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Letter from the editor | 136

From politics to esthetics

Among its traditional sections on politics and science, this edition of Pesquisa FAPESP brings you three texts under the heading, “The environment”. Here we understand it as a very broad concept that can encompass everything from the so-called global climate change to the search for cleaner and more efficient energy sources. In bringing these reports we wish, first, to emphasize the growing importance of this multi-disciplinal area in Brazilian scientific research funding programs. In the very near future, for example, FAPESP plans to launch a major funding program for research projects that analyze the impact in Brazil of global climate change and an additional research in the ethanol area. “Both are in the final stage of being put together. We just need to agree on the Federal Government’s participation”, said the Foundation’s scientific director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, to Eduardo Geraque, from the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on May 26 of this year.

The Environment section is also justified because we believe that readers are comfortable with the spatial proximity of newspaper reports linked to environmental issues, whether they are inspired by political debates and decisions, by scientific proposals and findings, by technical solutions or by empirical research and reflections in the field of the human and social sciences. Therefore, in addition to being multi-disciplinal, the subject is also trans-editorial, let us say, and undoubtedly one that is destined for the long run in this magazine.

But it is time to talk about the highlights of this edition. First our Cover feature, written in a consistent way by our policy editor, Claudia Izique, is about how good science and technology indicators  appropriate to  research  in Latin America can become valuable tools in the pursuit of competitiveness in the region and in outlining efficient regional public policies. The arena of the debates dealt with by Claudia in her cover report starting on page 22 was the VII Ibero-American Science and Technology Congress, held in São Paulo from May 23 to 25. It launched the idea of science and technology-based “creative destruction”, which would be a great solution for the development of our sub-continent. It is well worth reading.

In Science we must highlight a stimulating report written by our interim science editor, Ricardo Zorzetto, about the  recent discovery of fragments of Indian pottery by a group of archaeologists, whose conclusion is that a vast area right in the very heart of the Amazon, today practically devoid of people, was home to major and complex communities between the 3rd Century B.C. and the 15th Century A.D. In Technology I would draw your attention to the text by assistant editor Dinorah Ereno in which she reports on the initiatives by companies of different sizes and origin that are not only setting up centers in Brazil for the development of software and applications designed for global markets, but also expanding them. Regarding  Humanities, I want to highlight the report prepared by journalist Gonçalo Junior (page 78) in which he sheds light on a series of beautiful studies that scrutinize the framework and innermost workings of Bahian culture in order to unravel and expose an infinite number of myths by which, for reasons of marketing, its powerful and frequently uncomfortable truths have been covered.

To wrap up, this month I extend a different invitation to readers of Pesquisa FAPESP, one that is linked to purely esthetic enjoyment: if you are able, scan the magazine page by page, linger a little longer over some of them, pay attention to the beauty of the photographs in our Cover story, see what light there is in the image of the mosquito on page 51 and what movement there is in the facts on pages 56 and 57; notice how extraordinary the illustrations on pages 65 to 67 are and delight in (yes, that’s the right word) the genial paintings by Carybé between pages 80 and 83. These are mere suggestions, given to you out of a sense of duty and justice, purely to draw your attention to the creative and competent work of the magazine’s graphic arts team, under the leadership of the young designer Mayumi Okuyama. Have a good read, but pause now and again for contemplation.