Big Picture: Earth Day

While we were caught up with our own issues surrounding the South African Elections we (meaning I) forgot that it was Earth Day also on the 22nd of April – but the rest of the world and Boston.com’s Big Picture didn’t.

Today is Earth Day, a day set aside for awarenesss and appreciation of the Earth’s environment, and our roles within it – this year marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. As a way to help appreciate and observe our environment, I’ve collected 40 images below, each a glimpse into some aspect of the world around us, how it affects and sustains us, and how we affect it. Happy Earth Day everyone. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

big_picture_earth_day_20091

This view of Earth, featuring North, Central and South America was taken by the NASA probe called Messenger, while conducting a fly-by of our planet in order to pick up a gravity-assist boost on its way toward Mercury. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

Voting in South Africa

So yesterday we had the day off so that we could vote in our general elections. I was wondering whether it would go swiftly (like the previous elections) or not (like the 1994 elections, where I waited in line for over 4 hours to vote). Thankfully the voting proceeded very quickly, and surprisingly, around the country, without any serious incidents.

The wife and I took a brisk walk from our house to the local voting station a few blocks from our house. We joined the back of the line – just outside the door and we were then promptly escourted to the correct queue based on our surnames and that we were in our own voting district (apparently the IEC had changed the rules recently to allow anyone to vote at any voting station, however if you were outside your registered province you could only vote for a national party not a provincial one).  

We presented our Identity Document, had our names checked on the register, got our fingernails marked with indelible ink (actually when I first read what was written on the little bottle I thought it said inedible ink!) to prove we voted and couldn’t vote at another station again. We were then given our voting ballots at the next table (one for provincial and one for national) and then waited for an empty voting booth to go and cast our votes. I noticed that they ensure the different party names are in random order each year and not alphabetical to ensure certain parties (who shall remain a nameless candidate) tell their voters to mark the first one on the list. We made our marks, dropped them in the highly secure (?) cardboard boxes and off we went – less than 15 minutes after joining the queue.

Uneventful, quick and hopefully our little marks will help make a difference. We’ll see in probably a few days time once all the voting districts ballots have been counted and audited (?) what the results are. 

The rest of the day was just as uneventful, except for a minor bit of surfing the web and some more training in Counter Strike, for the next weekly battle after work on Friday. Ready team, breach, bang and clear – move, move move!