Brazilâ€™s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed.
The fire at Rio de Janeiroâ€™s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, but the loss to Brazilian science, history and culture was incalculable, two of its vice-directors said.
â€œIt was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America. We have invaluable collections. Collections that are over 100 years old,â€ Cristiana Serejo, one of the museumâ€™s vice-directors, told the G1 news site.
Marina Silva, a former environment minister and candidate in Octoberâ€™s presidential elections said the fire was like â€œa lobotomy of the Brazilian memoryâ€.
Luiz Duarte, another vice-director, told TV Globo: â€œIt is an unbearable catastrophe. It is 200 years of this countryâ€™s heritage. It is 200 years of memory. It is 200 years of science. It is 200 years of culture, of education.â€ TV Globo also reported that some firefighters did not have enough water to battle the blaze.
It wasnâ€™t immediately clear how the fire began. The museum was part of Rioâ€™s Federal University but had fallen into disrepair in recent years. Its impressive collections included items brought to Brazil by Dom Pedro I â€“ the Portuguese prince regent who declared the then-colonyâ€™s independence from Portugal â€“ Egyptian and Greco-Roman artefacts, â€œLuziaâ€, a 12,000 year-old skeleton and the oldest in the Americas, fossils, dinosaurs, and a meteorite found in 1784. Some of the archive was stored in another building but much of the collection is believed to have been destroyed.
This photo of a chap in the uniform of Brazil’s PolÃcia Militar do Distrito Federal (PMDF) holding a strange super long revolver has been appearing recently on social media. On the wall behind him is what looks like the coat of arms of a municipality, but I have not been able to identify it. The photograph seems to have originated from one of those Russian-language “cool photo” sites that publishes images entirely without captions or explanations.
Mount Roraima, first described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 (11.96 sq. miles) summit area is bounded on all sides by cliffs rising 400 metres (1,300 ft). The mountain serves as the triple border point of Venezuela (85% of its territory), Guyana (10%) and Brazil (5%).
This tabletop mountain is one of the oldest mountains on Earth, dating back two billion years when the land was lifted high above the ground by tectonic activity. The sides of the mountain are sheer vertical cliffs, with several waterfalls, making it nearly impossible to climb.
A jaguar featured at an Olympic torch ceremony was shot dead by a soldier shortly after the event in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus as the animal escaped from its handlers, an army statement said.
The jaguar was killed on Monday at a zoo attached to a military training center when a soldier fired a single pistol shot after the animal, despite being tranquilized, approached the soldier, the army said.
â€œWe made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal. This image goes against our beliefs and our values,â€ the local organizing committee Rio 2016 said in a statement, adding: “We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.â€
Boo hoo! Human economic development is ravaging the precious Amazon rain forest. Except, wait a moment, clearing rain forest vegetation is making it clear that people had cleared the same land centuries ago, cities, systems of irrigation, an entire unknown civilization once existed covering huge areas that have since been buried by the jungle.
The combination of land cleared of its rainforest for grazing and satellite survey have revealed a sophisticated pre-Columbian monument-building society in the upper Amazon Basin on the east side of the Andes. This hitherto unknown people constructed earthworks of precise geometric plan connected by straight orthogonal roads. Introducing us to this new civilisation, the authors show that the â€˜geoglyph cultureâ€™ stretches over a region more than 250km across, and exploits both the floodplains and the uplands. They also suggest that we have so far seen no more than a tenth of it.
Diving in the Patanal in Brazil, Daniel de Granville films a 23-foot long yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus). These are smaller anacondas which do not grow as large as the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus). (!)
They are shy creatures, we are told, with more to fear from us than we from them. It is a tolerant animal (after all, it didn’t eat the photographer), but we are cautioned “that it is still important to treat them with respect.” Personally, I have plenty of respect for 23-foot long serpents.
The text is pitiful drivel, but the photographs are interesting. You don’t see one of these every day.
Tennessee has passed a measure making it a crime to transmit by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication an image that would cause â€œemotional distressâ€ â€œwithout legitimate purpose.â€
“Emotional distress” is a standard of practically universal application. Anything at all might cause someone emotional distress, and there is no basis to determine whether someone experiences it, beyond his own say so.
What is and what is not a “legitimate purpose” also constitutes a legal nightmare. Who wants any judge to be permitted to decide what is and what isn’t legitimate?
Liberals are always arguing that we need to inform the American legal system with the superior wisdom of international jurisprudence.
From Brazil, comes the story of a court decision upholding the right of one Ana Catarina Silvares Bezerra, an accountant analyst who is allegedly afflicted with a female equivalent of satyriasis, to achieve personal gratification on company time, using the company’s computer and Internet access, for 15 minutes every 2 hours.
Matt Drudge had fun today headlining the above photo of Barack Obama and the roguish Nicholas Sarkozy oggling the assets of 16 year old Brazilian Mayora Tavares, one of an international group of teenagers attending the G8 Summit.
(T)he Sarkozy ass-gawking stance says: I admire but I must not act. And Obama is caught at the moment of as-yet-unconstrained pursuit.
Sarkozy holds his arms against his chest in a closed â€” but not tightly closed â€” position. The head is turned but upright. He is smiling, but the index finger lying against his lip blocks the edge of the smile from the point of view of anyone standing in front of him, though if the woman were to turn around, she would see it easily. His hand is tipped upward at a jaunty â€” one is tempted to say phallic â€” angle. The foot closest to the woman is planted firmly on the ground in the don’t-go-that-way position, yet the other foot angles toward the object of desire. Still, the angled foot remains flat on the floor, and, at a shoulder’s distance from the other foot, it the whole figure of the man a solid immobility.
Now, swivel your eyes over to Obama’s feet. The foot closest to the woman, like Sarkozy’s, is planted and aimed forward, but the other steps off in the direction of the woman, bending the knee upward into a bit of a crotch-squeeze and forming the base of a dramatic tilt of the entire body into a flexible S-shape that leans toward the woman. Obama’s arms hang free, emphasizing the tilt, and either gravity or will causes the left arm to hang inches away from the torso. See how much lower the right hand is than the left? His neck is craned out and around so that the line of sight is directly at the ass. His mouth is open as if to say: That’s what I want.
AND: Yes, I have seen the video, and I stand by my analysis of the still photograph.
A 66-year-old Brazilian saved his grandson from the grip of a 16-foot-long anaconda (probably Eunectes murinus),by beating the snake with rocks and a knife for half an hour, police said Thursday.
“When I saw the snake wrapped around my grandson’s neck I thought it was going to kill him,” Joaquim Pereira told the Agencia Estado news service. “It was agonizing, I pulled it from one side, but it would come back on the other.”
Pereira’s 8-year-old grandson, Mateus, was attacked by the anaconda near a creek on his grandfather’s ranch in the city of Cosmorama, about 250 miles northwest of Sao Paulo.