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Letter from the Editor | 218

The Coup of 1964 as a subject of scientific research

The 1964 Coup d’état and the long period of dictatorship it ushered into Brazil during the second half of the 20th century constitutes a topic that is at once polysemic, complex and controversial, igniting the passions, pain, losses and deep suffering that still smolder just beneath the surface.  At the same time, it serves as a subject of the most vitally important and challenging research that is being carried out in the field of humanities, all in an effort to achieve a creative and consistent interpretation of Brazil and Brazilian society – its recent history, its present-day and its future in the making.  It was with the latter understanding that Pesquisa FAPESP, faithful to its mission of providing readers with the most significant Brazilian scientific production available while remaining ever grounded by journalistic anchors, attuned always to the pulse of current thinking, chose as the cover story of the April issue the 50 years since the March 31, 1964 coup.  And so, beginning on page 16, we provide our readers with a series of reports that bring to the fore some of the most creditable information academia has produced to date about the events in question.  It is a substantial amount of information, but it is so very worth checking out.

After that, we offer a bit of levity and freshness: in the science section, a report by Special Editor Carlos Fioravanti, with photographs by Eduardo Cesar, provides a lively rendering of the fifth voyage – of the series of 23 trips scheduled through 2015 – by a group of researchers associated with the USP Oceanographic Institute to map the diversity and distribution of cetaceans, in other words, whales and dolphins, off the coast of São Paulo.  The good news the team has for those concerned about the environment is that both the diversity and the abundance of these animals in the area studied are larger than initially thought.  As a gift to readers in the field of biodiversity, this issue contains a DVD with 10 videos of lectures from the 2013 Biota-FAPESP Education Conference Cycle.

Although by mere coincidence, the highlight of this issue in the area of technology also involves animals – in this case, in the form of bugs.  More precisely, it is about new strategies based on extracting chemical substances from insects and plants to combat pernicious agricultural pests.  Assistant Editor Dinorah Ereno provides the details of research being conducted in laboratories at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (Esalq-USP) to develop new pheromones from insects, as well as volatile plant substances that have proven to be effective, for example, in the fight against greening, current scourge of citrus farmers.

Finally, I highly recommend the interview granted by Ecléa Bosi and allow yourselves to be completely seduced by her exquisite invitation to consider some reflection on topics as basic as the reading habits of female workers, the experiences of the elderly, and time and memory.  Hearing Bosi’s musical phrases after learning of her activism on a variety of fronts, along with reading pages of her highly-regarded studies in the field of social psychology, which although they try are unable to disguise a literary vocation distinguished by an almost innate poetry, makes you think that she is capable of bringing everything together and making sense of it all.  Her manner of speaking is the very antithesis of life construed as a meaningless story told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.

Enjoy your reading!