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My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher is a Netflix documentary film, filmed in South Africa, and the first South African nature documentary to be one of Netflix's original productions.  It stars Craig Vorster and his friendship with an octopus in a kelp forest near False Bay close to Simons Town in the Cape. 

It is an absolutely remarkable documentary and I will not spoil  anything about the documentary other than to say that it involves fights between the octopus and pyjama sharks and you will be astounded at how intelligent octopus are. The footage is amazing and it has already won some awards.  If you have Netflix, I strongly recommend that you watch this South African sensation which is being watched around the world at the moment!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 17-Nov-20   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
TikTok stars

I was reading through the earnings of the most well-known people on TikTok and although they are doing very well it was not exactly the figures that I imagined.  Forbes estimates that the number one earner is Addison Rae Easterling who earned $5 million in the past year largely through branded merchandise and sponsorship from companies.  Of course, that is not bad for a 19 year old, but it is not exactly the figures we hear in other fields.  Second and third are the D’Amelio sisters of whom Charli D’Amelio is the better known.  Charli D’Amelio earned $4 million in the last year, which is fantastic for a 16 year old and her 19 year old sister, Dixie D’Amelio earned $2,9 million.  How long those types of gigs last is another question and I am not just talking about the concerns that obviously many might have about the future of TikTok, but as long as they invest the money wisely, don’t spend too much in terms of getting a very fancy house, they will not have to work again.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 09-Nov-20   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Elon Musk - seventh richest in America

It is quite amazing that somebody who went to Pretoria Boys High School and was born in South Africa is now the seventh richest man in America according to the Forbes 400 Annual List. 

It is also a very sad story for yet another boys’ school in South Africa that is remembered by what is clearly the most successful student ever, as being an unhappy place for him with lots of bullying.  Elon of course did not form Tesla, he took it over and really took it to new heights, and he also has another very successful company, namely SpaceX.  According to Forbes he was worth, at the time of publication, $68 billion or to put that into South African terms R1122 billion, which you could just round off at R1,1 trillion!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 03-Nov-20   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Trump will lose - part 2

I think that Donald Trump is going to get hammered in the US elections next week and no doubt he may bring some court challenges as he has threatened, but I believe he is going to lose in any event – and I am not sure it will be close enough to even make it viable for him to bring court challenges.  He will of course claim that it is the biggest fraud in all history, because he is just simply a man who cannot accept that has lost and isn’t as popular as he believes he is – and the reason for that is that he is a narcissist and can never ever admit defeat or when he is wrong. 

When the history of this election is written and when people look back on 2016, I think one of the factors they will point to, apart from the incompetence of Donald Trump, will be all of those who did not want to support Trump the last time but did not like Hillary Clinton either.  So many of them did not vote at all and I think they have learned their lesson.  When Hillary Clinton said that the next President of America could choose two or three Justices of the Supreme Court people attacked her saying she was being hysterical and that that was not going to happen.  Donald Trump has now selected three Justices of the Supreme Court and all of those who did not vote last time now know the consequences of that decision in 2016 and will, I believe, come out and vote in big numbers. A lot of people don’t appreciate that there are more registered Democrats in America than there are Republicans, and that does not mean that I agree with the Democratic policies, some sections of which do tend to run too close to socialism, but whereas Ronald Reagan sold America capitalism with a heart, we have seen the heartless side of capitalism with Donald Trump.  I think that is going to lead to a resounding defeat for him in the election. 

I think that common decency will win the day and the rest of the world will be so much better off - Donald Trump has certainly not been good for the world. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 28-Oct-20   |  Permalink   |  44 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Trump will lose

In 2016 I wrote quite a lot about the elections and I saw Donald as a very real threat to Hillary Clinton for a long time.  I would not have written about it as much as I did if I did not see him as a threat.  His win was unexpected, but not the massive shock that he makes out – it is never really a shock in a 2 horse race if the lesser favourite of the two horses wins.

I think that those who think he is going to repeat it again because he has some magical powers are making two mistakes.  Firstly, it is clear that his business skills have really been overrated – as many have said, it appears that he plays a businessman on TV as opposed to actually ever being a successful businessman.  If he had simply invested his father’s money that he inherited in the S&P Index Fund, the main Stock market index that investors follow, he would have made more money than he is worth now – and that is not a compliment.  That would be 7% or 8% a year and most people who run their own businesses do not make only 7% or 8% a year over the long run.  There would be no benefit to running private businesses if you could only match what the Stock Market could do – you would then just put your money into shares and sit at home and do no work.  So, the whole superstar businessman story is total nonsense.  I am not saying he is not a brilliant marketer and has convinced many people that he is a star businessman, but that is marketing as opposed to being the brilliant businessman. 

The other mistake I think they are making is that people are tired of the division that he has brought.  They are tired of his lack of empathy for people and all of that has been very well illustrated during the whole Covid-19 issue.  The fact of the matter is America has not done well in dealing with Covid-19 and largely it has been because of the leadership of Donald Trump, a man who even after getting Covid-19 still mocks masks and says they are not really effective.  One wonders how many people have died, while listening to the President of America, who really just talks nonsense either to appeal to his base or perhaps, mistakenly, because he is just not very bright and has not studied any of the signs.  In that regard, he is surrounded by top scientists but he has replaced the advice of Dr Fauci with a radiologist. So, right now, the President of America is advised, when it comes to viruses, not by a doctor who specialises in viruses but by a person who specialises in reading X-rays!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 27-Oct-20   |  Permalink   |  48 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Covid-19 and death statistics

I wrote some time ago it will take some years before we discover the true number of people that have died.  Sadly, we all fall into the trap of saying that things are not so bad, or that the statistics have improved.  We ignore the fact that even in advanced countries, like the United States, not everyone is getting tested.  Statistics indicate that in America the average number of deaths for this year so far is running at about 40,000 higher than the normal deaths plus Covid-19 death.  So there are an extra 40 000 dead this year so far, but not accounted for in Covid-19 deaths.  In other words, what that means is that the American death toll, currently at approximately 215,000 from Covid-19 is more than likely to be really 255,000 or maybe people are just dropping dead from unusual conditions this year?

The bottom line is, if countries like America can’t even get their statistics right, what are the odds that those statistics are really correct in South Africa?  When I wrote about this before I said that it will only be in 3 or 4 years’ time, in most countries, that they will know the true death toll, and that the death toll at any given time will be higher than what we think it is.  Based on American statistics we know that the SA statistic must probably be at least 20% more people that died than the figure we are given on a daily basis – currently at 18 500.

 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 19-Oct-20   |  Permalink   |  53 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
2020 US election - postal votes

As the election gets closer you will be hearing a lot about this.  That is because Donald Trump has been speaking about this issue all the time saying it is not possible to have a fair election if there are postal votes.  He does add one exception to that – he will not win Florida without postal votes of the elderly so he has said that postal voting in Florida is fine. 

The important thing to remember, when you hear about all of this in the future, and he Russians are already spreading fake news about it, as they did in the 2016 election, is that Americans have been allowed to vote by post forever.  In fact, it is quite routine for up to one-third of all votes, including when Trump won in 2016, to be via post.  It is not unusual, it is not strange and Trump’s own appointees will confirm this.  His Postmaster General, appointed by Trump, has said the Post Office can deal with all the votes even though Trump says they can’t.  His FBI director has said that they have had no evidence, now or in the past, of any significant fraudulent voting via post.  In other words, what we are getting prepared to hear, with Russian assistance, is a fake story about fraudulent voting via post.  There is simply no evidence of it and it is the way things have always been.  Just remember that when this becomes a big issue in the first week of November.  Obviously, in a year with Covid-19 there will be far more postal voters than ever before, but what really appears to lie behind it is that President Trump feels that if more people vote he is likely to lose and if less people vote he has a winning chance.  For now, he is way behind in all the polls losing by between 6% to 8%.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 28-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
All the ugly people on the Internet

I am not on Instagram, but I looked on it recently and just saw Bill Gates’ official account – ThisisBillGates.  It is amazing, if for example, he has a picture of himself reading with his daughter when she was much younger, the nasty comments that people will make.  Even the “more innocent” nasty comments are along the lines of, “I feel uncomfortable seeing this.”  Other comments include, “Give those vaccines to your kids” or “Disgusting pedogate.”  Other references are made to “Pizzagate” where some right wing conservatives made up a story that Hillary Clinton and a whole lot of other wealthy people were abusing children at a Pizza Restaurant in Washington DC.  One lunatic even turned up there with a gun, determined to rescue the children and apart from all the trouble they create for the wealthy and famous, let’s not forget that the owner of the restaurant is also just a normal small business person like anybody else and whose business and life was terribly damaged simply because of lunatic stories on the Internet.  It does not matter what pictures Bill Gates post, there are people telling him that the devil is waiting for him in hell and all sorts of other things.  It is sad that so many people spend so much of their time, probably because they are uneducated and have not read much, in believing in conspiracies, but on top of that, how nasty a human being do you have to be to spend your spare time posting things like that on people’s accounts?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 22-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  43 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Vegan shoes

I am really impressed by the number of companies around the world that are starting to do environmentally friendly things.  A number of companies are making vegan shoes where, for example, the laces will be made from organic cotton, the upper knit of the shoe is made from recycled plastic bottles and the inner soles are made from recycled algae foam and natural cork.  I bought myself a pair of these shoes recently and although they are not my favourite shoes in terms of look, they were completely comfortable to wear and I am happy knowing that my shoes are made out of plastic rubbish taken from the ocean where it was floating around and turned into shoes!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 15-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  52 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Google's takeover of Fitbit

The European Union is now investigating Google’s takeover of Fitbit.  They are nervous that Fitbit’s fitness trackers could give Google a “data advantage” in a business which they already dominate, namely online advertising.  Google bought Fitbit for $2.1 billion and now the European Union will weigh on this.  In the US we are seeing closer scrutiny of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft as to whether or not they are becoming too powerful and are monopolies.  I don’t think we will see much of that, but investors probably will not lose either way, because for example Google had to be split up in different businesses, one being YouTube, another being the automated car, Waymo, and another being the online advertising, you still are not going to lose by having Google shares.

*I am not a registered investment advisor and this does not constitute investment advice.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 08-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Changing your address

It amazes me that with computers used to sort a lot of the post that our systems in SA are not more efficient.  For example, in some countries overseas, if you want to change your address for all your post you simply fill in a form on the Internet, pay a fee of less than R20 and all your post will start from the next day being redirected to your new address!    Imagine trying that in South Africa.  It really should be possible and it is definitely something they should think about, but I guess before then, we have to try and reduce how many things get lost or stolen in the mail and focus on the actual delivery of the mail, let alone updating addresses! 

It does show you though as things become more and more advanced and people learn to do a lot more online and via computers, that you can resolve a lot of things a  lot more easily than you might have in the past – for example by writing a letter to every single person that ever wrote to you and giving them your change of address – which is the way we still do things. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 02-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  46 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
ADMITTED 25 YEARS AGO TODAY

On 29 August 1995 I was admitted as an attorney. It was a tremendously proud day for me, marking as it did the end of a long journey which begins with school, went through two degrees at university, the Practical Legal School in Durban where I was the class Chairperson, and then one year of articles at David Levithan.

I was admitted in the Pretoria High Court and the advocate that assisted me with the application, was extremely bright and very influential in my career at that time, John Peter has subsequently become a Senior Counsel and will no doubt, in due course, become a judge.

It is amazing how quickly time flies - I really do not think it has been 25 years although if I went on the basis of stress then it probably felt like 50 years. If I went on the basis of time, I would say it probably feels more like 10 to 15 years. There are so few attorneys that last 25 years in the profession that the Law Society actually gives out certificates to them at the Annual General Meeting. But, since I know the real purpose of those certificates, it is not something I would attend, simply to collect a certificate. The real purpose, and I sat on the Law Society when they came up with the idea, is to get more people in attendance at the AGM and to sit through six or seven hours, to collect a framed “endurance” certificate is just not me. It is about what it means to me, what I have achieved as opposed to time, and not getting any accolades in front of a crowd.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 29-Aug-20   |  Permalink   |  46 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00

 


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