Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world?

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A drone offers a unique bird’s eye view as part of a forest fire surveillance system in the Landes region, France.

I’ve tried many ways to free my brain from my iPhone. I’ve invented rules, bought books, deleted apps, installed other apps. But the only thing that reliably works is to leave the phone at home and to walk along a path through the nearby woods. With trees overhead, and mud below, you quickly forget the last social media notification. You escape the internet of things by surrounding yourself with things that can never be plugged in.

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Bird Thought Extinct in 1940’s Found Nesting on U.S. Soil

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Short-tailed Albatross

In the middle of the last century, things weren’t looking good for the majestic Short-tailed Albatross. From a hardy population estimated to be in the millions just decades earlier, the bird’s numbers underwent a dramatic decline from over-hunting — nearly disappearing from the face of the Earth entirely by the late 1940s. But, while many conservationists believed them to have been made extinct, the few remaining Albatross were plotting their eventual comeback — and now, for the first time, they’ve been spotted nesting on U.S. soil.