Raccoons love you, but not unconditionally

Some wild animals thrive near humans, but only up to a point.

Jenny Thompson via Adobe Stock
  • A recent study used motion-triggered cameras to study mammal behavior at 61 sites across North America.
  • The results showed that large, carnivorous mammals with slow life histories are most negatively impacted by human presence and development.
  • The researchers noted that although some mammals are able to tolerate or even benefit from humans, there might be a threshold to how much human disturbance mammals can tolerate.
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This map is alive with the beauty of lighthouse signals

The unique light signatures of nautical beacons translate into hypnotic cartography.

Credit: Geodienst – Lights at Sea
  • Many of the world's 23,000 lighthouses feature a distinct combination of color, frequency, and range.
  • These unique light signatures help ships verify their positions and safeguard maritime traffic.
  • But they also translate into this map, visualizing the ingenuity and courage of lighthouse builders and keepers.

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China’s most important border is imaginary: the Hu Line

First drawn in 1935, Hu Line illustrates persistent demographic split – how Beijing deals with it will determine the country's future.

Credit: Tomaatje12, CC0 1.0 – Public domain.
  • In 1935, demographer Hu Huanyong drew a line across a map of China.
  • The 'Hu Line' illustrated a remarkable divide in China's population distribution.
  • That divide remains relevant, not just for China's present but also for its future.

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Manmade objects now weigh more than all living things on Earth

Humans churn out about 30 gigatons (30,000,000,000 tons) of material every year.

Credit: aryfahmed via Adobe Stock
  • The study compared estimates of the planet's total biomass (the mass of all living things) with anthropogenic mass, which includes all human-made materials.
  • Every year, humans are bringing materials into the world at a higher rate.
  • Concrete is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic mass and it's a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, suggesting that finding more sustainable alternatives could help curb climate change.
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New study argues that migrating from cities, not travel bans, slows spread of disease

Of course, it's all about where you move. The authors argue that it needs to be less populous regions.

Credit: Christian Schwier / Adobe Stock
  • Moving from densely-populated urban regions is more effective in stopping the spreading of disease than closing borders.
  • Two researchers from Spain and Italy ran 10,000 simulations to discover that travel bans are ultimately ineffective.
  • Smaller cities might suffer high rates of infection, but the nation overall could benefit from this model.
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