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Essex woman finds eggs of world’s most venomous spider in her shopping

Abby Woodgate was told to burn anything that had come into contact with Brazilian wandering spider eggs found on bananas

Brazilian wandering spider venom causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, paralysis and asphyxiation. Photograph: Apex Photo Agency/Rex

The Brazilian wandering spider – perhaps the world’s most aggressive and venomous spider – is a rare visitor to these shores, but has recently been turning up in shipments of bananas, most recently in Colchester.

Such is their fearsome reputation that a woman who found its eggs in bananas she bought from Tesco on Monday had to incinerate her vacuum cleaner after using it to clean them up.

Abby Woodgate, 30, was told by pest control experts that she would have to burn anything that had come into contact with the spider eggs, as the arachnids are highly venomous. At deadly concentrations, their venom causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

The Brazilian wandering spider has a tendency to hide in banana bunches or plantations and is occasionally found as a stowaway within shipments of bananas, hence its other name – banana spider.

Although its venom is highly toxic, it is being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments. The spider’s bite can cause an erection that sometimes lasts for up to four hours.

Woodgate first thought the bananas had mould on them after noticing a white lump when they were delivered to her home. When she poked it with a toothpick, a cocoon opened, revealing dozens of tropical eggs.

She immediately threw the fruit in the bin, but a few eggs dropped on her kitchen floor, which she vacuumed. She called Tesco’s Highwoods store, which had delivered the shopping to her home and it said it would collect them. She then received a call to say pest control experts would call round instead.

“The pest controllers asked where the eggs were and I told them the bin and they said: ‘Right, we’ll take that’,” Woodgate said. “Then they asked had anything else come into contact with the eggs, and I told them about my vacuum cleaner, so they said: ‘We’ll have to take that too’. All they could tell me is they thought they were tropical spider eggs.”

Tesco has offered to replace her bin and the cleaner.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

 

You and I saved some people from extinction!

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The Awá: an historic victory

In 2012 we launched a global campaign to save a little-known tribe in the Amazon, one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes left in Brazil. With more than 30% of their forests destroyed by illegal logging, we asked you to help save the Earth’s most threatened tribe.

You responded in your thousands, and, because of your emails, Awáicons and donations, the campaign made headlines around the world. Brazil’s Minister of Justice was forced to act, sending in troops and federal agents to expel the loggers.

The operation has just been completed; all loggers and ranchers have been removed from the Awá indigenous territory. This is an incredible victory which would never have happened without your help.

Here is your story>Watch the film watch this, we can win.

The story is currently on the front page of the BBC website and will be featured in BBC2’s leading in-depth TV news programme, “Newsnight”. UK supporters can watch it tonight (Thursday 22 May) at 10.30pm (BST). The story will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday at 11.30am (BST).

Awa tribe

Source: Catherine’s Creations and Concerns

I couldn’t load the Survival video, but here is a similar

Mineral hints at bright blue rocks deep in the Earth

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Blue planet: Ringwoodite minerals reveal hints of what things might look like deep within the Earth

Minerals preserved in diamond have revealed hints of the bright blue rocks that exist deep within the Earth.

They also provide the first direct evidence that there may be as much water trapped in those rocks as there is in all the oceans.

The diamond, from central-west Brazil, contains minerals that formed as deep as 600km down and that have significant amounts of water trapped within them.

Researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature.

The study suggests water may be stored deep in the interiors of many rocky planets.

Diamonds, brought to the Earth’s surface in violent eruptions of deep volcanic rocks called kimberlites, provide a tantalising window into the deep Earth.

A research team led by Prof Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta, Canada, studied a diamond from a 100-million-year-old kimberlite found in Juina, Brazil, as part of a wider project.

They noticed that it contained a mineral, ringwoodite, that is only thought to form between 410km and 660km beneath the Earth’s surface, showing just how deep some diamonds originate.

Buried oceans

While ringwoodite has previously been found in meteorites, this is the first time a terrestrial ringwoodite has been seen. But more extraordinarily, the researchers found that the mineral contains about 1% water.

While this sounds like very little, because ringwoodite makes up almost all of this immense portion of the deep Earth, it adds up to a huge amount of deep water.

Dr Sally Gibson from the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the work, commented: “Finding water in such large concentrations is a hugely significant development in our understanding of the ultimate origin of water now present at Earth’s surface.”

Ringwoodite is thought to form between 410km and 660km beneath the Earth’s surface

The observation is the first physical evidence that water can be stored in the deep interiors of planets and solves a 25-year-old controversy about whether the deep Earth is dry, wet, or wet in patches.

Discussing his findings, Prof Pearson told BBC News: “The discovery highlights the unique value of natural diamonds in trapping and preserving fragments of the deep Earth.

“It’s incredible to think that, as you hold this sample in your hand, the residual pressure at the interface between the diamond and the inclusion is 20,000 atmospheres.”

Describing his diamond sample, he said: “It looks like it’s been to hell and back, which it has.”

Blue planet

Prof Joseph Smyth of the University of Colorado has spent many years studying ringwoodite and similar minerals synthesised in his laboratory.

He said: “I think it’s stunning! It implies that the interior may store several times the amount of water in the oceans. It tells us that hydrogen is an essential ingredient in the Earth and not added late from comets.

The Brazilian diamond was sculpted by corrosive fluids on its way up to the surface

“This discovery implies that hydrogen may control the interior processes of the Earth just as it controls the surface processes, and that water planets, like Earth, may be common in our galaxy.”

A key question posed by the observation is to understand the extent to which plate tectonics on Earth leads to oceans of water being recycled deep within our planet, and to predict the likely amounts of water trapped in other rocky planets.

Ringwoodite is expected to form deep in Mars as well, for example, where it sits against the metallic core.

Grains of the same mineral synthesised in Prof Smyth’s laboratory shine bright blue under the microscope.

Given the new findings of ringwoodite’s water-bearing capabilities, its abundance at depth, and its beautiful hue, the term “blue planet” seems even more appropriate for Earth.

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It’s Happened Before

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Brazil tribe plagued by one of the highest suicide rates in the world

Land losses blamed as study shows Guarani-Kaiowá are 34 times more likely to kill themselves than Brazil’s national average

The suicides began among the first generation to grow up on reservations, says ethnologist Tonico Benites. Photograph: Andre Penner/AP

The discovery of an indigenous girl’s body hanging from a tree in Bororó de Dourados was as grim as it was familiar for Brazil’s Guarani-Kaiowá tribe, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, according to a new report.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Thursday, figures from Survival International suggest that the Guarani-Kaiowá are 34 times more likely to kill themselves than Brazil’s national average.

This has prompted warnings that a “silent genocide” is under way.

The community of 31,000 people, mostly based in the south-western state of Mato Grosso do Sul, is plagued by alcoholism, depression, poverty and violence after losing its ancestral lands to ranchers and biofuel farmers.

The problem is decades-old, but Survival says the rate has increased in recent years. Since the start of the century, one suicide has been reported on average almost every week.

Almost all are hangings, with ropes, belts or cloth. Most are young. The latest victim, on Wednesday, whose name has yet to be released, was a 17-year-old girl. Last week, a 16-year-old, in Dourados reserve and a 19-year-old in Amambai reserve killed themselves.

“The principle reason is their lack of land,” said Mary Nolan, a US nun and human rights lawyer. “The Guarani people think their relationship with the universe is broken when they are separated from their land. They feel they are a broken people.” Many in the community cosmologically interpret their situation as a symptom of the destruction of the world.

As well undermining their spiritual base, the seizure of their land by farmers has disrupted the social structure of the community. Traditionally, disputes between families were settled by one side moving away and starting again in a new territory. But this is no longer possible now that thousands of Guarani are crammed together in camps.

One camp in Dourados now has a murder rate that is more than 50% higher than that of Iraq. The stressful, violent environment is worsened by beatings and assassinations of indigenous leaders who try to reclaim their land from wealthy farmers.

The suicides began among the first generation to grow up on reservations, which the tribes moved into in the 1970s, according to Guarani ethnologist, Tonico Benites.

“With no land to maintain their ancient cultures, the Guarani-Kaiowá feel ashamed and humiliated. Many feel sad, insecure, unstable, scared, hungry and miserable. They have lost their crops and their hope for a better life. They are exploited and enslaved by sugar cane production for alcohol,” he said. “These conditions of despair and misery cause the epidemic of violence and suicide among the young.”

 

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New Year’s Eve

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Here is Brazil it is 11am, but elsewhere in the world the New Year has already been honoured.

In Auckland, New Zealand it is already 2pm on the 1st January, 2013. Their New Year was like this:

Auckland City waterfront view

Auckland City waterfront view – image: journalweek.com

Sydney, Australia just two hours later…

Sydney's famous harbour bridge and opera house

Sydney’s famous harbour bridge and opera house: image wallpapernoise.com

And in Myanmar (formerly Burma) emerging from the cold, New Year for the first time…

Preparing for the countdown in Rangoon

Preparing for the countdown in Rangoon

rangoonmyanmar

Fireworks burst above Yangon’s landmark Shwedagon pagoda as Myanmar : image – boston.com

For some spectacular photos of recent New Years around the world visit boston.com the images are truly magnificent.

Here in Brazil, we still have 13 hours to wait for our Copacabana Beach spectacle. This year an estimated 2 million people will flock to the famous beach for the biggest party in the world.

This clip 1:22 of the 16 minutes of Copacabana’s display last New Year…

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Spectacular Crash in Brazil

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The Terrible Price of Gold

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With the world’s economic system in a shambles, the price of gold is rising making it more lucrative to exploit protected areas in the unscrupulous grab for the precious metal.

Brazil asks Venezuela to investigate village massacre claims

Brazil asks Caracas for help in determining whether gold miners killed more than 70 members of Yanomami tribe from helicopter

Members of the Yanomami tribe. The tribe says it has repeatedly warned Venezuela’s government that conflicts with miners are intensifying. Photograph: Sipa Press/REX FEATURES

Brazil is pressing Venezuela to determine whether Brazilian gold miners crossed the border and massacred a village of about 80 indigenous people from a helicopter.

The alleged assault, which a tribal group says could have killed more than 70 people in early July, came to light earlier this week when the group asked Venezuela’s government to investigate. Because of the remoteness of the region and the scattered nature of the native settlements, fellow tribe members were able to alert the government only on Monday.

Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Friday its embassy in Caracas had asked the Venezuelan government to provide it with any information that could help it determine whether the attack had happened and whether Brazilians had been involved.

Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, a government body that oversees indigenous affairs, said it would seek a joint investigation by officials from both countries at the site.

The border area between the two countries – a long, dense swath of the Amazon rainforest – has increasingly become the site of conflicts between indigenous people, gold miners, and others seeking to tap jungle resources.

The tribe that was allegedly attacked, the Yanomami, says it has given repeated, but unheeded, warnings to Venezuela’s government that the conflicts are intensifying.

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