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Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Format for Research Proposals

by Jeffrey Stern, Graduate Student, Program in Social Networks, School of Social Sciences,
University of California Irvine. This advice is at http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~jstern/

Jeffrey Stern offers these simple and straightforward set of considerations for a student preparing to submit a research proposal:
A paragraph summarizing your topic of research, who or what will be the object of data collection, how the data will be collected, how it will be analyzed, and what results you expect (possible outcomes).
The Problem
"What problem do I want to address or what question(s) do I want to answer?"
- Elaborate on the variables and their relationships.
Background to the Problem
"Why is this problem or question important?"
"Who else has worked on this or similar problems?"
"What methods were used?"
"What were the results or conclusions of previous research?"

- In this section, show the relevance of your research to other research that has been done.
Research Design
"How will I limit my study?"
"What data do I need to collect?"
"What methods will I use to collect the data and how will I justify them?"

- In this section, show how you will avoid doing it all.
Expected Results
"How will I analyze my data?"
"What results do I expect from my research?"

- In this section, elaborate on how you will use your data to answer your research question(s), to make generalizations, to defend assertions, to examine possible alternative outcomes to construct a plausible argument.

Make sure these follow a recognised format, and do so consistently.


 A proposal is a request for support of sponsored research, instruction, or extension projects. Good proposals quickly and easily answer the following questions:
  • What do you want to do, how much will it cost, and how much time will it take?
  • How does the proposed project relate to the sponsor's interests?
  • What difference will the project make to: your university, your students, your discipline, the state, the nation, or any other concerned parties?
  • What has already been done in the area of your project?
  • How do you plan to do it?
  • How will the results be evaluated?
  • Why should you, rather than someone else, do this project?
These questions will be answered in different ways and receive different emphases depending on the nature of the proposed project and on the agency to which the proposal is being submitted. Most agencies provide detailed instructions or guidelines concerning the preparation of proposals (and, in some cases, forms on which proposals are to be typed); obviously, such guidelines should be studied carefully before you begin writing the draft.
Types of proposals

Solicited proposals
Submitted in response to a specific solicitation issued by a sponsor. Such solicitations, typically called Request for Proposals (RFP), or Request for Quotations (RFQ), are usually specific in their requirements regarding format and technical content, and may stipulate certain award terms and conditions. Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) are not considered formal solicitations.
Unsolicited proposals
Submitted to a sponsor that has not issued a specific solicitation but is believed by the investigator to have an interest in the subject.
Requested when a sponsor wishes to minimize an applicant's effort in preparing a full proposal. Preproposals are usually in the form of a letter of intent or brief abstract. After the preproposal is reviewed, the sponsor notifies the investigator if a full proposal is warranted.
Continuation or non-competing proposals
Confirm the original proposal and funding requirements of a multi-year project for which the sponsor has already provided funding for an initial period (normally one year). Continued support is usually contingent on satisfactory work progress and the availability of funds.
Renewal or competing proposals
Are requests for continued support for an existing project that is about to terminate, and, from the sponsor's viewpoint, generally have the same status as an unsolicited proposal.
Parts of a proposal

Proposals for sponsored activities generally follow a similar format, although there are variations depending upon whether the proposer is seeking support for a research grant, a training grant, or a conference or curriculum development project. The following outline covers the primary components of a research proposal. Your proposal will be a variation on this basic theme.
  1. Title Page: Most sponsoring agencies specify the format for the title page, and some provide special forms to summarize basic administrative and fiscal data for the project. Titles should be comprehensive enough to indicate the nature of the proposed work, but also be brief.
  2. Abstract: The funder may use the abstract to make preliminary decisions about the proposal. An effective summary states the problem addressed by the applicant, identifies the solution, and specifies the objectives and methods of the project. This summary should also outline funding requirements and describe the applicant’s expertise.
  3. Table of Contents: Very brief proposals with few sections ordinarily do not need a table of contents; the guiding consideration in this is the reader's convenience. Long and detailed proposals may require, in addition to a table of contents, a list of illustrations (or figures) and a list of tables. If all of these are included, they should follow the order mentioned, and each should be numbered with lower-case Roman numerals. The table of contents should list all major parts and divisions (including the abstract, even though it precedes the table of contents).
  4. Introduction (including Statement of Problem, Purpose of Research, and Significance of Research): The introduction of a proposal should begin with a capsule statement of what is being proposed and then should proceed to introduce the subject to a stranger. It should give enough background to enable an informed layman to place your particular research problem in a context of common knowledge and should show how its solution will advance the field or be important for some other work. The statement describes the significance of the problem(s), referring to appropriate studies or statistics. 
  5. Background (including Literature Survey): Be sure to (1) make clear what the research problem is and exactly what has been accomplished; (2) to give evidence of your own competence in the field; and (3) to show why the previous work needs to be continued. The literature review should be selective and critical. Discussions of work done by others should therefore lead the reader to a clear impression of how you will be building upon what has already been done and how your work differs from theirs. 
  6. Description of Proposed Research (including Method or Approach): The comprehensive explanation of the proposed research is addressed not to laymen but to other specialists in your field. This section is the heart of the proposal and is the primary concern of the technical reviewers. Remember as you lay out the research design to (1) be realistic about what can be accomplished. (2) be explicit about any assumptions or hypotheses the research method rests upon. (3) be clear about the focus of the research. (4) be as detailed as possible about the schedule of the proposed work. (5) be specific about the means of evaluating the data or the conclusions. (6) be certain that the connection between the research objectives and the research method is evident. (7) spell out preliminary work developing an analytical method or laying groundwork as Phase 1. At the end of that phase you will be able to report that you have accomplished something and are ready to undertake Phase 2.
  7. Description of Relevant Institutional Resources: In general this section details the resources available to the proposed project and, if possible, shows why the sponsor should select this University and this investigator for this particular research. Some relevant points may be the institution's demonstrated competence in the pertinent research area, its abundance of experts in related areas that may indirectly benefit the project, its supportive services that will directly benefit the project, and its unique or unusual research facilities or instruments available to the project. 
  8. List of References: The style of the bibliographical item itself depends on the disciplinary field. The main consideration is consistency; whatever style is chosen should be followed scrupulously throughout. 
  9. Personnel: This section usually consists of two parts: an explanation of the proposed personnel arrangements and the biographical data sheets for each of the main contributors to the project. The explanation should specify how many persons at what percentage of time and in what academic categories will be participating in the project. If the program is complex and involves people from other departments or colleges, the organization of the staff and the lines of responsibility should be made clear. Any student participation, paid or unpaid, should be mentioned, and the nature of the proposed contribution detailed. If any persons must be hired for the project, say so, and explain why, unless the need for persons not already available within the University is self-evident.
  10. Budget: Sponsors customarily specify how budgets should be presented and what costs are allowable. The budget delineates the costs to be met by the funding source, including personnel, non-personnel, administrative, and overhead expenses. The budget also specifies items paid for by other funding sources. Includes justifications for requested expenditures. 
Must-have resources

Proposal Writing Assistance at the University of Illinois
Conducts proposal writing workshops, offers one-on-one reviews and critiques, and provides guidance in all areas of study.
Offers proposal writing tips as well as general writing assistance in all disciplines and at all stages of the writing process.
Writing Guides
Matthew McGranaghan, University of Hawai'i
Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, Social Science Research Council
Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
A site dedicated to helping students write research and grant proposals for conducting empirical social-scientific fieldwork. Includes a useful suggested proposal-writing timeline.
Proposal Template 
Composed by Nelson L. Eby, in  collaboration with Dr. Douglas Degelman, Professor of Psychology, Vanguard University of Southern California. The template may need to be modified for your specific program.
Proposal Examples
An APA-style proposal by Douglas Degelman, Ph.D. and Martin Lorenzo Harris, Ph.D., from Vanguard University of Southern California.
Dissertation proposal preparation in Instructional Systems Technology by John B. Keller, at the University of Indiana.
This page showcases dissertation proposals in a range of subjects, from Classics to Chemical Engineering.
Two students' dissertation research proposals.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Chinese scientists a step closer to developing supersonic submarine

The new ‘supercavitation’ methodology could see the vehicles travel at rates up to 3,600 mph underwater, being able to make the trip from Shanghai to San Francisco in about two hours.

Sunday, August 24, 2014, 1:54 PM
Chinese scientists are working on creating a submarine that would be able to travel at speeds up to 3,600 mph.
  • If successful, the submarines could make the trip from Shanghai to San Francisco (above) in about two hours.

It is a distance of more than 6,100 miles.
But a team of Chinese scientists claim to have moved closer to developing a supersonic submarine, which could complete the journey from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.
Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology say they have developed a way to make a submarine — or torpedo — to travel at extremely fast speeds underwater.
Li Fengchen said his team of scientists can now create the complicated air "bubble" required for fast travel undersea.
This bubble gets rid of the drag created by water, which slows down travel.
A process called "supercavitation" allows a submerged vessel to travel inside an air bubble to overcome problems with drag.
In theory, it means the submarine could reach speeds of 3,600 mph, reports the South China Morning Post.
Li Fengchen says although this technology has been known about for some time, scientists have now developed a way of steering and overcoming the problem of a craft having to be launched at high speed by using a liquid membrane, which would control how fast the submarine would travel and direction.
"Our method is different from any other approach," he said.

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Australian scientists are a step closer to converting sunlight and water into fuel

Scientists have replicated a crucial photosynthetic reaction for the first time, taking them a step closer to creating sustainable, cheap fuel from water and sunlight - just like plants do.

Plants use photosynthesis to turn water, carbon dioxide and sunlight into oxygen and the energy they need to power their systems. And for decades scientists have been trying to replicate this reaction in order to create biological systems that can produce cheap, clean hydrogen fuel.
Now, for the first time ever, scientists from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, have managed to modify a naturally occurring protein, and use it to capture energy from sunlight, a key step in photosynthesis. Their results have been published in BBA Bioenergetics.
“Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely,” Kastoori Hingorani, the lead research from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesissaid in a press release.
Hydrogen has the potential to be a zero-carbon replacement for the petroleum products that we currently rely on. But up until now, we haven’t been able to find a way to create it as safely and efficiently as plants do. To replicate this step in the reaction in plants, the research team took a naturally occurring protein called ferritin, and modified it slightly. 
Ferritin is found in almost all living organisms, and it usually stores iron. But the team replaced iron with the common metal manganese, so that it closely resembled the water splitting site in photosynthesis. They also replaced another binding site with a light-sensitive pigment, Zinc Chlorin.
Once these changes had been made, the researchers shone light onto the modified ferritin and saw a clear indication of electrical charge transfer, just like the one that occurs in plants. The researchers describe this as the “electrical heartbeat” that’s the key to photosynthesis.
The researchers now need to work on using this protein to create biological, water-splitting systems. But this is an important first step.
“This is the first time we have replicated the primary capture of energy from sunlight,” Ron Pace, a co-researcher in the study, said in the press release. “It’s the beginning of a whole suite of possibilities, such as creating a highly efficient fuel, or to trapping atmospheric carbon.”
One of the most exciting things about this research is that, because this protein is powered by the Sun and does not require batteries or expensive metals, the entire process could be affordable for developing countries.
“That carbon-free cycle is essentially indefinitely sustainable. Sunlight is extraordinarily abundant, water is everywhere – the raw materials we need to make the fuel. And at the end of the usage cycle it goes back to water,” said Pace.
Source: Australian National University


Renewable energy now makes up 22% of the world's power
Last year was a bumper year for renewable energy, with more wind turbines and solar panels installed in more places around the world than ever before.
"In 2013, renewable power capacity expanded at its fastest pace to date,” said the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the results of its latest market report.
According to the report, wind, solar, and other clean, renewable energy sources continued to grow rapidly, reaching almost 22 percent of the total energy sources around the world, compared to the 21 percent in 2012 and the 18 percent in 2007.
"Globally, renewable electricity generation is now on par with that of natural gas, which remained relatively stable in 2013,” says the report. “Investment in new renewable power capacity topped USD 250 billion globally in 2013 and is likely to remain at high levels."

Meanwhile, says Brian Merchant at Motherboard, 14 percent of the US is now powered by renewable energy sources, according to the results of another recent report run by the American Energy Information Administration. 
The research also indicated that biofuels for transport and renewable heat energy continue to grow, but not at the rate of renewable electricity. 
"The news isn't all rosy, however,” says Merchant. "The IEA also downgraded its forecast for renewables through 2020, because many governments are dropping their support for incentives - right at the time when wind and solar are becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels.”

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Google's Mapathon May Have Compromised India's National Security

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These 20 Hacks Will Forever Change How Your Clean Your House. They're Genius.

AUGUST 8, 2014 


Most of us hate cleaning. It's time consuming, boring, and we'd rather be doing almost ANYTHING else.
Just think about all of the wasted time in your life spent on making sure the coffee pot is cleaned out, or getting the water ring off the table. It's really insane when you add it up.
Well, no more. We've got you covered with these 20 incredibly handy cleaning hacks that'll get you finished in no time.
Spend less time cleaning and more time binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix!

1.) Onion Grill Cleaner.

Grab half a white onion and rub it across the grate of the hot grill using a fork. This will clean the grate, and even leave flavor for next time.

2.) Blender Cleaner.

Fill a blender with warm water and a drop of dish soap, then turn it on and blend for a few seconds. Dump, rinse with clean water, and dry.

3.) Vacuum Up Vomit.

Combine baking soda and water into a paste and spread over the vomit. Let it sit overnight and then you'll be able to vacuum it all up the next day.

4.) Broken Glass Catcher.

Stop picking up small glass shards with your bare hands. Press a piece of white bread all over the area to pick up even the tiniest pieces.

5.) Ceiling Fan Cleaner.

Throw an old pillowcase around the fan blades and wipe from within. It should keep all the dust inside and be wayyy easy.

6.) Revitalize Leather Furniture.

Buff worn leather furniture with shoe polish. Scrapes and scuffs will disappear.

7.) Dishwasher Deep Cleaner.

Clean your dishwasher by running it on the highest temperature with a cup of vinegar on the top shelf. Then sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom and run it again. Now it's CLEAN.

8.) Clean Your Mattress.

Pour vodka into a spray bottle, spritz lightly across your mattress and leave it to air-dry. The alcohol will kill the odor causing bacteria.

9.) Bathtub Ring Remover.

Cut a grapefruit in half and sprinkle it (and the tub) with salt. Now use the fruit as a scrubber and those rings will fade away.

10.) Destroy Water Rings.

Soak up excess moisture with a towel, then blast it with a hair dryer while still damp, and they should disappear.

11.) Two-Step Foreman Grill Cleaner.

Cleaning a Foreman can be super tough. When you’re done cooking, unplug it, and press a couple of damp paper towels between the lid and the surface. The leftover heat will steam clean the grill. Wipe it dry with another paper towel and you're done.

12.) Sponge Sanitzer.

As an alternative, you can run it through the dishwasher.

13.) Pet Hair Squeegee.

Clean up your dog's fur (even what you don't see) by running a squeegee over the carpet. You'll be shocked at what you find.

14.) Quick-Dry Wet Shoes and Gloves.

Use crumbled newspaper for a super quick dryer. Don't like to kill trees? A sachet of plain uncooked rice works too.

15.) Grease Stain Fixer.

Never worry about destroying your clothes with grease again. Cover the stains with white chalk, wait a few minutes and then wipe the chalk away with a damp cloth.

16.) Microfiber Couch Miracle.

Spruce up your couch by first using a spray bottle to cover it with rubbing alcohol. Next, use a clean white sponge to rub the couch and fluff the fibers with a hard bristle brush when done.

17.) Clean a Coffee or Spice Grinder.

Scrub these hard to clean gadgets by grinding 1 tablespoon baking soda to clean, and wipe them thoroughly. You'll be amazed at the effect.

18.) Overnight Oven Cleaner.

Put a bowl filled with 1/2 cup of ammonia into a completely cold oven. Leave overnight and wipe clean the next day.

19.) Dryer Sheet Cleaners.

You can use dryer sheets to clean anything from TV's to bookshelves. Plus, the anti-cling effect will stick around and repeal dirt in the future.

20.) Carpet Stain Lifter.

Take a mixture of two parts water, one part vinegar, and spray on the stain. Lay a damp rag over the top, and iron it. The result? BOOM.

(via Distractify)
You're totally ready to take on that dirty house. You can thank us by coming over and trying out your new "skills"!
Just make sure you also share these tips with your friends using the buttons below too. You know they need to learn this stuff too.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Top 10 Places You Don’t Want To Visit


In previous lists we have looked at amazing holiday destinations – today we are looking at the bottom ten; these are ten places you don’t want to visit! Having said that, maybe the curious would get a thrill from visiting some of these strange and dangerous places, but for most of us, reading about it is quite enough. Feel free to mention any other contenders for the list in the comments.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Pacific Ocean
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N. Most current estimates state that it is larger than the U.S. state of Texas, with some estimates claiming that it is larger than the continental United States, however the exact size is not known for sure. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The patch is not easily visible because it consists of very small pieces, almost invisible to the naked eye, most of its contents are suspended beneath the surface of the ocean. This is not a place the average Joe would want to visit.
Izu Islands
Screen Shot 2010-03-22 At 12.26.39 Pm
The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honsh?, Japan. Administratively, they form two towns and six villages; all part of Tokyo. The largest is Izu ?shima, usually called simply ?shima. Because of their volcanic nature, the islands are constantly filled with the stench of sulfur (extremely similar to the smell of thousands of farts). Residents were evacuated from the islands in 1953 and 2000 due to volcanic activity and dangerously high levels of gas. The people returned in 2005 but are now required to carry gas masks with them at all times in case gas levels rise unexpectedly.
The Door to Hell
Img 2526
Address: Derweze, Turkmenistan
This has featured on listverse before, but it would be remiss of us to exclude it from this list. While drilling in Derweze in Turkmenistan in 1971, geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, scientists decided to set fire to the hole. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell. As you can see from the picture above, it is one hell of an amazing place, but certainly one you wouldn’t want to visit.
Alnwick Poison Gardens
Address: Denwick Lane, Alnwick, NE66 1YU, England
Inspired by the Botanical Gardens in Padua, Italy (the first botanical garden which was created to grow medicinal and poisonous plants in the 1500s), the Alnwick Poison Garden is a garden devoted entirely to plants that can kill. It features many plants grown unwittingly in back gardens, and those that grow in the British countryside, as well as many more unusual varieties. Flame-shaped beds contain belladonna, tobacco and mandrake. The Alnwick Garden has a Home Office license to grow some very special plants; namely, cannabis and coca which are found behind bars in giant cages – for obvious reasons.
Asbestos Mine
Screen Shot 2010-03-22 At 10.51.06 Am
Address: Thetford-Mines, Quebec, Canada
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals highly prized for their resistance to fire and sound absorption abilities. On the downside, exposure to this stuff causes cancer and a variety of other diseases. It is so dangerous that the European Union has banned all mining and use of asbestos in Europe. But, for those curious enough to want to get close to the stuff, all is not lost. In Canada at the Thetford Mines, you can visit an enormous open pit asbestos mine which is still fully operational. The workers in the mines aren’t required to wear any sort of respiratory protection, and in some sections of the nearby town, residential areas are butted right next up against piles of asbestos waste. The mine offers bus tours of the deadly environment during the summer months. Tickets are free (would you expect it to be any other way?). If you decide to visit, don’t forget your full body bio-hazard suit.
Ramree Island
800Px-Saltwater Crocodile On A River Bank
Ramree Island in Burma is a huge swamp home to 1000s of salt water enormous salt water crocodiles, the deadliest in the world. It is also home to malaria carrying mosquitos, and venomous scorpions. During the Second World War, the island was the site of a six week battle in the Burma campaign. Here is a description of one of those horrifying nights: “That night [of the 19 February 1945] was the most horrible that any member of the M.L. [motor launch] crews ever experienced. The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left…Of about 1,000 Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about 20 were found alive.”
Yungas Road
The North Yungas Road (Road of Death or Death Road) is a 61 kilometres (38 mi) or 69 kilometres (43 mi) road leading from La Paz to Coroico, 56 kilometres (35 mi) northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger with estimates stating that 200 to 300 travelers are killed yearly along it. The road includes crosses marking many of the spots where vehicles have fallen. The road was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners. It is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to its capital city. Because of the extreme dropoffs of at least 600 metres (2,000 ft), single-lane width – most of the road no wider than 3.2 metres (10 ft) and lack of guard rails, the road is extremely dangerous. Further still, rain, fog and dust can make visibility precarious. In many places the road surface is muddy, and can loosen rocks from the road.
Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan
In the Spring of 2001, volcanic activity under the Caspian Sea off the Azeri coast created a whole new island. In October 2001 there was an impressive volcanic eruption in Azerbaijan at Lokbatan, but there were no casualties or evacuation warnings. But Azerbaijan does not have a single active volcano, at least not in the usual sense of the word. What Azerbaijan does have is mud volcanoes – hundreds of them. Mud volcanoes are the little-known relatives of the more common magmatic variety. They do erupt occasionally with spectacular results, but are generally not considered to be dangerous – unless you happen to be there at the wrong time: every twenty years or so, a mud volcano explodes with great force, shooting flames hundreds of meters into the sky, and depositing tonnes of mud on the surrounding area. In one eruption, the flames could easily be seen from 15 kilometers away on the day of the explosion, and were still burning, although at a lower level, three days later.
The Zone of Alienation
Eastern Europe
The Zone of Alienation is the 30 km/19 mi exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and is administrated by a special administration under the Ukrainian Ministry of Extraordinary Situations (Emergencies). Thousands of residents refused to be evacuated from the zone or illegally returned there later. Over the decades this primarily elderly population has dwindled, falling below 400 in 2009. Approximately half of these resettlers live in the town of Chernobyl; others are spread in villages across the zone. After recurrent attempts at expulsion, the authorities became reconciled to their presence and even allowed limited supporting services for them. Because of looting, there is a strong police presence – so be warned, if you visit, you may either be shot or get radiation poisoning – and we all know how awful that can be.
Ilha de Queimada Grande
Screen Shot 2010-03-22 At 12.02.30 Pm
Off the shore of Brazil, almost due south of the heart of São Paulo, is a Ilha de Queimada Grande (Snake Island). The island is untouched by human developers, and for very good reason. Researchers estimate that on the island live between one and five snakes per square meter. That figure might not be so terrible if the snakes were, say, 2 inches long and nonvenomous. The snakes on Queimada Grande, however, are a unique species of pit viper, the golden lancehead. The lancehead genus of snakes is responsible for 90% of Brazilian snakebite-related fatalities. The golden lanceheads that occupy Snake Island grow to well over half a meter long, and they possess a powerful fast-acting poison that melts the flesh around their bites. This place is so dangerous that a permit is required to visit.

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