Brazilian scientists turn down medals in repudiation of President Bolsonaro

Source:

https://en.mercopress.com/2021/11/08/brazilian-scientists-turn-down-medals-in-repudiation-of-president-bolsonaro


A group of Brazilian scientists who were awarded the National Order of Scientific Merit have decided to turn down the honours after President Jair Bolsonaro chose to remove one of them from the list.

The decision came in solidarity after Bolsonaro refused to give the award to a researcher who had conducted a study on the ineffectiveness of chloroquine against the coronavirus. Chloroquine is a drug against malaria which Bolsonaro has defended throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a public letter released this weekend, 21 researchers from different universities and scientific centres have renounced the National Order of Scientific Merit, after the head of state excluded Marcus Vinícius Guimaraes Lacerda of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation medical research centre (Fiocruz) and Adele Schwartz Benzaken, director of Fiocruz for the Amazon.

A study by Lacerda shows how the use of chloroquine, a drug against malaria and lupus, is not only completely useless in patients with coronavirus, but if administered in higher doses it can also cause arrhythmias to people with heart conditions.

Benzaken, for her part, served as director of the department in charge of analyzing and investigating the AIDS disease and viral hepatitis of the Ministry of Health before being fired with the arrival of Bolsonaro to power.

Both had been included in the list of those who would receive the award this year by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“As scientists, we do not tolerate how denialism in general, peer harassment and recent cuts in federal budgets for science and technology have been used as tools to roll back the important advances made by the Brazilian scientific community in the last decades,” the researchers said in a letter published by Folha de Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro, who since the beginning of COVID-19 has minimized its effects and even recommended chloroquine as a medication, removed the two scientists from the list included in the decree published Saturday in an extraordinary issue of the Official Gazette.

The scientists resigning their medals addressed their letter to the Ministry of Science and Technology: “We consider our presence on the list gratifying and we are very honoured with the possibility of receiving one of the highest recognitions that a scientist can receive in the country, but the tribute offered by a government that not only ignores science and actively boycotts the recommendations of specialists are not compatible with our careers.”

According to an investigation by Congress, the Government’s omissions in the face of the pandemic contributed to making Brazil the second country with the most deaths in the world, with more than 600,000 victims, and the third with more cases with 21.8 million infections.

The parliamentary committee that investigated the situation accused the president of nine crimes, including crimes against humanity, violation of sanitary measures and irregular use of public money.

O voto impresso é uma boa ideia?

Fonte: Folha de São Paulo:

https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/colunas/joel-pinheiro-da-fonseca/2021/08/o-voto-impresso-e-uma-boa-ideia.shtml


Por Joel Pinheiro da Fonseca, Economista, mestre em filosofia pela USP.

2.ago.2021 às 23h15

Os céticos sobre as urnas eletrônicas são crédulos demais na segurança da puração humana de cédulas de papel


 

Vou ignorar o lado político e me ater aos méritos do voto  impresso. A pergunta é: o voto impresso tornará nossas eleições mais seguras e transparentes? A resposta é não. E trará problemas adicionais.

Dois argumentos são utilizados a favor do voto impresso. Um deles vê com desconfiança a totalização dos votos que o TSE faz depois de receber os resultados das cerca de 500 mil urnas espalhadas pelo país. Esse receio é infundado.

Ao término da votação, cada urna já imprime um boletim com os votos de cada candidato. Se a totalização do TSE divergisse da soma desses boletins impressos, seria facílimo de mostrar. Até hoje, nunca aconteceu.

A dúvida legítima é quanto à segurança de cada urna individual. Será que ela está contabilizando os votos corretamente? Ao contrário da totalização feita pelo TSE, essa contagem de cada urna não pode, atualmente, ser conferida de
forma independente.

O voto impresso daria uma possibilidade de recontagem que não depende do que a própria urna diz. O problema é que os defensores do voto impresso, tão céticos quanto à segurança da urna eletrônica, são crédulos demais na segurança da apuração humana de milhões de cédulas de papel. O Brasil tem longa experiência
com a apuração manual: processo demorado e sempre sujeito a fraudes, que de fato ocorriam.

É possível hackear as urnas eletrônicas? Teoricamente sim. Até hoje, contudo, ninguém conseguiu. Há mais de 30 camadas de segurança, e a Justiça Eleitoral realiza testes periódicos. O código-fonte do programa das urnas é plenamente auditável. Seriam necessários hackers agindo em milhares de urnas uma a uma, posto que elas não estão conectadas à internet e nem entre si.

É mais fácil fraudar a apuração manual do que hackear as urnas eletrônicas. Ou seja, o método para conferir o voto eletrônico é menos confiável que o próprio voto eletrônico. Adicionou-se um elo à corrente, mas esse elo é mais fraco.

Quem tem dois números não tem nenhum. Se houver discrepância entre o eletrônico e o papel, o que acontece? Não saberemos se o problema estava na urna eletrônica ou na contagem dos papeizinhos. Pela lógica, teríamos que ficar com o eletrônico, mais seguro, e descartar o papel (ou seja, a recontagem no papel seria inútil). Na prática, é claro, teremos o palco armado para a judicialização e a incerteza, com toda a instabilidade que isso traz.

Os defensores do voto impresso respondem que essas cédulas impressas serão mais seguras que as velhas cédulas manuais, pois terão certificação digital. Ora, mas então essa mudança nas eleições só vai transferir nossa “fé” do sistema da urna eletrônica para o sistema de certificação digital das cédulas, ambos igualmente inacessíveis aos olhos do cidadão.

Quem duvida sem provas das urnas eletrônicas também poderá duvidar da certificação eletrônica que garante a idoneidade das cédulas impressas.

As eleições brasileiras funcionam muito bem. A votação é rápida, a apuração ocorre no mesmo dia. Não há qualquer indício de que fraudes na urna eletrônica jamais tenham ocorrido. Todas as alegações em contrário são falsificações, como as mostradas por Bolsonaro em sua live.

Se os deputados aprovarem o voto impresso, teremos uma votação mais demorada (mais passos para o eleitor, mais problemas técnicos das impressoras), mais cara (custo de impressoras, técnicos, apuradores e sistema de certificação) e mais passível de contestações, sem ganho relevante de segurança.

 

Brazil’s Bolsonaro has undermined science during an epic public-health crisis

Scientists in Brazil are facing particularly hard times.  I thus consider it timely that Nature has featured a News article about the situation.  Click on the link below to read the article directly from Nature.com :

‘We are being ignored’: Brazil’s researchers blame anti-science government for devastating COVID surge

Researchers say that President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration has undermined science during an epic public-health crisis.

Random Search Wired Into Animals May Help Them Hunt

[ The link below takes you to an excellent article by Liam Drew in Quanta Magazine that discusses some of my work.  -Gandhi ]


A wide variety of predatory and foraging creatures may have evolved to follow a certain kind of random path — a Lévy walk — when no clues to the whereabouts of their food are available.

 

 

Brazil’s pick of a creationist to lead its higher education agency rattles scientists

Source:

https://www.science.org/content/article/brazil-s-pick-creationist-lead-its-higher-education-agency-rattles-scientists


 

By Herton Escobar

Jan. 26, 2020 , 5:04 PM

São Paulo, Brazil – The appointment of a creationism advocate to lead the agency that oversees Brazil’s graduate study programs has scientists here concerned — yet again — about the encroachment of religion on science and education policy.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration on Saturday named Benedito Guimarães Aguiar Neto to head the agency, known as CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior). Aguiar Neto, an electrical engineer by training, previously served as the rector of Mackenzie Presbyterian University (MPU), a private religious school here. It advocates the teaching and study of intelligent design (ID), an outgrowth of Biblical creationism which argues that life is too complex to have evolved by Darwinian evolution, and so required an intelligent designer.

Researchers are decrying the move. “It is completely illogical to place someone who has promoted actions contrary to scientific consensus in a position to manage programs that are essentially of scientific training,” said evolutionary biologist Antonio Carlos Marques of the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of Biosciences. 

The appointment creates “insecurity” about how CAPES will shape education programs, says Carlos Joly, a biodiversity researcher at the University of Campinas.

CAPES is a key federal agency within Brazil’s Ministry of Education. It is responsible for regulating, supervising and evaluating all graduate-level programs at Brazilian universities, and funds thousands of scholarships for masters and doctoral students. It also issues funding calls for research and provides training for teachers in primary and secondary education.

Aguiar Neto was recently quoted in an MPU press release as saying that ID should be introduced into Brazil’s basic education curricula as “a counterpoint to the theory of evolution,” and so that creationism could be supported by “scientific arguments.” He made the comments prior to the 2nd Congress on Intelligent Design, which was held at Mackenzie in October 2019. The event was organized by Discovery Mackenzie, a research center created by MPU in 2017 to mirror the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which also promotes ID.

Aguiar Neto had been rector at Mackenzie since 2011. At CAPES, he replaces Anderson Correia, who is now rector of the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), an elite engineering school connected to the Brazilian Air Force.

This is the second time under Bolsonaro that a nominee’s views on creationism have become an issue. In January 2019, Damares Alves, Bolsonaro’s newly appointed minister of women, family, and human rights, drew criticism for saying, in a 2013 video, that Brazil’s evangelical churches had lost influence in society by allowing scientists to “take control” of the teaching of evolution in schools. Brazil’s evangelical Christians are among Bolsonaro’s strongest supporters.

Posted in: Science and Policy

doi:10.1126/science.abb0530

Herton Escobar

Herton Escobar is a science and environment journalist in São Paulo, Brazil.