Tag Archives | Rainforest

Medical Study Of Three Real-Life Haitian Zombies

1218283_f260What causes zombification? Some mixture of schizophrenia, mistaken identity, a poison powder called tetrodotoxin, and amnesia. Mind Hacks writes:

We hear a lot about zombies these days, but many are unaware that in 1997 The Lancet published a medical study of three genuine Haitian zombies. The cases were reported by British anthropologist Roland Littlewood and Haitian doctor Chavannes Douyon and concerned three individuals identified as zombies after they had apparently passed away.

The Haitian explanation for how zombies are created involves the distinction between different elements of the human being – including the body, the gwobon anj (the animating principle) and the ti-bon anj, which represents something akin to agency, awareness, and memory.

In line with these beliefs is the fact that awareness and agency can be split off from the human being – and can be captured and stored in a bottle by a bòkò, a type of magician and spirit worker who can be paid to send curses or help individuals achieve their aims.

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Google Earth Begins Mapping Amazon Rainforest

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Not sure if ‘street view’ is the right term for it, but Google has begun mapping the Amazon much like it does streets in cities and towns. Via The Australian:

Two women washed clothes in the dark water of the Rio Negro as a boat glided past with a camera-laden Google tricycle strapped to the roof, destined to give the world a window into the Amazon rainforest.

A “trike” typically used to capture street scenes for Google’s free online mapping service launched last Thursday from the village of Tumbira in a first-ever project to let web users virtually explore the world’s largest river, its wildlife and its communities.

The project was the brainchild of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), which two years ago went to Google Earth with a vision of turning “Street View” into a river view in the lush and precious Amazon Basin.

[Continues at The Australian]

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Cryptotourism: On The Trail Of A 40-Foot Anaconda

A common anaconda. Photo: he (CC)

A common (non-giant) anaconda. Photo: he (CC)

Joshua Foer of Slate.com reports:

PACAYA SAMIRIA, Peru—Of all the crazy mythical creatures that starry-eyed monster hunters have gone in search of—the Yeti, Sasquatch, Nessie, the chupacabra—South America’s giant anaconda would seem to be the least implausible. None of the Amazon’s early explorers dared emerge from the forest without a harrowing tale of a face-to-face encounter with a humongous snake. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was practically a requirement of the jungle adventure genre. English explorer Percy Fawcett (of Lost City of Z fame) reportedly shot a 62-foot anaconda in 1907 while on a surveying mission in western Brazil. Cândido Rondon, who led Teddy Roosevelt’s famous journey down the River of Doubt, claimed to have measured a 38-footer “in the flesh.” In 1933, a 100-foot serpent was said to have been machine-gunned by officials from the Brazil-Colombia Boundary Commission. According to witnesses, four men together couldn’t lift its head.

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Rumble In The Jungle: Activists vs Palm Oil

Photo: Whitebox (CC)

Photo: Whitebox (CC)

Barry Estabrook for The Atlantic:

Wake up in the morning. Enjoy a warm, soapy shower. Eat a bowl of cereal, perhaps with soy milk. Dab on some lipstick …

Perform any of those mundane tasks and chances are you’ve done your bit to destroy a patch of rainforest somewhere in Indonesia where vast stands of virgin trees have been cut, bulldozed, and burned to clear land for palm oil plantations.

Once used primarily in cosmetics, palm oil, which is free of artery-clogging trans fats, has become the ingredient du jour in processed foods. In the United States, consumption of the stuff has tripled over the past five years. Growing oil palms is now the largest cause of deforestation in Indonesia, contributing to global warming and destroying crucial habitat for the country’s endangered orangutan population, which has fallen by half since the onset of the palm-oil boom.

Early this month, the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a scathing report linking agribusiness giant Cargill, Inc., the leading U.S.

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