Can you solve the mystery of Brazil’s time-traveling capital?

Forensic cartography 101: Explain what Brasilia is doing on this map of 1920s South America.

Image: Rob Cornelissen
  • "Forensic cartography" is dating a map by the age of its borders.
  • All evidence points to this undated map of South America to be from the 1920s.
  • So why does it feature Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil, which was only built in the 1950s?
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Amazon fires are destructive, but they aren’t depleting Earth’s oxygen supply

Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon rainforest does not produce 20% of our planet's oxygen.

JOAO LAET/AFP/Getty Images

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise.

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Why the number of fires in the Amazon is terrifying climate experts

The blazes may be the first step in a hellish downward spiral.

Image source: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty
  • Never before has so much of the Amazon rainforest been on fire.
  • The fires are largely set by humans clearing areas for development.
  • The fires may push us into a vicious, irreversible climate pattern.
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5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

Many governments do not report, or misreport, the numbers of refugees who enter their country.

David McNew/Getty Images

Conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations led to a record high of 70.8 million people being displaced by the end of 2018.

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Field Museum: Beer stabilizes society, keeps 'people together'

New research suggests that a healthy supply of locally-sourced beer helped maintain the unity of the widespread Wari civilization for about 500 years.

  • A new analysis of an ancient Wari brewery suggests chicha helped maintain the civilization's social capital for hundreds of years.
  • Civilizations throughout the ancient world used alcoholic drinks to signify kinship, hospitality, and social cohesion.
  • The researchers hope their findings will remind us of the importance in reaffirming social institutions and sharing cultural practices — even if over coffee or tea.
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