Rich people can afford to buy more sleep than poor people

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In Rich do not rise early: spatio-temporal patterns in the mobility networks of different socio-economic classes, a group of transportation engineers analyze an open data-set about the commutes of people in the Colombian cities of Medellín and Manizales, concluding that the rich and the poor commute the furthest distances, but that the rich have much shorter commutes, thanks to private transport and superior routing, which translates to substantially more sleep for the wealthy. Read the rest

Did transphobia help kill Colombia's peace referendum?

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As the "cool Pope" and other conservative religious leaders wage a war on "gender ideology," one of the biggest casualties may have been the peace vote to end Colombia's decades-long civil war.

Trans rights are increasingly used as a wedge issue by conservatives, and it often involves moral panics around "protecting children" from LGBT people in general and transgender people in particular.

The controversy began earlier this year when an unfinished draft of a teaching handbook, produced by the education ministry in tandem with international agencies including UNICEF, was published online. One sentence sparked particular fury: “One isn’t born a man or a woman, but rather learns to be one, according to the society and age in which they grow up,” it read. That passage, along with false versions of the handbook and other misinformation, circulated widely on social media. Critics accused then-Education Minister Gina Parody, a lesbian, of trying to indoctrinate students with “gender ideology,” a term used by many conservative groups and leaders throughout Latin America. Parody quickly became the center of a smear campaign, while others argued children needed to be protected from same-sex marriage. That was when the lines between the handbook controversy and the peace deal vote started to blur.

Did an Anti-LGBT Panic Help Defeat Colombia’s Peace Deal? (Americas Quarterly)

Image: Iván Erre Jota Read the rest

Colombia and Farc rebels reach historic peace agreement ending 5-decade war

Two colombian soldiers patrol in front at a truck burned by rebels of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cisneros, 80 kms
west from Cali, Valle del Cauca province March 6, 2002. REUTERS/Juan B. Diaz

After half a century of war, the Colombian government and Farc rebels say they have reached a historic peace agreement. The two sides have been meeting in Havana, Cuba since November 2012. Both signed a bilateral ceasefire in June, which was needed before a final agreement could be reached. An estimated 220,000 people have died in the decades-long conflict, and millions have been displaced.

Read the rest

Let's check in with Pablo Escobar's herd of feral hippos

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In 2003, Colombians began to report encounters with the wild hippos that escaped from Pablo Escobar's private zoo after he was killed by police and his estate was left to rot. Read the rest

The steampunk statues of Medellin, Colombia

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Herman from Colombia's Proyecto Liquido writes, "This is part of Medellín Steampunk a city project that resulted from a partnership between Fractal and the Secretary of Culture of the Medellín Mayor's Office. Read the rest

Which Colombian ISPs keep your data private?

Karen from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "EFF is teaming up with groups in Latin America to take our 'Who Has Your Back' report international!" Read the rest

Kickstarting an open hardware SLR networking add-on

Danny sez, "Lumera is an open-hardware, open source prototype that plugs into your fancy SLR camera, connects to your phone via WiFi or Bluetooth, and lets you automatically upload pictures to sites like Flickr or a USB backup, change your camera settings like focus or ISO settings, or run timelapsed photograph sessions." Read the rest

Biology student in Colombia faces jail for reposting scholarly article

Colombia's draconian copyright law (passed after US pressure) provides for prison sentences for simple copyright infringement; Diego Gomez, a biodiversity conservation Master's candidate at University of Quindío shared a paper related to his fieldwork, and the paper's author has brought a prosecution against him. Read the rest

Serving Coke in ice-bottles

Ogilvy Colombia did a promotion for Coca-Cola wherein they dispensed The Black Waters of American Imperialism in rather appealing little bottles made of ice. I'm fond of ice shot-glasses full of vodka -- similar principle.

Ice marketing is hot (and eco-friendly) (via Neatorama) Read the rest

The risks of visiting volcanoes

In 1993, Stanley Williams survived a close-encounter with a volcano. A volcanologist, he was standing on the rim of Colombia's Galeras volcano when it erupted with little warning. Six of his scientific colleagues and three tourists were killed. Williams fled down the mountain's slope — until flying rocks and boulders broke both his legs. With a fractured skull, he managed to stay conscious enough to huddle behind some other large boulders and dodge flying debris until the eruption ended and his grad students rescued him.

Williams and the other scientists were there to study Galeras, and hopefully get a better idea of what signals predicted the onset of eruptions.

This is something we still don't understand well.

While volcanologists have identified some signals — like distinctive patterns of small earthquakes — that increase the likelihood of an oncoming eruption, those signals aren't foolproof predictions. There are still volcanoes like Galeras that give no warning. And volcanoes like Mt. St. Helens. In 2004, that volcano gave signals that it would erupt. And it did. Sort of. The Seattle Times described it as "two small burps and a lava flow". Basically, the signals don't always precede an eruption, and even when they do happen it doesn't tell you much about how big any ensuing eruption will be.

And that presents an interesting question, writes Erik Klemetti at Wired's Eruptions blog. How close to volcanoes should tourists really be? That's a question with real-world applications. This year, New Zealand's White Island volcano has been ... Read the rest

Igloo made of stacked books

"Home," an installation at NYC's MagnanMetz Gallery by Colombian artist Miler Lagos is a stable igloo made of carefully stacked books.

HOME. 2011. . New York - EE.UU (via Colossal) Read the rest

Kick-ass makeup on Colombian student protesters

These student protesters in Bogota, Colombia have really got it going on, makeupwise.

Student protestors in Colombia know how to get attention (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

(Image: cropped, downsized thumbnail from a photo by AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)) Read the rest

Pablo Escobar tour of Medellin lets you walk in the footsteps of a banal crimelord

Walk in the footsteps of one of South America's banal monsters with the Pablo Escobar tour of Medellin. The four-hour tour culminates with a handshake and photo-op with Escobar's brother, Roberto, who will answer your questions. You could ask him about his brother's feral hippos.

Yet, failure seems unlikely, given the huge interest in a man who, through cocaine trafficking and murderous ruthlessness, rose to become the seventh richest person in the world before being gunned down by police on a Medellín rooftop in 1993. It is not uncommon to see backpackers traversing the country with a copy of Killing Pablo, the 2001 biography by Mark Bowden, in hand.

Rodríguez adds that he does not have a problem with Escobar's story being told, but he is against him being mythologised. "I don't think there should be museums or tours or anything making him out to be a legend," he says.

In Pablo Escobar's footsteps (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest