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Current Awareness Archive: Feb2016

What is Current Awareness?

Current awareness is the term used to describe staying informed by keeping up to date with the latest publications, research and news in your field.

The perspective of current awareness is the present and the forthcoming, as opposed to the retrospective. 

Current awareness ranges from looking for information on specific topics on a regular basis (and this usually involves the assistance of your Personal Librarian to help you set up a search profile matched to your research interests) to embracing a wider, more general, and cross-disciplinary view that brings an element of serendipity into your search for the latest information.

Informally, researchers remain alert in all contexts for useful information and insights that will inform their daily practice, their research, and spark off innovative and creative ideas for new avenues of research.

Website of the Month

Website of the month

February's websites of the month are: is a free, authoritative, and respected reference for Internet users, and provides a comprehensive encyclopedia, almanac, atlas, dictionary, etc.

The following information on Leap Year is available on the Infoplease website:

What Is a Leap Year?

Leap years are needed to keep our modern day Gregorian calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun.

It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year.

However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn't add a leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by around 24 days!

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the United States government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. 

This day in history

1 Feb

Lets all raise a magnifying glass to cheers the Oxford Dictionary, which debuted this day in 1884!

2 Feb

Sciophobia is a fear of shadows, a topic of interest to Punxsutawney Phil #groundhogday

4 Feb

Facebook launched this day in 2004, eliminating the need for traditional face-based communication

5 Feb

Check out Credo’s Superb Owl Topic Page:

8 Feb

Happy Birthday Jules Verne, a writer in a league all his own!

9 Feb

Credo’s Mardi Gras Topic Page will show you all kinds of great scholarly content, no beads required.

11 Feb

Nelson Mandela was released from prison 25 years ago today. Learn all about this inspirational leader:

18 Feb

Since its discovery in 1930, Pluto has only completed about 1/3 of its orbit around the Sun

19 Feb

Happy Birthday Copernicus! Here’s a Topic Page revolving around his life and accomplishments:

25 Feb

Renoir was arrested as a spy, but was saved thanks to a good ‘impression’ he’d made with some influential people

26 Feb

It’s International Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

29 Feb

A history of leap years, from our Calendar Topic Page:  

About the Monthly Current Awareness Page

The year is marked with many special days, weeks, and months dedicated and devoted to raising awareness about important issues.

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

February 2016

Selected Noteworthy Days in February:

8 Jan to mid-Feb: 5 Planets Will Be Visible From Earth At The Same Time - Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are set to make a simultaneous showing that will last about a month.

11 Feb: State of Nation address (SONA) 

13 Feb: South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Open Night : The dark Universe 

13-14 Feb: The Midmar Mile 2016 - The popular annual swimming race known as The Midmar Mile takes place in the small town of Howick, just outside of Pietermaritzburg

16-17 Feb: Africa Energy Indaba 2016 - The Africa Energy Indaba brings together international and continental experts to share their insights and solutions to Africa's energy crisis, while simultaneously exploring the vast energy development opportunities on offer in Africa.

17-18 Feb: eCommerce Africa Confex 2016 - The eCommerce Africa Confex is Africa’s main event dedicated to current aspects of eCommerce. Visitors will meet with leaders in the industry and pioneering suppliers face-to-face to and learn about the most cutting-edge technologies and solutions in today's market.

18 Feb: The IDC’s Inaugural IoT Roadshow, 18th February, Sandton Convention Center (Internet of Things) 

18-20 Feb: The Dusi Canoe Marathon 2016 - The Dusi Canoe Marathon was first established 1951 and is now the biggest canoeing event on the African continent. Having been recognised as one of the most popular river marathons in the world, the event attracts 1600 to 2000 paddlers per year.  The distance of the marathon covers approximately 120 km.

18-21 Feb: Cape Town International Animation Festival - The annual Cape Town International Animation Festival features the best of animated films from around the world.The animated short film Stick Man has its African premiere.

In the Media

Is Zika a global health emergency? Independent Online. The World Health Organisation's emergency committee will on Monday debate whether a Zika virus outbreak suspected of causing a surge in serious birth defects in South America should be considered a global health emergency.

British scientists granted permission to genetically modify human embryos British scientists have been granted permission to genetically modify human embryos by the fertility regulator.

Africa: Malaria Deaths On Decline in African Countries Statistics indicate that annual malaria deaths in Africa have decreased from an estimated 764,000 in 2000 to 395,000 in 2015.

A win for Team South Africa in The Hague South Team South Africa has won the 2016 International Schools Moot Court competition, held in The Hague in Holland. 

South Africa in Davos: Zuma's nine-point economic plan South Now, these reports will form part of South Africa's key message to the rest of the world at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. 

Top Dog Revolutionising Online Adaptive Learning in South Africa Times LIVE. This is going to change the world of studying for students, parents and teachers alike, and has the potential to change the education statistics in South Africa ...

5 big things happening in South Africa right now  BusinessTech. A report by the Economist's Intelligent Unit showed that South Africa's democracy was weakening, largely due to corruption which has become endemic ...

WhatsApp faces possible regulation in South Africa Times LIVE. Over-the-top internet services, such as WhatsApp, could be regulated in South Africa depending on the outcome of planned Parliament hearings this month.

Can South Africa afford free education? News24. It started with The Freedom Charter, which is a very important document outlining the plan to improve the lives of South Africans ...

South Africa can solve power crisis with cow dung: researcher Times LIVE. A young researcher at the University of Free State (UFS) has dedicated her life to finding solutions to the county's electricity crisis ...

Record levels for rhino poaching across Africa Mail & Guardian Online. The increase comes during a time where South Africa has managed to stabilise its rhino poaching levels. 

415 kiteboarders ride for the record in South Africa SurferToday . The South African record improved the mark held by Spanish riders, and also supported three local charities. "After eighteen months of planning and preparation ...

20% sugar tax on the cards for South Africa BusinessTech. The South African National Department of Health has set a target of reducing the number of people who are obese or overweight by 10% by 2020.

Television celebrates 40th anniversary in South Africa Times LIVE. The past four decades saw the SABC's television offering going through various channel permutations with the South African public broadcaster ...

South Africa ranks 30 for worldwide innovation influenceSouth Africa has ranked moderately in a report showcasing how domestic policy can foster global innovation. South Africa came in at 30 out of 56 countries. Kenya was the only other African country to be featured in the rankings.


Should you wish to read Current Awareness guides of previous years, visit the Archive

Looking for Upcoming 2016 Conferences?

If you are looking for 2015's forthcoming conferences, the following websites are helpful:

Golden Oldies

This month's golden oldies articles of choice are:

The Exploration of the Moon, Robert Jastrow

Scientific American 202, 61-69 (May 1960 PDF


Was the Race to the Moon Real? John M. Logsdon, Alain Dupas

Scientific American 270, 36-43 (June 1994 PDF


A Glimpse through the Corridors of Time Robert S. Ball

Scientific American 13, 5139-5142 (4 March 1882 PDF


Videos and eBooks available in the Unisa Library:

Apollo 11, a night to remember / produced and directed by Paul Vanezis. DVD | 2009

The Apollo story [videorecording] man's journey to the moon / written and presented by Patrick Moore. DVD | c2009

Days that shook the world [videorecording] : 56 remarkable days that shaped world history  DVD | 2007

The Moon in science and fiction : or, How man reached cosmic space : an unusual assembly of rare books, autographs, manuscripts, maps and papers illustrating the history of astronomy, astronautics, aviation, rocketry, the invention and development of telescopes, photography, radio, television and rockets from the Renaissance to the lunar landing Printed Material | c1977

Encyclopedia of the solar system [electronic resource] / editors, Lucy-Ann McFadden, Paul R. Weissman and Torrence V. Johnson . EBook | 2007

Access to these sources are password controlled: Unisa staff members will be prompted to enter their Network username and password, and Unisa students will be prompted to enter their student number and myUnisa password.