technological gardens

halfmoonhead  asked:

Can you elaborate on your thoughts on urban farming/the rich vs poor?

I think there are three issues:

1. Who makes money? (As in, “the big bucks”)

I’ve talked about this a lot with sex and farming, in that even when there is a sizeable portion of female farmers (30-50%), less than 3% of operations of a large scale are owned by women.

As the article said, you could break down who actually makes money from urban farming projects (and vertical, hydroponic, and aquaponic systems especially), by race and sex. Overwhelmingly it’s young white males with access to investment capital who actually make the big bucks, while women and minorities tend to the non-profitable, community-building, soil-based farming projects.

This is a wage gap, and an opportunity gap.

2. Who can treat gardening like performance art, and who does it to survive?

Someone with an MFA and very little practical knowledge about plants can dream up a floating urban garden project, and have all their permits expedited and get grant money flowing in.

Immigrant grannies who live in inner city communities and know how to grow everything in their front yards are the ones who are more likely to face zoning violations, resistance from municipal authorities, and run up against architectural controls.

This is not even getting in to issues like gentrification and environmental racism, that also limit access to safe places to grow.

3. Who does the “urban farming is the future” paradigm, serve?

I think languishing rural communities really get thrown under the bus in all this: “urban farming” has a cool factor, whereas traditional farming conjures up words like ‘redneck,’ and ‘hillbilly.’

Rural communities are being de-populated by urbanisation, and family farms are being bought up by mega-producers, and this is something that is dangerous for the food system. It’s only allowed to happen more when agricultural innovation is seen as something synonymous with “urban.”

Moving out on to the land to do sustainable soil-based production doesn’t have the same cachet as building a rooftop project out of shipping containers, even if the productivity may be higher and environmental impact lower.

In essence I think it’s complicated, but it mostly boils down to the actually profitable business of “urban farming” becoming the domain of already-on-top urbanites.

anonymous asked:

Do you think Ned Stark was successful in anything? Your metas heavily emphasize his failures, faults, and shortcomings. Do you think there was anything he was good at other than being viewed as a good man and moral? I don't see many people acknowledging positive aspects of him-other than he loved his family and was relatively a 'good' person, but that seems to be done more to lighten the criticism of him. Why is he so beloved in the book if he was such a fuck up to his family and the North?

Um, should I not criticize him where criticism is due? Or when an issue he did not handle properly is being discussed? I criticize Ned but I do not denounce him. It’s not that I’m heavily emphasizing his faults but there are places where Ned erred, even if it was sympathetic or understandable in some occasions. I’m generally against considering only one aspect of Ned’s personality as an indication of who he is as a whole, be them his virtues or his faults. My analysis of his motivations or his actions in a certain event isn’t a blanket condemnation of the character or any attempt to argue that he is a fuck up or a bad person. Flawed, certainly, but not bad. Far from it actually. The text itself criticizes Ned  because he, like every other character GRRM writes, is not a saint. He is one of the good ones, but he is not an impeccable untouchable paragon of all that’s good and right. He stands out, certainly, since he is sometimes the only person to speak up against some truly vile things (like the fight with Robert over his condoning of Elia and her children’s murder, or the one over Robert’s command to assassinate a pregnant Daenerys, in which he was joined by Barristan Selmy) but, well, Mycah.

I can’t really speak for the entire fandom, neither do I know what tone the conversation around Ned usually takes, but for me, Ned’s merits and morals and successes are explicitly laid all over the text so I don’t usually feel the need to argue for them. This is the guy who is reputed for his honor across all of Westeros, who garnered the epithet of the honorable Ned Stark. Everyone, friend or foe, make a mention of his morals and honor. And it’s not that he is good at “being viewed” as moral, he genuinely is. Ned Stark is the last person who would perform morality or honor. We’re inside the man’s head, we see his thought process, this is his character and his moral code.

Now the narrative gives us two contrasting ideologies in Tywin Lannister’s and Ned Stark’s to serve as foils to each other, and then goes to bat for Ned’s. It’s a part of a larger body of stories that is meant to make a statement about the importance of upholding values and believing in ideals even when corrupt institutions and individuals ridicule and distort them, or even use them against you. A corrupt system can’t take your ideals away from you, no matter what. Ned’s story falls right in line with this message. His ideals win. His political theory wins. He wins. How can he, then, be considered a failure?

Keep reading

It is Tuesday night, my boyfriend has been out of town since Sunday afternoon. I have been staying at his place and looking after his cat, and being surrounded by his stuff and sleeping in his bed and I MISS HIM. 





3D printing gets its green thumb with the printGREEN grass printer

We’ve seen plastic, metals, biomaterials and even food be printed with 3D printers now its time to print with grass. Students at the University of Maribor in Slovenia have developed a 3D printer which uses a mixture of soil, water and grass seeds as the “filament" taking gardening to a whole new level. 

Keep reading


Lessons of the Loess Plateau  

“In 2005, the Chinese government, in cooperation with the World Bank, completed the world’s largest watershed restoration on the upper banks of the Yellow River. Woefully under-publicized, the $500 million enterprise transformed an area of 35,000 square kilometers on the Loess Plateau — roughly the area of Belgium — from dusty wasteland to a verdant agricultural center.“


Gifts for Gardeners

#24: A Bird Box with a Live Feed Camera

We actually have one of these in our garden, and I can occasionally flip the TV input to “the bird channel” and see if anyone new has taken up residence. Ours is older, so has a long cord running along the fence.

Now, these cameras come in wireless, with night vision and sound. You can install a camera in an existing bird box, get the whole kit and caboodle together. Either way, it allows a fascinating peek into the lives of your local feathered friends.

Images: Spy Camera CCTV

Bars without alcohol also got me thinking about churches without religion.

A friends asked me “wouldn’t that just be a community center?” And the answer is no.

I’m still imagining a chapel where people go every Sunday and someone speaks tot he congregation. But what they speak about is up to them - it could be about anything: technology, gardening, ethics, love, family, exercise, whatever they chose - and then guided a discussion about their topic.  Who spoke would also depend on a rotating schedule, chosen by everyone who volunteers to speak. 

I’m picturing a rural town full of algae farmers and folks that work on the solar plants at the edge of town. It’s a quaint and picturesque place where the teens go to the dry bar after school and everyone puts darling little solar glass lawn ornaments on their moss out front. This Sunday, the topic at church is “The Poetry of Maya Angelou,” lead by a local student.


NEW! Worx Landroid Robot Lawn Mower

Newest Landroid robotic lawn mower is definitely the future of automated yard work. It is fully automatic, cordless and unlike other similar devices, has sensors and an AI in it, which give it an edge over the competition.


One of my favorite parts of any space center, a rocket garden provides a peaceful setting to observe and inspect the flight hardware that mankind has used in its quest to conquer the stars. Kennedy Space Center’s rocket garden was the best I have ever seen it when I visited yesterday, 23 July, 2014.

Since I last visited, every rocket has been repainted. The bright red colors of the vehicle markings on the Saturn IB stood out to the most to me. One of my favorite rockets, I remember the IB at Kennedy Space Center severely deteriorated, paint faded and metal rusted. Not the case anymore.

The relatively recently refurbished Gemini Titan II has as it’s most defining feature it’s single LR-87 engine. Since the engine compartment faring was omitted on the Titan missile, the engines and nozzles are exposed more than on other rockets. This allows for great inspection of its complicated system of tubes, pipes, and wires.

One element of the garden I was not able to capture recently are the rockets illuminated at night. The Saturn IB is draped in a dark blue, with each vertical rocket different illuminations of white. Ground lighting adds another level of beautiful ambiance to the garden, which takes on a totally different atmosphere after dark.


Video: Toro-Bots.

These robotic garden lamps are connected via a central wireless hub, which can also be accessed via iPad to monitor or change their behaviour.

These little garden ‘bots are meant to meander about your topiaries and flower pots, altering the overall aesthetic of your garden every time you lift your head. Even better, each of the Toro-bots has its own encoded “personality”. With a series of infrared rangefinders, the robots can sense their surroundings, even reacting to human visitors to their garden by stepping out of your way.

Star Wars - Xehanort Strikes Back! - Star Wars in Kingdom Hearts III

With hype from the first trailer of Star Wars Episode VII settling, the possibility of seeing the George Lucas conglomerate in the realm of Kingdom Hearts isn’t as far-fetched as it has been. Disney now owns Marvel and Lucasfilms, opening the minds of fans to numerous possibilities of cross-overs from a giant encyclopedia of characters from different universes. So, why can’t Sora fight against the Dark Side with the Skywalkers?

Keep reading