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Electric cars have to make noise soon in Switzerland
In 2019 all electric and hybrid cars have to make noise in Switzerland. By making an electronic sound, it will be saver for pedestrians and people on bicycles. Also, for people with a visual impairment the chance for an accident with a noise making electric vehicle will be smaller. This news is confirmed by the FEDRO (Federal Roads Office. Electric- and hybrid cars will start making noise. The  electric- and hybrid cars will be fitted with speakers on the outside that will make the sound of an engine. This technology is known as Acoustic vehicle Alerting System. The sound must be audible at a speed of max 20 km/hour or if the car is reversing. Halfway 2019 this rule will go into effect to all new electric- and hybrid vehicles. If you have an electric- or hybrid car you don’t need to worry. In Switzerland they will be the first to be in line with the European Regulations. An Organisation in Switzerland who is in charge for the interests of blind does not agree with the regulations and think they don’t go far enough. Also, electric- and hybrid vehicles which stand still should make noise. {youtube} The Audi noise https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
In 2019 all electric and hybrid cars have to make noise in Switzerland. By making an electronic sound, it will be saver for pedestrians and people on bicycles. Also, for people with a visual impairment the chance for an accident with a noise making electric vehicle will be smaller. This news is confirmed by the FEDRO (Federal Roads Office. Electric- and hybrid cars will start making noise. The  electric- and hybrid cars will be fitted with speakers on the outside that will make the sound of an engine. This technology is known as Acoustic vehicle Alerting System. The sound must be audible at a speed of max 20 km/hour or if the car is reversing. Halfway 2019 this rule will go into effect to all new electric- and hybrid vehicles. If you have an electric- or hybrid car you don’t need to worry. In Switzerland they will be the first to be in line with the European Regulations. An Organisation in Switzerland who is in charge for the interests of blind does not agree with the regulations and think they don’t go far enough. Also, electric- and hybrid vehicles which stand still should make noise. {youtube} The Audi noise https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
Electric cars have to make noise soon in Switzerland
Electric cars have to make noise soon in Switzerland
Vertical agriculture – the future of farming is about to get off the ground
Future of farming is about to get off the ground – quite literally. In a brand new warehouse in Wageningen, The Netherlands, vertical farming is taking shape, with crops being grown above one another instead of next to each other. When you enter the warehouse, the first thing that stands out is the purple. The plants, stacked one above the other in KeyGene’s research greenhouse, are bathing in a sea of ​​purple light. And we haven’t even seen the true extent of it yet. “We have just added some more green [light] so you can see the plants better”, says Rolf Mank. “Normally, the plants are surrounded by even more purple”. He pulls up the controls for the lights on his tablet and increases the red value – and indeed, the purple light in the greenhouse becomes even brighter. Image by: Simon Lenskens A quiet, sun-lit field and a farmer ploughing it on his tractor – this image feels hopelessly out-dated when you are walking around KeyGene’s Crop Innovation Center. The center is actually a greenhouse that is tucked away in an industrial area on the outskirts of Wageningen, and it is where the latest technologies in the field of agriculture are tested. One of the most fascinating techniques is vertical farming, the cultivation of crops above each other instead of next to each other - agriculture in 3D, so to speak.   Revolutionising urban farming Rolf Mank is KeyGene’s expert in vertical agriculture. In the new research greenhouse Mank has 3 mini greenhouses for studying crops that are grown one on top of each other. The sides of these greenhouses, which resemble large walk-in coolers, have special shelving for steel planters to hang in. KeyGene helps growers solve problems posed by vertical agriculture, often providing innovations for breeders that allow them to develop new varieties of plants. These problems can crop up in all sorts of unexpected ways. 'Take that purple light, for example,” says Mank. “Plants look almost black in it. This makes it very difficult for you as a grower to see if there is something wrong with the plant. So you have to add a little bit of green light to observe the plant.” The term “vertical agriculture” is often used one-to-one with urban farming, agriculture within the city limits. The idea comes from metropolises in the US and Japan, where the demand for fresh vegetables is high and the costs of getting those vegetables into the city are high as well. This is where vertical agriculture can become the solution. When you stack empty apartment buildings full of planters you can fill supermarket shelves with locally grown vegetables. In Tokyo and New York, as well as other places, there are already large-scale urban farms where leafy vegetables and herbs are grown under artificial light.   LEDs are lighting the way to a brighter future Social demand isn’t the only driver behind the increasing popularity of vertical agriculture – technological innovations are also driving its growth. Indoor farming generally utilises sodium lamps, which are the same as the ones used in streetlights. “These lamps convert a large part of the energy that they use not into light, but into heat. You must hang them at least three meters above the crops, otherwise they will burn.” The rapid rise of LED lighting offers a solution to this issue. Mank explains that LED lamps are much more efficient at converting energy into light and can thus be hung right above the plants. Moreover, you can play with colour. Erik Toussaint, spokesman for KeyGene, drew a wavelength of a light wave in his notepad. “The wavelengths associated with blue, red and far red are the ones that the plants enjoy the most”, he says, drawing arrows in his notepad. “They don’t perform as well under green. With LED lights, you can extract the green spectrum from the light beam, so that you do not have to put any energy into it anymore.” Square Roots' greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York. Image by: James en Karla Murray But is the grass any greener? Square Roots gives a good impression of how vertical farming looks in practice. This American company, founded by Kimbal Musk - the younger brother of Elon Musk - grows basil and lettuce in containers bathed in purple light in the heart of Brooklyn. That looks impressively advanced, but it also raises the question: is such an artificial environment actually good for the crop? There are indeed disadvantages to vertical agriculture. Or “disadvantages”, as Mank prefers to speak of them as of “opportunities”. "Take the tomato plant. In its current form it is too high for vertical agriculture. At KeyGene we have to ask: how can we adapt the plant so that it becomes shorter and thrives in a vertical greenhouse?” Mank acknowledges that they are still looking for solutions for some of the problems that vertical agriculture suffers. For example, in the case of agriculture in an enclosed space, air humidity increases rapidly, requiring expensive dehumidifiers. "And pests and diseases, which we do not know about yet, can play a role," says Mank. “In addition, many insect species cannot find their way in LED light. How does that affect plant development? And do biological pest control agents, such as predatory mites or parasitic wasps, still do their job well? These are questions that we can answer with the help of the new research greenhouse.”   Vertical farming – a logical step forward or simply a trend? Marie-Christine Van Labeke, professor of plant physiology at the University of Ghent, agrees that vertical farming is on the rise. “The term has been known to researchers for twenty years”, she says over the phone. "But the new lighting technology has attracted a lot of attention." Van Labeke expects vertical agriculture to become commonplace in large cities in about ten to fifteen years. “Although much will depend on the price. Are the multi-layer system and the energy for the lamps cheap enough for the grower to be profitable?” In Ghent they are researching a form of vertical agriculture that is more familiar: in greenhouses. In principle, it is possible to build a so-called 'migrating' system, in which the layers slide one by one to the top of the greenhouse to bask in the sunlight. KeyGene has a similar system, where more than ten thousand plants move slowly through two layers and stand in the sun for half the time. This means that no energy from lamps is needed. Yet Mank and Toussaint do not expect much from vertical agriculture in greenhouses. “In the Netherlands there is sufficient light for the greenhouses and the infrastructure is in up to par. The immediate demand for fresh vegetables is already very well served, "says Toussaint. Mank adds: “In vertical agriculture we think mainly of cities like Moscow, Mumbai and Dubai. In the Netherlands it will at most serve a niche market. Think of a vertical greenhouse in the supermarket, where herbs are grown for promotion.”   Combining new technology with an old practice Those who cast aside their doubts regarding vertical agriculture quickly see the ingenious possibilities that the technology entails. Van Labeke shares one such example: “Exploratory studies show that plants produce antioxidants under certain light wavelengths. This can potentially be applied by putting plants under the light at that wavelength a week before harvesting. This way you could use specific ‘light recipes’ to grow extra nutritious plants.” Marco van Schriek, expert in digital phenotyping, which is fully automatic measuring of plants, is tasked with taking KeyGene’s innovation one step further into the future. Van Schriek points to a large metal compartment. “The plants will enter the photo area via the conveyor belt,” he says. “The computer analyzes the photos and automatically puts measurement data on growth into the system.” By linking a system such as digital phenotyping to vertical agriculture, in which you can regulate all conditions such as light, temperature and air humidity, you get a fully automatic, computer-controlled agriculture, in which an algorithm determines how much water and what light the plants are being administered. And what about the farmer on his tractor? "In the end, we also help that farmer," says Toussaint. “With our advanced research we look at questions such as: how do we make a plant resistant to certain diseases? Then you will have to spray fewer pesticides and that is better for everyone.”   Important vertical agriculture companies Square Roots   - Vertical agriculture in containers in the heart of Brooklyn by Kimbal Musk. AeroFarms - Large-scale domestic builder from America. Opened a 6,500 m² vertical farm in 2016, where they produce almost one million kilos of vegetables annually. Fujitsu - Japanese ICT giant transforming one of its semiconductor plants into a vertical lettuce farm - reportedly to convince farmers to use ICT services. Plenty - New player on the market. Applies 'tower agriculture', where the crops do not grow in stacked containers, but sideways in towers of sorts. GROWx – Amsterdam-based vertical farm that is the first to run entirely on renewable energy.   This article is a translation of a Dutch piece by Volkskrant. Our Dutch readers can read it  here.  
Future of farming is about to get off the ground – quite literally. In a brand new warehouse in Wageningen, The Netherlands, vertical farming is taking shape, with crops being grown above one another instead of next to each other. When you enter the warehouse, the first thing that stands out is the purple. The plants, stacked one above the other in KeyGene’s research greenhouse, are bathing in a sea of ​​purple light. And we haven’t even seen the true extent of it yet. “We have just added some more green [light] so you can see the plants better”, says Rolf Mank. “Normally, the plants are surrounded by even more purple”. He pulls up the controls for the lights on his tablet and increases the red value – and indeed, the purple light in the greenhouse becomes even brighter. Image by: Simon Lenskens A quiet, sun-lit field and a farmer ploughing it on his tractor – this image feels hopelessly out-dated when you are walking around KeyGene’s Crop Innovation Center. The center is actually a greenhouse that is tucked away in an industrial area on the outskirts of Wageningen, and it is where the latest technologies in the field of agriculture are tested. One of the most fascinating techniques is vertical farming, the cultivation of crops above each other instead of next to each other - agriculture in 3D, so to speak.   Revolutionising urban farming Rolf Mank is KeyGene’s expert in vertical agriculture. In the new research greenhouse Mank has 3 mini greenhouses for studying crops that are grown one on top of each other. The sides of these greenhouses, which resemble large walk-in coolers, have special shelving for steel planters to hang in. KeyGene helps growers solve problems posed by vertical agriculture, often providing innovations for breeders that allow them to develop new varieties of plants. These problems can crop up in all sorts of unexpected ways. 'Take that purple light, for example,” says Mank. “Plants look almost black in it. This makes it very difficult for you as a grower to see if there is something wrong with the plant. So you have to add a little bit of green light to observe the plant.” The term “vertical agriculture” is often used one-to-one with urban farming, agriculture within the city limits. The idea comes from metropolises in the US and Japan, where the demand for fresh vegetables is high and the costs of getting those vegetables into the city are high as well. This is where vertical agriculture can become the solution. When you stack empty apartment buildings full of planters you can fill supermarket shelves with locally grown vegetables. In Tokyo and New York, as well as other places, there are already large-scale urban farms where leafy vegetables and herbs are grown under artificial light.   LEDs are lighting the way to a brighter future Social demand isn’t the only driver behind the increasing popularity of vertical agriculture – technological innovations are also driving its growth. Indoor farming generally utilises sodium lamps, which are the same as the ones used in streetlights. “These lamps convert a large part of the energy that they use not into light, but into heat. You must hang them at least three meters above the crops, otherwise they will burn.” The rapid rise of LED lighting offers a solution to this issue. Mank explains that LED lamps are much more efficient at converting energy into light and can thus be hung right above the plants. Moreover, you can play with colour. Erik Toussaint, spokesman for KeyGene, drew a wavelength of a light wave in his notepad. “The wavelengths associated with blue, red and far red are the ones that the plants enjoy the most”, he says, drawing arrows in his notepad. “They don’t perform as well under green. With LED lights, you can extract the green spectrum from the light beam, so that you do not have to put any energy into it anymore.” Square Roots' greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York. Image by: James en Karla Murray But is the grass any greener? Square Roots gives a good impression of how vertical farming looks in practice. This American company, founded by Kimbal Musk - the younger brother of Elon Musk - grows basil and lettuce in containers bathed in purple light in the heart of Brooklyn. That looks impressively advanced, but it also raises the question: is such an artificial environment actually good for the crop? There are indeed disadvantages to vertical agriculture. Or “disadvantages”, as Mank prefers to speak of them as of “opportunities”. "Take the tomato plant. In its current form it is too high for vertical agriculture. At KeyGene we have to ask: how can we adapt the plant so that it becomes shorter and thrives in a vertical greenhouse?” Mank acknowledges that they are still looking for solutions for some of the problems that vertical agriculture suffers. For example, in the case of agriculture in an enclosed space, air humidity increases rapidly, requiring expensive dehumidifiers. "And pests and diseases, which we do not know about yet, can play a role," says Mank. “In addition, many insect species cannot find their way in LED light. How does that affect plant development? And do biological pest control agents, such as predatory mites or parasitic wasps, still do their job well? These are questions that we can answer with the help of the new research greenhouse.”   Vertical farming – a logical step forward or simply a trend? Marie-Christine Van Labeke, professor of plant physiology at the University of Ghent, agrees that vertical farming is on the rise. “The term has been known to researchers for twenty years”, she says over the phone. "But the new lighting technology has attracted a lot of attention." Van Labeke expects vertical agriculture to become commonplace in large cities in about ten to fifteen years. “Although much will depend on the price. Are the multi-layer system and the energy for the lamps cheap enough for the grower to be profitable?” In Ghent they are researching a form of vertical agriculture that is more familiar: in greenhouses. In principle, it is possible to build a so-called 'migrating' system, in which the layers slide one by one to the top of the greenhouse to bask in the sunlight. KeyGene has a similar system, where more than ten thousand plants move slowly through two layers and stand in the sun for half the time. This means that no energy from lamps is needed. Yet Mank and Toussaint do not expect much from vertical agriculture in greenhouses. “In the Netherlands there is sufficient light for the greenhouses and the infrastructure is in up to par. The immediate demand for fresh vegetables is already very well served, "says Toussaint. Mank adds: “In vertical agriculture we think mainly of cities like Moscow, Mumbai and Dubai. In the Netherlands it will at most serve a niche market. Think of a vertical greenhouse in the supermarket, where herbs are grown for promotion.”   Combining new technology with an old practice Those who cast aside their doubts regarding vertical agriculture quickly see the ingenious possibilities that the technology entails. Van Labeke shares one such example: “Exploratory studies show that plants produce antioxidants under certain light wavelengths. This can potentially be applied by putting plants under the light at that wavelength a week before harvesting. This way you could use specific ‘light recipes’ to grow extra nutritious plants.” Marco van Schriek, expert in digital phenotyping, which is fully automatic measuring of plants, is tasked with taking KeyGene’s innovation one step further into the future. Van Schriek points to a large metal compartment. “The plants will enter the photo area via the conveyor belt,” he says. “The computer analyzes the photos and automatically puts measurement data on growth into the system.” By linking a system such as digital phenotyping to vertical agriculture, in which you can regulate all conditions such as light, temperature and air humidity, you get a fully automatic, computer-controlled agriculture, in which an algorithm determines how much water and what light the plants are being administered. And what about the farmer on his tractor? "In the end, we also help that farmer," says Toussaint. “With our advanced research we look at questions such as: how do we make a plant resistant to certain diseases? Then you will have to spray fewer pesticides and that is better for everyone.”   Important vertical agriculture companies Square Roots   - Vertical agriculture in containers in the heart of Brooklyn by Kimbal Musk. AeroFarms - Large-scale domestic builder from America. Opened a 6,500 m² vertical farm in 2016, where they produce almost one million kilos of vegetables annually. Fujitsu - Japanese ICT giant transforming one of its semiconductor plants into a vertical lettuce farm - reportedly to convince farmers to use ICT services. Plenty - New player on the market. Applies 'tower agriculture', where the crops do not grow in stacked containers, but sideways in towers of sorts. GROWx – Amsterdam-based vertical farm that is the first to run entirely on renewable energy.   This article is a translation of a Dutch piece by Volkskrant. Our Dutch readers can read it  here.  
Vertical agriculture – the future of farming is about to get off the ground
Vertical agriculture – the future of farming is about to get off the ground
Refuge du Gouter: Sustainable way to the top
Only a small number of us will ever be able to experience it: the last stop before the final climb to the top of the Mont Blanc. This stop on the main route was notorious for its lousy accommodation: a bland, uncomfortable building built in the sixties, that was not only painfully outdated but also an environmental hazard. Those visiting for an overnight stay would do well to prepare themselves for recurring problems with hygiene - the two outside toilets are not only inconvenient, they also heavily pollute the surrounding area through its direct emptying of waste on the mountainside - and freezing nightly temperatures, even inside.   Not exactly a great preparation for one of the biggest climbs in some climbers’ lives, yet it certainly adds a certain something to the charm and roughness associated with mountaineering. Right? Well, that logic might have been sound until recently, when it was high time to upgrade the lodging. A new, sustainable mountain hut This was done in the form of the Refuge du Goûter, a new and ecological hut. The remarkable structure, resembling some kind of futuristic egg, has four stories and an all-wooden structure that has been clad using stainless steel. It partly overhangs the cliff below, guaranteeing breathtaking views and enhancing its ‘curb appeal’. And appeal it certainly has. Not only from an architectural point of view (the Swiss designer Hervé Dessimoz spent five years merely designing the building), but also from an ecological point of view. The building is self-sufficient in its demand for energy and water, boasting a solar thermal system and self-sufficient water supply.   Plenty of ecological features This sophisticated system for water reclamation provides a supply of water for cooking and washing. It makes good use of the egg shape of the building: because of the wind, constant turbulence lets the snow slide across its outer skin, after which it accumulates in a grid of some 60 square meters. Within this grid, heat generated by solar panels melts this snow, after which it is collected in huge tanks. Due to the size of these tanks, the building can operate for 16 days without snow.   These solar panels also generate heat and electricity for the building, providing in nearly all of its heating and power needs - only the kitchen still makes use of gas. When there is no sunlight, a backup generator that runs on rapeseed oil will produce electricity.   Sewage farm and isolation Another huge plus: human waste will no longer be dumped on the mountainside. Instead, the six environmentally friendly toilets within the hut are built to be ecological and clean. The amount of water that they use is minimised through the implementation of a vacuum-suction system that most of us will know from aircrafts. Upon flushing, the human waste will be collected in a tiny sewage farm that processes it into some kind of highly compacted sludge that can, if required, be heliported down to the valley and be disposed properly. No longer will eager mountaineers have to suffer from the cold: the new location is equipped with triple glazing and dual-flow ventilation, as well as insulation provided by wood-fibre panels. All of this ensures an indoor temperature that ranges between 18 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius.   Construction in pieces The entire structure was put together in pieces: pre-assembled parts were taken in by helicopter and mounted securely using a specific resin adhesive. This drastically reduced the number of nuts and bolts that would be required. It took three years to complete construction, with work only possible in the warmer months of the years - and frequently interrupted by severe weather events.   Despite the difficulties, the project supervisor Thomas Büchi and architect Dessimoz never wavered in their dedication to the project: “ What we're saying is that, if it's possible to build a self-sufficient, eco-friendly building at 3,835 metres, there's no excuse for not doing it at sea level .” And right they are! The need for an ecologically sustainable building at this altitude and in this spot might have been doubted by some, yet it only seems to highlight the possibilities and the ease with which it can be executed, if only those in charge are dedicated to doing ‘the right thing’.   Countering the effects of global warming Even in this small Mont Blanc community, the effects of global warming and other strains that have been put on the natural environment are starting to show. The number of serious accidents amongst climbers on the Mont Blanc has increased significantly in recent years, most of which resulting from falling rocks. In the past, snow and ice would keep them in place, yet due to warmer temperatures, they are loose and subject to sliding at any time. Last summer alone, more than 1,000 climbers experienced falling rocks on their ascent. With the ever-increasing number of people gearing up to conquer Europe’s highest mountain, it only seems to underline the importance of providing ecological and sustainable accommodation and facilities: to preserve this miracle of Mother Nature for many generations to come.
Only a small number of us will ever be able to experience it: the last stop before the final climb to the top of the Mont Blanc. This stop on the main route was notorious for its lousy accommodation: a bland, uncomfortable building built in the sixties, that was not only painfully outdated but also an environmental hazard. Those visiting for an overnight stay would do well to prepare themselves for recurring problems with hygiene - the two outside toilets are not only inconvenient, they also heavily pollute the surrounding area through its direct emptying of waste on the mountainside - and freezing nightly temperatures, even inside.   Not exactly a great preparation for one of the biggest climbs in some climbers’ lives, yet it certainly adds a certain something to the charm and roughness associated with mountaineering. Right? Well, that logic might have been sound until recently, when it was high time to upgrade the lodging. A new, sustainable mountain hut This was done in the form of the Refuge du Goûter, a new and ecological hut. The remarkable structure, resembling some kind of futuristic egg, has four stories and an all-wooden structure that has been clad using stainless steel. It partly overhangs the cliff below, guaranteeing breathtaking views and enhancing its ‘curb appeal’. And appeal it certainly has. Not only from an architectural point of view (the Swiss designer Hervé Dessimoz spent five years merely designing the building), but also from an ecological point of view. The building is self-sufficient in its demand for energy and water, boasting a solar thermal system and self-sufficient water supply.   Plenty of ecological features This sophisticated system for water reclamation provides a supply of water for cooking and washing. It makes good use of the egg shape of the building: because of the wind, constant turbulence lets the snow slide across its outer skin, after which it accumulates in a grid of some 60 square meters. Within this grid, heat generated by solar panels melts this snow, after which it is collected in huge tanks. Due to the size of these tanks, the building can operate for 16 days without snow.   These solar panels also generate heat and electricity for the building, providing in nearly all of its heating and power needs - only the kitchen still makes use of gas. When there is no sunlight, a backup generator that runs on rapeseed oil will produce electricity.   Sewage farm and isolation Another huge plus: human waste will no longer be dumped on the mountainside. Instead, the six environmentally friendly toilets within the hut are built to be ecological and clean. The amount of water that they use is minimised through the implementation of a vacuum-suction system that most of us will know from aircrafts. Upon flushing, the human waste will be collected in a tiny sewage farm that processes it into some kind of highly compacted sludge that can, if required, be heliported down to the valley and be disposed properly. No longer will eager mountaineers have to suffer from the cold: the new location is equipped with triple glazing and dual-flow ventilation, as well as insulation provided by wood-fibre panels. All of this ensures an indoor temperature that ranges between 18 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius.   Construction in pieces The entire structure was put together in pieces: pre-assembled parts were taken in by helicopter and mounted securely using a specific resin adhesive. This drastically reduced the number of nuts and bolts that would be required. It took three years to complete construction, with work only possible in the warmer months of the years - and frequently interrupted by severe weather events.   Despite the difficulties, the project supervisor Thomas Büchi and architect Dessimoz never wavered in their dedication to the project: “ What we're saying is that, if it's possible to build a self-sufficient, eco-friendly building at 3,835 metres, there's no excuse for not doing it at sea level .” And right they are! The need for an ecologically sustainable building at this altitude and in this spot might have been doubted by some, yet it only seems to highlight the possibilities and the ease with which it can be executed, if only those in charge are dedicated to doing ‘the right thing’.   Countering the effects of global warming Even in this small Mont Blanc community, the effects of global warming and other strains that have been put on the natural environment are starting to show. The number of serious accidents amongst climbers on the Mont Blanc has increased significantly in recent years, most of which resulting from falling rocks. In the past, snow and ice would keep them in place, yet due to warmer temperatures, they are loose and subject to sliding at any time. Last summer alone, more than 1,000 climbers experienced falling rocks on their ascent. With the ever-increasing number of people gearing up to conquer Europe’s highest mountain, it only seems to underline the importance of providing ecological and sustainable accommodation and facilities: to preserve this miracle of Mother Nature for many generations to come.
Refuge du Gouter: Sustainable way to the top
Refuge du Gouter: Sustainable way to the top
Smart agriculture will be data (AI) driven agriculture
Scandal and headlines about data farming abound today, thanks to the alleged irresponsibility of the world’s biggest media platforms regarding consumer data. But new applications for AI in the industrial space prove that there’s a positive role yet for data farmers – although, perhaps not the kind you’re thinking of. Data farming for agricultural activities could be very benificial   As businesspeople grapple with the challenges of minimal infrastructure and effective use of data, the hunt for valuable use cases for AI and IoT technology continues – and finding the right answers to their business problems could lead them to some unusual places. Modern agriculture has long been technology-driven, but many of the challenges associated with farming in the 21st century fall against the backdrop of growing  food insecurity and a booming population outgrowing the rate of agricultural efficiency. By 2050, increases of 70% in global food production is the bare minimum required to feed the world’s population – a challenge even more severe if that population is to be fully nourished. One of the most promising approaches to solve this global issue is data-driven agriculture – and FarmBeats is an end-to-end IoT platform for agriculture which puts AI and machine learning at its core.   Intelligent agriculture is sustainable agriculture   “If we could augment the farmer with insights, then this could drive techniques such as precision agriculture, which has been shown to reduce costs, improve yields, and help with sustainable agriculture,” argues Ranveer Chandra, Principal Researcher for FarmBeats. Chandra headed a small project team of nine people, who were tasked with trying to find a way to boost yields and farm efficiency AI. That’s easier said than done, especially in a sector that remains mostly undigitized at the point of production. “The need for  AI is significant in agriculture. However, in most agricultural settings – especially in the developing world – farmers don’t have the same IT expertise as someone working in an industrial IoT settings,” Chandra says. “Hence, we need to take additional steps, and apply the AI techniques to provide actionable insights on top of the raw data and imagery that we collect from the farms. Based on these models, we can predict what is likely to happen in the future with some degree of confidence.”   Faced with little to no Internet coverage out on rural farms, Chandra’s team were challenged to develop low-cost connectivity solutions on which IoT sensors and AI hardware could operate. “We designed a system that used new technologies, such as TV white spaces, to gather data from the farms at a very low cost,” Chandra says. “This technology allows several Mbps connection over a few miles, which we are able to use to collect data not only from sensors, but also from drones and cameras.”     An effective case study for AI and the IIoT   By applying machine vision algorithms to drone footage, FarmBeats is able to provide farmers with a digital heatmap of crop health and ground moisture   Photo by: VeryDrone The end result is an incredibly sophisticated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution which provides farmers with real-time data, insights, and actionable recommendations using AI and sensor technology. Ground sensors measure inputs such as soil moisture and nutrients; temperature and humidity are monitored in food storage and livestock shelters; while drones are used to help farmers map their fields, monitor crop canopy remotely, and check for anomalies. “IoT is a way to capture enormous amounts of data that was previously just not available to us. However, this deluge of data can be hard to parse. The key challenge here is how to transform data from IoT systems and satellites into actionable insights, and this is really where AI and machine learning come in,” Chandra explains.   Photo by: GeoSpatialWorld Farm Beats uses AI techniques to fuse aerial imagery from drones with ground sensor data, while also leveraging deep learning and machine vision on video streams to identify pests, diseases, and nutritional deficiencies in crops. Here, edge computing became necessary to overcome any connectivity barriers of working in the cloud.   A PC running Microsoft Azure IoT Edge on Windows 10 uses computer vision algorithms to stitch together drone images into a panoramic image, perform machine learning on images from drones and cameras, and is also able to run offline – syncing data to the cloud so that the farmer can access the data remotely.       Learning from FarmBeats: AI and IoT for industry   Chandra believes that the FarmBeats system is a unique showcase for how IoT and AI can be used in a challenging scenario to solve some of the world’s hardest problems. The core principles of connectivity, IoT, and AI at the edge involves innovations which he believes can help drive digital transformation of several other challenging verticals, including mining, construction, and forestry. So how can legacy businesses look to start implementing AI and the Industrial IoT into their industrial processes?   “Never start with the technology angle, i.e. asking how you can use AI and IoT,” Chandra argues. “Go back to the drawing board, think about your business processes and challenges, and identify areas of improvement – and don’t have your technology teams in the room while you do this. They’re going to hate me for saying that, but we have a tendency to limit ourselves within the boundaries of existing technologies. There’s no silver bullet – you need to first identify your business challenges and future aspirations in a technology agnostic way.” “Secondly, get some data on Azure – data is the new oil, and cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in maing decisions, and less than 1% of unstructured data is analyzed or used at all. Data consolidation, cleansing, standardization would be the right starting point – we call this building the data infrastructure for digital transformation. Next steps would be providing a data governance platform, where we provide the right search mechanisms to make the data findable, monitor the usage and store in immutable ledgers, build a billing mechanism where you can charge internal and external users, build a secure datasharing mechanism with external untrusted parties, and finally, develop a security and privacy platform. This is what we at MS call a Trusted Data Platform.”   From there, businesses should look at turning this data into actionable information for use by AI. Here, MS recommend tapping into your organization’s unique IP, where you are able to apply deep knowledge optimization of business processes to developing artificial intelligence assets. “Providing connected by utilizing the digital feedback loops possible with the introduction of IoT and cloud-based capabilities could bring new revenue streams. One of the fastest growing areas we see is connected field services where this continuous dataflow, combined with internal inforamtion assets, makes new service models possible – leading to higher margins with special service contracts.”   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture   By Ciarán Daly
Scandal and headlines about data farming abound today, thanks to the alleged irresponsibility of the world’s biggest media platforms regarding consumer data. But new applications for AI in the industrial space prove that there’s a positive role yet for data farmers – although, perhaps not the kind you’re thinking of. Data farming for agricultural activities could be very benificial   As businesspeople grapple with the challenges of minimal infrastructure and effective use of data, the hunt for valuable use cases for AI and IoT technology continues – and finding the right answers to their business problems could lead them to some unusual places. Modern agriculture has long been technology-driven, but many of the challenges associated with farming in the 21st century fall against the backdrop of growing  food insecurity and a booming population outgrowing the rate of agricultural efficiency. By 2050, increases of 70% in global food production is the bare minimum required to feed the world’s population – a challenge even more severe if that population is to be fully nourished. One of the most promising approaches to solve this global issue is data-driven agriculture – and FarmBeats is an end-to-end IoT platform for agriculture which puts AI and machine learning at its core.   Intelligent agriculture is sustainable agriculture   “If we could augment the farmer with insights, then this could drive techniques such as precision agriculture, which has been shown to reduce costs, improve yields, and help with sustainable agriculture,” argues Ranveer Chandra, Principal Researcher for FarmBeats. Chandra headed a small project team of nine people, who were tasked with trying to find a way to boost yields and farm efficiency AI. That’s easier said than done, especially in a sector that remains mostly undigitized at the point of production. “The need for  AI is significant in agriculture. However, in most agricultural settings – especially in the developing world – farmers don’t have the same IT expertise as someone working in an industrial IoT settings,” Chandra says. “Hence, we need to take additional steps, and apply the AI techniques to provide actionable insights on top of the raw data and imagery that we collect from the farms. Based on these models, we can predict what is likely to happen in the future with some degree of confidence.”   Faced with little to no Internet coverage out on rural farms, Chandra’s team were challenged to develop low-cost connectivity solutions on which IoT sensors and AI hardware could operate. “We designed a system that used new technologies, such as TV white spaces, to gather data from the farms at a very low cost,” Chandra says. “This technology allows several Mbps connection over a few miles, which we are able to use to collect data not only from sensors, but also from drones and cameras.”     An effective case study for AI and the IIoT   By applying machine vision algorithms to drone footage, FarmBeats is able to provide farmers with a digital heatmap of crop health and ground moisture   Photo by: VeryDrone The end result is an incredibly sophisticated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution which provides farmers with real-time data, insights, and actionable recommendations using AI and sensor technology. Ground sensors measure inputs such as soil moisture and nutrients; temperature and humidity are monitored in food storage and livestock shelters; while drones are used to help farmers map their fields, monitor crop canopy remotely, and check for anomalies. “IoT is a way to capture enormous amounts of data that was previously just not available to us. However, this deluge of data can be hard to parse. The key challenge here is how to transform data from IoT systems and satellites into actionable insights, and this is really where AI and machine learning come in,” Chandra explains.   Photo by: GeoSpatialWorld Farm Beats uses AI techniques to fuse aerial imagery from drones with ground sensor data, while also leveraging deep learning and machine vision on video streams to identify pests, diseases, and nutritional deficiencies in crops. Here, edge computing became necessary to overcome any connectivity barriers of working in the cloud.   A PC running Microsoft Azure IoT Edge on Windows 10 uses computer vision algorithms to stitch together drone images into a panoramic image, perform machine learning on images from drones and cameras, and is also able to run offline – syncing data to the cloud so that the farmer can access the data remotely.       Learning from FarmBeats: AI and IoT for industry   Chandra believes that the FarmBeats system is a unique showcase for how IoT and AI can be used in a challenging scenario to solve some of the world’s hardest problems. The core principles of connectivity, IoT, and AI at the edge involves innovations which he believes can help drive digital transformation of several other challenging verticals, including mining, construction, and forestry. So how can legacy businesses look to start implementing AI and the Industrial IoT into their industrial processes?   “Never start with the technology angle, i.e. asking how you can use AI and IoT,” Chandra argues. “Go back to the drawing board, think about your business processes and challenges, and identify areas of improvement – and don’t have your technology teams in the room while you do this. They’re going to hate me for saying that, but we have a tendency to limit ourselves within the boundaries of existing technologies. There’s no silver bullet – you need to first identify your business challenges and future aspirations in a technology agnostic way.” “Secondly, get some data on Azure – data is the new oil, and cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in maing decisions, and less than 1% of unstructured data is analyzed or used at all. Data consolidation, cleansing, standardization would be the right starting point – we call this building the data infrastructure for digital transformation. Next steps would be providing a data governance platform, where we provide the right search mechanisms to make the data findable, monitor the usage and store in immutable ledgers, build a billing mechanism where you can charge internal and external users, build a secure datasharing mechanism with external untrusted parties, and finally, develop a security and privacy platform. This is what we at MS call a Trusted Data Platform.”   From there, businesses should look at turning this data into actionable information for use by AI. Here, MS recommend tapping into your organization’s unique IP, where you are able to apply deep knowledge optimization of business processes to developing artificial intelligence assets. “Providing connected by utilizing the digital feedback loops possible with the introduction of IoT and cloud-based capabilities could bring new revenue streams. One of the fastest growing areas we see is connected field services where this continuous dataflow, combined with internal inforamtion assets, makes new service models possible – leading to higher margins with special service contracts.”   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture   By Ciarán Daly
Smart agriculture will be data (AI) driven agriculture
Smart agriculture will be data (AI) driven agriculture
A Sexy electric vehicle. Vespa, meets Tesla and Apple
One will be hard pressed to go out on the street and not see one of them whizzing by. They are almost as common a sight as cars and bikes: scooters. Not rarely produced in cool, eye-catching colours, and equipped with all kinds of attractive extras, this modern mode of electric transport is enjoying an ever-increasing popularity. Dubious reputation The romantic image of exciting, sexy Italian-blooded scooters has surely captured the imagination of many. Although just as many would be quick to highlight their not quite so attractive side: the riding style of the owners, sometimes showing a rather shocking absence of any kind of adherence to traffic rules, is frowned upon in most areas of the world.   Most people will be familiar with the absolute chaos that reigns on the roads in South-East Asia, in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, where entire families - including family pets - are crowded together on one tiny scooter to travel to and fro. Not only worryingly hazardous for those riding these  Motorised bicycles , but also dangerous for society as a whole. Road safety, the constant exhaust of fossil fuels and other harmful emissions related to the production and use… just a handful of the issues that accompanied the rising popularity of scooters. Meet the new electric vehicle, the appscooter About time that someone stood up and changed something about this. That ‘someone’ is the Dutch electric scooter company Bolt Mobility. Their mission? To protect those on the scooter, as well as those directly around it ánd the environment . Their brainchild? The AppScooter, a fully electric scooter that uses modular batteries - which provide it with a 240 km range.   And while some electric scooter companies forgot about the most important part of their branding - the look and feel of the scooter itself -, it is clear that Bolt did not skimp on its design stage. This is probably why their end product is best described as the lovechild of a full-blooded Italian Vespa and a bold, adventurous Tesla. At the same time, it boasts some high-tech, smart features that would not be out of place in a James Bond movie.   Smartphone  on wheels The AppScooter is a fully connected device, and can be integrated with an iPhone or Android smartphone through a touchscreen. Through this connection, it provides its rider will all kind of information and data, including turn-by-turn GPS navigation, easy music selection and a hands-free call answering option. Some might fear that this is actually making them more of a road hazard, but rest assured that this will not be the case: in order to control those functions, you do not have to let go of the handlebars. The controls are built in those very same handlebars, allowing you to control your display and smartphone for those functions that you need on your journey. Only when your scooter has come to a full stop, all other options offered by the system - including a wide range of Android apps - will be available to you. And, in the true explorer’s spirit: the scooter has two integrated cameras, that can be used to capture high-quality footage of your journeys. After finishing your recording, you can easily upload the video to your social media channels. Planning to go on quite a long ride? Rest assured that the 65L (2.3 cubic feet) storage area is more than enough (at about 4x the storage of a Vespa) to bring along all the things that you need. Fully electric vehicle Most importantly: the AppScooter is clean. It is innovative in its ability to include up to six modular battery packs, each of those would provide it with a range of roughly 67 km - adding up to the total range of 240 km mentioned before. These batteries are made up of Panasonic cells that closely resemble those used by Tesla, as well as a similar double fuse design. In order to fully enjoy this range, you would have to be cruising somewhere around 20 km/h. It will not be your fastest scooter, but probably your most reliable and cleanest one. What lies ahead? While it is too early to say whether AppScooter is, in fact, that perfect product - the final production and delivery is slated to start sometime next year -, its unique mix of the cool, sophisticated Tesla attributes with the cute, authentic Vespa appeal and the hi-tech functionalities of the latest iPhone makes it a product to watch. And with its competitive price of about $3,500, it does not quite require you to break the bank either. The AppScooter definitely has a bright future ahead of it. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
One will be hard pressed to go out on the street and not see one of them whizzing by. They are almost as common a sight as cars and bikes: scooters. Not rarely produced in cool, eye-catching colours, and equipped with all kinds of attractive extras, this modern mode of electric transport is enjoying an ever-increasing popularity. Dubious reputation The romantic image of exciting, sexy Italian-blooded scooters has surely captured the imagination of many. Although just as many would be quick to highlight their not quite so attractive side: the riding style of the owners, sometimes showing a rather shocking absence of any kind of adherence to traffic rules, is frowned upon in most areas of the world.   Most people will be familiar with the absolute chaos that reigns on the roads in South-East Asia, in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, where entire families - including family pets - are crowded together on one tiny scooter to travel to and fro. Not only worryingly hazardous for those riding these  Motorised bicycles , but also dangerous for society as a whole. Road safety, the constant exhaust of fossil fuels and other harmful emissions related to the production and use… just a handful of the issues that accompanied the rising popularity of scooters. Meet the new electric vehicle, the appscooter About time that someone stood up and changed something about this. That ‘someone’ is the Dutch electric scooter company Bolt Mobility. Their mission? To protect those on the scooter, as well as those directly around it ánd the environment . Their brainchild? The AppScooter, a fully electric scooter that uses modular batteries - which provide it with a 240 km range.   And while some electric scooter companies forgot about the most important part of their branding - the look and feel of the scooter itself -, it is clear that Bolt did not skimp on its design stage. This is probably why their end product is best described as the lovechild of a full-blooded Italian Vespa and a bold, adventurous Tesla. At the same time, it boasts some high-tech, smart features that would not be out of place in a James Bond movie.   Smartphone  on wheels The AppScooter is a fully connected device, and can be integrated with an iPhone or Android smartphone through a touchscreen. Through this connection, it provides its rider will all kind of information and data, including turn-by-turn GPS navigation, easy music selection and a hands-free call answering option. Some might fear that this is actually making them more of a road hazard, but rest assured that this will not be the case: in order to control those functions, you do not have to let go of the handlebars. The controls are built in those very same handlebars, allowing you to control your display and smartphone for those functions that you need on your journey. Only when your scooter has come to a full stop, all other options offered by the system - including a wide range of Android apps - will be available to you. And, in the true explorer’s spirit: the scooter has two integrated cameras, that can be used to capture high-quality footage of your journeys. After finishing your recording, you can easily upload the video to your social media channels. Planning to go on quite a long ride? Rest assured that the 65L (2.3 cubic feet) storage area is more than enough (at about 4x the storage of a Vespa) to bring along all the things that you need. Fully electric vehicle Most importantly: the AppScooter is clean. It is innovative in its ability to include up to six modular battery packs, each of those would provide it with a range of roughly 67 km - adding up to the total range of 240 km mentioned before. These batteries are made up of Panasonic cells that closely resemble those used by Tesla, as well as a similar double fuse design. In order to fully enjoy this range, you would have to be cruising somewhere around 20 km/h. It will not be your fastest scooter, but probably your most reliable and cleanest one. What lies ahead? While it is too early to say whether AppScooter is, in fact, that perfect product - the final production and delivery is slated to start sometime next year -, its unique mix of the cool, sophisticated Tesla attributes with the cute, authentic Vespa appeal and the hi-tech functionalities of the latest iPhone makes it a product to watch. And with its competitive price of about $3,500, it does not quite require you to break the bank either. The AppScooter definitely has a bright future ahead of it. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
A Sexy electric vehicle. Vespa, meets Tesla and Apple
A Sexy electric vehicle. Vespa, meets Tesla and Apple
WOODEN WIND TURBINES: BROUGHT TO YOU BY EAZ-WIND
A ‘wooden mill’ will undoubtedly bring up associations of the age-old, traditional mills of the Dutch type. Fierce, imposing wooden structures towering over the surrounding landscapes. Quite often, the wind turbines that are so common today pale in comparison. They stand out, with their unnatural materials and shapes. That is, until EAZ developed their unique wooden wind turbines. This Netherlands-based company, originating from the rural area of Groningen, wanted to develop a wind turbine that could easily be set up in densely populated areas. Normally, some of these areas cannot afford an actual wind turbine. Not only are they too expensive, due to the expensive materials and the complicated process of installing and servicing it, they are also facing heavy resistance from the community.   Effectively, this makes it hard to make wind energy solutions available in areas that do not have the required funds or social support. The only options left are solar panels or water power, which are usually not sufficient for providing in the electricity needs of the immediate area either.   EAZ WIND TURBINES As the need for renewable energy grows, so does the need for solutions that actually fit in to the area. And while ‘traditional’ wind turbines often do not fit in, the unique versions created by EAZ manage to blend in seamlessly. The design for their wind turbines have been made simpler, and much more cost-effective. Production is all performed in-house, using local labour and materials. As such, it will not nearly be as expensive to get the wind turbines produced. These materials, sourced locally, include a number of sustainable components from natural sources - including the blades, which are made of larch wood and finished with fibreglass. The stabiliser is also made of wood, with an internal frame of steel for reinforcement.   MAINTENANCE AND INSTALLATION Not only are the materials largely sustainable, they are also chosen as they are relatively maintenance-free. For example, it also has a permanent magnet, a ring generator without gearbox, which means that there is no friction. The steel mast comes with a double coating, making it more durable. The installation is performed quickly and with a minimal impact for the environment. For the generation of energy, the wind turbine will be connected to the fuse box right behind the electricity meter, resulting in further savings on the purchase price of electricity as well as energy tax. SUPPORT OF LOCAL COMMUNITY In another clever move, EAZ wind turbines decided to take the development process to the local authorities and communities. With this, they guaranteed their support and made sure that the eventual design would fit in the landscape.   As the home turf of EAZ - the Dutch province of Groningen - is rapidly growing and expanding, as reflected by the improving economy, the region is becoming increasingly self-sustaining. More and more jobs are being created, putting pressure on local entrepreneurs to find ways of generating more energy in an efficient and sustainable manner. PLACEMENT OF WIND TURBINE One of their options is the purchase of one of these wind turbines, made easier because of the reduced cost price and lower impact on the environment. This way, it can be installed on a farm to provide in the energy needs. Secondly, people could opt for joining an initiative where they invest in a common wind turbine for the entire village. In this case, everyone in the area can directly benefit from the locally generated wind energy. Although these wind turbines might be better looking, it is still an infringement on the landscape. Therefore, EAZ has pledged to take great care in fitting it into the landscape. The already existing elements and lines are being taken into consideration, while the limited height ensures that it is less conspicuous. WHY DOES ANY OF IT MATTER? All well and good, but why would it matter what a wind turbine looks like? What does EAZ offer in an already crowded market that makes them stand out? Their continued success is a testament to the importance of keeping aesthetics and user demands in mind, so that wind turbines become more of a community product. The lower installation and maintenance costs, its adaptability to the landscape, and the decent yield: it adds up to a great proposition that is ready to scale up. After all, the truth of the matter is that the general opinion of wind turbines is still far from favourable. Perhaps unjustly so, but that does not make it any more urgent. EAZ should be commanded for their attempts to sway the public opinion through making wind turbines more accessible and friendly. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/wind
A ‘wooden mill’ will undoubtedly bring up associations of the age-old, traditional mills of the Dutch type. Fierce, imposing wooden structures towering over the surrounding landscapes. Quite often, the wind turbines that are so common today pale in comparison. They stand out, with their unnatural materials and shapes. That is, until EAZ developed their unique wooden wind turbines. This Netherlands-based company, originating from the rural area of Groningen, wanted to develop a wind turbine that could easily be set up in densely populated areas. Normally, some of these areas cannot afford an actual wind turbine. Not only are they too expensive, due to the expensive materials and the complicated process of installing and servicing it, they are also facing heavy resistance from the community.   Effectively, this makes it hard to make wind energy solutions available in areas that do not have the required funds or social support. The only options left are solar panels or water power, which are usually not sufficient for providing in the electricity needs of the immediate area either.   EAZ WIND TURBINES As the need for renewable energy grows, so does the need for solutions that actually fit in to the area. And while ‘traditional’ wind turbines often do not fit in, the unique versions created by EAZ manage to blend in seamlessly. The design for their wind turbines have been made simpler, and much more cost-effective. Production is all performed in-house, using local labour and materials. As such, it will not nearly be as expensive to get the wind turbines produced. These materials, sourced locally, include a number of sustainable components from natural sources - including the blades, which are made of larch wood and finished with fibreglass. The stabiliser is also made of wood, with an internal frame of steel for reinforcement.   MAINTENANCE AND INSTALLATION Not only are the materials largely sustainable, they are also chosen as they are relatively maintenance-free. For example, it also has a permanent magnet, a ring generator without gearbox, which means that there is no friction. The steel mast comes with a double coating, making it more durable. The installation is performed quickly and with a minimal impact for the environment. For the generation of energy, the wind turbine will be connected to the fuse box right behind the electricity meter, resulting in further savings on the purchase price of electricity as well as energy tax. SUPPORT OF LOCAL COMMUNITY In another clever move, EAZ wind turbines decided to take the development process to the local authorities and communities. With this, they guaranteed their support and made sure that the eventual design would fit in the landscape.   As the home turf of EAZ - the Dutch province of Groningen - is rapidly growing and expanding, as reflected by the improving economy, the region is becoming increasingly self-sustaining. More and more jobs are being created, putting pressure on local entrepreneurs to find ways of generating more energy in an efficient and sustainable manner. PLACEMENT OF WIND TURBINE One of their options is the purchase of one of these wind turbines, made easier because of the reduced cost price and lower impact on the environment. This way, it can be installed on a farm to provide in the energy needs. Secondly, people could opt for joining an initiative where they invest in a common wind turbine for the entire village. In this case, everyone in the area can directly benefit from the locally generated wind energy. Although these wind turbines might be better looking, it is still an infringement on the landscape. Therefore, EAZ has pledged to take great care in fitting it into the landscape. The already existing elements and lines are being taken into consideration, while the limited height ensures that it is less conspicuous. WHY DOES ANY OF IT MATTER? All well and good, but why would it matter what a wind turbine looks like? What does EAZ offer in an already crowded market that makes them stand out? Their continued success is a testament to the importance of keeping aesthetics and user demands in mind, so that wind turbines become more of a community product. The lower installation and maintenance costs, its adaptability to the landscape, and the decent yield: it adds up to a great proposition that is ready to scale up. After all, the truth of the matter is that the general opinion of wind turbines is still far from favourable. Perhaps unjustly so, but that does not make it any more urgent. EAZ should be commanded for their attempts to sway the public opinion through making wind turbines more accessible and friendly. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/wind
WOODEN WIND TURBINES: BROUGHT TO YOU BY EAZ-WIND
WOODEN WIND TURBINES: BROUGHT TO YOU BY EAZ-WIND
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
The electric car truly is the kind of stuff that science fiction dreams are made of. Driving around without the sound or smell of typical cars, and upon coming home, plugging in the car in the reload station. And once it is fully charged, off you go again, without ever having to bother with filling up the tank at smelly, crowded gas stations. Most of us are longingly staring at the Teslas zooming past in the street, or throwing somewhat jealous glances at the reserved parking spots, exclusive for electric charging. Governments have made it clear that they are looking to subsidise these vehicles, to move towards an economy that is largely fuelled by electric cars , motorcycles, busses, planes… and phase out the polluting, gas guzzling products of the fossil fuel industry. GREATER, BETTER, CLEANER? While the retail price of electric cars still far outweigh that of ‘regular’ cars, there are increasingly more subsidies and grants available for those who are seriously considering ‘a car with a plug’. And yes, they will still be more expensive (ranging anywhere between € 20,000 and € 10,000), even though the savings will start to flow in almost instantly, as the average cost of electricity required for fuelling the car adds up to some hundred euros, perhaps, or maximum € 600-700 per year (depending on the exact car brand and type chosen and the kilometers driven in a year). This puts it at roughly 30% to 50% of the cost for fuel. Additionally, the maintenance costs are likely to be lower as well - there are fewer moving parts and a system that is generally easier to understand and repair when needed. Not to mention the cheaper insurances and tax discounts offered for electric cars.   CARBON EMISSIONS One of the major selling points for the electric car is its zero emissions promise. Whereas regular gas-powered vehicles pump out carbon dioxide while driving, the claim used to be that electric cars do not have any (as they are not burning fossil fuels while driving). Yet this is not entirely true, as there have been instances in which the electric car actually produced higher amounts of CO2 per kilometer driven in its lifetime.   What has to be added to this, though, is that this was a result of the size of the car and hinged on the word ‘lifetime’. For example, if you place a rather big Tesla car opposite a regular compact or economy-sized car, this will lead to a negative outcome for the Tesla. Whereas if you put it head-to-head with a similar sized car, it will always come out on top. The crux in this is the cost of car production, battery manufacturing, and projected recycling opportunities. All or this adds to the lifetime CO2 emission, so logic dictates that a larger car, with more parts, will get a higher rating than a smaller ‘regular’ car. Or, as the US Department of Energy put it, considering all, “an electric car like the Tesla Model S has almost four times lower CO2 per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car.” USE OF ‘DIRTY’ ENERGY Some people will claim that it hardly matters anyway. With an electric car, you are merely shifting the pollution source: instead of using fuel and gas, you are employing electricity, that still largely depends on coal and natural gasses for its production as well. Hence, fossil fuels are used no matter what, and so pollution will be the same as well. Right?   No, not exactly. While it cannot be denied that electricity production still largely hinges on fossil fuels, there is a clear shift towards renewable energy sources . Depending on the exact region, renewable energy sources already make up a significant part of the power needs. Tesla’s Elon Musk has pledged a switch to fully renewable energy sources for the production of their Tesla, using nothing but wind and solar energy to manufacture the cars. Especially in the wake of the Paris Agreement, energy is predicted to become increasingly more sustainable. LITHIUM BATTERIES A final, unavoidable note must be made regarding the lithium batteries that are commonly used in electric cars. This rare element is not only difficult to mine, but also potentially hazardous to those processing it. So, its creation is relatively hard on the environment: if only considering the huge amounts of water that are required for the mining (a staggering 1.9 million liters per tonne of lithium) and the adverse effects that the released chemicals have on the local environment and population alone. And yes, this battery will eliminate the need for similarly polluting elements, but the huge (ethical and environmental) pressure that its production puts on primarily third world countries is worrying. SO, WHAT TO DRIVE? There are undoubtedly aspects of the electric car that are far from desirable. And no, it is not the end-product that we have been able to witness in science-fiction pop culture hits, effortlessly floating on air. Yet the current electric car does take a significant bite out of the emission of its gas counterparts. For now it may be a question of being ‘the lesser evil’, but the great progress made in more sustainable production processes of the car and electricity alike, shows great promise. The electric car is driving down the right road! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/battery
The electric car truly is the kind of stuff that science fiction dreams are made of. Driving around without the sound or smell of typical cars, and upon coming home, plugging in the car in the reload station. And once it is fully charged, off you go again, without ever having to bother with filling up the tank at smelly, crowded gas stations. Most of us are longingly staring at the Teslas zooming past in the street, or throwing somewhat jealous glances at the reserved parking spots, exclusive for electric charging. Governments have made it clear that they are looking to subsidise these vehicles, to move towards an economy that is largely fuelled by electric cars , motorcycles, busses, planes… and phase out the polluting, gas guzzling products of the fossil fuel industry. GREATER, BETTER, CLEANER? While the retail price of electric cars still far outweigh that of ‘regular’ cars, there are increasingly more subsidies and grants available for those who are seriously considering ‘a car with a plug’. And yes, they will still be more expensive (ranging anywhere between € 20,000 and € 10,000), even though the savings will start to flow in almost instantly, as the average cost of electricity required for fuelling the car adds up to some hundred euros, perhaps, or maximum € 600-700 per year (depending on the exact car brand and type chosen and the kilometers driven in a year). This puts it at roughly 30% to 50% of the cost for fuel. Additionally, the maintenance costs are likely to be lower as well - there are fewer moving parts and a system that is generally easier to understand and repair when needed. Not to mention the cheaper insurances and tax discounts offered for electric cars.   CARBON EMISSIONS One of the major selling points for the electric car is its zero emissions promise. Whereas regular gas-powered vehicles pump out carbon dioxide while driving, the claim used to be that electric cars do not have any (as they are not burning fossil fuels while driving). Yet this is not entirely true, as there have been instances in which the electric car actually produced higher amounts of CO2 per kilometer driven in its lifetime.   What has to be added to this, though, is that this was a result of the size of the car and hinged on the word ‘lifetime’. For example, if you place a rather big Tesla car opposite a regular compact or economy-sized car, this will lead to a negative outcome for the Tesla. Whereas if you put it head-to-head with a similar sized car, it will always come out on top. The crux in this is the cost of car production, battery manufacturing, and projected recycling opportunities. All or this adds to the lifetime CO2 emission, so logic dictates that a larger car, with more parts, will get a higher rating than a smaller ‘regular’ car. Or, as the US Department of Energy put it, considering all, “an electric car like the Tesla Model S has almost four times lower CO2 per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car.” USE OF ‘DIRTY’ ENERGY Some people will claim that it hardly matters anyway. With an electric car, you are merely shifting the pollution source: instead of using fuel and gas, you are employing electricity, that still largely depends on coal and natural gasses for its production as well. Hence, fossil fuels are used no matter what, and so pollution will be the same as well. Right?   No, not exactly. While it cannot be denied that electricity production still largely hinges on fossil fuels, there is a clear shift towards renewable energy sources . Depending on the exact region, renewable energy sources already make up a significant part of the power needs. Tesla’s Elon Musk has pledged a switch to fully renewable energy sources for the production of their Tesla, using nothing but wind and solar energy to manufacture the cars. Especially in the wake of the Paris Agreement, energy is predicted to become increasingly more sustainable. LITHIUM BATTERIES A final, unavoidable note must be made regarding the lithium batteries that are commonly used in electric cars. This rare element is not only difficult to mine, but also potentially hazardous to those processing it. So, its creation is relatively hard on the environment: if only considering the huge amounts of water that are required for the mining (a staggering 1.9 million liters per tonne of lithium) and the adverse effects that the released chemicals have on the local environment and population alone. And yes, this battery will eliminate the need for similarly polluting elements, but the huge (ethical and environmental) pressure that its production puts on primarily third world countries is worrying. SO, WHAT TO DRIVE? There are undoubtedly aspects of the electric car that are far from desirable. And no, it is not the end-product that we have been able to witness in science-fiction pop culture hits, effortlessly floating on air. Yet the current electric car does take a significant bite out of the emission of its gas counterparts. For now it may be a question of being ‘the lesser evil’, but the great progress made in more sustainable production processes of the car and electricity alike, shows great promise. The electric car is driving down the right road! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/battery
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
Wind energy to power cars.
Racing Against the Wind with  wind energy The Netherlands holds an international race against the wind which takes place in Den Helder. The competition comprises of international students teams and takes place every year. The students themselves build the vehicles used in this race. In a wind power race sponsored by LM Windpower (leading Rotorblade Supplier Denmark & Netherlands) this year, the Danish team emerged the best after beating AEOLUS, (The Greek God of the Winds). The team came from the Technical University of Denmark. The Den Helder (Netherlands) is a race that focuses on using sustainable power and is among the most popular races worldwide.  The competition requires a lot of preparation from participants to be able to beat their competitors. For the Denmark student's team to win, it took them a lot of effort and testing of their car model. They used fibre composites and aerodynamics to build their car which brought them victory. The winning DTU-Team Strategy Used by the Students These students used the sponsored material from the LM to create their aerodynamics car's sleek design.  During the preparation period, these students worked closely with the wind power research community in Denmark to have a better understanding of wind power. Going forth, DTU students will be focusing on the structural and infusion aspects using the mold sponsored by the LM after winning in the sustainability race . According to the results of tests done on the students' car in Denmark, they showed that it could go as fast as 12 km/h with a headwind of 20 km/h. This result was about 75% efficiency of the maximum theoretical aspect. At the local competitions, this yield was not achieved. However, it was competitive among the Canadian, Turkish and German teams. Robert Mikkelsen, DTU's team coach, gave the following statement: "DTU's cars strength cannot be seen on the low side of the wind as it was with this year's condition. However, DTU's car, which is mechanically driven, was able to compete impressively with a group of outstanding competitors and emerge at the top. After the overall score calculation, Canadian and Germans teams followed respectively. For DTU team, the event was spectacular, and we shall be honored to defend the envied Aeolus cup during the race which will happen next year." How to Measure the Race's Time Calculating the efficiency of the car against the wind has a defined formula. The speed is measured over a watercourse which is 500 M long. The ratio is given by the average speed and direction of the wind (Vws) and the speed the vehicle is using (Vcar). DTU had two cars in the Racing Aeolus Den Helder international competition. However, one car exceeded the speed limit of the wind speed by 113 %. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/wind
Racing Against the Wind with  wind energy The Netherlands holds an international race against the wind which takes place in Den Helder. The competition comprises of international students teams and takes place every year. The students themselves build the vehicles used in this race. In a wind power race sponsored by LM Windpower (leading Rotorblade Supplier Denmark & Netherlands) this year, the Danish team emerged the best after beating AEOLUS, (The Greek God of the Winds). The team came from the Technical University of Denmark. The Den Helder (Netherlands) is a race that focuses on using sustainable power and is among the most popular races worldwide.  The competition requires a lot of preparation from participants to be able to beat their competitors. For the Denmark student's team to win, it took them a lot of effort and testing of their car model. They used fibre composites and aerodynamics to build their car which brought them victory. The winning DTU-Team Strategy Used by the Students These students used the sponsored material from the LM to create their aerodynamics car's sleek design.  During the preparation period, these students worked closely with the wind power research community in Denmark to have a better understanding of wind power. Going forth, DTU students will be focusing on the structural and infusion aspects using the mold sponsored by the LM after winning in the sustainability race . According to the results of tests done on the students' car in Denmark, they showed that it could go as fast as 12 km/h with a headwind of 20 km/h. This result was about 75% efficiency of the maximum theoretical aspect. At the local competitions, this yield was not achieved. However, it was competitive among the Canadian, Turkish and German teams. Robert Mikkelsen, DTU's team coach, gave the following statement: "DTU's cars strength cannot be seen on the low side of the wind as it was with this year's condition. However, DTU's car, which is mechanically driven, was able to compete impressively with a group of outstanding competitors and emerge at the top. After the overall score calculation, Canadian and Germans teams followed respectively. For DTU team, the event was spectacular, and we shall be honored to defend the envied Aeolus cup during the race which will happen next year." How to Measure the Race's Time Calculating the efficiency of the car against the wind has a defined formula. The speed is measured over a watercourse which is 500 M long. The ratio is given by the average speed and direction of the wind (Vws) and the speed the vehicle is using (Vcar). DTU had two cars in the Racing Aeolus Den Helder international competition. However, one car exceeded the speed limit of the wind speed by 113 %. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/wind
Wind energy to power cars.
Wind energy to power cars.
International Day of Climate Action - We Have a Deadline to Meet
Earlier this month we were hit by a terrifying report – according to United Nations' IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we have only 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.We already know that change is happening (as evidenced by Antarctica's ices melting at alarming rates ), but it’s the first time the deadline for taking action is set so soon. The report has attracted a lot of attention from the media – but this attention was short-lived and the headlines dedicated to issue have all but disappeared. The deadline set by the report makes spreading awareness of causes of and solutions to climate change more crucial than ever, which is why we want to keep this conversation going. International Day of Climate Action, celebrated every year on October 24 th , is the perfect opportunity to look at some of the most pressing issues we are facing today and learn how we can make a difference. Turning up the heat on climate action Most climate scientists agree that human activity is the biggest contributor to climate change that has occurred in the past few decades. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that allows our planet to maintain its temperature, but it relies on a careful balance of greenhouse gases to keep that temperature at a comfortable level. However, some human activities release an excess of those gases and upset that balance, resulting in the global warming that we are experiencing today. Electricity and heat production is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016 80% of total world energy came from fossil fuels and only 5% was generated by renewable sources. Burning fossil fuels for energy accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gases released every year and this is a clear sign that change is needed. Wind power is currently the fastest growing energy source , with many countries investing in it in a bid to produce more energy domestically and become more sustainable. Another promising alternative to fossil fuels is harvesting the energy produced by trash incineration, which makes waste management both more efficient and eco-friendly. While change is already underway, it will take a while before renewable energy can displace fossil fuels, so reducing your energy consumption and voting for green energy initiatives is a simple way you can contribute to slowing down global warming. Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen for Unsplash Another major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is the agricultural sector. Meat production is a significant part of the problem – it is estimated that producing one kilogramme of bovine meat requires 200 kilos of CO2 emissions .Farm animals require a large amount of feed(some sources suggest that 95% of world’s soy production is consumed by farm animals), producing which also contributes to CO2 emissions. While switching to a vegan diet might not be for everyone, skipping one or two meat-filled dinners a week is certainly worth considering for the sake of our future.  Agricultural sector not only emits greenhouse gases though cultivation of crops and livestock, but it also prevents CO2 removal by being a major contributor to deforestation. Trees are nature’s carbon dioxide absorbers and play a crucial role in maintaining the aforementioned balance of greenhouse gases. Deforestation undermines this function and can inflict serious damage to our environment if not regulated properly. You can read more about the negative impacts of deforestation in our piece about Australia’s National Tree Day . Image by StockSnap for Pixabay In 2010, transportation accounted for about 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many European countries and individual cities are now imposing restrictions on older cars as they are less efficient and are a major contributor to pollution. Currently, 95% of world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels and many companies and research teams are working on developing more eco-friendly alternatives, such as hydrogen fuel and of course electric transport.Re-thinking our daily commute is a great first step towards making a difference. If you’re interested in the future of sustainable transport or want to know what options are out there today, be sure to check out this article .  Take a step in the right direction Avoiding climate change catastrophe isn’t a one-person job, but you can still play a key role in it. It is our responsibility as a global community to inspire and support change and we should lead by example. Taking action is easy: start by challenging yourself to having your own zero emissions day by reading our guide here (and you certainly don’t have to wait until the next September 21 st !). Do you agree with IPCC’s timeline? What do you think our governments should focus their efforts on to slow down climate change? Let us know in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Earlier this month we were hit by a terrifying report – according to United Nations' IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we have only 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.We already know that change is happening (as evidenced by Antarctica's ices melting at alarming rates ), but it’s the first time the deadline for taking action is set so soon. The report has attracted a lot of attention from the media – but this attention was short-lived and the headlines dedicated to issue have all but disappeared. The deadline set by the report makes spreading awareness of causes of and solutions to climate change more crucial than ever, which is why we want to keep this conversation going. International Day of Climate Action, celebrated every year on October 24 th , is the perfect opportunity to look at some of the most pressing issues we are facing today and learn how we can make a difference. Turning up the heat on climate action Most climate scientists agree that human activity is the biggest contributor to climate change that has occurred in the past few decades. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that allows our planet to maintain its temperature, but it relies on a careful balance of greenhouse gases to keep that temperature at a comfortable level. However, some human activities release an excess of those gases and upset that balance, resulting in the global warming that we are experiencing today. Electricity and heat production is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016 80% of total world energy came from fossil fuels and only 5% was generated by renewable sources. Burning fossil fuels for energy accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gases released every year and this is a clear sign that change is needed. Wind power is currently the fastest growing energy source , with many countries investing in it in a bid to produce more energy domestically and become more sustainable. Another promising alternative to fossil fuels is harvesting the energy produced by trash incineration, which makes waste management both more efficient and eco-friendly. While change is already underway, it will take a while before renewable energy can displace fossil fuels, so reducing your energy consumption and voting for green energy initiatives is a simple way you can contribute to slowing down global warming. Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen for Unsplash Another major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is the agricultural sector. Meat production is a significant part of the problem – it is estimated that producing one kilogramme of bovine meat requires 200 kilos of CO2 emissions .Farm animals require a large amount of feed(some sources suggest that 95% of world’s soy production is consumed by farm animals), producing which also contributes to CO2 emissions. While switching to a vegan diet might not be for everyone, skipping one or two meat-filled dinners a week is certainly worth considering for the sake of our future.  Agricultural sector not only emits greenhouse gases though cultivation of crops and livestock, but it also prevents CO2 removal by being a major contributor to deforestation. Trees are nature’s carbon dioxide absorbers and play a crucial role in maintaining the aforementioned balance of greenhouse gases. Deforestation undermines this function and can inflict serious damage to our environment if not regulated properly. You can read more about the negative impacts of deforestation in our piece about Australia’s National Tree Day . Image by StockSnap for Pixabay In 2010, transportation accounted for about 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many European countries and individual cities are now imposing restrictions on older cars as they are less efficient and are a major contributor to pollution. Currently, 95% of world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels and many companies and research teams are working on developing more eco-friendly alternatives, such as hydrogen fuel and of course electric transport.Re-thinking our daily commute is a great first step towards making a difference. If you’re interested in the future of sustainable transport or want to know what options are out there today, be sure to check out this article .  Take a step in the right direction Avoiding climate change catastrophe isn’t a one-person job, but you can still play a key role in it. It is our responsibility as a global community to inspire and support change and we should lead by example. Taking action is easy: start by challenging yourself to having your own zero emissions day by reading our guide here (and you certainly don’t have to wait until the next September 21 st !). Do you agree with IPCC’s timeline? What do you think our governments should focus their efforts on to slow down climate change? Let us know in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
International Day of Climate Action - We Have a Deadline to Meet
International Day of Climate Action - We Have a Deadline to Meet
Superfood! Murnong – Australia’s forgotten staple is set to come back to our plates
Our diets have always been an important part of our lifestyles and they have changed a lot over the centuries. Foods that were previously considered delicacies are now available at any supermarket and some of our ancestor’s staples have been forgotten. This is the case with murnong, also known as yam daisy, a root  vegetable from Australia that has once dominated Indigenous Australians’ menus. Today, historian, author and agriculturalist, Bruce Pascoeis hoping to re-introduce this “superfood” and chefs across Australia are very keen to help. At first glance, murnong doesn’t look very special – in fact, one could easily mistake it for a dandelion – but the root of the plant has played a key role in Aboriginal people’s daily lives before European settlement. The root is nutty and starchy and according to Pascoe it is eight times as nutritious as a potato. Image by: Adobe Stock, Murnong Yam daisies were easy to grow and harvest and provided a steady supply of food all year round, which made them a perfect crop for Indigenous farmers. However, when settlers came to Australia they brought over farm animals and rabbits. Rabbits, sheep and cattle have taken a liking to the plant and farm fields that used to be carpets of yellow yam flowers were now bare. Livestock’s hooves have also damaged the ground, making it impossible for murnong to grow back. Today can still find some yam daisies growing in the bushland in South Eastern Australia, but the plant is still quite rare in the wild. Combining traditional  food and modern gastronomy Bruce Pascoe is very passionate about reviving methods of traditional horticulture and bringing back the traditional foods. He is doing so with the help of Gurandgi Munjie, a group of Aboriginal men and women sharing the same dream of making native foods mainstream. Together they have been propagating various native grains, fruits and herbs, but murnong has always been the star of the show. Pascoe calls it a superfood for its nutritional properties and chefs around the country experiment with the different ways yam daisies can be cooked and the unique flavours they can bring to the table. Ben Shewry is the chef of Melbourne’s Attica and one of Pascoe’s most enthusiastic supporters. He is known for his creativity and passion for Indigenous foods and was quoted saying: “I’m longing for the day when we can all buy them [murnong] from Gurandgi Munjie and support Aboriginal men and women to grow the crops of their culture”. It is interesting to note the versatility of murnong when it comes to gastronomy, as it can be eaten both raw and roasted or fried. When eaten raw, the root is similar in texture to a radish and has a sweet coconutty and grassy taste. Once roasted or fried the flavour transforms into something similar to a salty potato. And chef Shewry recommends trying the leaves of the plant as well – with their slightly bitter taste they are perfect for salads with some red-wine vinegar dressing. It will be a while before we would be able to see murnongs aplenty, but it is already gathering a lot of attention and hopefully more of us will be able to enjoy this “superfood” very soon. Are there any native foods from your region that have been forgotten or perhaps even gone extinct? Share your responses with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
Our diets have always been an important part of our lifestyles and they have changed a lot over the centuries. Foods that were previously considered delicacies are now available at any supermarket and some of our ancestor’s staples have been forgotten. This is the case with murnong, also known as yam daisy, a root  vegetable from Australia that has once dominated Indigenous Australians’ menus. Today, historian, author and agriculturalist, Bruce Pascoeis hoping to re-introduce this “superfood” and chefs across Australia are very keen to help. At first glance, murnong doesn’t look very special – in fact, one could easily mistake it for a dandelion – but the root of the plant has played a key role in Aboriginal people’s daily lives before European settlement. The root is nutty and starchy and according to Pascoe it is eight times as nutritious as a potato. Image by: Adobe Stock, Murnong Yam daisies were easy to grow and harvest and provided a steady supply of food all year round, which made them a perfect crop for Indigenous farmers. However, when settlers came to Australia they brought over farm animals and rabbits. Rabbits, sheep and cattle have taken a liking to the plant and farm fields that used to be carpets of yellow yam flowers were now bare. Livestock’s hooves have also damaged the ground, making it impossible for murnong to grow back. Today can still find some yam daisies growing in the bushland in South Eastern Australia, but the plant is still quite rare in the wild. Combining traditional  food and modern gastronomy Bruce Pascoe is very passionate about reviving methods of traditional horticulture and bringing back the traditional foods. He is doing so with the help of Gurandgi Munjie, a group of Aboriginal men and women sharing the same dream of making native foods mainstream. Together they have been propagating various native grains, fruits and herbs, but murnong has always been the star of the show. Pascoe calls it a superfood for its nutritional properties and chefs around the country experiment with the different ways yam daisies can be cooked and the unique flavours they can bring to the table. Ben Shewry is the chef of Melbourne’s Attica and one of Pascoe’s most enthusiastic supporters. He is known for his creativity and passion for Indigenous foods and was quoted saying: “I’m longing for the day when we can all buy them [murnong] from Gurandgi Munjie and support Aboriginal men and women to grow the crops of their culture”. It is interesting to note the versatility of murnong when it comes to gastronomy, as it can be eaten both raw and roasted or fried. When eaten raw, the root is similar in texture to a radish and has a sweet coconutty and grassy taste. Once roasted or fried the flavour transforms into something similar to a salty potato. And chef Shewry recommends trying the leaves of the plant as well – with their slightly bitter taste they are perfect for salads with some red-wine vinegar dressing. It will be a while before we would be able to see murnongs aplenty, but it is already gathering a lot of attention and hopefully more of us will be able to enjoy this “superfood” very soon. Are there any native foods from your region that have been forgotten or perhaps even gone extinct? Share your responses with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
Superfood! Murnong – Australia’s forgotten staple is set to come back to our plates
Superfood! Murnong – Australia’s forgotten staple is set to come back to our plates
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
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