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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘latin america

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait shares a video showing how tacos are made in space.
  • blogTO shares some classic photos of the TTC in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The Crux goes into more detail about the mesentery.
  • D-Brief notes how the binary star KIC 9832227 is projected to experience a stellar merger in 2022.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting that exoplanets and brown dwarfs are as common around A and F stars as around dimmer Sun-like stars, and links to another paper examining the potential of detecting transits of exoplanets orbiting brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an article wondering if China’s seizure of a US navy drone could set a precedent for satellite seizures.
  • Language Log links to Yiyun Lee’s article about abandoning Chinese for English.
  • The LRB Blog remembers philosopher Derek Parfit.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the recent riots in Mexico, caused by rising gas prices.
  • Strange Maps shares informative maps exploring the Netherlands’ internal distinctions.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at how the Russian language has multiple standards despite Russian official claims, and shares complaints about Kaliningrad’s vulnerability.

[LINK] CBC News’ Don Pittis on Mexico as an emergent First World economy

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CNC News’ Don Pittis has a good article, written from a Canadian perspective, arguing that the likelihood of Mexico’s emergence as a First World economy means that we should shed old stereotypes. Among other things, there’s the potential for substantial profit.

Handicraft markets on beach vacations may perpetuate a cartoon image of the country, but a visit to Mexico’s vibrant and sparkling capital city, undergoing a long-term building boom, offers a very different view.

A new report by the Conference Board of Canada commissioned by HSBC makes the case that Mexico and Canada may be ideal trade and investment partners.

The report sees clear signs that Mexico is on the verge of an economic transition that will only benefit Canadian companies that get involved.

Despite Trump’s claims, the number of Mexicans running from poverty to the United States has dwindled. While Spanish speakers continue to cross Mexico to enter the United States from other Latin American countries, an increasing number of Mexicans are finding good work at home.

In December, news that Mexico had displaced Canada as America’s second biggest trading partner got lots of attention in Mexico.

But the reason U.S. companies want to locate there is that the country has become a global manufacturing hub, having free trade deals with more countries than anywhere else.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[LINK] “Agroecology Booming in Argentina”

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The Inter Press Service’s Fabiana Frayssinet reports on the popularity in Argentina of agroecology, a variant on organic agriculture.

Organic agriculture is rapidly expanding in Argentina, the leading agroecological producer in Latin America and second in the world after Australia, as part of a backlash against a model that has disappointed producers and is starting to worry consumers.

According to the intergovernmental Inter American Commission on Organic Agriculture (ICOA), in the Americas there are 9.9 million hectares of certified organic crops, which is 22 per cent of the total global land devoted to these crops. Of this total, 6.8 million of hectares are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three million in Argentina alone.

The Argentine National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (SENASA) reported that between 2014 and 2015, the land area under organic production grew 10 per cent, including herbs, vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals and oilseeds.

Legumes and vegetables experienced the largest increase (200 percent). In Argentina there are 1,074 organic producers, mainly small and medium-size farms and cooperatives.

“The organic market is starting to boom. We have been producing since 20 years ago, when this market did not exist in Argentina and we exported everything. Now we sell abroad, but about 50 percent remains here,” said Jorge Pierrestegui, manager of San Nicolás Olive Groves and Vineyards, an agroecology company that produces olives and olive oil on some 1,000 hectares in the Argentine province of Córdoba.

“Opting for organic was a company policy, mainly due to a long-term ecological vision of not spraying the fields with poisonous chemicals,” Pierrestegui said.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm

[LINK] “Tango and the gender question”

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Open Democracy hosts Yessika Gonzalez’s article looking at the queering of the Argentine tango.

With the internationalization of tango, its slum origins were forgotten and a strictly codified dance was exported with clearly defined roles between man and woman. In the traditional milongas—the venues where people in Argentina go to tango—women generally sit on one side of the dance floor to show their potential dance partners that they are available. The man invites the woman to dance with a head motion and the women either accepts or rejects the proposal. So begins a dance in which the man leads and the woman follows the marked steps, embellishing the dance with several adornments.

In recent years, however, people have begun to champion the so-called Queer Tango – queer meaning “strange”, “different”, or even “eccentric”. But since the word was traditionally used pejoratively against people on particular gender and sexual grounds, it was eventually appropriated by the LGBTQ community. The Queer Tango therefore does not aim only to create spaces for the gay community to express itself through tango, but it allows all people, regardless of their sexuality, to explore themselves and go beyond social gender norms. As the Buenos Aires Queer Tango blog explains:

“Queer Tango is a space for tango open to everyone. A space for meeting, socializing, learning, and practicing that seeks to explore different forms of communication between those who dance. The queer tango does not presuppose the sexual orientation of its dancers, nor their taste for occupying one role or another when dancing.”

[El Tango Queer] es un espacio de tango abierto a todas las personas. Un lugar de encuentro, sociabilización, aprendizaje y práctica en el que se busca explorar distintas formas de comunicación entre quienes bailan. El tango queer no presupone la orientación sexual de los bailarines ni su gusto por ocupar un rol u otro a la hora de bailar.

Although, at its inception, only men danced the tango, in the traditional milongas of today, same-sex partners have been victims of discrimination and have even been thrown out of the dance floor. In fact, the birth of many “queer” milongas came as a response to these attacks.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 28, 2016 at 2:15 pm

[LINK] CBC on the Haitians stranded in Tijuana

CBC News’ Kim Brunhuber tells a heartbreaking story of Haitian migrants stranded on the US-Mexican frontier.

Every day, more Haitians arrive, famished. They’ve been on the road for three months to get here.

“We crossed Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala to come here,” says 26-year-old Joubert Alizaire.

He’s among the close to 50,000 Haitians who migrated to Brazil after the 2010 earthquake devastated parts of their country. Most of them went to work on Olympic construction. When the Olympics ended, so did the work. But the U.S. offered them a lifeline of sorts, announcing that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would stop deporting Haitians who were in the country illegally.

That’s what prompted many Haitians like Jean-Ludger Sainnoval to begin a tortuous cross-continental journey. He says he walked much of the way, over mountains, through rivers and jungle.

“You never forget a journey like that,” Sainnoval says. “We had nothing to eat, no water, nothing to drink. We have friends that left Brazil but didn’t make it here. Some because it was too hard. Some because they died.”

Close to 5,000 Haitians managed to make it all the way to Tijuana, at the Mexico-U.S. border. But then in September the U.S. reversed the policy and said it would resume “removing” Haitian nationals, claiming that conditions in Haiti had improved. Those who feared persecution back home could apply for asylum.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith writes about what he has learned from his huskie.
  • Bad Astronomy shares some gorgeous Cassini images of Saturn’s polar hexagon.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at L2 Puppis, a red giant star that our own sun will come to resemble.
  • D-Brief notes climate change is starting to hit eastern Antarctica, the more stable region of the continent.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at some of the cool pins put out by supporters of LGBT rights over the decades.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at Susan Faludi’s account of her life with her newly trans father.
  • Far Outliers examines the War of American Independence as one of the many Anglo-French global wars.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders why the Los Angeles Times allowed the publication of letters defend the deportation of the Japanese-Americans.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok argues that we are now moving beyond meat production.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at Mexico as a seedbed of modernism.
  • Savage Minds shares an article arguing for a decentering of the position of human beings at the interface of anthropology and science.
  • Understanding Society has more on the strange and fundamentally alien nature of the cephalopod mind.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the North Caucasus is set to go through austerity.

[URBAN NOTE] “Subway Will Modernise – and Further Gentrify – Historic Centre of Quito”

The story told by the Inter Press Service’s Mario Osava, describing how the Ecuadorian capital of Quito will be transformed through gentrification following subway construction, sounds sadly familiar.

Success can kill, when it comes to cities. Spain’s Barcelona is facing problems due to the number of tourists that it attracts. And the historic centre of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, a specially preserved architectural jewel, is losing its local residents as it gentrifies.

This paradox was pointed out by Fernando Carrión, president of the Latin American and Caribbean Organisation of Historic Centres (OLACCHI) and a professor at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO) in Ecuador.

“Quito’s historic centre lost 42 per cent of its population over the last 15 years, a period in which it gained better monuments and lighting, and became cleaner,” he said. According to official census figures, the population of the old city dropped from 58,300 in 1990 to 50,982 in 2001 and 40,587 in 2010.

The effort to revitalise the historic centre was based on a “monumentalist policy,” on the restoration of churches and large buildings, which led to a process of gentrification, driving up housing prices and the conversion of residential into commercial property and pushing out low-income residents, he told IPS.

“I fear that the subway will drive away more people,” exacerbating the tendency, he added.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 7, 2016 at 9:30 pm