As Brazil’s Far Right Leader Threatens the Amazon, One Tribe Pushes Back

Cleber da Silva Costa, the miner who brought the bounty, said he knew what he and his fellow miners were doing was illegal and harmful to the environment. Yet he argued that his crime was merely a symptom of more egregious wrong.

“If you didn’t have so many corrupt people in Congress, you might be able to consider preserving the environment,” he said.

Mr. da Silva, 47, a miner with three children, said the camp was doing more to preserve than destroy indigenous communities.

“The little they have today is from miners,” he said. “The government doesn’t help. All the money gets stolen. We may be in the wrong. But out here, it’s the law of survival.”

→ The New York Times

A Bigger Problem Than ISIS ?

In the language of hydraulic engineering, the process eroding the foundation is known as “solutioning.” If that problem is not addressed, what happens next is “piping”: water begins to travel between the voids, moving horizontally beneath the dam. To illustrate, American engineers have devised a triangular chart. The process begins, at the apex, with solutioning, advances through cavity formation and piping, and ends with core collapse and, finally, dam breach—like a Florida sinkhole opening up, unannounced, beneath a shopping center. Engineers jokingly refer to the chart as the “triangle of death.” Schnittker told me, “Once piping begins, there is no going back. In twelve hours, the dam is gone.”

→ The New Yorker

Why Your Phone Battery Is Rubbish

What about the rest of us? Can we expect our gadgets to last longer than a day any time soon? “As long as our batteries are based on a chemical reaction, we will have huge limitations,” Buchmann says. “The health of a battery is almost like the health of a living organism or human being. We have to take care of it.” Limer says: “I don’t think things will change much in 10 years. A realistic future to hope for is one where even in extreme heavy use you can get through a day without losing your battery.” Right now, he adds, what we have is “a battery stalemate”.

→ The Guardian

That Time I Tried to Buy an Actual Barrel of Crude Oil

On how to buy, store and trade an actual pint of oil. Hilarious :

If gold is the equivalent of a pet rock, then I can confidently say that oil is the equivalent of playing host to a herd of feral cats; it demands constant vigilance and maintenance. If gathered in sufficient quantities, it will probably try to kill you, or at least severely harm your health.

• • •

The ideal oil storage trade works something like this: Buy the crude and immediately agree to deliver it at a later date, thereby locking in the difference between the spot and futures prices for what is, in theory, a riskless profit. In 2008, when the forward price of oil vastly eclipsed the spot price, this kind of arbitrage could net a hefty return.

A true oil storage trade therefore required an early buyer. The usual suspects—think Glencore and Trafigura—wouldn’t dream of touching my puny amount oil, of course. So I looked further afield, all the way to my ex-colleagues, who I thought surely must still harbor those long-ago dreams of owning Black Gold.

→ Bloomberg

China in Africa: A Modern Story of Colonization?

However China’s increased presence in East Africa has gradually raised concerns about the economic development of these countries as well as the environmental and social sustainability of their natural resources; what remains unclear is whether China’s recent FDI in East Africa has any real intention in helping to promote economic growth and development in these countries. In recent times, China has undertaken multiple investments in sub Saharan Africa that most people believe is due to China’s search for natural resources to feed its industrial output. But it has not always been the case.

→ Economonitor