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Deforestation in Altamira
When will the Amazon hit a tipping point?
Seen from a monitoring tower above the treetops near Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon, the rainforest canopy stretches to the horizon as an endless sea of green. It looks like a rich and healthy ecosystem, but appearances are deceiving. This rainforest — which holds 16,000 separate tree species
Over the past century, the average temperature in the forest has risen by 1–1.5 °C1. In some parts, the dry season has expanded during the past 50 years, from four months to almost five2.
Severe droughts have hit three times since 2005. That’s all driving a shift in vegetation. In 2018, a study reported that trees that do best in moist conditions, such as tropical legumes from the genus Inga, are dying. Those adapted to drier climes, such as the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) are thriving3.
At the same time, large parts of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, are being cut down and burnt. Tree clearing has already shrunk the forest by around 15% from its 1970s extent of more than 6 million square kilometres; in Brazil, which contains more than half the forest, more than 19% has disappeared. In the 2000s, Brazil was praised for drastically slowing forest loss, but the rate has since risen as a result of political turmoil and an economic recession. Last year, deforestation in Brazil spiked by around 30% to almost 10,000 km2, the largest loss in a decade. And last August, videos of wildfires in the Amazon made international headlines. The number of fires that month was the highest for any August since an extreme drought in 2010 (see ‘Forest loss’). Many scientists have linked these surges to the anti-environmentalist rhetoric of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.
THE HISTORY OF WRITING
The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by systems of markings and how these markings were used for various purposes in different societies, thereby transforming social organization. Writing systems are the foundation of literacy and literacy learning, with all the social and psychological consequences associated with literacy activities.In the history of how writing systems have evolved in human civilizations, more complete writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, systems of ideographic or early mnemonic symbols (symbols or letters that make remembering them easier).
True writing, in which the content of a linguistic utterance is encoded so that another reader can reconstruct, with a fair degree of accuracy, the exact utterance written down, is a later development. It is distinguished from proto-writing, which typically avoids encoding grammatical words and affixes, making it more difficult or even impossible to reconstruct the exact meaning intended by the writer unless a great deal of context is already known in advance.
The earliest uses of writing in ancient Sumeria were to document agricultural produce and create contracts, but soon writing became used for purposes of finances, religion, government, and law. These uses supported the spread of these social activities, their associated knowledge, and the extension of centralized power. Writing then became the basis of knowledge institutions such as libraries, schools, universities and scientific and disciplinary research. These uses were accompanied by the proliferation of genres, which typically initially contained markers or reminders of the social situations and uses, but the social meaning and implications of genres often became more implicit as the social functions of these genres became more recognizable in themselves, as in the examples of money, currency, financial instruments, and now digital currency.
How to Get Discovered as a Writer and Pave the Way for a Successful Career
Image Source: Pexels
Whether you’re a writer, fashion designer, craft maker, or any other type of artist, promoting your art to the world and making a career out of it has to be one of your major goals. However, even though the internet is a great platform to showcase your art to a large audience, given the current level of competition, it can be challenging to get discovered, especially as an up-and-coming writer. But don’t fret, as in this article by Exposure Book Launch, we’ll explore a host of useful strategies writers can use to promote their art to the right audience, get discovered, and fulfill their goal of converting their hobby into a successful career.
Learn How to Market Yourself
Marketing yourself as an artist requires a combination of creativity and strategic thinking i.e. not only do you need to consistently create great art, you need to understand the right way to present it to your viewers/customers. One of the foundational steps in this strategy includes the creation of a portfolio website, where you can showcase your work, such as blog posts, research articles, copywriting projects, etc., obtain commissions, and create a personal connection with your customers by sharing your story, goals, and motivations to be an artist.
Additionally, even in today’s digital age, networking in person is a useful tool to develop connections, uncover hidden work opportunities, and promote your art to the right audience. Hence, make it a point to attend a host of networking events in your locality, connect with fellow artists, develop collaboration opportunities, and, if needed, find a mentor who will guide you on your creative journey.
Create a Sound Business Plan
A business plan serves as a foundational document that covers your vision, goals, and the steps to achieve them. Your first step will be to outline your goals and timelines to achieve them, as reported by EP3. For example, these can be two of the many goals in your business plan -
Drive 500 unique visitors per week to your portfolio website daily
Earn a minimum of $2000/month from writing commissions in Q3 of 2023
Next, you’ll need to create an in-depth list of product offerings to sell, which can include - blog posts, movie scripts, etc. Remember to include the total cost and time of producing each of these products and the price you plan to sell them at. A good point to remember is to try not to sell your products at a discount from the start, as it will be difficult to raise prices in the future because customers will associate your products with the original price.
Harness the Power of Social Media
The rise of image/video-first platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have become go-to mediums for artists to promote their art online. As a writer, you can convert your text into short-form videos using a host of tools, as it will increase your organic reach and drive higher engagement. Participating in topical trends and posting content with trending hashtags always has the chance of your work going viral. Even if it is for a few hours, going viral can draw thousands of viewers to your profile and website, according to Indeed.
Use PDFs to Create Contracts
As an independent artist, always enter into written contracts with clients, as it ensures that you are paid what you’re owed and shields you from wrongdoings during unforeseen circumstances. The best format to create a contract in is PDF, as it protects your sensitive data through encryption and is easily editable by both parties. Additionally, when creating custom contracts, you can easily merge different pages and clauses with a PDF and ensure that your best interests are always protected. Click here for more information on using PDF for contracts as an artist.'
Getting discovered as a writer can be a challenging but rewarding process. By creating a solid business plan, learning how to market yourself, and harnessing the power of social media, you can increase your chances of success and make a living off of your passion. Additionally, when it comes to contracts, always share them as a PDF to ensure the confidentiality and protection of sensitive data.
Get Creative When You’re Out of a Job
Being out of work can be a difficult time, and it is easy to be overwhelmed with how to make ends meet. It is important to get creative and keep an open mind when seeking employment or supplemental income. The following are some ideas on how you can make ends meet when you are out of work, shared by Exposure Book Launch.
Adhere to a Budget
Creating a budget is always essential when you're out of work. Knowing exactly how much your monthly expenses are and staying aware of your spending habits will help ensure that you don't run out of money before finding another job. Unexpected costs can happen, so make sure to plan accordingly and re-adjust your budget as needed.
Seek out Freelance Jobs
Another way to make ends meet while looking for employment is by taking on freelance gigs or side hustles. There are many websites where jobs are posted. These jobs may include writing articles, designing logos, doing virtual assistant work, etc., If you have skills that could be used in these areas then consider posting them online so potential employers can see them.
Research Government Assistance Initiatives
If you have exhausted your unemployment benefits or do not qualify for them, there are government programs to help. Food stamps, Medicaid/Medicare, and other forms of assistance can be obtained depending on your location. These subsidies, such as housing and energy assistance programs, may ease the financial burden while unemployed.
Eat at Home Instead of Dining Out
Avoiding going out to eat every day is important when trying to save money while unemployed. Instead, cook at home using simple ingredients like eggs, rice, beans, and vegetables that won't break the bank but still provide healthy meals. Not only will this save money but it will also give you the opportunity to learn new recipes which could come in handy if/when you secure full-time employment again.
Sell Unused Items You Have
It's the perfect time to go through your possessions and take inventory of anything that no longer fits into your lifestyle. Consider selling clothes, furniture, books, and other items online or through apps - you may be surprised by how much money you can make from something that you have lying around your house. Furthermore, decluttering your home can be a great way to make extra cash while simplifying your space.
Boost Your Credentials with an Online IT Degree
Now is an excellent time to invest in yourself and explore new opportunities. With online degrees in IT-related fields such as software development or computer programming, you can build upon existing skillsets, allowing you to progress your career in the long term. Plus, with free courses available online, it is a great way to gain knowledge and save money too.
Creating Your Own LLC
Starting a business can be intimidating, but having an LLC provides protection from personal liability in the event of failure. There are different types of LLCs to consider based on the type of venture you have in mind, so it’s important to do your due diligence before taking the plunge. With an LLC, you can rest assured that creditors cannot target your personal assets should anything happen to the company.
Staying afloat during a period of unemployment requires a lot of planning and hard work, but there are numerous resources available to help. From government assistance programs to forming your own LLC, it's important to do your research and choose the option that best fits your needs. Additionally, don't forget to think outside the box when searching for additional income sources. With some creativity and dedication, you can make it through these uncertain times.
are the earliest known inhabitants of an area, especially one that has been colonized by a now-dominant group. However, usage of the term and who may qualify as being Indigenous vary depending on nationality and culture. In its modern context, the term Indigenous was first used by Europeans, who used it to differentiate the Indigenous peoples of the Americas from the European settlers of the Americas, as well as from the sub-Saharan Africans the settlers enslaved and brought to the Americas by force. The term may have first been used in this context by Sir Thomas Browne in 1646, who stated "and although in many parts thereof there be at present swarms of Negroes serving under the Spaniard, yet were they all transported from Africa, since the discovery of Columbus; and are not indigenous or proper natives of America."
Peoples are usually described as "Indigenous" when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with the first inhabitants of a given region. Not all Indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary), exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, or be resettled, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world except Antarctica. There are approximately five thousand Indigenous nations throughout the world.
Indigenous peoples' homelands have historically been colonized by larger ethnic groups, who justified colonization with beliefs of racial and religious superiority, land use or economic opportunity. Thousands of Indigenous nations throughout the world currently live in countries where they are not a majority ethnic group. Indigenous peoples continue to face threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being, languages, ways of knowing, and access to the resources on which their cultures depend. Indigenous rights have been set forth in international law by the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, and the World Bank. In 2007, the UN issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to guide member-state national policies to the collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including their rights to protect their cultures, identities, languages, ceremonies, and access to employment, health, education and natural resources.
Estimates of the total global population of Indigenous peoples usually range from 250 million to 600 million. Official designations and terminology of who is considered Indigenous vary between countries, ethnic groups and other factors. In the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, Indigenous status is often applied unproblematically to groups descended from the peoples who lived there prior to European settlement. However, In Asia and Africa, definitions of Indigenous status have been either rejected by certain peoples, or applied to minorities and or oppressed peoples, who may not be considered "Indigenous" in other contexts. Thus, population figures are less clear and may fluctuate dramatically.
How to get pupils in developing countries to learn
Indian children attend a school run under a bridge in New Delhi. Photograph: AP
The low quality of education in much of the developing world is no secret. The Annual status of education report (Aser), produced by the Indian NGO Pratham, has been documenting the poor state of affairs in that country for several years. The most recent report highlights the fact that more than half of grade five students can read only at grade two level. Similar statistics are available from around the world.
Since 2000, primary enrolment rates have risen from about 80% to more than 90% – that is close to an extra 36 million children in primary school. And there are more than 90 million more children in secondary school now than in 2000. Rising population and, until 2008, growing incomes explain some of this increase. But a large part of the story is about education programmes by governments and NGOs to get more children into school.
There is a common view that in targeting quantity – getting children into school – quality has been sacrificed by not making sure that they learn something once they get there. Overcrowded classrooms, poorly qualified teachers and lack of teaching materials create a poor learning environment, exacerbated by rampant absenteeism among both pupils and their teachers.
We know there are a range of supply-side programmes, such as building schools in rural areas where access is otherwise limited, and demand-side interventions, such as conditional cash transfers, which pay a stipend to poor families on the condition that children go to and stay in school.
Programmes such as Portunidae’s in Mexico and the female secondary school assistance Project in Bangladesh have been important in increasing enrolment, especially among girls, in the past two decades. But what is the point if they do not learn anything once they get to school?
A review of the evidence of what works in education, produced by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), paints a more optimistic picture. Pulling together findings from 75 studies, our analysis shows that government and donor education programmes work – not only in getting more children into school and keeping them there, but also at learning more, especially in reading, writing and maths.
The finding surprised me. I had expected to see a significantly positive average treatment effect (the overall average impact of the interventions being assessed) for enrolment and possibly attendance. But I had bought into the "children don't learn" view enough not to expect a positive effect on test scores, or even the proxy measures of dropout and grade repetition. I was wrong. On average, the interventions have a positive impact on all education outcomes, including learning.
THE AMAZON RAINFOREST
Amazon rainforest in Colombia
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus
The rainforest likely formed during the Eocene era (from 56 million years to 33.9 million years ago). It appeared following a global reduction of tropical temperatures when the Atlantic Ocean had widened sufficiently to provide a warm, moist climate to the Amazon basin. The rainforest has been in existence for at least 55 million years, and most of the region remained free of savanna-type biomes at least until the current ice age when the climate was drier and savanna more widespread.
Following the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the wetter climate may have allowed the tropical rainforest to spread out across the continent. From 66 to 34 Mya, the rainforest extended as far south as 45°. Climate fluctuations during the last 34 million years have allowed savanna regions to expand into the tropics. During the Oligocene, for example, the rainforest spanned a relatively narrow band. It expanded again during the Middle Miocene, then retracted to a mostly inland formation at the last glacial maximum. However, the rainforest still managed to thrive during these glacial periods, allowing for the survival and evolution of a broad diversity of species.
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest
During the mid-Eocene, it is believed that the drainage basin of the Amazon was split along the middle of the continent by the Purus Arch. Water on the eastern side flowed toward the Atlantic, while to the west water flowed toward the Pacific across the Amazonas Basin. As the Andes Mountains rose, however, a large basin was created that enclosed a lake; now known as the Solimões Basin. Within the last 5–10 million years, this accumulating water broke through the Purus Arch, joining the easterly flow toward the Atlantic.
There is evidence that there have been significant changes in the Amazon rainforest vegetation over the last 21,000 years through the last glacial maximum (LGM) and subsequent deglaciation. Analyses of sediment deposits from Amazon basin paleolakes and the Amazon Fan indicate that rainfall in the basin during the LGM was lower than for the present, and this was almost certainly associated with reduced moist tropical vegetation cover in the basin. There is a debate, however, over how extensive this reduction was. Some scientists argue that the rainforest was reduced to small, isolated refugia separated by open forest and grassland; other scientists argue that the rainforest remained largely intact but extended less far to the north, south, and east than is seen today. This debate has proved difficult to resolve because the practical limitations of working in the rainforest mean that data sampling is biased away from the center of the Amazon basin, and both explanations are reasonably well supported by the available data.
Signatures of the trans-Atlantic movement
Black History Month
Africa is the geographic origin of millions of individuals of recent African descent in the United States and Caribbean whose ancestors were forcibly brought to the New World as slaves. Historical records have documented the movement of Africans into this region of the world primarily from locations along the western coast of Africa (from Senegal to Angola) (Figure 3) . Subsequent to migration of indigenous Africans, there was considerable admixture with Europeans with a smaller contribution from indigenous American populations. Specifically, Afro-Caribbean populations are estimated to have ~65– 95% West African, ~4–27% European, and ~0–6% Native American ancestry [95–99].
Although pooled individuals from the Caribbean have a high proportion of African ancestry, fine-scale genetic structure has been observed within and between islands (particularly, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, Jamaica, and Trinidad) due to regional differences in levels of African and/or European ancestry [100•]. Similarly, a study of genetic admixture within Puerto Rico showed that levels of African ancestry varied geographically with the highest proportion occurring in the eastern part of the island where African slaves and their descendants historically engaged in sugar pro-duction . In addition, genome-wide data have suggested that patterns of genetic ancestry in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (the Greater Antilles) were consistent with a model of two migration events from different regions of western Africa, implying that Afro-Caribbean populations have mixed African ancestry [102•].
These results are also congruent with a Y-chromosome study that found diverse haplotypes in Afro-Caribbeans from the Bahamas that were inferred to originate from different ethnic groups within West Central Africa . Furthermore, isotope data from skeletal remains of enslaved Africans in Barbados suggested that first generation captives had different dietary histories likely due to differences in their geographic origins in Africa . During the slave trade, the Caribbean has been an end-point of migration for hundreds of years, resulting in diverse genetic patterns. Because of the complexity of past migration events, additional studies across a broader geographic range of the Caribbean are needed to fully understand the extent of genetic variability and the different demographic processes that have contributed to it in Afro-Caribbean populations.
African Americans also have a high proportion of ancestry originating from western Africa, particularly Bantu and non-Bantu Niger-Kordofanian ancestry [3,36,105]. However, African Americans are characterized by genetic variability between populations living in different regions of the United States. An analysis of Y-chromosome loci genotyped in ~1300 individuals from Africa, the Caribbean, the District of Columbia (DC) and South Carolina (SC) detected genetic differentiation among African Americans that was largely attributed to geo-graphic differences in levels of European admixture [106•,107]. Specifically, a low proportion of European admixture was observed in individuals from SC compared to DC. These findings are in agreement with a prior study that also found low levels of European ancestry in SC, particularly among the Gullah Islanders [107,108].
Genome-wide data also demonstrated that individuals who self-identified as African American have a range of genetic ancestry with some individuals showing close to no West African ancestry, while others have almost complete West African ancestry . Indeed, these studies indicate that populations of African descent have a complex history resulting in genetic heterogeneity. In the future, African Americans could potentially become more genetically diverse. Particularly, this pattern could emerge as individuals migrate from regions of Africa, not originally represented in the African Diaspora, into the United States contributing ancestry to subsequent generations of individuals who may self-identify as African Americans.
The Taíno were an Arawak people who were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico.
In the Greater Antilles, the northern Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas, they were known as the Lucayans and spoke the Taíno language, a derivative of the the Arawakan languages.
The ancestors of the Taíno entered the Caribbean from South America. At the time of contact, the Taíno were divided into three broad groups, known as the Western Taíno (Jamaica, most of Cuba, and the Bahamas), the Classic Taíno (Hispaniola and Puerto Rico) and the Eastern Taíno (northern Lesser Antilles). A fourth, lesser known group went on to travel to Florida and divided into tribes. At present, we know there are four named tribes; the Tequesta, Calusa, Jaega and Ais. Other tribes are known to have settled in Florida, but their names are not known.
At the time of Columbus’ arrival in 1492, there were five Taíno chiefdoms and territories on Hispaniola, each led by a principal Cacique (chieftain), to whom tribute was paid. Ayiti (“land of high mountains”) was the indigenous Taíno name for the mountainous side of the island of Hispaniola, which has retained its name as Haïti in French.
Cuba, the largest island of the Antilles, was originally divided into 29 chiefdoms. Most of the native settlements later became the site of Spanish colonial cities retaining the original Taíno names. For instance; Havana,Batabanó, Camagüey, Baracoa and Bayamo are still recognised by their Taino names.
Puerto Rico also was divided into chiefdoms. As the hereditary head chief of Taíno tribes, the cacique was paid significant tribute. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the largest Taíno population centers may have contained over 3,000 people each.
The Taíno were historically enemies of the neighbouring Carib tribes, another group with origins in South America, who lived principally in the Lesser Antilles. The relationship between the two groups has been the subject of much study. For much of the 15th century, the Taíno tribe was being driven to the northeast in the Caribbean and out of what is now South America, because of raids by the Carib, resulting in Women being taken in raids and many Carib women speaking Taíno.
The Spaniards, who first arrived in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola in 1492, and later in Puerto Rico, did not bring women in the first expeditions. They took Taíno women for their common-law wives, resulting in mestizo children. Sexual violence in Hispaniola with the Taíno women by the Spanish was also common. Scholars suggest there was substantial racial and cultural mixing in Cuba, as well, and several Indian pueblos survived into the 19th century.
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