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The Spill: Encyclopedia of Smell

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Smelling the World

Have you ever wondered what life in the 1500s smelled like? Well, some folks have. A group of researchers are collecting information on smells from all over the world and from history. They have formed what they call the Odeuropa consortium, and they’re collecting these smells to make an online “Encyclopedia of Smell Heritage.”

The lead investigator, Inger Leemans, said her team would “discover key scents of Europe and bring them back to the nose.” Matija Strlic of the University College London said that “Old smells, or smells of objects, tell us a lot about how those objects degrade, how they can be preserved, and also how those smells can be conserved.”

The project will begin in January and is expected to take three years. The first step will be to develop artificial intelligence (AI). The AI will look at historical writing about smells and how people felt about them. That information will be used to create the encyclopedia of smells.

NASA Tree Counters

How many trees are there? As impossible as it may sound, NASA plans to find out! Scientists plan to use a satellite and artificial intelligence to count every single tree on Earth – from major forests to smaller groups and even lone trees.

Blue Waters at the University of Illinois is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, and it has been performing a “deep learning” on terrain images from parts of West Africa. Until now, much of the research on trees has been in large forests. Scientists discovered they could count trees that the older satellites cannot see.

Given time, these studies will be able to help track deforestation by comparing one year to another. The information will help see if conservation efforts are working.

Presidential Confusion

The 2020 presidential election hasn’t gone as smoothly as planned. It’s almost December, and the American people are still not sure whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be the next president. One of the main reasons for this is the possibility of voter fraud. The president has challenged several states to do a recount on the votes, and Georgia and Wisconsin have already started.

Georgia found more than 5,000 uncounted votes.

In Wisconsin, there were almost 400 mail-in ballots from Milwaukee that were not opened and counted. President Trump’s team paid for a recount. These recounted ballots showed Trump had gained 57 more votes than previously recorded.

The errors in Georgia and Wisconsin are only some of the issues from the election that the president is protesting.

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