Index, on a scale from 0 to 500. Things start getting bad above 100. We compared Knysna with Berea in Durban, where my daughter lives, and with Johannesburg. Here’s what we found – Wow! That’s was amazing. Since we moved, we check the AQI every day and, whilst it goes up and down, it stays within…

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I remember being taught in school that older people are likely to suffer from high frequency deafness. Lord knows why they taught us that or why it stuck in my sieve-like brain. But stick it did, so when it happened to me, I knew what it was. Off to the audiologist and yup! you’ve got it mate. So now I wear hearing aids, which thankfully, are almost invisible. But they do block one’s ears and that means I can’t hear my smart phone so well. Now, if I had an iPhone, I could download an app that would link my…

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I did it! I am terrified of heights. We stopped by at the bridge and I knew I had to do it. This was a battle of the brains. Front brain battling left brain, right brain and old brain. I am fascinated by my brain, and I have gone a long way to making it my best friend, but this was an incredible challenge. Could I bring myself to dive off a bridge over a 216 metre drop? For three nights, I hardly slept. I rehearsed that moment 5,4,3,2,1 Go! I was going to dive, not jump. I was ready.

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Sure, Covid has been a terrible pandemic. Devastating families and businesses. Smashing up an already smashed up economy. Changing the smiling faces and hugs that we South Africans are so used to into “Stay away from me”. Changing the property rental business probably forever. All very sad. But hey, there was at least some benefit. In February 2020, before we’d really cottoned on to Covid, I resolved that by the end of the year, Helen and I would be “free to choose”. That meant free to choose everything, from how we lived to where we lived. Having already opted for…

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“will smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet. But what about a Stinking Corpse Lily (Rafflesia arnoldii)? If you call it a rose, will it still stink? I guess Eskom thinks it would actually smell like a rose? As in “We are not load shedding. This is load reduction” Ah! Now I understand. Thank you, Eskom, for that clarification. And how about this one? “The R10,6m allocated to SAA is not a bail out. It is a budget neutral allocation to enable the business rescue plan”. Ah! Now I understand. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for that clarification.

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Part of project management requires the determination of the critical path. So what is that? We’ll take a simple example from the kitchen. This simple meal comprises grilled steak with vegetables and mash. The cook can only do one thing at a time, the meal needs to be ready as quickly as possible and all three components of the meal are to be ready for serving at the same time (no hot tray here!). The question is which is the sequence of the following processes which will determine the total time from start to finish.   The first thing we need…

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How, we often ask ourselves, can an attorney and advocate, defend someone whom they believe to be guilty? Do you remember those debating competitions of your school days? Each of two competitors was given opposing arguments in relation to a proposition. They then had to argue their side of the debate and the one who was most convincing would be the winner. Did the competitors have to agree with their own argument? No. What was being tested was not their beliefs, but their ability to debate an issue. When an advocate argues in favour of his client, he is doing…

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As you know, I am a bit of a Japanese abacus fanatic. This lead me to a fascinating method of multiplying using straight lines. Here’s how it works. We’ll take an example of 123 x 332 Draw parallel lines representing the number 123 Next draw a similar set of lines in the other direction representing 332 Now, all you have to do is separate the groups of numbers as I have done below Count the intersections in each group. This gives you 3 9 17 13 6 Carry the 10 of the 17 left to add it…

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Feng shui is an ancient Chinese science aimed at encouraging energy flow and balance within a given space.    Having lived in Hong Kong for two years, my lovely wife, Helen, tells me that it is pronounced fung shoi, so let’s go with that. There are all sorts of rules about how your house, for instance, should be placed in relation to its surroundings (particularly roads), which rooms should be used for what purpose (e.g. central, NE, SE, NE and SW), the layout of your furnishings and the materials that they are made of. Sure, you can engage a specialist…

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I was brought up to believe that and was never preceded by a comma. My daughter said it always is. Seems we were both wrong. Evidently, these are the rules – You can list A, B, and C as in Peter, Paul, and Mary had a party. or you can list A, B and C as in Peter, Paul and Mary had a party. The comma is optional However, if the list is only of two items, there’s no comma A, and B is wrong as in Peter, and Paul exchanged business cards. A and B is right as in…

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You hear about Bitcoin, then you must also hear the word blockchain. Ever wonder what the heck it is?   I like to think of it as a new Internet of events. The events are the blocks and the sequence is the chain. Hence blockchain. It was adapted by Satoshi Nakamoto, the unidentified person or group of people who enhanced it for Bitcoin. Let’s take a simple example – On 12 July 2008…

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I came across a mind blowing arithmetic pyramid and couldn’t resist the challenge of figuring out how it worked – Here’s the magic pyramid that held me in awe (I can’t give credits, because I don’t know who discovered it) So why does it work? It turns out to rely on that magic little number 9, so let’s reverse engineer it – I found it easier to start with the big number so that I could figure out the logic. Notice how taking one of the starting numbers away shifts all of the numbers…

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We moved to apartment living in Rosebank in September and have, for the first time become aware of the beginnings of the┬ádevastation of the urban forest. On the upside, however, we also enjoy almost daily sightings of rose-ringed parakeets. I used to be a very keen birder, but nowadays, I simply enjoy hearing and seeing them and no longer go out of my way to tick new ones. So it’s years since I added another tick to the 700+ list that I had accumulated over time. Imagine my surprise then, when…

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Johannesburg has the world’s largest urban forest (the other claimant in Rio is outside the residential part of the city). But our forest is dying! Helen and I live in Rosebank in the heart of the so called “Parks” – Parkview, Parkhurst, Parktown, and we are watching the trees around us die. Sure, many of them fall to property developers – there seems to be an insatiable demand for residential apartments, so that Rosebank central (which is largely devoid of trees) is creeping outwards, but that’s not the problem that we see as we drive through our leafy neighbourhood. Next…

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