Major Water Shortage in São Paulo, Brazil

The New York Times reports:

As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.

Full Story: The New York Times: Taps Start to Run Dry in Brazil’s Largest City

(via Abe)

Pay the Poor

The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades. The generic term for the program is conditional cash transfers. The idea is to give regular payments to poor families, in the form of cash or electronic transfers into their bank accounts, if they meet certain requirements. The requirements vary, but many countries employ those used by Mexico: families must keep their children in school and go for regular medical checkups, and mom must attend workshops on subjects like nutrition or disease prevention. The payments almost always go to women, as they are the most likely to spend the money on their families. The elegant idea behind conditional cash transfers is to combat poverty today while breaking the cycle of poverty for tomorrow. […]

The program fights poverty in two ways. One is straightforward: it gives money to the poor. This works. And no, the money tends not to be stolen or diverted to the better-off. Brazil and Mexico have been very successful at including only the poor. In both countries it has reduced poverty, especially extreme poverty, and has begun to close the inequality gap.

The idea’s other purpose — to give children more education and better health — is longer term and harder to measure. But measured it is — Oportunidades is probably the most-studied social program on the planet. The program has an evaluation unit and publishes all data. There have also been hundreds of studies by independent academics. The research indicates that conditional cash transfer programs in Mexico and Brazil do keep people healthier, and keep kids in school.

New York Times: To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor

The criticism I’ve heard of this sort of program from the hard left is that the money is essentially a small bribe to keep the poor from rising up and affecting real change. That may be true – but it’s hard to argue with with real results.

My biggest concern is the fact that the World Bank is financing all of this in the form of loans. What happens when it’s time for the countries to pay up?

I’d be interested in seeing a comparison of these conditional transfers with the U.S. welfare system.

Brazilian satellite hacking crackdown

Brazilian Federal Police swooped in on 39 suspects in six states in the largest crackdown to date on a growing problem here: illegal hijacking of U.S. military satellite transponders. […]

To use the satellite, pirates typically take an ordinary ham radio transmitter, which operates in the 144- to 148-MHZ range, and add a frequency doubler cobbled from coils and a varactor diode. That lets the radio stretch into the lower end of FLTSATCOM’s 292- to 317-MHz uplink range. All the gear can be bought near any truck stop for less than $500. Ads on specialized websites offer to perform the conversion for less than $100. Taught the ropes, even rough electricians can make Bolinha-ware.

“I saw it more than once in truck repair shops,” says amateur radio operator Adinei Brochi (PY2ADN) “Nearly illiterate men rigged a radio in less than one minute, rolling wire on a coil.”

Wired: The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

(via Global Guerrillas)

S?o Paulo homeless group claiming abandoned buildings

squate in sao paulo

The Prestes Maia building in downtown S?o Paulo, abandoned for 12 years, had become a haven for drugs and prostitution. Then, in 2002, more than 400 homeless families, in cooperation with a local group called the Downtown Homeless Movement, occupied the 22-story building. Conditions were crowded and difficult-the building lacks electricity and running water-but residents established a free library, cinema, and educational and social activities.

The Brazilian Constitution recognizes the right to housing and states that all property must serve a ‘social function.’ But in S?o Paulo, where slums and homelessness are common, an estimated 400,000 housing units are unused. The Downtown Homeless Movement, which has reclaimed more than 30 buildings in S?o Paulo, is just one of many groups reclaiming abandoned buildings across Brazil. At Prestes Maia, residents have fought eviction with protests, road blockades, and legal battles. After years of struggle, they have won either new housing or assistance from the government.

From: Yes Magazine.

(via Hit and Run).

The Disappeared Collaborative Project

Okay, I’m on vacation?and should be staying away from the computer, but I just saw one of the most disturbing art exhibits I’ve ever seen.?I think it needs more attention than what it’s been getting.

“Los Desaparecidos/The Disappeared is an exhibition of works by 27 artists from seven countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Venezuela) which brings together visual artists’ responses to the tens of thousands of persons who were kidnapped, tortured, killed, and ‘vanished’ in Latin America by repressive right-wing military dictatorships during the late-1950s to the 1980s. The artists in this exhibition approach the phenomenon of ‘disappearance’ from personal perspectives. Their paintings, photographs, sculptures, and videos express individual experiences of the turbulence and chaos that rocked their countries in the mid-decades of the twentieth century.”

One of the “paintings” was an in depth description of the torture methods from a survivor.?From?getting?electrical shocks while having water dripped on them?as they’re hanging by?their arms on hooks; to having the skin on the soles of their feet scraped off;? to?one man having his testicles ripped off slowly with string.?There were?many?scetched pictures?of?faces, and written names?of many of those who?disappeared dealing with these?dictatorships.??
?The Disappeared

Project Disappeared

© 2024 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑