Oanob dam

On Sunday we went to the lake. Actually, it’s not really a lake but a dam reservoir. It’s called the Oanob dam and right now it has quite a bit of water. It was incredibly picturesque to see the rolling African savanna met by this mass of water. We had great weather so we stayed and had a bbq. Posted by Picasa

On the lake is the Lake Oanob Resort which offers accommodations and water sports. Can you believe water skiing in Namibia? Posted by Picasa

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I think this is the coolest grasshopper I have ever seen! Posted by Picasa

As the day continued I felt more and more like I was up north in Ontario. Posted by Picasa

In need of a decent connection…

Late last week the following email was sent throughout the University:

Dear Colleagues
Please be advised that the link to South Africa is down. The problem is
apparently on the South African side.
We will inform you as soon the situation change.
We thank you for your understanding.


We were offline for the rest of the day. The University was not alone, the entire country was without internet access! Can you imagine??? I went downtown to use the ATM; offline! Literally hundreds of services grinding to a halt….
Apparently there is but one meagre connection between Namibia and South Africa. I remember the internet being very quick in Johannesburg. I think this country could benefit immensely from a strong network.

Population ( 2006 Est.) 2,038,791
Internet Users 2000 30,000
Internet Users 2006 75,000
% Population 3.70%
(%) Users in Africa 0.30%
Use Growth ( 2000-2005 ) 150.00%

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Red Wine Makes Fish Live Longer

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Feb. 15, 2006— A red fountain of youth makes vertebrates, and possibly humans, live longer and feel better, according to a new study by Italian researchers on a species of short-lived fish.

Neuroscientist Alessandro Cellerino at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, and colleagues report in the February issue of Current Biology that resveratrol, an organic compound found in red grapes and wine, "prolongs lifespan and retards the expression of age-dependent traits in a short-lived vertebrate."

Cellerino’s team investigated Nothobranchius furzeri, a small fish species that lives just three months in captivity.

The researchers tested different doses of resveratrol on 157 fish. Thirty fish received a small dose in their regular food, 60 received a medium dose and 20 received a large one.

A control group of 47 fish had their insect larvae meal without resveratrol. While the control and low-dose fish saw no significant benefits, the fish who received only a medium dose of the compound lived up to 27 percent longer.

Resveratrol also delayed "motor and cognitive age-related decline" in old fish. Dissection showed that the neurons in the brains of resveratrol-fed fish did not decay as quickly as those of the control group.

Resveratrol is one of a group of compounds called phytoalexins that are synthesized by plants to protect them from environmental stress, fungal infections or severe weather.

The compound, particularly concentrated in red wines, has already proved effective in prolonging the lifespan in non-vertebrates such as yeast, the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila.

Acccording to David Sinclair, professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School who discovered resveratrol’s life-extending properties on yeast, fungi and flies, the study is a "milestone, as it is the first example of a molecule that can greatly extend the lifespan of a vertebrate, and the first ever that works across different species, from yeast, to worms, to flies, to fish."

"I believe that resveratrol is the precursor to a new class of drugs that will one day prevent and treat numerous diseases of old age by activating the body’s own defenses against disease and aging," Sinclair told Discovery News.


Swapokmund Again

Back to Swapokmund this past weekend. This time I was accompanied by our new German exchange students, Marc, Sebastian, and Tobias, Sebastian’s friend Anna visiting from Germany, and our friend Steve who hails from Australia. We set out Friday afternoon towards the coast in our rented VW Kombi (minibus).

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I managed to drive the last leg of the trip as the sun set directly in front of me illuminating the desert very beautifully. We arrived just after sunset, checked into the bungalows and head to town for dinner.

We went to a place called Kuicki’s pub which actually had quite a selection. I had the kudu steak which was quite nice with a mushroom glaze.

Our next stop was the Beach Bar which is exactly that. Here we had Vodka Redbulls for a recharge. The Beach Bar is really great but closes early! Steve insisted we take a couple “travelers” and stroll down the beach.

Note: A traveler is a beer to go, and is quite standard in the land down under.

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Saturday we decided to have a quad biking adventure through the Namibian dunes. I have seen the dunes on numerous occasions but actually flying through them on a four wheeler is an experience not to be missed. I can officially say I am now “duned” out. It was a lot of fun.

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Saturday was another crazy night. Out for a great dinner at “The Tug”; to the Beach Bar and then bouncing between clubs on the Swakopmund strip.

We decided to walk the beach on our way back to the bungalow. On the way some decided to build a sandcastle. Once the sandcastle was washed away with the incoming tide and most of us had gotten a bit wet Marc, Tobias and Steve jumped in. I was really tempted but it was still quite a bit cold even under the circumstances.

On Sunday we visited Walvis Bay down the coast from Swakopmund. It was amazingly quiet and shut down like a ghost town being off-season.

Took the road to Dune 7 as Marc, Sebastian, and Steve had not yet conquered the beast. Steve brought the Australian flag to fly at the top. It was quite funny. I didn’t make it to the top having skipped breakfast.

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On the way home we hit a Camel Farm and checked out some camels. It was my first camel encounter. We also met what Steve coined a “Zonky” which was half zebra half donkey. It was a really neat looking mix.

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