Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

More science

projects in


RECENTLY we discussed a project in which scientists from Bristol, in the west of England, were in Durban to investigate the possibility of generating electricity from urine.

Why Durban? Well this is the only place in the world where urine could have originated as cannabis lager, which apparently has the capacity, having passed through the human bladder, to generate electricity on a scale of lightning bolts.

Those scientists have since departed – no doubt with a few barrels of the local product to continue their research – but are replaced by two more from Switzerland.

These I chanced to meet in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties the other evening, in the company of UKZN's professor of sewage. They're a charming girl and a pleasant young fellow.

Are they also set on producing electricity from urine? No, it seems their line is converting urine into potent fertiliser (and it goes without saying that fertiliser originating in cannabis lager is that much more potent).

I express my astonishment at all this – that urine should have an agricultural as well as an electricity generating capability, which in turn creates a monetary value.

Oh yes, the fellow says and he points at a small, almost empty, water flask on the counter. That would be worth €10.

Wow! €10! I volunteer to fill it to get another round of drinks.

"No, no!" shrieks the young lady scientist. "It has to go through a chemical process first."

The wonders of science. It all sounds so unlikely, it's as if I'm having my leg pulled. But the sewage prof is the real deal. He's devoted his entire career to the sewers and slurries of Durban.

And, I'm glad to say, he always takes a shower before coming to the Street Shelter to socialise.



WHO remembers the first rugby match ever played at Kings Park? The question is raised by reader Zoltan de Rosner, of Pennington, who says he remembers the stadium being built during the days he played Under 19 for Durban Collegians.

"Those were the days when Izak van Heerden coached and the likes of Freddie Swart, Keith Oxlee and Koeks Moller were playing for the First Team

He guesses that the first match ever would have been between two Under 19 sides (Durban Collegians possibly one of them) as curtain-raiser to a first division game.

"Aah, good carefree (Lion Ale) days those were."

Yes, Lion Ale – "The beer Natal made famous", as the breweries punted it. Can anyone out there remember who played first at Kings Park?

The stadium opened in 1958. In 1955 I watched Natal play their first Currie Cup final ever, led by the great Peter Taylor. But it was on Kingsmead cricket ground, Kings Park still under construction.

The final was against Northern Transvaal and we lost 9-8 in injury time to a very dodgy try. My smouldering sense of injustice was assuaged 35 years later at Loftus in 1990 when I watched as we beat Northern Transvaal to win the Currie Cup for the first time ever and in the centenary year of the Natal Rugby Union.

Since then we've done it another six times, plus last Saturday at Newlands.

Ole, ole, ole! No more Lion Ale to celebrate, but we do have Durban Poison.





THE desk sergeant's telephone rings. He picks up.

"Help! There's a burglar in a nymphomaniac's bedroom!"

"Who's speaking?"

"This is the burglar!"


Last word


If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?

Abraham Lincoln

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