Amazon fires are destructive, but they aren’t depleting Earth’s oxygen supply

Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon rainforest does not produce 20% of our planet's oxygen.

JOAO LAET/AFP/Getty Images

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise.

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Plants have sensibilities, but are they conscious?

They experience reality differently than we do.

Image source: Jessica Johnston via Unsplash
  • The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
  • Plants were found to have 15–20 senses, including many that humans have as well.
  • Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
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The invention that made us human: Fire

Did fire change the development of the human brain?

  • The earliest evidence for fire dates back nearly 440 million years.
  • Our hominin ancestors first used natural wildfires to flush out prey and forage for food.
  • Richard Wrangham's cooking hypothesis suggests that a ready supply of cooked food allowed the Homo lineage to develop its large, complex brains.
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'Tamagotchi-like' planter aims to bestow you with a green thumb

Designers from Luxembourg created a smart planter that can give anyone a green thumb.

Images credit: mu-design
  • A design team came up with a smart planter that can indicate 15 emotions.
  • The emotions are derived from the sensors placed in the planter.
  • The device is not in production yet but you can order it through a crowdfunding campaign.
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Breaching a “carbon threshold” could lead to mass extinction

Study finds that carbon dioxide emissions may trigger a reflex in the carbon cycle, with devastating consequences.

In the brain, when neurons fire off electrical signals to their neighbors, this happens through an "all-or-none" response. The signal only happens once conditions in the cell breach a certain threshold.

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