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filthy light thief (2)

The Gods Must Be Crazy, and the four sequels you might not know about

Roger Ebert thought highly of the first two films, the first he summarized as "a movie that begins with a Coke bottle falling from the heavens, and ends with a Jeep up in a tree," and called the South African slapstick film "a nice little treasure." He said the second was for people who like "happy movies better than grim and violent ones." After The Gods Must Be Crazy (YT, Crackle) and its sequel (YT), three unofficial sequels were produced in the early 1990s in Hong Kong and filmed in Cantonese, still featuring Nǃxau ǂToma throughout the continued series, and Coke bottles also feature prominently. As could be expected, these knock-off sequels integrate parts of Chinese culture into the films for the predictable humorous cultural conflicts, from hopping vampires to nefarious panda-nabbers. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 18, 2013 - 21 comments

A possible souce for the "fairy circles" in Africa

In temperate climates, "fairy rings" appear in grassy meadows and lawns, and these are caused by fungi, with some rings expanding for hundreds of years. But in the western part of Southern Africa, there are a different sort of "fairy circles," barren circles that are surrounded by long-lived perennial grasses. The Himba people, an ethnic group in northern Namibia, attribute them to original ancestor, Mukuru, or consider them "footprints of the gods," and scientists have been stumped for decades. Professor Norbert Jürgens, from the University of Hamburg, might have finally solved the riddle: a species of termites that are most active at night and don't build big, noticeable nests, have engineered the ecosystem by eating the roots of grasses that grow within the circle, keeping the soil moist for long periods of time. The discussion continues, as some scientists who have studied the phenomena aren't so sure about the theory.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 29, 2013 - 5 comments

"I never see children. So the animals are my friends."

Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. (Possibly NSFW)
posted by DaDaDaDave on Jan 18, 2013 - 19 comments

Namibian Fairy Circles

Namibian Fairy Circles "By comparing photos taken over a 4-year period, Walter Tschinkel confirmed something other scientists had suspected: The circles were alive—or at least they were dynamic. A number of circles appeared and disappeared over this time period. Extrapolating from the data, Tschinkel calculated that most smaller circles arise and vanish every 24 years, whereas larger circles last up to 75 years. Overall, the lifespan averaged 41 years."
posted by dhruva on Jun 28, 2012 - 16 comments

The most wonderful plant ... and one of the ugliest.

Welwitschia mirabilis lies around the Namibian coastal desert like misshapen heaps of horticultural debris, either singly or in untidy clumps. Each plant has two huge leaves lolling out from its gaping trunk that collect moisture from the sea fogs. These plants would win no awards for beauty - the Regius Keeper of Kew Gardens described them as "one of the ugliest" plants brought to England, and it's hard to disagree with the Daily Mail's description of it as "hideous ... leprous ... snaking and sinister". None the less, it is a tourist attraction in its own right and supports the Namibian coat of arms where it symbolises fortitude and tenacity. If you're still hanging out for some Welwitschian goodness, here's a video and lots more photos on Wikimedia Commons. You can even try growing one yourself!
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 13, 2010 - 31 comments

A New Approach to Aid

" Under the plan, every citizen, rich or poor, would be entitled to it starting at birth. There would be no poverty test, no conditions and, therefore, no social bureaucracy. And no one would be told what he or she is permitted to do with the money." Promising news from Spiegel Online about a Guaranteed minimum income project in Otjivero, Namibia. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 20, 2009 - 51 comments

Trees Never Meet

Trees Never Meet is the thoughtful blog of David, a historian of Africa. Though posting has slowed recently, the archives are fascinating. On fitting in; on killing animals as an ex-vegetarian; on Namibian legal history; on "anti-conquests"; on the types of people who have inhabited Namibia since the conquest; on Namibian politics. David also has a fantastic, well-written dream blog.
posted by nasreddin on Jul 22, 2009 - 8 comments

Let's sit down and talk this over.

President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize. A former Finnish President, an UN envoy, a social democrat, a school teacher and founder of Crisis Management Initiative has negotiated for peace in many troubled areas for three decades. Last fall and last summer CMI (without Ahtisaari's presence) called former Northern Ireland and South African militants to use their experience for finding Iraqi factions a way out of bloodshed. A plan for Kosovo. Negotiations ending 30-year conflict in Aceh, Indonesia. Negotiating Namibia independence. Got conflict? Mr. Ahtisaari is your man.
posted by Free word order! on Oct 10, 2008 - 16 comments

Does Africa Need Wealthy White Celebs to help her Survive and Prosper?

There is something creepily colonialist in Madonna’s attitude to Africa. First we had the White Man’s Burden -– now we have the White Madonna’s Burden. More and more celebrities are treating Africa as a wide-eyed child that needs a Hollywood hug -– or as a wicked devil that needs a Hollywood hammering. [more inside]
posted by dawson on May 16, 2008 - 81 comments

"A chance for sycophantic losers to seek fulfillment"

Brad, Angelina, and the rise of 'celebrity colonialism' [via A&L Daily]
posted by bukharin on May 31, 2006 - 85 comments

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