ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees

January 28, 2019 by  
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There is now a new tool that can be used to fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees . The same facial recognition software that social media sites use is now being adapted to recognize trafficked animals, and this algorithm will be used to find the faces of these apes online. For an entire year, the BBC investigated the smuggling of chimpanzees and found that they often end up as performers in commercial zoos or as pets to wealthy owners. Baby chimps are so popular, that they can be sold for as much as $12,500. The idea surged after  conservationist Alexandra Russo was investigating online ape trafficking and came across posts on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram where chimpanzees were being offered for purchase. Related: These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife “We were spending more and more time looking through the depths of the internet; it’s like a rabbit hole. You don’t know where to look, you click around pretty aimlessly until you start to find things that look suspicious. So, I thought there must be a more efficient way to do this,” she explains. “I began discussing the possibility of using some kind of software that could automatically find ape faces in online searches.” Russo then contacted Conservation X Labs, a non-profit group, and met with Dr. Colin McCormick, who is an expert in computer vision. The two ended up creating “ ChimpFace .” The software works by detecting images that show a chimpanzee, and then it identifies the individual.  They trained the algorithm to recognize different chimps using facial structures. Russo says that it is important to get as many images as possible of different positions, facial expressions and altered lighting. The algorithm uses a database of 3,000 different ape face images, and different chimpanzee conservation groups have contributed photos. Experts say that this new technology could help bring down large-scale criminal networks.  Facebook and Instagram are already starting to shut down wildlife trafficker accounts. Via BBC Image via PublicDomainPictures

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ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees

Wild chimpanzee mothers teaching offspring to use tools captured on video for first time

October 17, 2016 by  
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Scientists have long known that animals use tools, but now for the very first time they’ve captured wild chimpanzee mothers on video teaching their children to utilize them as well. Researchers led by Stephanie Musgrave of Washington University in St. Louis filmed chimpanzees in the Republic of Congo at Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. Before the video it was rare to see primates teaching their young, according to the researchers , and the new findings have exciting ramifications. Chimpanzee mothers employed a few different techniques to teach their offspring how to use probes made from herbs for termite fishing. In one video, the mother split her tool and gave half to her child, and they began to fish for termites together. In another video, after a chimpanzee child couldn’t get any termites using a tool, a chimpanzee mother gave it the tool she had been using and then changed the child’s probe so she could use it herself. A third video showed a mother giving a child her own probe before she left to find materials to make another one. In addition, chimpanzee children were captured asking their mothers for the tools. Related: Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia According to Musgrave, sharing tools as some of the chimpanzee mothers did allows their offspring to learn about the form and material for successful probes. The mothers aren’t able to forage as much themselves when they share tools, but the offspring get the opportunity to practice termite fishing. As the mothers experienced reduced ability to work for the benefit of their young, the researchers can say the chimpanzees were indeed teaching. Another satisfied criteria is the chimpanzee children’s termite fishing improved as a result of the teaching. Musgrave told The Independent, “Studying how young chimpanzees learn the tool skills particular to their group helps us to understand the evolutionary origins of culture and technology and to clarify how human cultural abilities are similar to or different from those of our closest relatives.” In early October, Scientific Reports published the research prepared by Musgrove and four other scientists from institutes, conservation societies, and universities from the United States, the Republic of Congo, and Germany. Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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Wild chimpanzee mothers teaching offspring to use tools captured on video for first time

11 brilliant ideas for family costumes that will blow you away

October 17, 2016 by  
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Halloween is just a couple of weeks away , so ghouls and goblins everywhere are getting ready to put on fabulous costumes and party it up ’til way past the witching hour. If you haven’t finalized ideas for your own family-themed costumes, don’t fret! There’s still plenty of time to put some great outfits together. In fact, here’s a look at some of the best family get-ups we’ve come across in recent years, from the Simpsons to the cast of Beetlejuice. It’s pretty amazing what you can assemble with a few household items and a bit of creativity, so hopefully these images will inspire some Halloweeny ideas for your own crew. Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington, Sally, Lock, Shock, and Barrel are all ready to celebrate the spookiest night of the year. If grandpa wants to get in on the fun as well, you can toss a burlap sack over him and have him growl all night as  Oogie Boogie .  Photo via Events to Celebrate Van Gogh and Starry Night This adorable duo channels Van Gogh and his most famous painting into a spectacular costume pairing. If parents and other siblings want to get in on the fun too, there can be additional paintings, or even a giant disembodied ear trundling around. Labyrinth This one’s a bit more involved, but if you’re handy with papier mache and have an old 80s prom dress on hand, you can totally channel   Ludo, Sara, Jareth, and goblin ball attendees   for a crew that’s fit to run through any Goblin Kingdom. The Simpsons What better way to get five kids into the Halloween spirit than dress them up as some of the world’s favorite, yellow-hued characters? Some bright yellow shirts and tights, some foam headpieces and styrofoam glasses, and voila! Star Wars Could this Star Wars-themed family  be any more awesome? They converted a stroller into R2-D2 so their little padawan could climb in and rest whenever needed. Gnomes! Some plaid shirts, red paper cone hats, and felt flowers are all you need to transform into a ridiculously adorable garden gnome family like this one that the Kammans put together. The Incredibles This costume set is as unbelievably cool as it is easy to make! Red tights and shirts are worn beneath black shorts, and then gloves + basic masks complete the look.  Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! This wasn’t one of our previous year’s entries (unfortunately!) but it’s absolutely brilliant. The Maitlands, Lydia Deetz, and Beetlejuice are all out in fine form, with costumes that are likely a combination of thrift shop finds and some papier mache sculpting. Via College Humor Walking Dead Family Photographer Carmen Farrell captured her family’s zombie-licious costumes on film. These will be great to show the kids once they’re in high school! Nesting Dolls Amber Sharipov came up with a brilliant ode to her Ukrainian heritage, dressing the whole family like an arrangement of traditional nesting dolls. To replicate this timeless ensemble, outline a dress shape from an already existing dress and a triangle for kerchiefs onto an old red flannel sheet and cut it out. Sew the sides, cut shoulder straps, and glue on embellishments. Paint on some rosy cheeks and you’ll have the most adorable ‘Matryoshkas’ on the block. Tetris This coordinating Tetris set is just brilliant. Not only are these costumes super-simple to make (just paint a few boxes and duct-tape them together), but every member of the family can be a piece that suits their size and shape… right down to the littlest cube. Creating family-themed costumes is a great way to celebrate this marvellously creepy  holiday together, and for most outfits, all that’s needed is a bit of ingenuity and craftiness. If you can slap together some papier mache , knot some yarn into a wig, and go nuts with a little stage makeup, you can come up with some pretty spectacular results. Be sure to take some fabulous photos if you’re planning to submit your group’s costumes to this year’s costume contest (high-res, landscape pictures that are at least 728px wide are best!) so get crafty and get your Halloween faces on! + Enter Inhabitat’s 2016 Halloween Costume Contest   

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11 brilliant ideas for family costumes that will blow you away

Behnisch Architekten breaks ground on green-roofed Agora cancer research center

October 17, 2016 by  
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The sculptural AGORA building will connect to an existing ISREC building on one side and sensitively respond to the surrounding landscape. Transparency is a major theme of the design, from the glazed skin that allows views inside, to the Cancer Research Center’s public level, called the agora. The building’s programmatic areas offer a high level of flexibility so that they can be changed as needed in the future. Related: Behnisch Architekten Wins Competition for New Green-Roofed Agora Cancer Research Centre in Switzerland “Spatial qualities, directly perceived through daylight, proportion and materiality, should be equally visible in public areas and in the highly technical laboratories,” write the architects. “Interdisciplinary communication and disciplinary communication are both central to successful research and are evident in the organization of the floor plans.” In addition to natural daylighting and climate control, the AGORA building will also use renewable and existing energy systems on site for a reduced environmental footprint. The building is slated for completion in 2017. + Behnisch Architekten Via ArchDaily Images via Behnisch Architekten

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Behnisch Architekten breaks ground on green-roofed Agora cancer research center

"Invisible Dyaqua solar cells look just like stone, concrete, and wood

October 17, 2016 by  
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These familiar styles help designers avoid what the company calls “visual damage” typically associated with clunky solar panels . Buildings can be updated to include renewable energy generation without losing their historic charm. Each fixture is made from recyclable and non-toxic materials and can withstand the elements, whether affixed to a roof or patterned into a walkway. The unique assembly includes a top layer which is opaque to the eye, but allows solar rays through to the hidden photovoltaic cells inside. Related: Trailblazing slate tiles with hidden solar thermal reduce energy use by 85% Invisible Solar has already started production on its Rooftile, which is made to resemble classic clay tiles. They recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund their new designs, which will allow backers to gain early access to the brilliant new fixtures. Samples of each style will be sent out to each backer stamped as special edition and featuring a connection to an LED source to demonstrate the product’s power. + Dyaqua Invisible Solar Images via Dyaqua Invisible Solar

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"Invisible Dyaqua solar cells look just like stone, concrete, and wood

Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

September 29, 2016 by  
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Research on chimpanzees , the great ape thought to be most closely related to humans, is at last coming to an end. Last summer the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared captive chimpanzees endangered, which effectively made most chimpanzee research illegal. Now nine chimpanzees have moved from a Louisiana lab to a Georgia mountain sanctuary . Hundreds more are set to follow, and the sanctuary needs your help. Samira, Buttercup, Latricia, Charisse, Jennifer, Emma, Gracie, Gertrude, and Genesis were born at a lab. The New Iberia Research Center used these animals for medical testing for around ten years. Now they’ve been set free, and have been placed in a new home at Project Chimps . Related: NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps Tucked into the Georgia mountains, Project Chimps is a 236-acre sanctuary. Chimpanzees who live there will reside in groups, and be able to play with toys and puzzles. The chimpanzee sanctuary offers indoor cooled and heated spaces for the animals and ” acres of outdoor space ” so the chimps can explore and climb trees. There’s even a “water feature” meant to imitate streams chimpanzees would experience in Africa. Right now the sanctuary has room for 80 chimpanzees. But with over 200 more on the way, Project Chimps will be expanding to include room for 300 chimps. To accomplish this exciting feat, they could use the help of supporters. Caring for each chimp costs the sanctuary around $20,000 every year. If you want to help Project Chimps, you can donate money on their website. The sanctuary also has an Amazon Wish List if you’d like to know exactly what you’re giving to the chimpanzees and staff. You can also donate money specifically to help the sanctuary move the chimps the 16-hour drive from the lab to the sanctuary. For $200, you can send the sanctuary a picture or letter they’ll put in the transport trailer to give the chimpanzees ” something interesting to look at during their trip .” + Project Chimps Via The Christian Science Monitor Images via Project Chimps Facebook and Pixabay

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Abandoned research chimp Ponso can’t survive alone on African island

February 24, 2016 by  
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Ponso the chimpanzee is the sole survivor of a hepatitis research program on an island off the coast of Liberia, and he needs your help. When he was retired from the program that started in 1974, the New York Blood Center in Vilab II placed Ponso on the Atlantic island with about 20 other chimpanzees . Over half of them reportedly died from starvation within months. In 2013, Ponso’s mate and two children perished, leaving him alone. Read the rest of Abandoned research chimp Ponso can’t survive alone on African island

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The National Institutes of Health Ends Chimp Testing, Over 300 Animals to Be Released

June 27, 2013 by  
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After many decades of hard fought battles over animal rights and the immorality of animal testing , the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced that it will end the use of chimps in nearly all of its government medical research. The announcement means that 310 chimpanzees that have been locked away in laboratory cages for nearly all of their lives will now be retired, released to live out the remainder of their days in sanctuary habitats that mimic the wild. Read the rest of The National Institutes of Health Ends Chimp Testing, Over 300 Animals to Be Released Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal abuse , animal rights , animal testing , caged chimpanzees , chimpanzees , government laboratories , NIH        

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The National Institutes of Health Ends Chimp Testing, Over 300 Animals to Be Released

PHOTOS: Living the Green Life at an ‘Echo Village’ Immersed in Buenos Aires’ Delta

June 27, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of PHOTOS: Living the Green Life at an ‘Echo Village’ Immersed in Buenos Aires’ Delta Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ana lisa alperovich , Architecture , Argentina , Buenos Aires , delta , DIY , earth oven , eco-tourism , eco-travel , permaculture , ponds , Recycled Materials , recycled wood , recycling / compost , Tigre , vegetables , water issues , wetlands        

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PHOTOS: Living the Green Life at an ‘Echo Village’ Immersed in Buenos Aires’ Delta

Altruistic Chimpanzees Documented For First Time In Captivity

August 9, 2011 by  
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photo: dullhunk / CC BY For a long time altruistic behavior in chimpanzees in the wild has been documented–unrelated chimps helping one another without apparent expectation of reward–but documentation in a more controlled environment had been lacking, until now. A new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (coming to us via

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