Top Predators May Be the Most Important Animals on Earth

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with other predators. Grizzly bears, crocodiles, great white sharks—these are among our planet's most awe-inspiring creatures. Still, we'd never want these deadly animals in our backyards. But new scientific evidence suggests that we need them far more than we realized. » 3/09/15 12:30pm 3/09/15 12:30pm

How the Smithsonian Is Restoring the Original USS Enterprise Model 

The USS Enterprise is, in popular imagination, a futuristic spaceship. The actual USS Enterprise model used on the Star Trek show is, in reality, a 50-year-old creaker that has endured at least one misguided new paint job. The Smithsonian is hard at work restoring the model, though, and they've even got the National… » 1/02/15 10:40am 1/02/15 10:40am

United Is Using Its Planes To Track Butterflies and Birds From Above

United Airlines is working with the Smithsonian on a conservation project that will tag and track the smaller members of the animal kingdom. More specifically, the project will use radio receivers mounted on planes to create a low-altitude network of vanishing species like the monarch butterfly. All while you enjoy… » 6/30/14 12:20pm 6/30/14 12:20pm

Dive into This Digital USS Arizona in the Name of Conservation

For nearly three quarters of a century, the USS Arizona has rested practically untouched in the waters of Pearl Harbor, acting as both the final resting place of and enduring tribute to the 1100 marines and sailors that lost their lives aboard it. Today, the National Park Service and Autodesk unveiled the results of… » 5/26/14 5:30pm 5/26/14 5:30pm

Your Old Phone Could Help Eavesdrop on Illegal Rainforest Loggers

How do you catch a logger in the dense, remote rainforest? For a long time, the answer has been satellites, which may sound high-tech, but actually means you're looking at photos of deforested land days after the loggers have made their getaway. A nonprofit called Rainforest Connection wants to turn old smartphones… » 5/12/14 4:40pm 5/12/14 4:40pm

These Incredible Man-Made Highways Are Built Just for Animals

Humans don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to environmental stewardship, but that doesn't mean we aren't trying. Numerous projects around the world are working to rebuild lost habitats, protect vital wildlife highways, and regenerate lost populations. Here are a few man-made structures built on behalf of… » 3/16/14 9:00am 3/16/14 9:00am

South Korea Is Building a Series of Biodomes for Endangered Species

Planet Earth is falling apart. It sounds a bit dramatic when you put it in such stark terms, but, in many ways, it's true. The list of endangered species grows every year as humans bulldoze more habitats and belch more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. What's an environmentalist to do? » 3/03/14 1:20pm 3/03/14 1:20pm

New Maps Show Forests Disappearing in Real Time

The world is vast and travel budgets finite, so looking for deforestation as it's happening all over the world is nigh impossible. That is, of course, unless you have an all seeing eye in the sky—and, hey, you know what, there are satellites orbiting over all of our heads right now. Global Forest Watch is a new, near… » 2/21/14 10:20am 2/21/14 10:20am

This Wind-Powered Tumbleweed Robot Aims to End Desertification

Robots have a hard time walking. They're getting better! But we're a ways away from having a robot that you can send on an excursion through a dune-covered desert. That's why, when he wanted to design a robot to collect climate data, designer Shlomi Mir looked to nature. Specifically, to tumbleweeds. » 2/06/14 1:40pm 2/06/14 1:40pm

The Fascinating Story of Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels

In most American cities, it's hard to walk through a park without spotting a gray squirrel. Those bushy-tailed little buggers are everywhere, chomping on nuts and climbing up trees—but not thanks to nature. No sir. They're there because we put them there to entertain us—among other things. » 12/09/13 11:20am 12/09/13 11:20am