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Qhapaq Nan

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Unesco grants Inca Qhapaq Nan road system World Heritage status

The Inca trail linked Cusco, in modern-day Peru, to distant parts of the empire

A road system built by the Inca Empire has been granted World Heritage status by the United Nations cultural agency, Unesco.

The Qhapaq Nan roads go through six South American countries.

It was built in the most diverse terrains, linking communities in the Andes mountains to fertile valleys, rainforests and deserts.

Unesco described the system as an engineering wonder that must be restored and preserved.

The decision was taken in the Qatari capital, Doha, where Unesco‘s World Heritage Committee is gathered to consider the inclusion of 40 cultural and natural sites to the list.

The Andean Road System was built over hundreds of years and was used by the Spanish when they arrived in South America in the 16th Century. It was used mostly for trade and defence.

It covers some 30,000 km (18,600 miles), from modern-day Colombia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south, via Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Historians believe the Inca trail was used to keep the the Andean city of Machu Picchu supplied

The six South American countries have agreed to work together to preserve the ancient route

Parts of it are still preserved, but most of the route has deteriorated since the Inca Empire was defeated.

“We still cannot see the entire road because a large part of it is covered by vegetation,” said Fernando Astete, chief archaeologist at Peru’s Machu Picchu site told AFP news agency.

The route system used to link the Inca capital, Cusco, to distant areas of the empire.

“The Qhapaq Nan by its sheer scale and quality of the road is a unique achievement of engineering skills. It demonstrates mastery in engineering technology,” Unesco said in a statement.

Unesco says that granting the Qhapaq Nan roads World Heritage status will make them eligible for much-needed restoration funds.

Source: BBCNews

Peru’s UFO investigations office to be reopened

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Air force to revive office that lay dormant for five years after increased sightings of ‘anomalous aerial phenomena’

1963 picture purportedly showing a UFO in New Mexico. The Peruvian unit will bring together sociologists, archaeologists, astronomers, meteorologists and air force personnel to analyse sightings. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Peru’s air force is reopening an office responsible for investigating UFOs due to “increased sightings of anomalous aerial phenomena” in the country’s skies.

The Department of Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (DIFAA), first created in 2001, is being revived after lying formant for five years because more UFO sightings have been reported to the media, said Colonel Julio Vucetich, head of the air force’s aerospace interests division.

The unit will bring together sociologists, archaeologists, astronomers, meteorologists and air force personnel to analyse these events, Vucetich told the Guardian. “Many people don’t report UFO sightings because they fear they will be labelled mad or made fun of, but nowadays with new technology – cellphone videos, Facebook, Twitter – they can be much more open, without feeling that they are the only ones who have seen what they’ve seen,” he said.

“This new office needs those people to come and report their sightings so we can open a file and, using their information, do the respective analysis and investigation,” he added, flicking through a hefty scrapbook of newspaper cuttings recording Peruvian UFO sightings dating from 1950 to the present day. Peru’s Institute for Studies of Historic Aerospace is turning it into a book.

Vucetich said the office had responded to increased sightings of natural and artificial phenomena, from meteorites to “space junk” in Peru. “When you present evidence of UFOs, people can react with terror or hysteria, so we have to be very careful how we present it,” he stressed.

UFO sightings are not uncommon in Peru. Two weeks ago, local media reported that villagers in Marabamba, in Peru’s central Huanuco region, watched luminous balls of light in the sky over several days. Numerous reported sightings of UFOs have been made in Chilca, a beach resort 59km south of Lima. The unexplained sightings have attracted UFO investigators from around the world. One former resident, Paulina Jimenez, 82, told the Guardian how 16 years ago she saw “a huge number of flashing lights” over a bluff overlooking the resort’s Yaya beach, the most regular location for UFO sightings among local residents.

“There are various locations in Peru where there are regular sightings. What’s bad is that those reports have never been proven so I can’t, on behalf of the air force, verify those,” Vucetich said.

He added that he, too, had seen what he could only describe as “anomalous aerial phenomena”. “On a personal basis, it’s evident to me that we are not alone in this world or universe.”

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Travel Woes

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Woman finds flesh-eating bugs in ear after Peru trip

Rochelle Harris found screwworm-fly maggots in her ear after a holiday in Peru

A woman has spoken of the moment doctors discovered flesh-eating maggots in her ear after a trip to Peru.

Rochelle Harris, from Swanwick in Derbyshire, was on holiday with her boyfriend James earlier this year when she walked through a swarm of flies.

During the flight home the 27-year-old developed a severe headache, shooting pain in her face and noticed “scratching noises” in her head.

Doctors at Royal Derby Hospital found the New World Screwworm Fly larvae.

Surgeons later said the fly had hatched eggs and had then chewed a 12mm hole in her ear canal.

‘Writhing mass’ of maggots

“I was very scared. I wondered if they were in my brain,” said Ms Harris.

“I thought to myself ‘This could be very, very serious.’

‘I just wanted them out of me and now I knew what was causing the sensations and sounds it made it all the worse.”

Ms Harris’ story features on a new Discovery Channel documentary, called Bugs, Bites and Parasites which starts on Sunday and follows the work of specialists treating mysterious illnesses.

Ms Harris said she remembered walking through a swarm of flies when in Peru and a fly had got inside her ear. But once she had shooed it away she thought nothing more of it.

A surgeon who treated Ms Harris said: “We needed to fully explore inside to make sure the maggots hadn’t extended anywhere dangerous.”

During a closer inspection using a microscope and speculum he described a ‘writhing mass’ of maggots and found a family of eight large maggots.

Ms Harris has suffered no long-term effects of the encounter but says she is no longer squeamish about bugs.

New World Screw-worm Fly

  • It is also known as cochliomyia and belongs to the blowfly family
  • It thrives in hot, tropical countries
  • The larvae feed on living tissue and can cause deep, pocket-like lesions in the skin
  • This feeding can cause significant pain and damage to the host

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220px-Cochliomyia_hominivorax_(Coquerel,_1858)

Cochliomyia hominivorax, the New World screw-worm fly

 

Scary Airports

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Next week Quito’s infamous airport will move, offering an easier place for pilots. Kai Tak, in Hong Kong, the most precarious of landings where you could see washing hanging on lines, no longer exists. But thrill seekers can still fly to Cusco, Innsbruck, Kathmandu or St Barts, to name a few. Look away if you are scared of flying

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Paro, Bhutan: a Drukair-Royal Bhutan airlines airbus A319-114 passenger jet prepares to land at the international airport Photograph: Singye Wangchuk /Reuters

See slid show of 15 scary airports

See slide show of 15 scary airports

Lukla Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal, probably No1. scary airport…
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In the next clip landing, you can see what’s at the end of that runway… NOTHING!

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You miss on the final approach, there’s no going round for another shot.

Really, Really Big Ones

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Yesterday on my Bullshit Corner blog I posted a big centipede picture, well it was really a huge centipede picture, and I’m not talking about the size of the picture.

I am talking about the size of the centipede.

Which prompted a comment from one of my Australian regulars, Tempo,  “Wowsers! where on earth do they get this big? We get them 2/3 the size of this but no bigger,” and I thought, good question.

Scolopendra heros

The Giant Red-headed centipede, Scolopendra heros, is from North America and looks as though it is ready for Halloween in its devil costume. But these guys are really small, 20cm (8″ for our American cousins, who cant’ seem to grasp that the world is moving along) when you compare them to Scolopendra gigantea.

Scolopendra gigantea

The Peruvian giant yellowleg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede, is the world’s largest specimen of the genus Scolopendra, reaching lengths of 26 cm and can exceed 30 cm. It inhabits the northern and western regions of South America and the islands of Trinidad and Jamaica. It is carnivorous, feeding on lizards, frogs, birds, mice, and even bats.

Now that is a beastie.

You can find more info on AmazingPlanet including a video clip of one snatching a flying bat out of the air to eat.

Hey, these guys are serious!

Snowy Throated Kingbird

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Snowy-throated Kingbird – found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The Snowy-throated Kingbird (Tyrannus niveigularis)

Read more about it http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=480876 (Sorry, linking not working)

The Backyard

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The Yarccacancha community lives in a valley in Huancavelica, one of the poorest regions of Peru. The people struggle to make a living from farming as the valley is hit by flooding in the rainy season and water shortages in winter.

See the collection of photos and a fuller story on The Guardian

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