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Posts Tagged ‘latin america

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Centauri Dreams explores Pluto and its worlds.
  • Crooked Timber considers the question of how to organize vast quantities of data.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to two papers on exoplanet habitability, noting that the composition of exoplanets influences their habitability and suggests exomoons need to be relatively massive to be habitable.
  • Geocurrents notes the inequalities of Chile.
  • Joe. My. God. notes an article about New York City gay nightclub The Saint.
  • Language Hat links to a site on American English.
  • Language Log suggests that the Cantonese language is being squeezed out of education in Hong Kong.
  • Languages of the World notes a free online course on language revival.
  • Peter Watts of No Moods, Ads, or Cutesy Fucking Icons examines the flaws of a paper on a proto-Borg collective of rats.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at the Toronto connection to a notorious late 19th century American serial killer.
  • Towleroad notes a study suggesting that people with undetectable levels of HIV can’t transmit the virus.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the issues of compliance with lawful orders.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi likes the ASIS Chromebook flip.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the connection between the wars of Yugoslavia and eastern Ukraine, looks at Buryat-Cossack conflict, and notes disabled Russian veterans of the Ukrainian war.

[LINK] “Exxon’s Guyana Oil Discovery May Be 12 Times Larger Than Economy”

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Bloomberg’s Andrew Rosati and Joe Carroll report about the discovery of massive oil deposits offshore of Guyana. Besides noting that this might provide an explanation for Venezuela’s renewed claims, I think I’m right to fear for the consequences of massive oil deposits on the life of a poor country. Right?

An Exxon Mobil Corp. discovery in the Atlantic Ocean off Guyana may hold oil and natural gas riches 12 times more valuable than the nation’s entire economic output.

The Liza-1 well, which probably holds the equivalent of more than 700 million barrels of oil, may begin producing crude by the end of the decade, Raphael Trotman, the South American country’s minister of governance, said in an interview Monday. The prospect would be on par with a recent Exxon find at the Hadrian formation in the Gulf of Mexico, and would be worth about $40 billion at today’s international crude price.

Guyana produces no oil and its gross domestic product of $3.23 billion in 2014 ranked between Burundi and Swaziland, according to the World Bank. Exxon, which has a market value of $341 billion, has declined to provide an estimate for Liza-1 since describing the discovery as “significant” in a May 20 statement.

“A find of this magnitude for a country like ours, which sits on the lower end of the scale of countries in this hemisphere, this could be transformational,” Trotman said. “From my sense, from speaking to experts outside of Exxon, it has to be something in excess of 700 million barrels.”

Exxon, which began drilling the well in March, said it found a 295-foot (90-meter) column of oil- and gas-soaked rock in a subsea region known as Stabroek Block. The well is 120 miles (193 kilometers) offshore and 5,710 feet beneath the sea surface.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

[LINK] On evidence of Australian Aborigine ancestry in Amazonia

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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

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos relating to the restoration of Cuban-American relations.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about why she uses Twitter.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study noting the sulfur-rich environment of protostar HH 212.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports a Chinese plan to develop a mixed fission/fusion reactor.
  • Language Log notes an example of Chinese writing in pinyin without accompanying script.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes the importance of Kevin Kwan’s novels about Chinese socialites.
  • Language Hat reports on an effort to save the Nuu language of South Africa.
  • Languages of the World reports on Urum, the Turkic language of Pontic Greeks.
  • Discover‘s Out There reports on the oddities of Pluto.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla explains why the New Horizons data from Pluto is still being processed.
  • Spacing Toronto reports from a Vancouver porch competition.
  • Towelroad notes a married gay man with a child denied Communion at his mother’s funeral.
  • Window on Eurasia notes racism in Russia, looks at Tajikistan’s interest in the killing of its citizens in Russia, suggests Belarus is on the verge of an explosion, and examines Mongolian influence in Buryatia.

[LINK] “Greece, Argentina Provide Model as Ukraine Considers GDP Linkers”

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I have to say, reading Lyubov Pronina and Katia Porzecanski’s Bloomberg article, that none of this looks good for Ukraine.

As debt talks intensify between Ukraine and its creditors, securities that pay out if economic growth exceeds expectations will probably be on the agenda, echoing deals done by Argentina and Greece in the past decade.

Ukraine’s restructuring proposal includes a “value-recovery instrument,” the Finance Ministry said last month, while a person familiar with a bondholder plan submitted in May said it has a debt-for-equity swap element. Both securities feature interest payments tied to gross domestic product, so-called GDP-linked warrants.

The main point of disagreement in the talks is whether bondholders should accept losses on the face value of the debt, something that Ukraine insists upon, while a creditor group led by Franklin Templeton has said it isn’t necessary to achieve the goals of the restructuring. The two sides said today they made progress in talks this week and are working on “narrowing the gaps” between their proposals.

While providing scope for compromise, GDP warrants are also likely to be a source of further disagreement, with the level at which they’re triggered open to debate. Argentina is considered to have set it too low, saddling the country with billions of dollars of payments over the past decade, while the Greek securities have yet to bear fruit with the nation’s economy shrinking in every year but one since its bailout.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:34 pm

[ISL] “Is East Timor Illegally Putting Together a National Soccer Team With Brazilian Players?”

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Jack Kerr of Vice reports on something that actually does look quite sketchy.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation may be turning a blind eye to the illegal movement of players into Asia.

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor has been improving steadily in recent years, and just recently moved ahead of Indonesia, the country it broke away from at the turn of the century, in the FIFA rankings.

[. . .]

A large part of Timor’s improvement has been done through the recruitment of Brazilians with no discernable links to this poorest nation in Asia. And neither FIFA, the AFC or the local FA will say how they qualify.

According to FIFA regulations, a player born in one country can play for another country if they have lived there for five years as an adult, and get citizenship. But none of Timor’s Brazilian contingent appear not to have lived or played in the half-island nation as adults—if at all.

[. . .]

They would also qualify to play for the Asian side if they had parents or grandparents from there. However, despite a Portuguese colonial legacy in Timor-Leste, there is no strong history of immigration between the two countries.

“Until 2000, I would say there was no migration, and since then it has been limited, mostly via marriage,” says Damien Kingsbury, a Melbourne professor who specialises in politics and security in Southeast Asia, particularly Timor-Leste.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • At Alpha Sources, Claus Vistesen links to his podcast wherein he argues that too much blame is being placed on the IMF.
  • blogTO notes a documentary on a CBC prop warehouse.
  • City of Brass celebrates the Fourth of July and the end of Ramadan.
  • Crooked Timber is scathing about the IMF, the European Union, and Syriza.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper that studies Gliese 229B, one of the nearest and first-found brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that half of the banded iron formations extant on Earth are products of microbes.
  • Geocurrents notes how non-inevitable the Saudi state was within its current borders.
  • Language Log looks at the use of Sinitic characters in modern Korea.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money tackles pea guacamole.
  • Marginal Revolution shares photos of an abandoned Soviet space shuttle.
  • Towleroad notes that Cuba has managed to halt mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphillis.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the anti-Ukrainian slur Khokhol’s unacceptability, looks at controversy over national textbooks in Tatarstan, and examines a dying Finnish-language magazine in Karelia.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World warns of radical Islam among Albanians.
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