Brazil receives $1 billion from Norway for reducing deforestation.
Via: Quartz
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You know what we never get? Good news about climate change.

Well, not today!

Norway is making good on its commitment to give the country of Brazil $1 billion on the condition of reducing the deforestation crisis that claimed many square miles over the past fifty years.

Quartz has the details:

In 2008, when the Amazon was facing a severe deforestation crisis, Norway, a country made rich from oil and gas production (and the biggest donor to protect tropical rainforests), pledged $1 billion to the government of Brazil if it could slow down the destruction. Doing so would protect the forest's wildlife and also enormously reduce climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions, which are produced when forests are burned to make way for human development.

Brazil has more than risen to the task. By enforcing strict protection laws, promoting education efforts, and withholding loans to local counties that clear too much of the forest, the country has scaled back its forest destruction rate by 75%. It's estimated that Brazilian farmers and ranchers have saved more than 33,000 square miles (roughly 53,100 square kilometers) of forest—equivalent to 14.3 million soccer fields—from being cut down.

This week, an applauding Norwegian government said it will pay out the country's final $100 million—rounding out its $1 billion promise—to Brazil at a December UN summit on climate change.

Brazil gets money, the rainforest remains protected and the planet gets more trees to filter out the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

It's win win win!

Also, welcome to the club, Brazil!

UC Berkeley researchers found skydiving spiders in South America.
Via: io9
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University of California Berkeley researchers have found spiders in Panama and Peru that can steer themselves in a free fall to land where they'd like.

Probably on your face. Not really.

These tree-dwelling species are giving those researchers some insight into the actual evolution of flying insects, which is super neat even though it ignites the nightmares in your sleep.

Look into its face.

io9 discusses these spider powers discovered by the researchers.

To test their abilities, the researchers dropped 59 Selenops spiders from either canopy platforms of tree crowns in Panama and Peru. The vast majority (93%) directed their aerial trajectories towards nearby trunks. After landing, they re-oriented themselves and walked head-first towards specific targets.

The scientists say that this type of behavior may have preceded the origin of wings. The spiders are exceptionally thin, and they exploit the powers of lift and drag by spreading their legs wide open. They're even able to right themselves in midair when they turn upside-down. The biologists also witnessed spiders who bounced off a tree trunk, only to recover and resume the glide back down to the surface.

They put together this nifty panic-attack-inducing video to show off the spider's skills.

You can read the whole scientific study here.

Via: Amazon
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Alexa is listening. She knows everything about you. And she is getting smarter by the second.

Amazon unveiled a new product Thursday, called Amazon Echo, a 9-inch tall, cylindrical, voice-controlled device that will answer any of your questions, play music, and most importantly - for Amazon - create shopping lists. Just in time for the holidays.

Oh, and it responds to the name "Alexa" by default.

It is basically a virtual assistant like Siri and Cortana, but for your home, and ultimately another way for Amazon to completely own you.

Echo is $199, but if you are a Prime member you can grab one for $99. It's also invitation-only for the time being, so you'll have to wait a bit before you can get to know Alexa.

The waiting will be tough, but Billy Joel knows how you feel.

amazon,fire tv,minecraft
Via: Engadget
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Basically a fancier Roku box, Amazon's Fire TV lets you stream video, navigate using voice commands, and play Minecraft. Yeah, Minecraft:

So far, the other games Amazon has shown on the Fire TV look like mobile games, but they have developed a fancy controller:

Fire TV is available starting today for $99. Streaming services at launch include Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, with more streaming partners to come.

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