For 350 years Manaus has stood sentinal at the dramatic Meeting of the Waters
, where the dark
Rio Negro and the sandy
Rio Solimões (or the Upper Amazon) meet to form the headwaters
of the Amazon River. [more inside]
How Napoleon Chagnon Became Our Most Controversial Anthropologist.
"Jaguars and anacondas are impressive adversaries — 'Indiana Jones had nothing on me,' Napoleon Chagnon says — but his staunchest foes are other anthropologists."
A ten-day trip to the Mato Grosso do Sul to take pictures of anacondas worked out quite well
for nature photographer Franco Banfi.
(Videos from a similar expedition in 2010.
The London Geographical Journal, the preeminent publication in its field, observed in 1953 that “Fawcett marked the end of an age. One might almost call him the last of the individualist explorers. The day of the aeroplane, the radio, the organized and heavily financed modern expedition had not arrived. With him, it was the heroic story of a man against the forest.”
Fawcett was none other than Percival "Percy" Harrison Fawcett
, British soldier, trained as a surveyor of unknown lands, doubling as a British spy
. But his true love was exploration, and not simply to mark boundaries on a map
. His final goal was the same that had been the demise of many explorers: a mighty lost civilization in South America
. [more inside]
Current TV previously & previously
, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Amazing footage of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil.
These tribes are threatened by the encroachment of illegal logging activites. "I know this footage is the only way to convince the rest of the world they are here."
Inspired by its 10th anniversary
, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed
. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos
, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai
, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah
. See the Aral Sea dry up
- once the fourth largest lake
, down to 10 percent of its original size
(marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon
, as observed from above the state of Rondônia
in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands
, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein
. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell
, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
The sky is a really big place, right? So how did a Boeing 737 and a Legacy 600 private jet manage to collide head-on at 37,000 feet over the Amazon jungle in Brazil? William Langewiesche's detailed analysis of the 2006 crash
--which killed all 154 aboard the 737--provides some answers. [more inside]
is an Amazonian tidal bore
that generates waves up to 12 feet high which can last for over half an hour. Surfers from all around the world have visited Brazil in order to ride this mega-wave. Here are some videos:
The Pororoca Phenomenon (4:28)
Pororoca 1 of 2 (3:11)
Pororoca 2 of 2 (3:21)
Pororoca (26 minutes long)
"When they emerged after 50 yards, the landscape no longer looked anything like the southern edge of the Amazon forest.
It looked like Iowa.
In Mato Grosso, Brazil the rainforest is vanishing. And all because of soybeans and beef.
"If we were an aggressive tribe, we would have killed the land owners already," said Tupxi, one of the canoeists, who estimated his age at 77. "
good Washpost story...
More on arithmetic in the Amazon
The 10/15 issue of Science has the official publication of Peter Gordon's work on numerical cognition among the Pirahã, and a companion article by Pierre Pica et al. on similar research among another Amazonian tribe, the Mundurukú. What with the U.S. election and the discovery of H. Floresiensis, this is not getting nearly as a much play as the pre-publication back in August of Peter Gordon's work.
Brian Butterworth has an piece
in the Guardian about both articles, and I've put some links, quotes and diagrams here
Compared to the reports on the Pirahã, the Mundurukú people, language, and experiments are all somewhat different, although the conclusions are broadly similar.
How To Catch An Alligator
is Ken Perlin's essay on his trip to the Amazon. The rest of his site
is pretty amazing too. I suppose I'll have to put going to Brazil on my list of things that he's done
that I envy him for.
Environmentally Correct Dance Party Set for Amazon.
"Brazil's lush Amazon rain forest may be best known for its isolated Indian tribes and abundant wildlife, but local officials hope it will soon be a hotbed of techno music ... [the] four-day 'rave' that is expected to lure tens of thousands of clubbers from around the world to all-night 'environmentally correct' dance parties." Can any one give me a ride?
"Uncontacted" tribe contacted in Javari region of Amazon
A team of Brazilian anthropologists has made contact with a group of indigenous people in the Amazon region. They had initially only wanted to learn about uncontacted groups indirectly, but chose to seek out this group to make sure they weren't being exploited by a neighboring group.