Drones find over 50 new enormous artworks etched into the Peruvian desert

National Geographic reports exclusively on a project in Peru using low-altitude drones to identify dozens of ancient geoglyphs undetectable by the unassisted human eye. Read the rest

Fancy new geoglyphs discovered in Peru

Those thousands of drawings in the desert of southern Peru that we call the Nazca Lines? They're so yesterday. According to National Geographic, all of the cool kids know that the geoglyphs worth paying attention to are those new ground etchings that archaeologists recently grokked in Peru's Palpa province.

Through the use of drones and satellite imagery, 50 new examples of geoglyphs were discovered by archeologists. Many of the ground drawings were so fine or well hidden that they are almost too obscure to see with the human eye:

From National Geographic:

Some of the newfound lines belong to the Nasca culture, which held sway in the area from 200 to 700 A.D. However, archaeologists suspect that the earlier Paracas and Toparácultures carved many of the newfound images between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D.

Unlike the iconic Nasca lines—most of which are only visible from overhead—the older Paracas glyphs were laid down on hillsides, making them visible to villages below. The two cultures also pursued different artistic subjects: Nasca lines most often consist of lines or polygons, but many of the newfound Paracas figures depict humans.

More likely than not, the new geoglyphs might not have been found at all, were it not for the fact that the nearby Nasca lines are currently undergoing restoration to sort out the damage caused by a Greenpeace publicity stunt in 2014 and this guy, earlier this year. While mapping out the damaged areas of the lines, volunteers from GlobalXplorer noted the previously undiscovered line work. Read the rest

The race to find Incan ruins to halt US oil drilling

Peruvian archaeologists and activists have joined with the indigenous Harakmbut people to find legendary Incan lost cities. If they find them soon enough, traditional Harakmbut lands leased to an American oil company might be designated off-limits to drilling. Read the rest

Every year, this scary rope bridge over a river must be replaced

Two villages either side of the Apurimac River in Peru must rebuild the rope bridge linking their communities every year. You wonder: why don't they build a modern one that lasts? Then you watch the video and you know why. Read the rest

Transparent hotel room hanging from side of mountain

For around $300/night, you can sleep in a transparent bedroom hanging off the side of a mountain above Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas. Read the rest

HOAX: TV show tricks chronic catcallers into harassing their own mothers

Update: These are staged -- it's an ad for Everlast, and not a TV show as I had believed. Read the rest

Ancient Grumpy Cat LOLs

Yesterday, guest blogger Madeleine Johnson had a story here about a piece of ancient Peruvian pottery — in the shape of a very grumpy little cat. If you haven't read her story, you really should. It's all about the great cat memes of ancient history and how archaeologists can use clues from an artwork to track down who made it, where, and when.

My friend Andrew was kind enough to adapt Ancient Grumpy Cat into the form of a modern cat meme. That's his picture above. Madeleine and I also put together another one, based on Ancient Grumpy Cat's probable history as a ceremonial mug for drinking a corn beer called chicha: Read the rest

Meet Ancient Peru's own Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat, Shocked Cat, Lil Bub – their images are the currency of the web, passed between friends, family, and co-workers. When they go viral, funny cat pictures heal daily drudgery with a dose of furry, cuddly cheer. But, in terms of the reverence they receive, these cats are hardly the first of their kind. Ancient cultures had cat memes too, and archaeologists have their own term for them: feline motifs. Read the rest

Death and the Mainframe: How data analysis can help document human rights atrocities

Between 1980 and 2000, a complicated war raged in Peru, pitting the country’s government against at least two political guerilla organizations, and forcing average people to band together into armed self-defense committees. The aftermath was a mess of death and confusion, where nobody knew exactly how many people had been murdered, how many had simply vanished, or who was to blame.

“The numbers had floated around between 20,000 and 30,000 people killed and disappeared,” says Daniel Manrique-Vallier. “But nobody knew what the composition was. Non-governmental organizations were estimating that 90% of the deaths were the responsibility of state agents.”

Manrique-Vallier, a post-doc in the Duke University department of statistical science, was part of a team that researched the deaths for Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Their results were completely different from those early estimates. Published in 2003, the final report presented evidence for nearly 70,000 deaths, 30% of which could be attributed to the Peruvian government.

How do you find 40,000 extra dead bodies? How do you even start to determine which groups killed which people at a time when everybody with a gun seemed to be shooting civilians? The answers lie in statistics, data analysis, and an ongoing effort to use math to cut through the fog of war. Read the rest

EFF beats the Trans Pacific Partnership to Peru, sounds the alarm about upcoming brutal, secret copyright treaty meeting

Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez,

The latest round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership starts today in Lima, Peru. Embedded in the trade agreement is an IP chapter that, according to leaks, exports the worst of US copyright law -- DRM blocks, extended copyright terms, ISPs as copyright cops -- without even of the judicial and constitutional counterbalances that US activists have fought so hard for.

In such a giant trade agreement, the Internet issues have sometime risked getting ignored by the mainstream press, and missed by the techies who'd be most affected.

But EFF's international rights director, Katitza Rodriguez, is Peruvian. She's spent the the last month working out of Lima's Escuelab hackerspace, talking to hackers, makers, journalists and artists about the dangers of IP chapter. The result has been petitions, memes, and videos, as well as meetings with politicians and articles in the Peruvian press.

We Beat Them to Lima: Opening a New Front Against Secret IP Treaties (Thanks, Danny!) Read the rest

Redesigned cereal mascots as creepy, wrinkled costumed characters

Peruvian illustrator Guillermo Fajardo has taken a crack at redesigning some of the more iconic breakfast cereal mascots, uploading his excellent efforts to his Behance portfolio. There's the Trix rabbit, Tony the Tiger, Count Chocula (shown above), and Cap'n Crunch (right).

Guillermo Fajardo on the Behance Network (via Neatorama) Read the rest

877 dolphins wash up dead in Peru. Why?

Dolphin carcasses are displayed by conservationists and environmental police officers at San Jose beach, 40kms north of Chiclayo, Peru, on April 6, 2012. The cause of death of over 800 dolphins in the last four months on the shores of Piura and Lambayeque are still being researched, Gabriel Quijandria, Deputy Environment Minister said on April 20, 2012. More about the ongoing investigation into the possible cause of these mass die-offs: CBS News, MSNBC, AFP, DPA, CNN, (REUTERS/Heinze Plenge)

Read the rest