Trees, the ancient Macedonians, and the world’s first environmental disaster

Alphabet’s Loon is providing internet access to Peru’s earthquake victims

Google parent company Alphabet is using internet balloons to provide data to Peru’s earthquake victims.

Alphabet’s Loon, started in 2016, uses solar-powered balloons as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from up in the air. The company said Thursday it’s using its balloons to provide LTE to areas of Peru affected by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that hit earlier this week.

Loon was able to quickly respond to the situation because it’d already been active in Peru. The company says it’s spent the last few months negotiating a commercial contract with telecommunications company Telefónica to provide mobile internet access to areas around the country, especially those that are remote.

In the last month, Loon began installing infrastructure and testing the balloons. When the earthquake hit, Peru’s government and Telefónica asked Loon to send balloons to the affected area. The first balloon arrived Tuesday, and more are being sent…


Trees, the ancient Macedonians, and the world’s first environmental disaster

Loon’s internet balloons provide internet access from the sky. Image credit:,1,6

It’s a simple enough equation: good soil is the key to good food. And good soil starts with trees.

Alexander the Great conquered a vast empire that extended from Greece all the way to India. However, his ancestors’ fortune was a mixed bag. A new series of studies show the ancient Macedonians may have been struck by one of the earliest environmental disasters linked to human activity.

Ancient sediment records sealed in lakes for thousands of years reveals how logging may have affected erosion, which ultimately destroyed the capacity of the ancient Macedonians to grow food…

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