Over the past few months, West Africa has been experiencing the biggest and most deadly Ebola outbreak on record and deforestation is a key part of why.
There have been 759 confirmed infections and 467 deaths since February. The virus has been identified in 60 different locations at this point, and it's expected to keep spreading. But the outbreak began in a rural area. In fact, Ebola outbreaks in general tend to begin in rural areas, on the edge of the jungle ... and that, write James West and Tim McDonnell in Mother Jones and Terrence McCoy in The Washington Post, is how public health and human destruction of forests intersect.
“The increase in Ebola outbreaks since 1994 is frequently associated with drastic changes in forest ecosystems in tropical Africa,” wrote researchers in a 2012 study in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. “Extensive deforestation and human activities in the depth of the forests may have promoted direct or indirect contact between humans and a natural reservoir of the virus.”
Such a conclusion is particularly troublesome for West Africa, which has never before experienced an Ebola outbreak like this one, and is reported to have one of the world’s highest rates of regional deforestation. The Guinea Rainforest has been ravaged by deforestation and has shrunk to less than one-fifth of its original size. In Liberia, more than half of the forests have been sold off to logging companies, according to the Guardian. And Sierra Leone is “seriously threatened” by deforestation, according to Chatham House’s Illegal Logging Portal.
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia turns 100 this year. In celebration, the space agency produced this short documentary and enlisted Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to narrate. Here are just a few highlights from NASA Langley’s incredible history: • In times of peace and war, NASA Langley helped to create a better airplane, […]
Rio Celeste is a gorgeous Costa Rican river with a length that’s famous for its unusual turquoise waters. After decades of guessing, scientists finally determined the cause was aluminosilicate:
AntsCanada (previously) has an overpopulation problem in his yellow crazy ant colony, so he added two kinds of carnivorous pitcher plants. The resulting relationship between ant versus plant turned out to be quite fascinating.
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]
Although fully autonomous vehicles aren’t yet allowed on public streets, they are poised to dominate the roads in the not-too-distant future. But before that happens, Apple, Google, Uber, and other companies now investing in self-driving tech are going to need talented developers that can account for the dizzying array of factors at play when a […]
The PiCar-V learning kit comes with everything you need to build a Python-powered robot, and it’s currently being offered in the Boing Boing Store.