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Amazon Rainforest

We are sharing one wrong statistic about the Amazon fire

For the past few weeks news of the Amazon wildfire has spread across social media like wildfire itself. Social media influencers and even general users have been doing their best to bring awareness to this issue by talking about how the amazon accounts for 20% of the world’s oxygen which is not completely true.

Nearly all free oxygen present in the air is produced by plants through photosynthesis. (⅓)rd of this is produced by tropical forests of which the Amazon basin is a major contributor. But there is a twist here. All that oxygen is used up by living organisms and fires. With trees constantly shedding leaves and twigs, it adds to the nourishment of the microbes and insects which in turn consume a lot of oxygen. As a net result, the oxygen produced by forests is close to zero.

Research shows that the ocean produces almost all the oxygen we breath, and can last us millions of years. 

For oxygen to accumulate in the air, the organic matter produced during photosynthesis needs to be removed from circulation before the oxygen itself gets consumed. They need to be quickly buried in places where oxygen has been depleted for example in deep-sea mud.

This process takes place in parts of the ocean that have high levels of nutrients to fertilize algae blooms. The dead blooms float to the bottom where microbes feed off of it. The remaining matter gets buried and eventually becomes a source of coal.

The oxygen produced by the algae blooms still remains in the air due to the lack of decomposers. In this way, it adds to about 0.0001% of the oxygen in the air. While this a small number, over millions of years it has become a legitimate source of oxygen that all animal life depends on.

Although plant growth is responsible for breathable oxygen, it accounts for a very small percentage and if all of the organic matter on earth were burnt it would be worth less than 1% of the oxygen consumed.

While the amazon wildfire is a serious disaster and worrisome for several reasons such as the extremely rare species of flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and the indigenous tribes that see the amazon as their home, loss of oxygen production isn’t one of them.

Amazon Rainforest Fire

Images from space show the extent of damage to Amazon rainforest due to fires

The latest images obtained from space provide a very shocking perspective on the ongoing crisis in the Amazon rainforest. A massive number of fires in the rainforest has led to a global concern.

The satellite data gathered by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil showed that there have been a total of nearly 75,000 fires across Amazon since the beginning of the year. This marks an increase of almost 84 percent in the same time period in 2018. These figures are highly alarming. Now NASA and NOAA have released new visual evidence which demonstrates the emergency level of the situation.

Captured using the Suomi NPP satellite on August 20, the image depicts the smoke extent in the states of Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Rondonia in Brazil. Earlier in the city of Sao Paulo, there were huge clouds of black smoke all across the skyline. It is to be noted that Sao Paulo is almost 2700 kilometers from the fires but still it was merged in darkness with daylight out there.

NASA Worldview gives another representation of the extent of the forest fires. It released an image where each red dot depicted a forest fire or “thermal anomaly” in other terms.

In the dry season of July to October, forest fires are common in Amazon. But there has been an abnormal escalation in the problem due to extreme human interference as burning is considered the best method to clear out land for agriculture.

Hence, the forest fires of this year are unprecedented and environmentalists are blaming the recently elected Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro as he removed the restrictions on illegal deforestation to generate economic developments in the rainforest and also asked the farmers to clear out land.

Bolsonaro has claimed that the fires have been manipulated by different NGOs and left-leaning environmentalists who started the fires intentionally for embarrassing the government as the conservation funding was reduced to halt different conservation projects. Although there has been no evidence of any kind to support the claims.

The Government has declared that there are not enough resources for controlling the fires. As a result of this, ecologists are fearful that the largest rainforest in the world supporting nearly a million species and billions of trees providing 20 percent of the oxygen in the planet might never come back to its natural state and be damaged significantly before the dry season ends.

Chasing SpaceX, Amazon plans to launch 3236 satellites

Chasing SpaceX, Amazon plans to launch 3000 internet satellites

  1. Amazon asked the United States for permission to launch 3236 communication satellites under its ambitious Kuiper satellite project
  2. Amazon mentioned that the satellites would be operating at altitudes of nearly 370-390 miles.
  3. It is a separate Amazon project and doesn’t involve Blue Origin LLC, an aerospace manufacturer company also owned by Bezos
  4. Kuiper System will be helping several mobile network operators in expanding wireless services

Amazon asked the United States for permission to launch 3236 communication satellites (named the Kuiper project). With this, it joins Elon Musk’s SpaceX in a space race for offering internet connectivity from low orbits. In a July 4 filing, Amazon informed the Federal Communications Commission that its Kuiper satellites will be delivering the broadband connection to several million consumers and businesses that lack appropriate internet access. FCC’s task is to coordinate the trajectories and use of radio-frequency.

FCC has previously given the approval of almost 13000 low-Earth orbiting satellites. Among these, there a huge chunk precisely 11,943 belong to Space Exploration Technologies of Elon Musk. SpaceX made an initial launch of 60 spacecrafts in the month of May.

In the case of low-Earth orbits, at altitudes of 112 to 1200 miles which translates to 180 to 2000 kilometers, satellites have to move around the Earth for staying aloft, thus completing the orbits in time as minimum as 90 minutes. When one satellite moves towards the horizon, it will be handing off the signal duties to the next satellite that is coming. For continuous and wide coverage, there is a requirement of many satellites. In the FCC application, Amazon mentioned that the satellites would be operating at altitudes of nearly 370-390 miles.

 

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, and CEO said last month that the Kuiper project will be costing several billions of dollars. It is a separate project and doesn’t involve Blue Origin LLC, an aerospace manufacturer company also owned by Bezos. Amazon mentioned in its statement that it is a long-term project which has plans of serving millions of people who do not have basic access to internet connectivity.

It filed its satellite program with the International Telecommunications Union in April. It has plans of offering service to the communities in the United States through its offering of fixed broadband communication in the areas which are difficult to access such as the rural areas.

Kuiper System will be helping several mobile network operators in expanding wireless services. In addition to this, it also promises to offer high-throughput wireless broadband connectivity services for airplanes, land vehicles and maritime vessels.

Amazon cited studies by the FCC which mention that close to 21 million Americans lack fixed or residential broadband service and almost 33 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet connectivity. When stretched to the worldwide level, this figure blooms to 3.8 billion people who are without reliable broadband connectivity as per the application.

Amazon Go prototype

Amazon working on wearable device to sense human emotions

Amazon is reported to be developing a voice-enabled wearable gadget that can recognise human emotions. If the company is successful in manufacturing it then it could help it in improving its target advertisements. Besides this, it can also make improved and refined product recommendations and advise human beings on how to be nicer to each other while interacting.

A few internal papers have revealed some details about the upcoming product. The device can be worn on the wrist, so its appearance could resemble that of Apple Watch or a Fitbit. It is being produced by a collaboration of Amazon and Lab126, a firm which was responsible for making other Amazon products such as Kindle, Fire mobile phone and the smart speaker Echo.

As per Bloomberg, the device will be working in sync with a smartphone application and will come with microphones paired with software which can determine the emotional condition of the customer from his or her sound. It is not yet confirmed if Amazon has future plans to make the device available for mass consumption. However, it is clear that the company is working on a large ecosystem of electronic devices with inbuilt speech recognition facility.

Amazon has come a long way from a simple online company selling books, founded in a garage to a major e-commerce company and a cloud services giant. It is also the first company to reach a valuation of one trillion dollars. It recently launched a chain of automated convenience stores, Amazon Go. It enables the customers to make purchases without going through the regular checkout by a cashier. Till now it has been launched in 11 locations across the United States. Amazon plans to launch further stores depending on the functioning of the current stores.

Apart from the wearable device, it is also reported to be working on a humanoid robot “Vesta”. Named after the goddess of the home, family in Roman mythology, this robot could be able to perform cleaning operations, set up alarms. It will be equipped with highly developed cameras, computer vision software and move around homes like a self-driving vehicle. Amazon is also planning to compete with Apple’s AirPods by developing its own earphones powered by Alexa.

Although it sounds futuristic, devices capable of monitoring emotions is not improbable. As per the research company Gartner, within 2022, almost 10% of devices will have AI abilities to detect emotions either through the device or with the help of cloud technology.

Would you like to use such devices and let companies know about your emotions? Tell us with a short and quick comment.

Read: Scientists announce the possibility of wearable technology to monitor brains