Top Shot: Highline at Twilight

Top Shot features the photo with the most votes from the previous day’s Daily Dozen. The Daily Dozen is 12 photos chosen by the Your Shot editors each day from thousands of recent uploads. Our community has the chance to vote for their favorite from the selection.

Marcio Cardoso highlines over the city lights of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph by Bruno Moraes

New Plant Species Discovered on Facebook

There are many downsides to the amount of time some of us spend on the internet but there is no denying that there are some incredible benefits as well. Never before in human history has information been so readily available to so many people. Without Facebook, In Defense of Plants would not have anywhere near the platform from which I can interact with all of you wonderful plant folk. In what may be one of the coolest uses of social media to date, a new species of carnivorous plant has been discovered using Facebook! 

While exploring a mountain top in Brazil, amateur researcher  Reginaldo Vasconcelos snapped a few shots of a large sundew. Upon returning home, the pictures were uploaded to Facebook for the world to see. It didn’t take long for scientists to notice that the plant in the picture was something quite special. 

Indeed, what Vasconcelos had photographed was a species of Drosera completely new to science! This is the first time that a new species has been discovered using social media. Experts have now published the first scientific description of this species. It has been named Drosera magnifica - the magnificent sundew. 

And magnificent it is! According to the authors of the paper, “It is the largest sundew in the Americas, and the second-largest carnivorous plant in the Americas. In this respect it is also a spectacular plant.” The plant was discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Oddly enough, the mountain on which it was found is readily accessible. How this species went undiscovered for so long is quite a mystery. It just goes to show you how little we know about the world we live in. 

That sad part about this discovery is that the mountain it is endemic to is surrounded by cattle ranches as well as coffee and eucalyptus plantations. The future of this brand new species is by no means certain. Researchers have already elevated its status to critically endangered. Unless other populations are found, this species may disappear not long after its discovery. 

Photo Credit: Paulo Gonella

Further Reading:

Jornal satírico Charlie Hebdo publica reportagem em quadrinhos sobre crise hídrica em São Paulo. 

A história em quadrinhos assinada pelo cartunista Laurent Sourisseau, conhecido como Riss, foi publicada na edição nº 1.200 do jornal, de 22 de julho, com chamada de capa. Ela retrata a vida de uma síndica de um prédio na Vila Madalena, na Zona Oeste. Riss cita as medidas adotadas pela Sabesp para estimular a redução do consumo com um programa de bônus e também a redução da pressão na rede durante o dia. 

O cartunista faz uma crítica em relação à diferente situação enfrentada pelos bairros de classe média e das favelas. As favelas ficam sem abastecimento por dias, enquanto em outras regiões da cidade os cortes ocorrem apenas durante algumas horas.

Riss também relata as técnicas usadas pelo comércio para passar pelos dias de torneiras secas, como trocar copos de vidro por copos de plástico. Em alguns momentos da reportagem, ele faz observações sobre a situação hídrica de São Paulo, que mesmo com torneiras secas, é cortada por grandes rios transformados em esgoto a céu aberto.


Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil.

She was the second child and eldest daughter of Pedro II of Brazil and Teresa Cristina of the Two Sicilies. She was born on this day, July 29th, in 1846. After the deaths of both of her brothers in infancy, she became her her father’s heiress presumptive. Isabel was married to Gaston d'Orléans, a French Prince, at the age of 18 and they had a stillborn daughter and three sons together.

She was made regent for her father twice while he was abroad; though ultimately he was deposed by a military coup in 1889. The family went into exile in Europe, Isabel’s mother dying three weeks later. Her father died in 1891, and she became the titular Empress of Brazil.

The Brazilian government lifted the ban on the family returning to the country in 1920, but by then Isabel was too ill to travel. She died the following year, her husband passing away the year after her. Originally buried in her husband’s family tomb at Dreux, the remains of the couple were repatriated to Brazil in 1953; in 1971 they were finally interred in Petrópolis Cathedral.