BOLIVIA Cultivated in the Andean highlands since 3000 B.C., quinoa is making waves in the global marketplace. With global demand for quinoa rising, countries like Bolivia are stressed to meet the rush. Bolivia is now producing 40 times as much quinoa as it did in 2000. But there are physical limits to quinoa’s growth. Last … Continue reading Indigenous rights upheld in Colombia’s Tayrona Park, Bolivian farmland stressed by rising global quinoa demand, and obesity in Sao Paolo.
BOLIVIA Heavy rains have affected more than 9,600 families in Bolivia, says the country’s minister of defense. Flooding, landslides and lightning storms have caused the deaths of 18 people in Bolivia. CHILE A Chilean town in the Atacama desert has uncovered several mummies from both its graveyards, some 2,000 years old. The municipal museum of … Continue reading Mining sparks deadly battles over water supplies in Peru, 2,000 year old mummies discovered in Chile, and heavy rains take a toll in Bolivia.
ARGENTINA Argentine scientists have identified hotspots of mosquito breeding in the country’s northern provinces. The research is part of an effort to eliminate populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, famous in Latin America for carrying the dengue virus. Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers created a predictive map that outlined where mosquitoes were … Continue reading Mexico City taps into one of the world’s deepest aquifers, Peru’s hemorrhaging anchovy fishery and growing diverse crops in Bolivia.
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. BOLIVIA UPDATE: The story … Continue reading Burial chamber discovered in the middle of Machu Picchu, recording sounds for posterity in Mexico, and coffee rust continues to devastate plantations.
BRAZIL The southern Brazilian city of Campo Grande has declared a state of emergency due to an outbreak of dengue fever, an infection caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes. More than 8,000 cases have been reported in the city of 1 million, with 700 cases per day, according to the city’s mayor. This outbreak … Continue reading Archaeologists find Inca city below Santiago, Chile, dengue epidemic spreads into Brazil, and leaf rust attacks Central American coffee crop.
Global demand for quinoa triples its price in Bolivia, Paraguay struggles to contain spread of dengue, and the superears of a Colombian grasshopper. BOLIVIA Global demand for quinoa has tripled the price of the Andean grain, forcing Bolivian and Peruvian farmers to rely on other staples for food. “It’s worth more to [the producers] to … Continue reading Thursday January 17
Ending hunger in Latin America, Colombia declares a new natural park, and Chile studies pollution and commuters ARGENTINA An individual from a rare species of armadillo was found by scientists outside Bahia Blanca, Argentina, though it died soon after discovery. The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest species of armadillo and is seldom found in … Continue reading Thursday January 10
by Aleszu Bajak.
“This is the real Peru,” says eighteen-year-old Frank Rodas as he spreads his arms. He adjusts his baseball hat and looks down into a hazy valley at Villa Maria del Triunfo, a shantytown of sixty-thousand that blankets the hills of southern Lima. “What you see in downtown Lima is all just a screen.”
One hundred and fifty thousand people pour into Lima every year from Peru’s provinces. Like Rodas, most end up in pueblos jóvenes—literally young towns—in improvised dwellings with no running water and sporadic access to electricity. This constant influx means houses are added by the day, built into the rocky hillside with walls of salvaged wood or concrete if the family can afford it. Like Rodas´s parents, most immigrants come to Lima to find work, shelter, and perhaps a way to break out of poverty—they aren’t able to build themselves homemade shelters, except in some of the poorest areas of the country, where they often do so on unstable ground. Paradoxically, many residents of the pueblos jóvenes are forced to pay two to three times more than they would to live in downtown Lima: these settlements are unauthorized and so subject to extortionist landlords who tax access to pirated utilities.
To reach the upper limits of Villa Maria del Triunfo, our taxi crawled up a dirt road past hundreds of these ramshackle houses. Roosters stood guard out front, children played in the street, and the stench from pig pens spread throughout the settlement. Unlike most of the crudely-built houses in Villa Maria, the hogs and their sties are legal on these hillsides; Lima has for a long time zoned some of its marginal districts as agricultural. When the road became too steep for the beat-up station wagon, we got out to walk the last few steps to the highest point, a small neighborhood named Flor de Amancay after the bright yellow flower that blankets these hillsides throughout Lima’s damp winter.
Rio de Janeiro’s polluted waterways, protecting Peru´s archaeological sites from Dakar damage, and more Latin American science moves towards open access BRAZIL Brazil’s government has pledged more than $300 million to clean up polluted waterways in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. Not far from the planned site for 2016’s Olympic village sits Marapendi lagoon … Continue reading Thursday January 3
Hunter fined in Argentina for killing endangered marsh deer, loss of microbial diversity in the Amazon, and Nicaragua’s San Cristobal volcano forces evacuations ARGENTINA A hunter has been fined close to $10,000 for killing a marsh deer in northern Argentina. The deer—which is South America’s largest—was shot in Esteros del Ibera, a wetlands in the … Continue reading Thursday December 27
Peru’s threatened anchovy fishery, new dinosaur found in Argentina, and Antarctica’s mosquito problem. ANTARCTICA An invasive species of mosquito (Eretmoptera murphyi) has been found in Antarctica and has some scientists worried about its effect on the continent. The mosquito, brought over by tourists and researchers alike, could deposit large amounts of nutrients in the soil … Continue reading Thursday December 20
Walking Peru’s Nazca lines, studying airborne contaminants in Mexico, and looking at Ecuador’s receding glaciers. CHILE One of Latin America’s largest meat processing sites has been shut down in Chile following months of protests over the stench. Agrosuper’s pig processing plant in Freirina in northern Chile was closed in May of 2012 after fierce protests … Continue reading Thursday December 13
A new butterfly found in Jamaica, Chile prepares for drought, and betting on Ecuador not to drill for oil. CHILE Scientists using the Magellan telescope in Chile have analyzed light coming from the most distant known quasar—the very energetic center of a galaxy—and found that it appears to be missing heavy elements like carbon and … Continue reading Thursday December 6
Just outside of Buenos Aires, upon a patchwork of cornfields and cow pastures where gauchos still roam, a grassroots movement is taking shape. Continue reading A farm runs on homemade biodiesel in Argentina
Climate change is affecting Colombian coffee, Brazil struggles with biofuels, and how penguins forage in Tierra del Fuego. ARGENTINA Argentine scientists are studying foraging behavior of Magellanic penguins in the Beagle Channel off the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. The birds seem to forage in three stages: for the first and third the penguins … Continue reading Thursday November 29
Fossils of giant penguin found in Antarctica, fighting citrus greening disease in Brazil, Mexico and U.S. sign water-sharing deal for Colorado River ARGENTINA Argentine scientists have found fossils of a giant penguin in Antarctica. At two meters tall, the researchers estimate that the species is the largest ever found. The fossils date back 34 million … Continue reading Thursday November 22
Poisoning rats in the Galapagos Islands, looking for natural antibiotics in Patagonian frogs and dengue fever in Peru. ARGENTINA Scientists in Patagonia are looking at the compounds frogs and toads secrete for antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. With the mounting antibiotic arms race against drug-resistant ‘super’ bacteria, scientists are looking for natural sources of antimicrobials … Continue reading Thursday November 15