Record-breaking fires are ripping through the Amazon — an ecosystem on which the whole world depends. The Verge will update this page with news and analysis on the fires and the effects that could linger once the ash settles. Table of Contents: Why is the Amazon burning? An unprecedented number of fires have raged throughout Brazil in 2019, intensifying in August. There have been more than 74,000 fires so far this year, the most ever recorded by the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). It’s a roughly 80 percent jump compared to the number of fires the country experienced over the same time period in 2018. More than half of those fires are taking place in the Amazon. Experts say deforestation and a practice called slash-and-burn are to blame for most of the flames. People cut down patches of forest, allow the area to dry out, then set the remains ablaze to make room for agriculture or other development. They might also set fires to replenish the … [Read more...] about Everything you need to know about the fires in the Amazon
Why does plants need soil
Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post Published 2:52 pm PDT, Sunday, June 9, 2019 Some residents say that they are worried about air and water pollution, and that the government was secretive and moved too fast on a Rockwool plant that makes insulation in Kearneysville, West Virginia. Some residents say that they are worried about air and water pollution, and that the government was secretive and moved too fast on a Rockwool plant that makes insulation in Kearneysville, West Virginia. Photo: Washington Post Photo By Katherine Frey. Photo: Washington Post Photo By Katherine Frey. Image 1 of / 7 Caption Close Image 1 of 7 Some residents say that they are worried about air and water pollution, and that the government was secretive and moved too fast on a Rockwool plant that makes … [Read more...] about Insulation plant divides community in West Virginia
The dogs still make Andreas Mershin angry. “I mean, I love dogs,” says the Greek-Russian scientist, in his office at MIT. “But the dogs are slapping me in the face.” He pulls up a video to show me what he means. In it, a black dog named Lucy approaches a series of six stations, each separated by a small barrier. At every one, a glass cup of human urine with a screened lid sits at the level of the animal’s nose. Lucy takes a brief sniff of each sample, sometimes digging her snout in to get a better whiff. She is performing a kind of diagnostic test: searching for the telltale scent of prostate cancer, which, it turns out, leaves a volatile, discernible signature in a man’s pee. Discernible if you’re a dog, anyway. When Lucy finds what she’s looking for, she sits down and receives a treat. Among humans—whose toolmaking prowess has given the world self-driving suitcases and reusable rocket boosters—prostate cancer is notoriously … [Read more...] about The Quest to Make a Bot That Can Smell as Well as a Dog
In recent days an Instagram post about planting trees has been making its way, like the darkest of dark horses, up the list of most liked posts in the platform’s history. As of this writing, it’s tallied 14.3 million likes, more than Justin Bieber’s engagement photo with Hailey Baldwin, and more than any picture Kylie Jenner has ever posted of her daughter, other than her first photo. (Duh—look at that tiny well-manicured hand!) The Great Instagram Tree Post of 2019 currently sits in fifth place, just behind a picture Selena Gomez took with her friends. The meteoric post is from the eco-friendly apparel company Tentree. Peppered with a healthy helping of tree emoji, it promises that for “every TEN LIKES this post gets, we will plant ONE TREE” in Indonesia. And who’d turn down an offer to help the planet when all it takes is to read a few words and tap a little heart. Tentree, of course, has a business interest in going viral: It gains … [Read more...] about Instagram’s Newest Star Is … a Tree?
Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe (worth £21 billion) is leaving the United Kingdom and the European Union for tax exile in Monaco, depriving the Treasury of up to £4 billion in tax. This is more tax than the entire bottom 40 percent of the British population pay: that’s because none of them pays any tax at all. To understand why Ratcliffe is leaving, you need only glance at the reaction on social media.Some people hate him because he’s a Brexiteer: Some people hate him because he is a supporter of the fracking industry: Some people hate him because he was given the bauble of a knighthood and therefore, apparently, should give up the financial acumen that made him so rich and just accept whatever indignities and constraints the British government wants to inflict on him: Some people hate him because money belongs to everyone equally so if you get rich that’s kind of like theft, isn’t it? Some people are so stupid they really can’t … [Read more...] about Delingpole: Why Is Britain’s Richest Man – Sir Jim Ratcliffe – Moving to Monaco? Ask Ayn Rand…