Comments Off on Burial chamber discovered in the middle of Machu Picchu, recording sounds for posterity in Mexico, and coffee rust continues to devastate plantations.

31 January 2013

Burial chamber discovered in the middle of Machu Picchu, recording sounds for posterity in Mexico, and coffee rust continues to devastate plantations.

ARGENTINA

Argentine researchers are part of an international consortium that is developing new drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). The scientists identified a gene, FapR, which inhibits the synthesis of lipids—fats required by bacteria to build new cells. The research was published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

    A burial chamber was discovered in the middle of Machu Picchu. Aleszu Bajak via Flickr.

BOLIVIA

UPDATE: The story about global demand for quinoa raising prices in Bolivia and Peru has been summed up by Mother Jones’s Tom Philpott. Andean Information Network has some interesting statistics, too, from 2011.

LATIN AMERICA

Central and South American coffee exporting countries are fighting a new bout of coffee rust, a fungus that could damage more than 30% of the 2013-14 harvest. According to Nature News, Colombia’s National Center for the Investigation of Coffee in Chinchina is closest to a solution. Through crossbreeding, researchers have developed resistant strains of coffee which together with better weather predicting has reduced outbreaks of the rust. BBC highlights a plantation in Guatemala, a country which has pledged $40 million to combat the plague that has lost two-thirds of its crop.

MEXICO

Mexico’s aural landscapes—including noise pollution—are part of the country’s cultural heritage, says the National Sound Archive. The archive, known as Fonateca Nacional, preserves sounds, music, radio and other audio. The organization operates from a former residence of Mexican writer and poet Octavio Paz.

Mexico’s space industry is late to the game, says Mexican Space Agency director Francisco Mendieta Jimenez. Mexico’s aeronautics industry employs at least 35,000 people and Jimenez hopes this will grow to 120,000. He argues that telecommunications, defense, and mitigating the risk from natural disasters could all be improved by financing the space industry.

PERU

A burial chamber has been discovered in the center of the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. In April 2012, French archaeologist Thierry Jamin and a group of Peruvian archaeologists performed an electromagnetic survey on a depression in an Inca wall in Machu Picchu that confirmed the presence of several chambers and a staircase. Jamin has requested authorization to open the chambers.