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TOPIC: preservation


In The Amazon, Retracing The Last Steps Of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

The murder of Brazil indigenist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips is shocking. Still, once looking more closely, it is not necessarily a surprise considering both the violence in Brazil and the situation in the rain forest under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Worldcrunch has turned to independent Brazilian media Agência Pública for special coverage of the murder of Brazil indigenist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips in Brazil’s Amazon. And their deaths is not a coincidence, nor fully unexpected. Thousands of environmentalist and land-defenders have been killed worldwide over the past two decades, with Brazil being one of the most murderous countries.

In Brazil, the situation in the Amazon worsened under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has pushed to develop the Amazon as well as cut funds to protection and indigenous government bodies. During a 2019 press conference, Bolsonaro responded to a question posed by Phillips by saying: “The Amazon is ours, not yours.”

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An Epic Mission, Preserving The Ancient Books Of Timbuktu

Mali's "mysterious city" welcomes a new class of students trained in looking after ancient books. From conservation to digitization of these works, a colossal task awaits them to preserve this endangered heritage and the secrets they contain.

TIMBUKTU — In the workroom of the Ahmed-Baba Institute of Higher Studies and Islamic Research, time seems to have slowed down. As the dust and the sound of brushes on paper float by, six students hold in their hands one of the most precious heritages of the region.

Ceremoniously, they repeat the same gestures: lifting the pages, one by one, with the tip of a thin wooden spatula, then, with the flat of the brush, ridding the inks and the centuries-old papers of dust.

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The Digital Technology That’s Killing Languages Can Save Them Too

As the world gets more homogenized and closely connected, geographic-specific languages risk vanishing — with one-third of languages having fewer than 1,000 speakers left. But tech can help.

Languages disappearing is not only a linguistic casualty — it is also the loss of a culture, history and people. Luckily, some of the same technologies blamed for killing languages can be used to preserve and spread those threatened around the world. Examples from Eastern Europe to Peru highlight the potential of digital tools, as well as the continued significance of more rudimental techniques to pass a language down from one generation to the next:

Google recently released the app Woolaroo, which has the goal of revitalizing some of the most threatened languages through artificial intelligence. Take a photo of an object and Woolaroo will tell you what its name is in 10 languages including Louisiana Creole, Nawat (spoken in El Salvador) and Calabrian Greek.

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Coral And Iron, A Plan To Save The Sinking Maldives

KAAFU ATOLL — The Maldives are slowly sinking, as coral reefs off the coasts of the islands have been destroyed and washed ashore because of warming water temperatures, all of which means sand isn't propagating as it should.

That's why Thomas Le Berre is dragging an iron frame along the beach of Kuda Huraa. With cable, he has tied pieces of coral tightly to the iron construction, which looks like a miniature pyramid. "You can't leave as much as a millimeter of space for them to move," Le Berre says of the coral. "Otherwise water pressure injures them, and they won't grow on the frame."

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Colin Folliot

Forest Wars In Tasmania, Birthplace Of Green Parties

MAYDENA — Down below, ferns and moss thrive on the surrounding humidity. Higher up, they give way first to sassafras, then to giant eucalyptus trees that have been growing for centuries, here in the Upper Florentine Valley.

This thick forest in the southern part of this Australian island was added last year to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Its protection however is still being fought for, as can be seen by several clearings in the forest, like scars of exploitation in the natural beauty of Tasmania, some 150 miles off the southeastern coast of the Australian mainland.

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Maxime Vaudano

Afterlife On Ice: Inside The World Of Cryonics

The American-invented dream of averting the finality of death by freezing one's body is a world unto its own. Now it's spreading to the UK, France and beyond.

SHEFFIELD — It's a small red-brick house just like any other, lost in the suburbs of Sheffield, in central England. The only thing that sets it apart is the yellow-and-green ambulance parked on the gravel driveway — for inside that vehicle, two men and a woman are training in the craft of defeating death itself, on the presumed road to eternity.

Every three months, some 15 members of the Cryonics UK association meet for a weekend around the refrigerated container that will one day be the home of their long hibernation. They have already spent thousands of pounds sterling so that, when the day comes, their bodies will be kept at very low temperature until scientific techniques will allow for them to be "brought back to life."

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Gerhard Matzig

What Happens When A Nazi Monument Is Transformed Into Luxury Housing

In Hamburg, a major Nazi monument is being repurposed into deluxe apartments. A lesson on the luxury boom, and the way Germany faces its uncomfortable history.

HAMBURG – The Nazi eagles have haven't exactly flown away, but have been removed from the roof of the former Nazi command headquarters in Hamburg, an unmistakeable example of national-socialist architecture built in the Harvestehude quarter in 1937.

“They’ve been put into storage,” says Uwe Schmitz, CEO of Frankonia Eurobau, by telephone. There is a pause, then he continues cautiously, almost uncertainly. “The eagles, of course, we can put them back up ... or not.”

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food / travel
Florian Sanktjohanser

Can A Tech Wizard From Idaho Save Mozambique's Garden Of Eden?

Gregory Carr has an American entrepreneur's vision for saving African wildlife.

GORONGOSA - The elephant cow turns and -- ears flapping, trumpeting -- makes for the car. "The matriarch," whispers safari guide José Montinho. "She’s protecting the herd with the calves."

For a couple of scary minutes everyone in the car sits stock still as the mighty animal snorts and lifts its trunk in a threatening way before turning back around again and trotting off after the others as they enter the forest at sundown.

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