June 22, 2011

Amazon rainforest     Photo: Lubasi/Flickr

Uncontacted Tribe Found in Amazon

Satellite photos reveal clearing, huts

Brazil's indigenous protection agency has confirmed the discovery of a new, un-contacted tribal group in a remote region of the Amazon. The National Indian Foundation (Funai) first noticed the community when a satellite image of the Vale do Javari reservation revealed three clearings in the middle of the forest; flyovers in April found large thatched-roof huts and fields of corn, banana, and other crops. Fabricio Amorim, a regional coordinator with Funai, said that the community, home to about 200 people, is less than a year old. The agency does not plan to meet with the group. The Vale do Javari is home to at least 14 uncontacted indigenous communities, many of which are under threat from illegal fishing, logging, drug trafficking, and missionary activity.

Read more at The Guardian

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Chris Horner Wins the Amgen Tour of California, 2011     Photo: Richard Masoner/www.cyclelicio.us/

Who Will Lead Team Radioshack?

Four cyclists vie for top spot

Team Radioshack has announced its official Tour de France roster, raising questions about who will lead cycling's premier squad in the absence of a clear general classification contender. The team includes four riders who could all conceiveably win the race: Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden, and recent Tour of Switzerland winner Levi Leipheimer. The mix could create problems if the four riders compete with each other, instead of the main field, an issue that beset the T-Mobile team in the 2005 Tour. “Too many leaders is not an ideal situation, but we are confident we can turn this into an advantage,” Bruyneel told VeloNews. “Together we are strong to fight against Contador and the Schlecks.” Among Radioshack’s leaders, Leipheimer stands out: he has the most grand tour experience and his win in Switzerland could mean he has the best fitness.

Read more at AFP

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Lemur     Photo: insane photoholic/Flickr

Should Corrupt Countries Get Eco-Loans?

The World Bank gives Madagascar $52-million

On Tuesday, the World Bank announced a $52-million ecodiversity loan to Madagascar, the troubled east-African island nation. Political unrest has gravely threatened Madagascar's natural resources, allowing illegal logging and poaching to explode. Madagascar is considered an ecological treasure, and is the only place on earth where ring-tailed lemurs and dozens of insect species are found in the wild. The United States and other multinational organizations believe the Malagasy government to be illegitimate, following a 2009 coup that removed democratic leaders from power. As a result, international donors have largely halted economic aid to the country, a decision which is wildely blamed for devastating the country's nascent textile industry. The bank says it is not reversing course on that policy. The aid package will be welcome news to conservationists, but is likely to attract criticism on humanitarian grounds.

Read more at Reuters

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Depth of Field     Photo: Jarosław Pocztarski/Flickr

Revolutionary New Camera Coming Soon

It allows you to shoot first, focus later.

A new consumer camera due out later this year from Silicon Valley start-up Lytro allows users to change the focus of their pictures after they are taken. Simply clicking on a fuzzy background or foreground brings that part of the photo into focus, appropriately blurring the rest of the image while keeping the same depth of field. The transformation is possible thanks to a special sensor in the camera called a microlens array, which remembers the angles at which light enters the camera. The result, incredibly, is like having several lenses in one camera. Lytro founder and chief executive Ren Ng, 31, first explained the idea in his 2006 doctoral thesis at Stanford University, and has since been working to bring the camera to the consumer market. Lytro has not yet announced a price or release date for the camera. See a video of how the camera works here.

Read more at The New York Times

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    Photo: Chris Cole/Flickr

The Next Great American Kayaker?

Dane Jackson leads junior world champs

The 2011 International Canoe Federation's Freestyle World Championships kicked off in Platting, Germany, on Monday.   Dane Jackson, son of four-time world champion Eric Jackson, finished day one of the junior men's freestyle competition in first place, well ahead of Spain's Joaquím Fontane and Aleix Salvat. Jackson, 17, was the junior winner at the Whitewater Grand Prix in Quebec in May. He has kayaked for the past 15 years and travels 6 months out of the year, including to his favorite rivers in Africa. Organizers expect 25,000 spectators for the event, which runs until June 26 and features 400 athletes. Still to come are has quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals for men's and women's squirts, kayak, canoe sprints and slalom events.

Read more at playak.com



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