Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:32 pm
I bought Francisco Lima his first taste of freedom in decades.
It was 2004, and Brazil was starting to confront one of its most distressing problems: slavery. I was in northern Pará state, in the Amazon, observing a special police unit that raided slaveholding farms and firms and liberated workers like the 74-year-old Lima.
On Jan. 9, people in and around Charleston, W.Va., began showing up at hospitals: They had nausea, eye infections and some were vomiting. It was later discovered that around 10,000 gallons of toxic chemicals had leaked into the Elk River, just upstream from a water treatment plant that serves 300,000 people. Citizens were told not to drink or bathe in the water, and while some people are now using water from their taps, many still don't trust it or the information coming from public officials.
Back in 1958, a young biologist at Cornell University made a stunning discovery.
He took a single cell from a carrot and then mixed it with some coconut milk. Days went by and the cell started dividing. Little roots formed. Stems started growing. Eventually, a whole new carrot plant rose up from the single cell.
Imagine if you could perform a similar feat with animal cells, even human cells.
But the recently rediscovered "first Porsche in the world" — dubbed the P1 — was a technological marvel for its time. It "included a compact electric drive weighing 286 pounds," writes the automotive news site Jalopnik, and could chug along at 22 mph.