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Posts Tagged ‘brazil

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on Olympics evictions in Brazil, compares school life in Boston and Haiti, and follows an elderly man climbing Mount Washington.
  • blogTO suggests jets will not be coming to the Toronto Island airport and argues the city is unlikely to legalize Uber.
  • The Broadside Blog examines the staggering level of income inequality in the United States.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, in real-life and science fiction, the problems with maintaining artificial economies and notes the complexities of the Pluto system.
  • Crooked Timber notes the problems of organized labour and Labour in the United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes how atmospheric oxygen may not automatically point to the sign of life.
  • The Dragon’s Tales maps volcanic heat flow on Io and wonders if that world has a subsurface magna ocean
  • Far Outliers notes a popular thief in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan and looks at the politicization of the German military after the 1944 coup.
  • Geocurrents calls for recognizing the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland and looks at the geography of American poverty.
  • Language Log notes Sinified Japanese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the complexities of race and history in New Mexico.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that India unlike China cannot sustain global growth, approves of Snyder’s Black Earth, and notes poor economic outcomes for graduates of some American universities.
  • Otto Pohl is not optimistic about Ghana’s economic future.
  • The Planetary Society Blog evaluates the latest images from Mars.
  • pollotenchegg evaluates the 1931 Polish census in what is now western Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at why Syrian refugees will not be resettled in South America and observes that Mexico has birthright citizenship.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands describes the negative relationship for her between blogging and writing.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines rising mortality in Ukraine and notes changing ethnic compositions of Tajikistan’s populations.
  • Savage Minds talks about the importance of teaching climate change in anthropology.
  • Transit Toronto notes Toronto now has nine new streetcars.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi considers the situation of poor people who go to good schools.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the lack of Russian nationalism in the Donbas, observes the scale of the refugee problem in Ukraine, and looks at Russian alienation of Moldova.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos from the European migrant crisis.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the writing of numbers on the arms of refugees.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates readers on the war front and on the domestic mood.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple’s divorce because of marriage equality.
  • Language Hat notes the perils of translating Alice in Wonderland with its rich wordplay.
  • Languages of the World considers the question of the identity of the Black Jews.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests the United Kingdom and Latin America should take on more Syrian refugees.
  • Spacing Toronto suggests Toronto can stand to learn from Philadelphia about preserving art in public spaces.
  • Torontoist maps the rooming houses of Toronto.
  • Towleroad follows the Kim Davis saga.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy warns of restrictive copyright law lurking in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the high male mortality in Russia and refers to a writer who compares Putin positively to Alexander Nevsky.

[LINK] “Latin America’s 100 Years of Slow Growth”

Bloomberg View’s Justin Fox writes, with charts, about the slow economic growth over Latin America over the past century. Only Chile shows signs of converging strongly and consistently towards high-income levels.

[E]vident in [Hans] Rosling’s animations is the great breakout to much-higher living standards that the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand made in the 1800s, followed by the great catchup in Asia since the middle of the 20th century. Some African countries have begun making big strides, too, although sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s poorest region by far.

Then there’s Latin America and the Caribbean, whose part in this story has always intrigued and saddened me. In the 19th century, some of the countries and colonies to the south of the U.S. were among the world’s most affluent. In the 20th century most of them have become much more affluent in an absolute sense (Haiti is the tragic exception). They have nonetheless lost relative ground, especially during the past half-century, as rich countries just got richer and Asian nations broke through to wealth.

[. . .]

Compared to these other, more dynamic economies, Latin America seems to have been making hardly any progress. I’m not even going to try to go into all the possible reasons for this, in part because they vary greatly among countries. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think either U.S. imperialism or persistent bad luck is a satisfactory explanation for Latin America’s slow growth. Clearly these — with the possible exception of Chile — have not been among the world’s best-managed economies. And that really is too bad.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Antipope’s Charlie Stross and Whatever’s John Scalzi react to the Sad Puppies’ shut-out at the Hugos.
  • blogTO notes a poll suggesting that 85% of Torontonians think taxis are safer than Uber.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the potential role comet impacts may have had on the development of life.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin engages with Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers ways to detect life on worlds inhabited by extremophiles and examines the impact of ultraviolet radiation on hypothetical Earth-like exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales is upset that the United States suggested Ukraine should not immediately respond to the intrusion of Little Green Men.
  • Far Outliers notes the extreme casualty projections for an invasion of Japan in the Second World War.
  • Language Hat notes the controversy over the question of who the Indo-Europeans were.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the life of a Brazilian leader of a famous naval rebellion.
  • Marginal Revolution tries to start a debate on what the United States would look like if it had open borders.
  • The Planetary Society Blog features a report by Marc Rayman noting the ongoing mapping of Ceres.
  • Savage Minds carries an interview with anthropologist Christian Zloniski regarding export agriculture in Baja California.
  • Torontoist describes the controversial visit of a Toronto journalist to the Soviet Union in 1932.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Crimea is removing Ukrainian from its education system and wonders if Belarus is moving away from Russia.

[LINK] “Here’s How Brazil Is Giving Every Citizen Free Mobile Data”

The title of Ian King and Christiana Sciaudone’s Bloomberg article is slightly misleading, in that the free data access being considered is limited in scope. This might well expand in the future, at least based on precedents elsewhere in the world.

Once considered the next great growth engine for the smartphone industry, Brazil is on the decline. With its economy shrinking and unemployment on the rise, many Brazilians are making do with dumb phones. They find the cost of an Internet-connected device prohibitive, particularly when they factor in mobile data fees.

One possible solution borrows from a technical breakthrough made by AT&T half a century ago. The Brazilian government is working with local companies and Qualcomm, the world’s largest mobile phone chipmaker, on a modern version of toll-free calling. A new 1-800 system for mobile data allows Brazilians to access their bank accounts for free on smartphones without incurring data costs. The government of São Paulo plans to extend free data services to some official websites by the end of the year.

Banco Bradesco, one of the country’s biggest banks, began exploring a free data program after observing that many customers had stopped using the company’s app and were switching back to such traditional banking services as phone calls and visits to the teller. A survey of those customers found that they couldn’t afford data plans and didn’t have access to Wi-Fi during work hours, when banks are open. Bradesco teamed up with technology giant Qualcomm, and together they spent a year negotiating with Brazil’s four main phone-service providers. The bank purchased data packages wholesale and started rolling out the program in 2014. Bradesco customers can check account balances, transfer money, and pay bills without buying a data plan. “The response was excellent,” says Mauricio Minas, a vice president at the bank.

[. . .]

Sponsored data has been tested in other emerging markets, with some success. Internet.org, a pet project of Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, provides free access to a limited group of websites—Facebook being one—in Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. Two of China’s largest mobile operators began offering one-day free access to Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace in 2013 to get people hooked on the shopping site and to encourage data use.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

[LINK] “Some Isolated Tribes in the Amazon Are Initiating Contact”

National Geographic‘s Scott Wallace describes the various concerns in South America, specifically Peru and Brazil, relating to indigenous peoples’ initiation of contact with the outside world. How can this be done in as non-exploitative a way as possible?

Isolated indigenous groups in the western Amazon are under mounting pressure. The noose is gradually tightening around the last stretches of rainforest that remain free from the whine of chainsaws, the crack of rifles, the rumble of machinery. But in this instance, Peruvian officials doubt the Mashco-Piro are fleeing drug traffickers, loggers, or oil exploration crews. They believe the Indians are simply seeking more of the goods they have come to know through raids on settlements and encounters with strangers.

Trade goods have long exercised a powerful attraction for isolated tribes. For most of the 20th century, Brazilian wilderness scouts showered so-called “wild Indians” with such gifts to seduce them into accepting contact. That practice came to an end when Brazil adopted its “no contact” policy to respect the right of the isolated tribes to remain in seclusion if they so desired. After that, government agents would only seek out tribes that were in imminent peril from disease or genocidal violence. Indian rights officials assumed that the tribes would choose isolation over contact.

Recent events are challenging that assumption. Last year, a group of about 30 Indians emerged from the jungles around the native Ashaninka settlement of Simpatia on Brazil’s Xinane River, just across the border from Peru. According to Carlos Travassos, director of the Department of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indians, they melted back into the forest but emerged again days later, sick and exhausted, just as an emergency response team arrived. Speaking through interpreters, the Indians described a harrowing ordeal in the jungle across the border in Peru, where their people had suffered bloodshed at the hands of intruders, presumably illegal loggers or drug traffickers.

“We can’t say for sure that any single thing led them to make contact,” Travassos wrote in an email from Brasilia, “but it’s clear that the violence and attendant exhaustion they suffered cleared the way for contact.” The entire group received inoculations against the flu before returning to the forest. Thanks to the efforts of the team, Travassos continued, “the impacts of contact were kept to a minimum.”

Brazilian officials who helped formulate the “no contact” policy years ago are rethinking their strategy. “There’s something called self-determination,” Indian protection agent Meirelles told National Geographic by phone from his home in the Amazonian port city of Rio Branco. Having devoted decades to working along the Xinane River where last year’s contact occurred, Meirelles was recently invited to Peru to advise Torres and his superiors at the Ministry of Culture on the Mashco-Piro contact.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm

[LINK] On evidence of Australian Aborigine ancestry in Amazonia

The Nature paper “Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas” has a remarkable abstract.

Genetic studies have consistently indicated a single common origin of Native American groups from Central and South America. However, some morphological studies have suggested a more complex picture, whereby the northeast Asian affinities of present-day Native Americans contrast with a distinctive morphology seen in some of the earliest American skeletons, which share traits with present-day Australasians (indigenous groups in Australia, Melanesia, and island Southeast Asia) Here we analyse genome-wide data to show that some Amazonian Native Americans descend partly from a Native American founding population that carried ancestry more closely related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders than to any present-day Eurasians or Native Americans. This signature is not present to the same extent, or at all, in present-day Northern and Central Americans or in a ~12,600-year-old Clovis-associated genome, suggesting a more diverse set of founding populations of the Americas than previously accepted.

The Smithsonian goes into more detail.

Genetic studies have since connected both these ancient and modern humans to ancestral populations in Eurasia, adding to the case that a single migratory surge produced the first human settlers in the Americas. Aleutian Islanders are a notable exception. They descend from a smaller second influx of Eurasians 6,000 years ago that bear a stronger resemblance to modern populations, and some Canadian tribes have been linked to a third wave.

[David] Reich’s group had also previously found genetic evidence for a single founding migration. But while sifting through genomes from cultures in Central and South America, Pontus Skoglund, a researcher in Reich’s lab, noticed that the Suruí and Karitiana people of the Amazon had stronger ties to indigenous groups in Australasia—Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders—than to Eurasians.

Other analyses haven’t looked at Amazonian populations in depth, and genetic samples are hard to come by. So the Harvard lab teamed up with researchers in Brazil to collect more samples from Amazonian groups to investigate the matter. Together they scrutinized the genomes of 30 Native American groups in Central and South America. Using four statistical strategies, they compared the genomes to each other and to those of 197 populations from around the world. The signal persisted. Three Amazonian groups—Suruí, Karitiana and Xavante—all had more in common with Australasians than any group in Siberia.

The DNA that links these groups had to come from somewhere. Because the groups have about as much in common with Australians as they do with New Guineans, the researchers think that they all share a common ancestor that lived tens of thousands of years ago in Asia but that doesn’t otherwise persist today. One branch of this family tree moved north to Siberia, while the other spread south to New Guinea and Australia. The northern branch likely migrated across the land bridge in a separate surge from the Eurasian founders. The researchers have dubbed this hypothetical second group “Population y” for ypykuéra, or “ancestor” in Tupi, a language spoken by the Suruí and Karitiana.

When exactly Population y arrived in the Americans remains unclear—before, after or simultaneously with the first wave of Eurasians are all possibilities. Reich and his colleagues suspect the line is fairly old, and at some point along the way, Population y probably mixed with the lineage of Eurasian settlers. Amazonian tribes remain isolated from many other South American groups, so that’s probably why the signal remains strong in their DNA.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm


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