Amazonas - O Rumo Mas PerdidoSee just this Post & Comments / 3 Comments so far / Post a Comment /   Home
Sabado, 5 Novembro
Estiagem em leitos de rios deixa cidades sem alimentos, água e luz
Globo Out 28 - Dias contados para a estiagem na Amazônia
CPTEC - Seca na Amazônia em 2005
SEIAM - Chuvas, Estiagem está no fim na Amazônia
Ministério do Meio Ambiente
O Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI)
Falamos para os índios: "O que é meu é meu, o que é seu é nosso".
Sexta-feira, 28 Outubro
Oct 14 BBC - Amazon drought emergency widens
Oct 24 Climate Ark - Amazon Drought Worst in 100 Years
(The text of these articles is included in the Comments section.)
Barreirinha / Ilha Trindade / Lago Curuai (2)
Este de Manaus (2) / Rio Manaquiri / Margem de Amazona
The Rocks and Shoals of the Internet:
Getting coherent information on this Amazon situation is relatively difficult. Imagine that it was the St. Lawrence river that was suddenly dried up and the Seaway shut, or the Mississippi. The news would be everywhere! So the first difficulty is that information is not published widely without responding interest. Some blogger may put it out but unless it makes the big leagues and pays its freight one way or the other it is soon Gone! Watch the flow of images on and off the Reuters website for a few days, what catches on and is followed and what slips away.
A related problem is that everything eventually does slip away. Vegitative reproduction of Bryophytes by death-from-behind. I saw Bill Gates on TV the other day giving a talk to the students at Waterloo University, and he said that soon there will not be any storage media such as floppy diskettes and CD ROMs and DVDs, that it will all be handled by servers (and a net so broad and fast that you will never need another). We are already at the mercy of generalized interest, then we will be at the mercy of powerful interest as well (or at least to a greater degree). Has anyone read Orwell's 1984? Poor old Winston labouring over which facts will survive and which will be burnt.
Interesting too (sorry to digress) to see the increasing predominance of head-and-shoulders portraits. This has always been the case on the Radiobras site for instance - there I think it is a cultural thing. But the Reuters and Yahoo sites are going more and more that way as well - endless images of George Bush and other talking heads. I understand the tendency - human brains are, after all, specially equipped to interpret faces. I suppose that when you select images from larger and larger numbers of feeds it is natural to select an increasing proportion of faces.
Additional difficulties come in several ways.
First, for me, is wanting to know exactly where Lago Curuai or Ilha Trindade actually are. North America is well covered by Google Maps - it is a matter of seconds or minutes to zero in on a town. There are problems when you want to find some other kind of 'object', a river say, or a mountain, but it can be done (provided that some one else is also interested). Finding an obscure (I like that word in this context) village in Brasil is considerably more difficult. The maps that are available on the web have the information but it is graphical and not textual. It ends up being a correlation exercise between tourist sites, government sites and the map itself to find a town - and this is nevermind a river or a mountain. There are some GIS (Graphical Information System) sites but the quality is pretty poor - the big GIS installations (which I know exist) are simply not available on the web. The internet consists mostly of text. The order might go something like: text, advertising images, porn images, and finally, pictures of interest.
Correlating geographical information segues into the next difficulty - credibility - knowing what to believe. If one of the tributaries is drying up but it turns out to be a minor stream, then it could be a clue that the story is being hyped and spun by the likes of Greenpeace. I had doubts myself initially - it was finding the first photographs on the Reuters site, which gave it credibility, and having a personal connection with Brasil, which gave me the energy to pursue the issue. There is a phenomenon which shows up on the scene - virtual credibility - somtimes known as an urban myth (which term seems entirely wrong for the job but you know what I mean).
Then there are all of the difficulties of using tools not fit for purpose. Word processors, text editors, graphics editors (and associated graphical incompatibilities), indeed - whole languages (such as HTML), and successful applications (such as Adobe). A veritable gauntlet that incompletely formed ideas must run through to be born - a minefield! Clever little coloured toys that explode and maim or kill when you pick them up. And then there are the tools which defeat you instead of helping - spell checkers, and search engines without wildcards (like Google Desktop). And hierarchies and hierarchical ways of thinking that have forgotten their antecedents and their reasons for being but continue to twist reality to suit them.
Finally, time - all of these difficulties slow you down. You get into a rush and even the little bit of truth that can possibly be extracted from the dross is lost and gone. Until someone who knows comes along and says, "No man, Lago Curuai is a slough, only three inches deep at the best of times, dries out just like that every year." (And the probably unspoken, "You nincompoop!")
A friend of mine used to say: Teaching your brain is like teaching your children - at some point they have to learn that just because it's warm and it's brown and lying at the side of the road doesn't mean you have to pick it up and eat it!
None of this is any remedy, nor do I have any remedy in hand or in sight.