Prêmio Pesquisador Destaque da UFRN 2021

Placa e espumante

Eu presenteando o Magnífico Reitor José Daniel Diniz Melo com um dos meus livros, para marcar a ocasião.

Eu presenteando o Magnífico Reitor José Daniel Diniz Melo com um dos meus livros, para marcar a ocasião.

Entrega do prêmio.

É uma honra ter sido laureado com Prêmio Pesquisador Destaque da UFRN, edição 2021.   O vídeo abaixo foi gravado para a ocasião da concessão do prêmio.

Bolsonaro’s Far-Right Guru, Science Skeptic and Covid Denier, Dies of Covid

Source: New York Times


He was the intellectual leader of Brazil’s far-right movement and a conspiracy theorist who mocked the pandemic. He died days after announcing he had Covid.

By Jack Nicas

Jan. 26, 2022

Olavo de Carvalho, a far-right Brazilian pundit and self-proclaimed philosopher who became the political guru of President Jair Bolsonaro by warning of a globalist plot to spread communism across the world, died on Monday outside Richmond, Va. He was 74.

His family said he died at a hospital but did not disclose the cause. He had reportedly been dealing with various ailments for months.

Nine days before his death, a social media account connected to Mr. de Carvalho announced that he had been diagnosed with Covid. Throughout the pandemic, he had publicly questioned the legitimacy of the virus, at times suggesting that it was an invention meant to control the population.

“One of the greatest thinkers in the history of our country left us today,” Mr. Bolsonaro said in a statement. “Olavo was a giant in the fight for freedom and a beacon for millions of Brazilians.” Mr. Bolsonaro declared a national day of mourning, ordering government buildings to fly the Brazilian flag at half-staff.

Over the past decade, Mr. de Carvalho, known simply as Olavo, became one of the most prominent voices behind the growing far-right movement in Brazil. He amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on social media by spreading bizarre conspiracy theories and railing against leftists, the news media and the politically correct, often while cursing and smoking a pipe.

In the process, he became one of Brazil’s most polarizing figures. He was criticized by many on the left as a dangerous conspiracy theorist who spread lies and invective — and hailed on the right as a truth teller who warned of the grave dangers of socialism and globalism.

His reputation as a political mastermind was minted in 2018 with the election of Mr. Bolsonaro, a pugnacious former Army captain who had publicly praised Mr. de Carvalho’s teachings. In his first address to the nation, Mr. Bolsonaro placed several books on the table in front of him, including the Bible, Brazil’s constitution and Mr. de Carvalho’s 2013 best seller, “The Minimum You Need to Know to Not Be an Idiot.”

“People started to see him as a kind of Rasputin,” said Camila Rocha, a political science professor at the University of São Paulo who has studied the rise of Brazil’s far right. Mr. de Carvalho became an almost mystical hero in some corners of Brazilian politics, she said. “He was not a traditional political figure. Quite the opposite.”

Mr. de Carvalho was often compared in Brazil to Steve Bannon, the right-wing ideologue who helped lead Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and once called Mr. de Carvalho “one of the greatest conservative intellectuals in the world.” During Mr. Bolsonaro’s first visit to the United States as president, he hosted a dinner at the Brazilian ambassador’s residence. Seated to his left was Mr. Bannon. Seated to his right was Mr. de Carvalho.

Mr. de Carvalho expanded his influence via an online philosophy course that he designed to combat the rise of what he called “cultural Marxism,” a right-wing theory that universities and scientists spread socialist values through society. He said he enrolled tens of thousands of Brazilians, including some who later helped lead the country’s government.

Ernesto Araújo, Brazil’s former foreign minister under Mr. Bolsonaro and a disciple of Mr. de Carvalho’s, said that Mr. de Carvalho had helped create “a conservative right based on ideas and not on immediate political convenience.”

Mr. Bolsonaro “won from one idea: defeat the system,” Mr. Araujo added. “This idea, in my view, wouldn’t have existed if it had not been prepared by Olavo de Carvalho.”

Mr. de Carvalho was born in Campinas, an hour’s drive north of São Paulo, on April 29, 1947. Until he was 7, his mother kept him isolated at home because he suffered from asthma, his daughter Heloísa de Carvalho said. He stopped attending school when he was about 14, she said, and taught himself a wide range of subjects through books.

He worked as a journalist and then an astrologer before diving into politics and selling his conservative worldview through books, newspaper columns and radio programs.

He moved to the United States in 2005, eventually settling in a single-story house outside Petersburg, Va., about 20 miles south of Richmond, that was full of books, rifles, paintings of Confederate generals and an English mastiff named Big Mac, according to a Washington Post account of a visit there in 2019. In Virginia, Mr. de Carvalho lived in obscurity, while in Brazil, protesters marched on the nation’s capital with shirts that read, “Olavo is right.”

His family said he is survived by his wife, Roxane; eight children; and 18 grandchildren.

Mr. de Carvalho remained a prominent voice in Brazil, first through blogs and then on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. He attracted attention partly because his punditry was mixed with fringe and sometimes crude conspiracy theories, such as a claim that Pepsi-Cola is flavored with aborted fetuses.

A Brazilian court ordered him to pay a fine for falsely claiming that a popular Brazilian musician was a pedophile. Since the start of the pandemic, he had repeatedly cast the virus as a political tool.

In May 2020, he wrote on Twitter, “The fear of a supposedly deadly virus is nothing more than a little horror story designed to scare the population and make them accept slavery as they would a present from Santa Claus.”

His daughter Heloísa had a falling-out with him over such rhetoric and hadn’t spoken to him since 2017.

“I’m not happy,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “But I’m not in deep sadness, either. I’m not going to lie. He committed a lot of evil, and what he caused in this pandemic, especially here in Brazil, was very serious.”

Leonardo Coelho contributed reporting.

Jack Nicas covers technology from San Francisco. Before joining The Times, he spent seven years at The Wall Street Journal covering technology, aviation and national news.

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:

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 :

‘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.