When architecture student Yi Yvonne Weng considers the future of the Amazon rainforest, she pictures a place that has not fallen to deforestation, but has instead been preserved for scientific exploration. And that exploration takes place on vast, mesh canopies that stretch across the treetops.
The Amazon covers over 2.5 million square miles. But that number is shrinking all the time, and the widespread deforestation could doom our hopes for averting catastrophic global climate change. That's why some ancient farming secrets could make a huge difference.
Last summer, Google took its Street View cameras to the Amazon, looking to capture the same 360-degree vistas that have made the technology so useful in cities all over the world. Yesterday, the project went live. There goes the rest of your week.
No, this isn't a closeup of a Cosby Sweater. Nor is it the result of those shrooms you ingested twenty minutes ago. It's actually science's newest means of mapping one of the Earth's wildest and most remote regions.
The rainforest ecosystem features dizzying levels of biodiversity, so much so that we can only estimate how many millions of species we still haven't discovered. But the actual reason why the rainforests are so diverse might surprise you.
Just be thankful that no-one's relying on these GPS-enabled toucans for directions; I hear they don't even get live traffic updates, if you can imagine. Instead, researchers are tracking the toucans and their spreading of seeds in tropical forests.
If a tree has been cut down and there aren't any witnesses, was it really cut down? So goes the thinking behind the group of people tagging Amazon rainforest trees, who wish to stop illegal logging for good.
Climate change could have devastating consequences for much of the world's ecosystems, but at least one area might benefit. Ancient rain forests thrived during severe warming millions of years ago, helping to create today's species diversity.
This illustration—showing the diversity of mechanical species in the rain forest—manages to make all these metal animals beautiful. Too bad that these terrible beasts spend their lives feeding on trees, and destroying everything in their paths. [Thanks David]
Click to viewFinca Bellavista is an Endor-like treehouse village in the making, with paths and platforms perched on 150-foot trees. Located six miles from Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, this sustainable rainforest community doesn't have stupid Ewoks or shield generators, but cute monkeys, site-wide Wi-Fi with internet sat…