Sunday night 60 Minutes aired a segment on the state of cyber crime & cyber terror which included the extraordinary claim that unknown hackers were behind massive power outages in Brazil in 2005 & 2007. Now Wired Magazine's Threat Level blog says that's just not true. According to two studies (PDF, Portuguese) by the Brazilian government it was buildup of soot on insulators that caused the blackouts, not super-hackers demonstrating their abilities. Is the US Intelligence Community passing around false information to justify its relevance?
Os Gameboys are a band from Brazil who play only music from classic videogames. They are really, really good. (via waxy: "the best live Mario cover I've ever seen")
Seeking to be the first Green Olympics, Brazil wins its bid to be the first ever South American nation to host the 2016 games. [more inside]
On September 10th, to celebrate their initiation week, 172 communications students at the University of Quebec at Montreal decided to put on a show. After weeks of preparation, the costumed and prop-wielding crowd enacted an exuberant, complex, and flawlessly-choreographed performance of the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling" that sprawled through the campus's multi-story Judith Jasmin Pavilion... and they did it all in one continuous take (on their second try). The feat is just the most recent example of "lipdubbing" -- a video phenomenon where a single camera moves through a crowd of highly coordinated lip-syncers in a single seamless take, with the original recording dubbed over the finished product. [more inside]
Honduran coup regime attacks Brazil's embassy with LRAD-X Remote Long Range Acoustic Device, violating the Geneva Convention. And, to violate it a little more, they've also used a mobile cell phone jamming device.
Brazil-based agency DDB BRASIL, contracted by the WWF to make an ad which would drive a "Respect the Planet" theme home, thought that making a 9/11 themed ad would be a good idea. After the video somehow makes it to the internet (some say it was leaked by the agency itself to win an award at Cannes), outrage predictably ensues. DDB Brasil insists the commercial was nothing but a rough draft and the WWF has not endorsed the ad made in their name, although evidence exists suggesting WWF Brazil endorsed a similar print ad a while back. Stupid, bad ad and a comedy of errors? Or the latest viral ad strategy?
Brazil's new water conservation campaign: Xixi no Banho! (slyt)
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.
If you've ever heard the song Aquarela do Brasil (often called simply "Brazil" -- here's my favourite cover), then you'll probably enjoy this classic 1942 animation which first made it famous. The clip is the finale from the feature Saludos Amigos (hello friends), created during a US government-funded goodwill tour of South America aimed at strengthening Pan-American relations, which some argue may have helped bring South America onto the side of the Allies in World War II. [more inside]
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]
"For me, capitalism has never been an abstract concept. It is a real, concrete part of everyday life." President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on the future of capitalism.
First person video of Gabriel flying his model plane around Rio and landing it through the balcony of his 10th story apartment. Here's a greatest moments compilation that includes him launching and retrieving the plane from a boat, a moving train, through tunnels and around high rises. Here he is flying a plane with no engine, using only his car's windshield to generate lift. Also, RC Groups' "What to Buy For Video Piloting." Oh and Brazil is very pretty.
Further to the cover up and the initial claims the jury has reached a verdict in the De Menezes inquest. [more inside]
A 1926 Brazilian sci-fi novel predicts a U.S. election determined by race and gender. O Presidente Negro envisions the 2228 U.S. presidential election. In that race, the white male incumbent, President Kerlog, finds himself running against Evelyn Astor, a white feminist, and James Roy Wilde, the cultivated and brilliant leader of the Black Association, "a man who is more than just a single man ... what we call a leader of the masses."
Brazil's Gilberto Gil, now 66 years of age, is stepping down from his position as Minister of Culture to concentrate, once again, on his music career. That's good news for his fans, and here's some more good news: a huge chunk of his recorded work is available as streaming audio for your listening pleasure. [more inside]
The Rise of the Rest. Fareed Zakaria's Newsweek article about a "post-American" world.
There was a time when it seemed that groups like Frederic Galliano presents Kuduro Sound System and Buraka Som Sistema would do for kuduro what groups like Diplo and Bonde do Role did for Funk Carioca: make it popular with hipsters in the United States. But it hasn't happened yet. Why?
Should you be attending this year's carnival in Rio, you probably won't be seeing a huge float rolling down the parade route depicting an enormous pile of emaciated corpses and a samba-dancing Hitler. But that's only thanks to a Brazilian judge's decision.
Reading the January edition of Harper's, about Brasilia, I was struck by a bit about what is apparently one of many cults in around the capital city: the Valley of the Dawn. A Jewish UFO cult? The ultimate in syncretic religions? Book your flight now.They're a lot more open to foreigners than Macumba
The Prepaid Healthcare Visa® Gift Card, for that special someone without insurance on your holiday list. Rejoice! Terry Gilliam's dystopian future is now! [via]
Favela Rising is a recent documentary exploring the AfroReggae (in Portuguese) movement and the amazing story of one of its founders, Anderson Sa. AfroReggae (MySpace page has music on) was born in the Vigário Geral favela as a way to give the community an alternative to the drug trade and to fight police oppression. [more inside]
Brazilian Ethnomapping: Inside a thatched-roof schoolhouse in a village deep in Brazil's Amazon rain forest, Surui Indians and former military cartographers huddle over the newest weapons in the tribe's fight for survival: laptop computers, satellite maps and hand-held global positioning systems. Some of the resulting maps.
Brazilian Blogger Bashing! The respected Brazilian newspaper Estadao decided to promote its new online presence by jokingly producing a series of ads with obvious misfits and asking such questions as "Is this the guy giving you dating advice?" and a video (youtube) comparing bloggers to monkeys. Bloggers are outraged "Why would you read a newspaper that compares bloggers to monkeys?". In today's newspaper, Estadao offers no apology but instead dryly recounts the facts. Meanwhile, the resulting controversy, with thousands of blogs weighing in, has driven a lot of traffic to their new site.
After growing up with opera and samba, having lived in Rio and Rome, her first album went double platinum, producing some modern classics. She didn't stop there, as has gone on to make many other great albums. Not to long ago, a one shot collaboration, with two other modern greats, turned out to be a success despite limited publicity (maybe because the songs were actually quite good). This is Marisa Monte, one of the great talents of MPB. Have a listen (thus the YouTube and Last.fm links).
He wasn't the greatest technician on earth (he only studied a short time with a teacher, as states his biography), he wasn't really famous outside Brazil, in spite of the many recordings available under his name, of his various talents (drawing, designing a new string instrument), but his playing is really endearing, and whatever the material, originals, bach or chico buarque, he made his point across easily.
Badi Assad has some incredible technique goin' on (YouTube) and charisma to burn. The 41-year-old Brazilian singer and guitarist comes from a musical family and has been signed to a pretty prestigious North-American record label. Of course these days there is the obligatory Wikipedia entry and her MySpace page. Here's an interview (from ten years ago) wherein she discusses her music. So far as I can see those hips and those lips and those fingertips don't lie. [Much more Badi Assad on YouTube]
You folks out there in MeFi Town been keeping up with the water themed MeFi Music Challenge? There's been some mighty fine uploads for you to check out! But if there was ever a piece of music deserving the water tag, it's this drenching wet masterpiece by Brazil's brilliant, eccentric musical genius Hermeto Pascual, in which Hermeto and his band play bottles full of water, and flutes full of water, and, well, the lake. Música da Lagoa: water music at its very best. And its very wettest. [more inside]
The city of Sao Paulo passed an ordinance last year banning outdoor advertising; photographer Tony de Marco has been documenting the skeletal remains of the advertising infrastructure throughout the city; the impact looks like the aftermath of a new type of atomic weapon that targets marketing but leaves buildings & people unscathed.
These women are supposed to disgust you into buying low-fat yogurt.
What Brazil tells us about torture today. A thoughtful discussion by Clive James of torture in the context of the movies in general and Terry Gilliam's Brazil in particular. Warning: occasional descriptions of awful behavior, and the reader may have his opinion of humanity lowered. "The historical evidence suggests that on the rare occasions when a state begins again in what a fond humanitarian might think of as a condition of innocence, a supply of young torturers is the first thing it produces... In the Nazi and Soviet cellars and camps, people were regularly tortured for information they did not possess: i.e., they were tortured just for the hell of it."
Braziliian music rediscovers its roots: Early in 1938, Mário de Andrade dispatched a Folklore Research Mission to the northeastern hinterlands of Brazil to record as much music as possible as quickly as possible, before encroaching influences like radio and film began transforming the region's distinctive culture.
The Pororoca 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:
Composer and arranger Rogério Duprat passed away on Thursday. Duprat had a substantial career in music for films and commercials, but he is best known for shaping the sound of Tropicalia, the revolutionary stew of Brazilian folk styles, bossa nova, MPB, rock, jazz, blues and psychedelica. Some youtube clips: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil , Os Mutantes, and Gal Costa.
In the 1930's, Henry Ford transplanted a tiny piece of America—complete with picket fences, fire hydrants, poetry readings, square-dancing, and English-language sing-alongs—into the Amazon rain forest. Fordlândia was to be the largest rubber tree plantation on the planet (over 70 million rubber tree seedlings) providing material for the millions of tires Ford Motor Company needed. It flopped. So he tried again, downriver a bit, with Belterra. It flopped, too. By 1945, Ford threw in the towel having lost over $20 million, or roughly $200 million in modern dollars.
Brazilian striker Ronaldo is now "the most prolific scorer in World Cup history." Controversy surrounded him, literally, regarding his weight in the run-up to 2006 (not to mention a bit of competition from an heir apparent named Ronaldinho). But today is Ronaldo's day, and Brasilia's as well as they try to repeat 2002 and add a sixth star to their jerseys. (The list, updated to include Muller in 2nd, Juste Fontaine in 3rd, and fellow countryman Pele in 4th.)
Sorry, But Only One Of These Countries Can Win The World Cup. But which one will it be? And what are the odds? The Guardian's Fiver can be as funny about it as it likes, but this is no laughing matter, not anymore, as we will soon be surrounded by 31 unmistakable, irredeemable, inconsolable losers. Anyway, whatever happens, I'm sure everyone here at MetaFilter will join me in wishing it's one of the countries that speak Portuguese.
Pickles - The dog who won the World Cup. There were two amazing events that happened in London in 1966 that focused on the Jules Rimet Trophy (aka The World Cup): 1: England won; 2. the 15 inch, solid gold trophy tall was stolen, held to ransom, and then discovered in a bush by a dog called Pickles. The English FA had commisioned a base metal replica, which - after the Queen awarded the trophy to Bobby Moore - was substituted for the priceless trophy in the England dressing room, when a copper swapped it with legendary Manchester United & England fullback Nobby Stiles. That was the one which toured the country over the next few years - not the the real one. The replica was sold £254,000 by Sothebys in 1997... to FIFA, whereas the original was stolen again in Brazil, and has never been seen since. The replica is on long term loan to the National Football Museum in Preston, Lancashire - though they don't always tell you: it's a fake.
Flora Brasiliensis [flash needed] was published between 1840 and 1906. It contains taxonomic treatments of 22,767 species of Brazilian flora. The beauty of the illustrations and the level of detail you can magnify to is magnificent (sorry, direct linking to example images is not possible but trust me, go and have a look).
Os Mutantes have reunited and will be playing the Pitchfork Media Festival this summer. Archival footage of the band discussed here.
Latin America Turning Left? From the top: Lula da Silva*, Lopez Obrador, Nestor Kirchner, Hugo Chavez*, Alvaro Uribe, Michelle Bachelet*, Ollanta Humala, Alfredo Palacio, Oscar Berger, Leonel Fernandez, Oscar Arias, Tony Saca, Tabare Vazquez, Martín Torrijos, Evo Morales* Manuel Zelaya, Nicanor Duarte, Daniel Ortega, Rene Preval*.
The Roofless realm. Prestes Maia, is a colossal abandoned clothes factory that towers over central Sao Paulo: "At first glance Prestes Maia, which sem-teto members occupied in 2002, resembles a chaotic, multi-storey shantytown; cardboard spews out of its cracked windows, graffiti litter its walls and children rattle through its wide corridors on bicycles. But the community is meticulously organised." It was first occupied as part of the Movimiento dos Sem Teto, an organized movement of homeless families and workers and now houses over 468 families. But, now, an injunction has been issued for the repossession of the building. Everyone must leave by February 15th but there is no plan and the authorities fear violence will erupt. There's a Flickr community.
Songs of Brazilian Birds A fantastically diverse collection of .au files, including the beautifully evocative Organ Wren or Uirapuru, the mooing of the Capuchinbird, the sci-fi minimalism of the Short-tailed Antthrush and a duet of Laughing Falcons (they'll make you laugh at the end).
Brazilian mayor outlaws death. Faced with a shortage of cemetary space, and other options outlawed, what are the choices? "Of course the bill is laughable, unconstitutional, and will never be approved," said Gilson Soares de Campos, an aide to the mayor. "But can you think of a better marketing strategy?"
Ever wondered what to do if you end up in a spot of bother far from home? Fair trials abroad is an organisation campaigning for the fair treatment of Europeans arrested abroad. They deal with campaigns like the Free Craig Alden campaign. Unlike the famous bloke there's no history of child abuse and no real evidence of an offense, but there is a history of standing up to authority and evidence of legal incompentence. If you're from the US, you have to rely upon these people instead.
Gamer Br is a documentary of the gaming scene in Brazil (has English subtitles). A seemingly odd place for video gaming, it's garnered a conference, national tournament to make it to the world tournament, and actual worldwide champions. They also have an interesting console economy from which Sega still rules. Of course, banning video games doesn't help much.
As Brazil Votes to Ban Guns, NRA Joins the Fight. Today an estimated 122 million Brazilians will vote in a national referendum on whether to ban the sale of guns and ammunition to private citizens.