(TMU) — Maxciel Pereira dos Santos, a Brazilian government official who has been working with indigenous people to preserve the Amazon rainforest for over a decade, was shot and killed in front of his family in an apparent assassination on Friday. Santos was shot twice in the head while riding a motorbike through Tabatinga, a small city located in the Amazon rainforest, along Brazil’s border with Colombia and Peru.
Santos worked for a Brazilian government agency called the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), which is tasked with protecting the land and interests of the indigenous people. The INA, a union that represents workers for the agency, said that Santos was killed in retaliation for his work at the Vale do Javari reservation, according to the Telegraph.
Santos was the chief of environmental services at the Vale do Javari reservation for over five years, and was essentially the head of the local enforcement authority that patrolled the area to protect native tribes from violent groups of raiders that frequently attack tribes so their land can be taken for development.
INA officials said the current administration has created an atmosphere where violence against native people and their allies has been encouraged.
A statement from the INA called on Brazilian officials to demonstrate that Brazil “no longer condones violence against those who engage, under the rule of law, in the protection and promotion of indigenous rights.”
The Vale do Javari reservation has the world’s highest concentration of uncontacted peoples and is rich in natural resources, which has made it a target for a variety of illegal miners, loggers, ranchers, and poachers. Large areas of the Amazon are demarcated for the indigenous population of over a million people, but these protections are rarely respected when a tribe is living in a place that becomes a target for development.
For example, earlier this year, a group of gold miners invaded a remote Amazonian village that was inhabited by the Waiãpi tribe and killed their leader, sending the rest of the tribe to flee in terror. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. According to the annual report from international NGO Global Witness released last month, at least 164 environmentalists were killed under suspicious circumstances while engaging in activism against corporations and governments.
At least 20 of those murders occurred in Brazil alone, and the INA reported at least four other attacks on Indigenous land surveillance teams this year.
Despite the recent global controversy about his administration’s attitude toward’s protections in the Amazon, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro doubled down on his campaign promise to take land from indigenous populations and develop the rainforest.
In new statements last week, Bolsonaro responded to questions about land demarcations for natives, saying “it is too much land for so few Indians.”
As reported by the New York Times, Bolsonaro claims to know exactly what the indigenous people want. According to Bolsonaro, they don’t actually want to continue their tradition of living in the rainforest as their ancestors did, but would rather have electricity, fast food, and a minimum wage job instead. In other cases, Bolsonaro has been more honest with his intentions, suggesting that the native people were a “problem” that needed to “decimated” in the same way that the native people of North America were.
“The North American cavalry were the competent ones because they decimated their Indigenous people in the past and today, they don’t have this problem in their country,” Bolsonaro said.
“Murder Hornet” Nest Was Found and Destroyed That Had Almost 200 Queens
Scientists in Washington, at Washington State University, discovered and exterminated dozens of Asian giant murder hornets among them, they found around 500 live specimens in various stages of development in their first known nest, officials communicated.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued a virtual press conference to explain the situation. Scientists made the discovery in late October, inside a tree on a private residence in Whatcom County.
The agency placed traps in the area in early October after a homeowner reported a specimen, Spichiger said. Four live hornets were caught in the traps which then entomologists attached radio trackers to three of them, and one led them to the nest on October 22nd.
Inside the nest researchers found:
- 190 total larvae that developed from eggs.
- 108 pupae, the next stage after larvae. They were nearly all queens.
- 112 workers, which included 85 workers previously vacuumed out of the nest.
- 76 queens, nearly all of them new virgin queens. New queens emerge from the nest, mate and then leave to find a place to spend winter and later start a new colony.
In total that’s more than 500 murder hornets that the team found in the nest which was about 14 inches long and up to 9 inches wide, CBS News reported.
Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist, leading the fight to kill the hornets said: “We got there just in the nick of time.” Spichiger added that the nest of massive potentially deadly hornets in Washington state likely isn’t the only one in the U.S. “We do believe there are additional nests,” he said at the virtual conference on Tuesday.
The researchers say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first nest was destroyed. Vespa mandarinia or otherwise known as the giant Asian murder hornet is the world’s largest hornet species. Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) officials posted a video presenting the captured queens crawling inside vials. Most of the specimens were still alive when the nest was opened, WSDA said. The Department plans to continue trapping the hornets for at least three years to resolve the problem and determine whether or not the area is infested.
The hornets pose a serious threat to honeybee populations but are not deadly to most humans unless allergic. However, the hornets’ stinger is said to be extremely painful if stung, though rarely deadly it can spit venom.
You can watch the team examining the nest below.
Florida Man Drives Eight-Wheeled Chevy Monster Truck Across the Ocean
A Florida Man has decided to drive his eight-wheeled Chevy monster truck across the ocean. That’s right, you read that correctly: he drove his truck across the ocean. For the TikTok views. And yes, it worked.
The legendary “Florida Man” has long been a favorite for news readers and writers alike, offering an entertaining potpourri of the insane, the impressive, and the grotesque, with stories covering topics including drugs, violence, alligators, and unbelievable feats of human wackiness.
In the latest chapter of the ongoing saga, one brave Florida Man decided to do what no sane man had ever considered: rather than take his monster truck to the demolition derby, he took it to a South Florida bay and sailed it alongside the yachts instead.
WhistlinDiesel can best be described as the Johnny Knoxville of American truck culture, or as he describes himself, one who does “basically everything you’ve ever thought of doing with your truck but you’d never ACTUALLY do … simply because someone says it’s impossible.”
And just like Knoxville and the MTV Jackass gang pushed the concept of extreme, physical challenges beyond the limits of basic common sense, WhistlinDiesel is willing to do anything to go viral and catch some likes. It’s a winning formula, if a bit unsafe.
With that in mind, the social media madman took his two-axle Chevy Silverado, filled its eight tires with a ridiculous amount of air, and drove it straight into the Gulf of Mexico between Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach, Florida, without any sort of propeller.
It wasn’t long before authorities intervened to cut his ludicrous stunt short. WhistlinDiesel had just barely driven into the water and smashed the throttle over the bay before he was forced to haul it out of the drink with a boat while completely surrounded by the local sheriff’s department, the Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Natural Resources – who were quite likely peeved that someone decided to plunge his diesel truck into a protected body of water.
“Still can’t believe how smoothly this went. I woke up at 4am after 2 hours of sleep that day thinking wtf am I doing? This could either end really good or really bad. Our original plan was to set up at night in the dark and drive miles offshore to watch the sun rise but looking back we got much better reactions from the public this way.”
And good reactions he did receive, as the maniac managed to get tons of press attention and social media clout. It still remains unclear whether he faced any charges for the stunt, so it’s safe to say: Mission accomplished!
Scientists: The Human Brain And the Entire Universe Have Odd Similarities
An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona have claimed that the brain resembles the universe. The two Italian researchers came up with the galaxy-brain theory that is out of this world: The structures of the perceptible universe, they say, are astonishingly comparable to the neuronal networks of the human brain.
University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti document the extraordinary similarities between the cosmic network of galaxies and the complex web of neurons in the human brain. The detailed study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physics showcasing the human brain has roughly 27 orders of magnitude separated in scale, while similarly, the composition of the cosmic web shows comparable levels of complexity and self-organization, according to the researchers.
The brain itself contains an estimated 69 billion neurons, while the visible universe is comprised of at least 100 billion galaxies, strung together like a mesh network. Even more intriguing both galaxies and neurons only account for about 30 percent of the total masses of the universe and brain. Further, both galaxies and neurons arrange themselves like pearls on a long string.
Beginning from the shared features of the two systems, the two researchers examined a simulation of the network of galaxies in comparison to sections of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Their purpose was to inspect how matter variations propagate.
In the case of galaxies, the remaining 70 percent of mass is dark energy. The equivalent in the human brain, the pair said was water.
“We calculated the spectral density of both systems,” Vazza said in a statement about the experiment. “This is a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution of galaxies. Our analysis showed that the distribution of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeters follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web,” he added, “but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5 million to 500 million light-years.”
The amount of interwoven connections originating from each node also were strangely alike sparking further interest to the researchers.
“Once again, structural parameters have identified unexpected agreement levels,” Feletti said in the statement. “Probably, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical powers regulating galaxies and neurons.”
The team is anticipating that their preliminary research could lead to new analysis procedures advancing knowledge about both cosmology and neurosurgery. Which would enable scientists to better comprehend how these compositions have developed over time.
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