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Richard Nixon and Donald Kendall: Pepsi in Russia and South America

It has been said in half-jest that Pepsi was the official soda of the Cold War. Vice President Richard Nixon shared a Pepsi with Soviet Russia's Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, at the opening of the "American National Exhibition" in Moscow on July 24, 1959, after the famous "Kitchen Debate" (CBS newscast on Archive.org; transcript with two photos from the day). But how was it that Pepsi was the only Western soda-pop available there that day? Look to Donald Kendall, a long-time pal of Richard Nixon, who starting out in 1947 selling fountain syrup in New York, and rose through the ranks to be President of Pepsi Cola International by 1957. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 11, 2014 - 13 comments

The genome of the Anzick boy

The genome of the Anzick child, who died 12,600 years ago at the age of three and was buried with ceremony in the American Rockies, has been fully sequenced. The results shed an incredible light on the history of the peopling of the Americas: his people seem to have been direct ancestors to most tribes of Central and South America, and close relatives of the Canadian tribes. The discoveries have had an emotional impact on Native Americans, and the boy's remains will be reburied with great respect. Still, tribal belonging is about much more than genetics, as anthropologist Kim Tallbear reminds us. You can see replicas of the heirloom artefacts left in the boy's grave here, or visit the collection at the Montana Historical Society if you're in the area.
posted by daisyk on Feb 13, 2014 - 24 comments

There’s a 1,200-year-old Phone in the Smithsonian Collections

There's a 1,200 year old string phone made out of gourds and twine, and it's the only one we have. It's from the Chimu, a culture in Peru that was later conquered by the Inca around 1470.
posted by shashashasha on Dec 8, 2013 - 29 comments

Uruguay Legalizes Gay Marriage

With 71 votes from the Chamber of Deputies, Uruguay became the third country in the Americas to legalize gay marriage. From the article: While some countries have carved out new territory for gay and lesbian couples without affecting heterosexual marrieds, Uruguay is creating a single set of rules for all people, gay or straight. Instead of the words "husband and wife" in marriage contracts, it refers to the gender-neutral "contracting parties."
posted by zizzle on Apr 11, 2013 - 54 comments

Struggles to think of a title

Can non-Europeans think? So the question remains why not the dignity of "philosophy" and whence the anthropological curiosity of "ethnophilosophy"?
posted by infini on Jan 17, 2013 - 60 comments

The Soundscapes of Ancient Cultures

Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. “Could the Maya have intentionally coded the sound of their sacred bird into the pyramid architecture? I think it is possible.Hear it for yourself in this video. While this is a pretty astounding feat of architectural engineering, it’s by no means the only example of archaeoacoustics that can be found at Chichen Itza, amongst the mayan people, or throughout the many other cultures who’ve built structures that integrate unique auditory phenomenon to stimulate the senses. [previously]/[previously] [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on Nov 29, 2012 - 23 comments

Fiona Apple Cancels Tour To Be With Her Dying Dog

It’s 6pm on Friday,and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I am writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later. Here’s the thing. I have a dog Janet, and she’s been ill for almost two years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now.I got her when she was 4 months old. Fiona Apple postpones her South American tour in order to stay with her companion dog during her final days. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Nov 20, 2012 - 67 comments

Chagas Disease: Poverty, Immigration, and the ‘New HIV/AIDS’

What if a deadly epidemic was burgeoning and almost nobody noticed? In the latest issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a distinguished group of virologists, epidemiologists and infectious-disease specialists say that’s not a hypothetical question. They argue that Chagas disease, a parasitic infection transmitted by blood-sucking insects, has become so widespread and serious — while remaining largely unrecognized — that it deserves to be considered a public health emergency. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 30, 2012 - 31 comments

The Irish in Latin America

The website of the Society for Irish Latin American Studies is full of information about Irish migration to Latin America. It's divided into four sections: The Homeland, about the origins of the settlers; The Journey, about how the Irish settlers traveled to Latin America, including the infamous Dresden affair; The Settlement, about the lives of the Irish in Latin America; Faces and Places, which has biographies of a wide variety of people, Mateo Banks, family murderer, Camila O'Gorman, executed lover of a priest, William Lamport, 17th Century revolutionary and Bernardo O'Higgins, Chilean independence leader, who gets a whole subsection to himself. There is also a list of Irish placenames and much else of interest to history nerds.
posted by Kattullus on May 14, 2012 - 13 comments

"You need have no fear of any failure" -- the life and explorations of Percy Fawcett

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 29, 2011 - 6 comments

City of Fear

Prisoners in Brazil's prisons formed their own rules for governance, setting up a system much more effective than the government.
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2011 - 18 comments

The last remnants of a language killed by the conquistadors

In 2008 a letter was excavated during an archaeological dig of a Peruvian colonial town abandoned for unknown reasons around the turn of the 18th Century. On the back of that letter were recorded several numbers and their names in a dead tongue, lost in the upheaval following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Even though this may be the only remnant of an entire language, there is quite a bit that linguists can glean from these fragments. For a brief overview of the findings of research by a joint American-Peruvian research group, read here. And here is the full journal article, which places these numbers in their historical and linguistic context.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2011 - 11 comments

Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world

Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world "The rescue of 33 miners from Chile's San José mine after 69 days trapped underground was a triumph shared with the whole world. But the transition back to normality is proving difficult for both the men and their families."
posted by nooneyouknow on Jul 17, 2011 - 21 comments

Copa América live on YouTube

Copa América is streamed live on YouTube. Copa América is the oldest international football competition, having been held first in 1916. This is a contest between the 10 South American nations and two invitational teams, this time Costa Rica and Mexico, who both sent young squads (Japan was slated to take part but withdrew due to the earthquake). The tournament started yesterday with Bolivia unexpectedly managing to hold Argentina to a draw. Colombia are currently beating a 10-man Costa Rica 1-0. Brazil start their campaign tomorrow, against Venezuela. One of the world's premier football writers, Jonathan Wilson, wrote previews of the three groups, A, B and C. The Independent has more light-hearted team previews.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 2, 2011 - 13 comments

3rd Highest Waterfall in the World

Gocta Falls, Peru In 2005 Stefan Ziemendorff came across a waterfall in Northern Peru that didn't appear on any map, despite a village of 200 people being at its base. He returned the following year to measure its height. At 2,350 feet tall, Gocta Falls are now known to be the 3rd highest in the world. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Feb 16, 2011 - 17 comments

Mickey Mouse dice, "¡Come tus verduras!"

In the 1940's, Walt Disney Studios produced a series of animated public health films for distribution in South America. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jan 6, 2011 - 11 comments

If Macedonio hadn't invented Borges, Borges would've invented him

In those years I imitated him, to the point of transcription, to the point of devoted and impassioned plagiarism. I felt: Macedonio is metaphysics, is literature. Whoever preceded him might shine in history, but they were all rough drafts of Macedonio, imperfect previous versions. To not imitate this canon would have represented incredible negligence.
From Jorge Luis Borges' eulogy for Macedonio Fernández. Borges' relationship with Macedonio was complicated, as recounted in The Man Who Invented Borges, a fine essay by Marcelo Ballvé. Macedonio's most famous work, the posthumous-by-design work (he believed literature should be aged like good whiskey) The Museum of Eterna's Novel has finally been translated and published in English translation, here is an excerpt from the novel (one of the ninety or so prologues). The introduction to the novel, written by its translator Margaret Schwartz, has been put online by the publisher (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Schwartz also sat down for a short interview. You can download an mp3 of a great hour-long panel discussion on Macedonio and a master's thesis on Macedonio by Peter Loggie [pdf]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 21, 2010 - 7 comments

His Majesty 'El Bolero'

Su Majestad 'El Bolero' - Sonidos del Mundo::2::3::4::5:: Special bolero, a musical genre with Iberian and African mergers that are installed in the Cuban archipelago in the late nineteenth century. Classical introduction of Matt Ramirez (Radio Felicidad 88.9 - Peru) who is involved in a musical gatherings led by Mabel Martinez. The same applies to journalists Eloy Perez and Agustin Jauregui Aldave. Since my senses perceived that needle to settle into the grooves of vinyl. After listening to the announcer's voice and even at that moment, unknown bolero invaded me as they say, the sweet joy of 'sad', called melancholy. I remembered that magical scene of an afternoon in which, from a makeshift place, interrupted the dance of two lovers who blushed as teenagers after being discovered. Well I wrote my Father on the album cover photo she shared with 'her pimp'. Love? There are lots... but like ours are very few people there. Now imagine how lucky I am to have been a spectator of so simple and beautiful moment. (google translate)
posted by vronsky on Dec 14, 2009 - 6 comments

Accidental cartographers

“Some squirrel nibbled the continent of South America on one of my pumpkins. It’s freaking me out.” A collection of accidental geographies. The phenomenon is known as "cartocacoethes," and may explain why some old maps are not maps at all. via StrangeMaps [more inside]
posted by cubby on Nov 24, 2009 - 29 comments

William Friedkin's "Sorcerer"

How does a director follow up the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time*? (*adjusted for inflation) He remakes a French classic - taking an international cast to a Caribbean nation ruled by a military dictatorship, where hurricanes, irascibility, other difficulties take him far over a budget already large enough to be shared by two studios. The result is his personal favorite among his films. But deceptive marketing and cute robots contribute to its making back less than half of its costs. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 7, 2009 - 65 comments

Viva la Evolucion

A new Latin America is emerging on the global political stage. A two part video from Al Jazeera analysing how the Obama administration may deal with Latin America and what the relations will mean on a global level.
Viva la Evolucion - - Part 1 & Part 2
Featuring an exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky, and panel Dr Celia Szusterman, Associate fellow, Chatham House; Prof Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Harvard University and former Brazilian strategic affairs minister; and Dr Andres Mejia Acosta
posted by adamvasco on Aug 1, 2009 - 8 comments

Brazil - a good neighbor

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]
posted by PercussivePaul on May 14, 2009 - 25 comments

Nothing To Do With Wonder Woman

"Percy Harrison Fawcett ... convinced himself, based on a mix of archival research, deduction and clairvoyance, that a large undiscovered city lay hidden somewhere in the Amazon" Greg Grandin of The Nation talks about the allure of the Amazon in history and the repeated attempts made to domesticate, colonize, control, or explore it. previous discussion of failed Amazon ventures here ( via )
posted by The Whelk on Mar 31, 2009 - 21 comments

Chavez' Venezuela At 10 Years

Just ahead of a re-election referendum in Venezuela (scheduled for February 15), The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators [PDF][Via]
posted by Rykey on Feb 10, 2009 - 26 comments

Contemporary Art

Hilda Magazine ― prose, poetry, illustrations, photography, video, and music from a wide assortment contemporary artists. [contains some nude art images] [more inside]
posted by netbros on Oct 29, 2008 - 3 comments

Ecuador has a new constitution

Voters in Ecuador appear to have approved a new constitution yesterday, guaranteeing rights to clean water, universal healthcare, pensions, and free state-run education through the university level. It also may allow President Rafael Correa to remain in power until 2017. Particularly of note is a world first bill of rights for nature which grants inalienable rights to nature. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on Sep 29, 2008 - 38 comments

Beren Patterson Travel Photography

Tribalcog is the travel photography site of Beren Patterson. Includes simple and easy to use tutorials and his collection of travel pictures that are integrated as a digital postcard system.
posted by netbros on Aug 22, 2008 - 4 comments

Fine Art Travel Photography

Andre Gunther Photography ― The galleries of photographs are certainly beautiful, but this site shines also for its technique tutorials and camera reviews.
posted by netbros on Aug 10, 2008 - 1 comment

I know, it should be 'Armin Tamzarian'.

Cute quiz: Name the Simpsons characters. Also: US states, countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America, periodic table of elements. More.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jun 25, 2008 - 75 comments

"They are almost certain not to understand what the plane is -- perhaps a spirit or a large bird."

"Skin painted bright red, heads partially shaved, arrows drawn back in the longbows and aimed square at the aircraft buzzing overhead. The gesture is unmistakable: Stay Away. The apparent aggression shown by these people is quite understandable, for they are members of one of Earth's last uncontacted tribes." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on May 29, 2008 - 88 comments

Every lady loves a sharp dressed man

GIANT PENGUINS! The discovery in 2005 of fossils in Peru is challenging previous views about the evolution of penguins. They were tall, fast, and enjoyed being smacked by cavemen*.

* may not be true
posted by Stynxno on Jun 29, 2007 - 31 comments

South/Latin American composers after 1900

While the first pioneering forays into atonality and free chromaticism were starting to occur in Western European music, the talents of Latin and South America were discovering the Romantic beauty of re-interpreting the past. [much, much more inside!]
posted by invitapriore on Jun 3, 2007 - 6 comments

Archaeoastronomy in Peru

The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo in Peru may be the Western Hemisphere's oldest known full-service solar observatory, showing evidence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, according to archaeoastronomy professor Clive Ruggles. The 2,300-year-old complex featured 13 towers running north to south along a ridge and spread across 980 feet to form a toothed horizon that spans the solar arc. Last year, another ancient observatory was discovered in Peru by Robert Benfer. The Temple of the Fox is 4,200 years old, making it 1,900 years older than the Chankillo site, but wasn't a complete calendar.
posted by homunculus on Mar 3, 2007 - 8 comments

Chiquita Secrets Revealed

Chiquita Secrets Revealed - On May 3, 1998, the Cincinnati Enquirer published a series of investigative articles on Chiquita's business practices in South America, all in its own pullout section. The stories claimed the company sprayed workers in the field with pesticides and destroyed a village to stop union activity, among other offenses. A few weeks later, the Enquirer ran a huge apology on its front page for three days, and paid the company $10 million, because a reporter illegally accessed Chiquita voicemail in the course of his work. The renouncement became more of a story than the original articles, but one question remains: are the stories true? To this day, the Enquirer refuses to give a straight answer.
posted by brett on Sep 7, 2006 - 18 comments

Backs to the future?

New analysis of the language and gesture of South America's indigenous Aymara people indicates they have a concept of time opposite to all the world's studied cultures -- the past is ahead of them and the future behind. The morphologically-rich language, of which you can hear samples here, may also prove useful to computer scientists due to its unique ternary logic system.
posted by youarenothere on Jun 12, 2006 - 42 comments

A crash course in Venezuelan history

Hugo Chávez is crazy! Hugo Chávez is certainly making a lot of news these days. No doubt we'll find the truth somewhere between "evil dictator" and "third world savior," but the long, dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America casts suspicion on everything. Chávez is gaining a heroic light in the third world for "standing up to" the United States. He's making friends with Cuba, China and Iran. Is Chávez heading up a new rogues' gallery ... or gearing up for the resource wars?
Previous MetaFilter coverage: [1,2,3,4]
posted by jefgodesky on Aug 24, 2005 - 62 comments

The Amazon becomes Iowa

"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...
posted by punkbitch on Jun 12, 2005 - 27 comments

THE COCA LEAF

When the Spaniards conquered South America, they at first ignored Indian claims that the leaf gave them strength and energy and declared the practice of chewing it the work of the Devil. But after discovering that these claims were true, they legalized and taxed the leaf, taking 10% of the value of each crop. These taxes were for a time the main source of support for the Catholic Church in the region.
Also the not so typical Thanksgiving recipe
posted by bureaustyle on Nov 26, 2004 - 10 comments

The Colombia you don't know

The Colombia you don't know. Sure, we all hear about the drug trade and the violence. Unfortunately this overshadows a lot of the good things about the country. There's a lot of Colombia outsiders don't see. Like the Caño Cristales, the five-colored river. [more inside]
posted by caution live frogs on Aug 30, 2004 - 8 comments

South American Dentists

"We can fix your teeth, you know. We can give you a great smile." Apparently the best way to get your teeth fixed these days is to visit a South American dentist. It's a really honest piece about a subject most people probably wouldn't open up about - and it's interesting to see something positive about going out of the U.S. for skilled services in these days where everyone is complaining about outsourcing. (free registration required, same site as Bridezilla last year)
posted by clango on May 23, 2004 - 23 comments

vicarious travel - photography and narratives

Photos by Martin - a gem of a site for vicarious travelers, it features wonderful, charming photos and fascinating stories from a guy who quit his job three years ago to travel the world. He credits global photojournalist Steve McCurry as an influence. I am such a fan of these photo travel narratives, professional and amateur alike - has anyone else discivered some special favorites?
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 8, 2003 - 22 comments

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a drink that is enormously popular in South America. Given to the world by the Guarani Indians, its a bitter brew reminiscent of tea but with interesting properties. A coworker returned from Argentina and brought me some. I'm addicted.
posted by Dantien on Feb 28, 2003 - 20 comments

My, what a tiny cranium you have...

The History of the Shuar. The Jivaro are one of the few native clans in South America who successfully revolted against the Spanish Conquest, but they're more famous for their shrunken heads- this site not only has the history, but also a pretty fascinating gallery. Of course, if you're just interested in the shrunken heads, Doc Bwana's Museum of Shrunken Heads will most certainly meet your shrunken-head viewing needs. (Probably safe for work, but I wouldn't read it while eating lunch.)
posted by headspace on Nov 15, 2002 - 5 comments

A look into peacekeeping training

A look into peacekeeping training being conducting in Chile with the U.S. and most South American countries participating. A rare view of the interaction between national militaries to improve good relationships. The pics are great, too.
posted by mcchesnj on Oct 19, 2002 - 1 comment

Enron Pipeline Leaves Scar on South America

Enron Pipeline Leaves Scar on South America More goodness perpetrated by our favorite guys (and girls) from houston.
posted by specialk420 on May 5, 2002 - 1 comment

"We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy"

"We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy" Is the American Government involved in overthrowing a South American democratically elected government? It appears that the current administration is admitting(anonymously, of course) they might have accidentally encouraged the people behind the Venezuelan coup, giving them the impression the American government would support the coup(which it did). Is this support as stupid as some analysts think? via Joshua Micah Marshall
posted by dglynn on Apr 16, 2002 - 19 comments

A POLISH explorer who sets off next week in search of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold in South America, says that he has located it using a 16th-century Jesuit manuscript from the Vatican archives.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 17, 2002 - 23 comments

The most popular board game in Argentina now

The most popular board game in Argentina now is called "Deuda Eterna", Eternal Debt. It's been flying off the shelves. It has the players trying to operate South American countries which are rich in natural resources while trying to outfox the IMF. (The name is a play on "Deuda Externa", Foreign Debt, on which Argentina just stopped paying interest.)
posted by Steven Den Beste on Dec 24, 2001 - 12 comments

Customer-specific solutions

Customer-specific solutions
"When the Department of State (or other public sector entities) needs personnel to reconstitute, establish and maintain rule of law in emerging democracies, they come to DynCorp. " Found thru Washington's secret forces in Latin America
posted by riley370 on Jun 13, 2001 - 4 comments

Pyramids as old as the ones in Egypt found in Peru.

Pyramids as old as the ones in Egypt found in Peru. Actually, they're more like ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia but hell anyway they're just as old as their Middle Eastern counterparts. Here's a bit more on the Americas' oldest city.
posted by lagado on Apr 30, 2001 - 4 comments

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