+

Trees: Green, leafy, rustling in the wind. Old-fashioned, carve your name into 'em, crash your bike into 'em trees.

Trees! Photo by Chelsea Bock/Unsplash.


America has more of them now than it's had in 100 years.

Yes! Really. This is very good news. Thanks in large part to sustainable harvesting practices and the creation of national parks, forest growth has been exceeding deforestation in the U.S. for decades.

In fact, many American forestry companies are planting more trees than they harvest. Which is pretty cool if you enjoy looking at trees or, you know ... BREATHING AIR.

The United States contains 8% of the world's forests.

That's roughly 300 million hectares of forest, which is exceeded only by Russia, Brazil, and Canada (where presumably the trees get free health care).

Right before you decorate it and watch it die. Photo by Andrew Spencer/Unsplash.

The largest area of forest growth continues to be on the East Coast.

Average wood-per-acre volumes there have nearly doubled since the 1950s. Which is amazing progress, since the East Coast was the area most heavily logged by European settlers in the 1600s.

"You ever just wonder what it's all really about, man?" Photo by Ales Krevec/Unsplash.

Even New York City, a place not exactly known for its abundance of trees, is doing its part.

In April 2007, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to plant 1 million trees in New York City by 2017. That ambitious goal was met this November with two years to spare — a once-in-a-lifetime case of government accomplishing something faster than expected.

And as if there could be more good news...

It's not just America. The world has more trees than anyone previously thought.

A lot more.

A study conducted by 38 scientists and published by the journal Nature found that there are over 3 trillion trees on the planet, several times higher than previous estimates.

There are 3 tillion trees on Earth. Pictured are some of them. Photo by Kaleb Nimz/Unsplash.

While all of these numbers are encouraging, the picture isn't entirely rosy.

The world still has fewer trees than at any point in human history. Which isn't great.

According to Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the spread of human influence has reduced the number of trees on the planet by half, which is "astronomical."

Still, the trend of tree growth in the U.S. is encouraging. Trees clean pollutants from the air, absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen. They're also home to innumerable species of life around the world.

Look at that tree just crushing it out there. Photo by John Mark Arnold/Unsplash.

In short, trees are awesome and we should have as many of them as possible. So go outside and tell a tree you love it.

Seriously. Go hug a tree. It's not that weird, I promise.

Correction 5/26/2017: A previous version of this story stated that there are 3 billion trees on the planet. The Nature study found 3 trillion, not billion. Even better.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less