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Thursday, October 27, 2011

BRAZIL

 

Brazil is the fifth most populous country with nearly 200 million people and has the seventh highest Gross Domestic Product ($10,200/capita, #64 in world).  There is a wide range of diversity, with a promise that exceeds that of any other country.  Brasilia is the capitol, Sao Paul the highest population and Rio the most wonderful.  It was a colony of Portugal from 15000 till 1815, thus Portuguese is spoken.

Dilma Rousseff is the president.  (The flag includes 27 5-point stars, representing the states and Brasilia, and is positioned in the sky above Rio on November 15, 1889, when this version replaced the old.  Actually, there were 21 stars then.  The 27th was added in 1992.)

The currency is the real ($1 = 1.7 real).  We are very fortunate today in Iguazu, for the temperature here will only get as high as the mid-seventies, was nearly 100 F last week and can go up to 115 F in mid-summer, which is in December-January.  

Brazil became a net exporter of oil this year, and in 2006 announced a large offshore deposit (close to Santos) that could someday make them a major exporter.  Eighty percent of their electricity comes from hydropower, the equivalent of 59 nuclear powerplants (of which there are two operational, with a third in construction).  The country is known for ethanol, made from sugar cane, but any biofuel made from food concerns me. They do have the largest sugar industry in the world.  Perhaps someday the cellulose can be gasified and catalyzed into methanol for the direct methanol fuel cell.  In any case, renewable energy already provides 85% of domestically produced energy and E25 now exceeds 50% of ground transport fuel.

Brazil will be hosting the World Cup (soccer or futbol) in 2014 and Olympics in 2016.  Brazil and Argentina are now largely friends, except in soccer.  The water of Iguassu Falls meanderes 900 miles to Buenos Aires (I just arrived) into what is the Rio de la Plata, the widest river in the world (140 miles), on the way to the Atlantic Ocean.


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