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Planet Earth

Gold Peru

It is only in adventure novels that the profession of a gold digger is shrouded in a romantic flair. The inhabitants of La Rinconada know firsthand what difficulties and hardships have to be overcomed for the sake of one golden crumb. But, despite the unbearable working conditions, the population of this Peruvian city in just ten years, increased by as much as 235 percent. The blame is the gold rush, which drives everyone to the highest mountain city in the world to improve their financial situation.

La rinconada

For the time being, the inhabitants of La Rinconada had one reason for pride – they lived at an altitude of 5100 meters above sea level. Due to this circumstance, the village fell into the Guinness Book of Records as the highest mountain settlement on Earth. In this regard, it has no rivals. The place is located near the devil in small buns – in the Peruvian Andes, not far from the border with Bolivia.

You can get there by the only dangerous, winding and steep road, which takes more than one day. Far from civilization, surrounded by beautiful and majestic mountains, local ethnic groups used to live there. For centuries, their way of life did not change until they once discovered a gold mine. And away we go …

La rinconada
Photo: Walker dawson

Peru is a very poor country. Of all the South American countries, Bolivia weaves in the tail itself, Peru – in the penultimate place. In terms of living standards, the state takes the 115th place in the world. Almost half of the population (45%) lives below the poverty line.

Most Peruvians are employed in the agricultural sector, which does not generate large incomes. Therefore, the opening of a gold mine in the Andes, many Peruvians took with great enthusiasm. It seemed to them that a little work – and the golden key in their pocket. Accustomed to difficulties, the descendants of the Indians with their whole families went to La Rinconada in search of a better life. But, having arrived there, even these unhampered people were amazed.

La rinconada
Photo: Oscar Espinosa

The city is as beautiful as it is inhospitable to man. La Rinconada is located next to the glacier (it is, however, retreating, but this does not change much), in the conditions of permafrost. The temperature never rises above zero degrees Celsius, and negative temperatures always reign at night. This means that it is impossible to grow vegetables or fruits there.

But this is not so bad: since the air is constantly diluted, due to a lack of oxygen, a person suffers from anoxemia (low oxygen content in the blood). People get tired quickly, do not sleep well, etc. In general, vitamin deficiency and constant oxygen starvation are eternal companions of local people. But the highlanders have adapted over the centuries, but the foreigners have a hard time. However, the dream of wealth overpowers the fear of getting sick, and the Peruvians continue and continue to arrive at the mine.

La rinconada
Photo: Walker dawson

From 2001 to 2009, more than 50 thousand people came to this place forgotten by God, and over the past five years the number of “migrants” doubled. There are two reasons for this – a sharp increase in gold prices and the emergence of electricity in La Rinconada. However, despite the fact that the city was lit up, working conditions at gold mines did not become better.

About 30 thousand people are constantly working in the frozen mines of La Rinconada. Each of them runs the risk of contracting scurvy, pneumonia, tuberculosis, rheumatism, radiculitis. In addition, one of the most common diseases is poisoning. A huge amount of mercury and other toxic substances is released into the atmosphere daily. The fact is that gold is mined in the old fashioned way, in violation of all rules and regulations.

La rinconada
Photo: Oscar Espinosa

A piece of ore is placed in mercury and gold is thus separated from the rock. The resulting silver ball is burned with a blowtorch, while the poisonous gas escapes into the cold rarefied air. The result of such gold mining is mountain air poisoned by mercury vapor. According to UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) estimates, for every gram of gold extracted from a rock, two to five grams of mercury are released into the atmosphere.

Any doctor will say: the metal itself is not as dangerous as its fumes. The weakness and drowsiness that gold miners suffer from are flowers. Much worse than tremor, bleeding gums, indigestion, dizziness, cough, impaired memory, nausea, vomiting, renal failure. For all those who seek gold there, these diseases are a common thing.

La rinconada
Photo: Oscar Espinosa

Those who work with mercury directly are more at risk. But the locals who live near the mines, you will not envy. According to environmentalists, not only air but also water is poisoned in La Rinconada. Why, there, in the nearby village of the Ananei miners, as well as in rivers and lakes up to Lake Titicaca, which is 250 km from the town, traces of dangerous metal are found. In addition to mercury, gold miners are threatened by avalanches, glacial floods, chemical leaks, explosions and caving in mines.

La rinconada
Photo: Walker dawson

In general, Peru has strict safety rules, but in the La Rinconada, lost in the mountains, no one monitors their observance. Of the two hundred companies registered here, only five have the equipment necessary for gold mining. The rest offer their employees to buy everything they need on their own.

La rinconada

Gold mining in La Rinconada is a family business. In mines, one can often find not only men, but also women dressed in traditional colorful skirts and bowler hats. Often, along with children, they delve into the rock removed from the mine, since women are not allowed to enter the mine. According to the miners, if women enter the mine, gold disappears.

La rinconada

Not only working conditions, but the living conditions in the town are appalling. The only school in which there is not enough space for all children, the lack of police, post office, transport links, sewers, medical institutions, a sanitary service – these are the everyday life of La Rinconada.

Waste roads, hillsides, streets of the town are littered with sewage, garbage and industrial waste. Nobody ever removes this dirt, at best they burn it. Therefore, the air in the village is poisoned not only by mercury vapor.

La rinconada
Photo: Walker dawson

Residents of the city huddle, mainly in small metal shacks, standing next to each other at the foot of the mountains. In the homes of the benefits of civilization – only electricity. In La Rinconada, alcoholism flourishes. The drunken prospectors often find out the relationship, as a result, there is a high crime rate. In the dark, it’s dangerous on the street.

Earnings of gold miners – $ 170 per month. But luck does not always smile at them. With no luck, the salary does not exceed $ 30. For poor Peru, even this is good money. Many Peruvians dream of getting rich and returning to their native lands, where they can open their own business.

La rinconada
Photo: Oscar Espinosa

But La Rinconada, like a swamp, sucks people in, and many can never get out of here. If hard work does not kill the prospector, he dies from the knife of a drinking companion or illness. The average life expectancy in La Rinconada is 50 years. However, miners and townspeople are accustomed to death. Moreover, they do not perceive it as something terrible, death there is considered a good sign. Indeed, among the descendants of the Indians, human sacrifices to mountain spirits were of great importance. When these invisible entities received another sacrifice, they became more merciful and loyal to the living.

In addition, miners believe that the new victim “pushes” gold ore closer to the surface, making it easier to extract. So the superstition of local miners for  blood, is like fatalism. And how without this, can you voluntarily live in a city that resembles hell?


Planet Earth

Volcanologists discover “domed magma uplift” in the Yellowstone caldera


The last time a major eruption of Yellowstone occurred 640 thousand years ago. The supervolcano is currently under close scrutiny by scientists who are trying to recognize the slightest signs of a possible future catastrophe. 

According to some experts, the eruption is unlikely to happen again, since the volcano is quite “old”, while others are sure that it will definitely happen again, the question is only in time.

Volcanologist Robert Smith of the University of Utah made an amazing breakthrough in understanding the Yellowstone system when he noticed a change in water levels in a local lake. The study focused on looking for signs of deformation in its caldera, which could indicate an impending eruption, Express reports.

“He recognized some of these signs, especially in the changes in the level of Yellowstone Lake, and saw that his basin was tilting, which caused the water level to rise at one end of the lake and fall at the other,” geologist Robert Christiansen said.

According to the data received, over the past 50 years, the caldera has risen by about two-thirds of a meter. This was later found to be normal for Yellowstone, as scientists observed periods of upswing followed by declines.

The experts explained that this is a rather impressive “domed uplift”, which indicates magmatic activity. 

“Either the magma invaded the crust or it heated the hydrothermal system, causing it to expand and lift the crust,” Christiansen said. 

Later it was found that the periods of rise last for about ten years, then a period of stability begins – about a year, after which the water level falls.

It is currently at a low point. The results were based on an analysis of volcanic deposits scattered tens of thousands of miles across the region.

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Planet Earth

Piraha – people who live for the day and are considered the happiest on Earth

In the wilds of the Brazilian jungle, the people of Piraha live, which is difficult to understand for a modern person. They do not know the past and the future, consider prolonged sleep dangerous and have no idea what stress is. The missionary who came to the piraha to teach them life, came to the conclusion that these people are the happiest on Earth. And years later, he completely realized that he needed to learn from them, and not vice versa.

We are publishing rare pictures of these mysterious people and also tell the most shocking facts about Pirah people, who see the world absolutely differently from most people on the planet.. And we can also tell the most shocking facts about the people of Pirah, who see the world absolutely differently from most people on the planet.

Live here and now

The essence of the Pirah culture is explained very simply: “Live here and now” In their language there is only the present tense, because, according to the people, the only important thing that is worth communicating to others is what is experienced at that very moment.

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet
©  bad.planet / Instagram

Piraha believe that sleep is harmful 

They were shocked when they found out that someone was sleeping for 8 hours. The people are sure that if you fall asleep for a long time, you can wake up as a different person. However, there is also an opinion that such a regime was formed due to the fact that the area where the people live is teeming with snakes. Therefore, they sleep in fits and starts for half an hour and no more than two hours a night.

They only distinguish between dark and light colors. Red and yellow confuse people, as well as green and blue.

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet

The number of Pirah is only 800 people

Usually, representatives of primitive tribes would rather take their own lives than lose their honor and respect. But not a feast. They basically don’t understand what anger or despair is . “If Haaiohaaa dropped the fish into the water, that’s bad. No fish, no dinner. But what does Haaiohaaa have to do with it? ” – they just think.

The concepts of “century”, “time” and “history” are empty phrases for pirah, and almost none of them remember their grandparents. When asked what was the tribe before they laconic answer: “Everything is the same’.

Mothers don’t tell their children bedtime stories. In addition, here, in principle, no one remembers any stories: collective memory is built only on the personal experience of the oldest living member of the tribe.

Also, the piraha do not know what guilt and shame are. A husband can easily leave his wife if she is no longer young and pretty. Moreover, the woman will not be angry with him and will simply say something in the spirit:

“It happened because it happened, that’s all. So, we need to look for a new man.”

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet
©  Smithsonian Channel Smithsonian Channel / YouTube

In their language there are no words for the left and right sides, and the people do not understand why this is necessary.

Piraha mothers do not know how many children they have

But they distinguish them by their faces. The point is that this nation cannot count. Piraha do not even perceive the word “one”. However, they have concepts of “several” and “many”. That is, they can say that they have several children, but they cannot give the exact number.

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet

Piraha show no interest in the achievements of modern civilization. Moreover, they completely do not understand the way of life of modern people. “ How can you sleep and eat so much? “- this is how the people think about white people. However, they began to wear clothes, and also used aluminum utensils, threads, matches and fishing tackle.

This culture lacks religion and the concept of God. Although belief in the otherworld is common in most cultures, piraha is useless.

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet
©  Smithsonian Channel Smithsonian Channel / YouTube

Every few years, the inhabitants of the people take a new name for themselves, which corresponds to the next period of their life.

Due to the peculiar perception of time, this unusual people do not see the need to store food for future use. What’s more, they don’t treat food as significant at all. If you could not find something for lunch, then  you can skip lunch and eat the next day.

Кто такие пираха — люди, которые живут одним днем и считаются самыми счастливыми на планете

In the Pirah, everyone is equal 

There is no social hierarchy. Perhaps that is why researchers note the amazing vitality of these people. In their tribe there is no envy, anger, theft, conspiracies and intrigues.

They don’t say thank you, sorry and please. In other words, they don’t have any courtesies. Piraha are perplexed why all this is needed, because they all treat each other so warmly without any formalities.

Who are Piraha - people who live one day and are considered the happiest on the planet

Missionary and linguist Daniel Everett wanted to teach Pirah all the benefits of civilization and lived for many years among these unhurried, constantly laughing and knowing no sins people. During this time, he suddenly became an atheist and changed his worldview. After all, the Pirahaha absolutely did not understand why to believe in someone whom no one saw, and why this someone influences the happiness and life of an individual.

Piraha do not suffer from mental disorders and depression. According to Everett, this nation has a phenomenal degree of life satisfaction, and without banned substances and antidepressants.

Piraha are sometimes called the happiest people on the planet.

 According to some experts, while some people remember the past or spend time studying the features of other cultures, this people simply lives their own lives, smiles, laughs and knows no troubles.

Do you think a person from a civilized society cannot understand the inhabitants of the jungle? Or is there something attractive in their principles of life?

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Planet Earth

How to create a “heaven on earth” for all mankind?

We ask ourselves this question and tried to answer it. Of course, by “paradise” we do not mean “paradise booths” somewhere in the mythical nooks of the past, but a very real place – our home called planet Earth.

Moreover, this is our only home at the moment, since the prospects for the colonization of other planets of the solar system for us are still rather dreams, and very far from being realized.

Two main problems for humanity

Do you know what we like about people? The fact that even being in difficult living conditions, they do not limit their interests only to how to earn a living for themselves – no, they are interested in more global issues: political, social, philosophical or scientific in nature. But what worries them the most?

In our opinion, most people on our planet are preoccupied with two main problems:

1) Security (in every sense of the word, including economic)

2) Happiness (in the broadest sense of the word)

While these problems may seem very different at first glance, they actually boil down to caring for your own well-being.

In this context, it is quite easy to understand why humans do not live in paradise on Earth.

There are many problems that are prevalent all over the world today, such as wars and crime (with all the associated problems), as well as various health problems, both physical and mental.

It seems obvious that no one wants to live in a world where they are constantly under the threat of violent crimes, wars or other disasters, and it is also clear that many people want to find love and happiness not only, and not so much for themselves, but rather for those who are very dear to them.

Hence, the most obvious way to create a paradise on earth would be to increase safety for all people and increase the possibilities for human relationships.

When it comes to security, there are a number of obvious things that can be done. For example, many people are concerned about pollution and environmental degradation, as well as related issues such as global warming and overpopulation.

There is an obvious solution to this in the form of cleaner energy sources (such as solar energy) and more efficient modes of transportation (including space travel). This would help reduce fears about climate change at least partially.

Another issue that is widely discussed is the possibility of a nuclear war between large countries. This could potentially lead to the extinction of all of humanity, if it happened at the moment, given the advances in technology and weapons compared to previous generations.

In addition to these issues, there are a number of other issues that seem to be at least somewhat predominant, such as privacy, economic insecurity and social inequality.

What we can do?

If we digress from philosophical reasoning and look at the real situation that has developed in the world over the past ten years, we can see that the world has ceased to live by the rules.

If earlier, there were official and unofficial rules of “behavior of states in international relations”, now these “gentlemen’s agreements” are completely ignored.

One possible solution to this could be the creation of a “world government” that would control all aspects of human life (including economy and technology). However, this will almost certainly have some negative consequences.

World government: pros and cons

Pros : One government of all human civilization, by definition, will save us from wars, economic inequality, social inequality and the likelihood of global destruction in the event of a nuclear war. In fact, on planet Earth, there will be one huge country in which the entire population of the planet will live.

Cons : There is a risk that people will come to power who will turn the good goal of “heaven on earth” into the possibility of establishing a dictatorship in which all the disadvantages of the previous type of government will remain, when “everyone was for himself”, but already without the opportunity to defend their interests as it was when there was a system of scattered but sovereign states.

How, then, to create a paradise on earth for everyone?

1) Develop future technologies that will help us save the planet and stop global climate change.

2) To develop medicine in the direction of increasing the life expectancy of a person, which will entail an increase in the quality of life, and an increase in “happiness” for each individual citizen.

3) To achieve maximum protection of people from any threats . The safety of citizens in all spheres of life should become a priority for the state.

4) Revive the system of “international rules”, which must be observed by all countries, without exception.

5) Limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons in order to increase the overall level of the sense of security of all mankind, and save it even from hypothetically possible mutual destruction in the event of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons.

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