Student news wrap 27/7/18

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News from home and around the globe.

Richards Bay students protest as NSFAS payments fail

Students from Umfolozi TVET College expressed their frustration by burning tree branches and rubble outside the Richards Bay campus after their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances failed to clear on the weekend.

A student leader, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that most students were notified that their R6 000 allowance from NSFAS, had been deposited on Friday. “When we went to withdraw it, some of us found that there was only R3 000, and others had no funds at all. When we contacted NSFAS we were referred to the college, but the college refuses to give us clear answers, which is why we have decided to protest,” he added.

Marketing and Communications director Bhekani Ndlovu explained that travelling and meal allowances were distributed through the NSFAS sBux system while NSFAS accommodation allowances were transferred by the college. “That is where the misunderstanding and confusion lies. The allowances differ according to what the student applied for,” Ndlovu said. Management indicated that they would address students’ grievances once a memorandum has been received. – Read the full story on the Zululand Observer site

Students hit 457 km/h with hyperloop test pod 

The third annual SpaceX pod competition took place in Hawthorne, California last Sunday. Teams had to develop a self-propelled pod to travel down a 1.2-kilometer tube. Engineering students from around the globe presented their vision of an ultra fast tube-based travel as envisioned by SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk.

Teams from Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands made it to the final where WARR Hyperloop from the Technical University of Munich took first place. Their pod reached a top speed of 457 km/h to set a new record. The 70kg carbon fibre pod was powered by a 50kW electric motor and featured pneumatic friction brakes, allowing the pod to come to a standstill within five seconds. The team earned themselves a hatrick, having won the previous two competitions. Elon Musk popped in to encourage and congratulate the teams on their work, saying the competition was about creating a new mode of transport. Musk had published his “alpha paper,” in 2013, which theorised that aerodynamic aluminum capsules filled with passengers or cargo could be propelled through nearly airless tubes at a velocity close to the speed of sound. The most famous scenario he proposed was a trip from LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes. – Read the full article on The Verge‘s website.