Grow 5 Acres Of Produce In Just 40 Feet

The world of farming has seen a fair share of drawbacks. Pests, droughts, and floods have all, at some point, plagued a land-full of crops. Of course, farming isn’t necessarily easy–but it can be. Local Roots’ container farms can grow up to 5 acres of produce using only 5 to 20 gallons of water daily. And they’re only 40 feet long.

Local Roots’… TerraFarms grow produce twice as fast as a traditional farm, all while using 97 percent less water and zero pesticides or herbicides. They can grow as much food as could be grown on three to five acres. They’re able to do this thanks to LED lights tuned to specific wavelengths and intensities, and sensor systems monitoring water, nutrient, and atmospheric conditions.

Not only that–you can set up and harvest crops in just a nifty 4 weeks! TerraFarms are like Legos in that they are stackable and space-efficient. They can also exist pretty much anywhere, whether in a parking lot or warehouse.

Local Roots’ technology could one day allow astronauts to consume fresh produce in space. Their growing systems could offer a food source on long-term, deep space missions.

That’s pretty spectacular. Or should I say intergalactic?

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These Bagels Are Baked Using Leftover Heat

Looking for ways to conserve energy is now one of our top priorities. The more reusable, the better. Bakers at Pizza On Earth seem to have found the perfect way to make the most out of their brick ovens. They use leftover heat to bake St. John’s most delicious bagels.

The bagels are baked in the morning using the residual heat in the oven from the previous evening’s pizza-making; this means that they’re essentially baked with waste heat, no new wood required.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know this was possible! The process itself is simple and efficient.

While still wet from boiling, the bagels are tossed in sesame or poppy seeds or left plain. Then they’re baked in the oven, which measures 450 F, despite it being more than 12 hours since the last pizza came out.

Now that’s a hot oven. Apparently, sales at Pizza On Earth have since skyrocketed, and I’m not surprised. If these clever bakers are finding ways to maximize energy use, I’m pretty sure we can too.

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Energy-Storing Stairs Make For An Easy Climb

In the past couple of months, technology has been on a roll. Renewable energy is particularly trendy. We’ve seen it yielded in traffic jams and bicycles. Now, it’s being produced in stairs that help make the climb easier.

The energy-recycling stairs… store energy when you descend, and then release it to make the ascent easier on the way back up.

Every step [is] charged with potential energy once you’ve hit the bottom. When you go to climb back up, pressure sensors on each tread release the locking mechanism on the step below it, turning that stored potential energy into kinetic energy that helps lift a climber’s leg as the spring-powered step raises again.

In simpler terms, you receive a much-needed boost. According to engineers, you save 26% of the energy you’d normally use to climb stairs. While it may seem trivial, the stairs are definitely a blessing to those who live in a building without the luxury of an elevator.

The stair’s unique mechanisms can be retrofitted to existing steps, so the technology isn’t only for new buildings, necessarily. And installing them would be cheaper, and require less space, than an escalator or elevator.

If it makes life easier, I’m all for it. These stairs talk the talk and can certainly walk the walk.

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These Awesome Backpacks Are Made From Car Parts

Being low on resources, we have finally turned to using recycled materials–and it’s about time! We’re making art out of trash and purchasing notebooks that reuse paper. But the notion of upcyling takes everything to a whole new level, especially with the Airpaq backpack made of used car parts.

The bags… are rather simple in design, with a single large compartment made from an airbag… with a car seat belt buckle securing the top. The inside of the main compartment includes separate areas for a tablet and laptop, plus smaller compartments for those little items that need to be secured, and the whole thing is lined with water repellent fabric. Seat belts form the straps of the backpack, which have some added padding on the shoulders, and a woven panel of seat belts is used for the back panel of the bag.

Each backpack sports a unique look, its parts from various car models that aren’t always similar in style. Creators Adrian and Michael are obvious fans of sustainability. They hope to inspire buyers to become more creative and ecological.

“We are passionate about the idea of creating alternative uses for things that otherwise would end up in the trash.”

If you’ve got a beat-up truck with parts to spare, perhaps you may be looking at a brand new Airpaq!

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This Talking Camera Is For The Blind

Are you hard-of-hearing and in need of an aid? Do you have trouble walking and are seeking a sturdy wheelchair? Looks like you’re going to have to break the bank. Because most devices for the disabled don’t come cheap, Microsoft has come up with a solution. Seeing AI is a free app for the blind that works like a “talking camera.”

Fire up the free app and point your iPhone at anything, whether it’s a document, a menu card, a room or even a friend, and Seeing AI will tell you what it is with its voice.

Seeing AI is also supposed to be able to identify currency notes and products by barcode.

The app has proven to be impressively accurate, describing objects with great detail. It can even read books!

Microsoft hopes that this will make life a little bit easier for those with visual impairments. It… is one of several new initiatives driven by the company’s interest in exploring the possibilities that artificial intelligence can open up.

Seeing AI is evidence that help can exist where help is needed–affordably or for free.

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How Technology Isn’t Killing Us

I remember when 3D glasses and Game Boys were the future. Little did I know that the likes of Snapchat and Alexa would steal the technological spotlight. Most science fiction in film and literature see an ugly demise. More often than not, technology is evil, and if you’ve ever seen an episode of “Black Mirror”, you’d agree. While we place so much blame on smartphones and the Internet, we fail to realize that in some ways, they’re actually useful.

We owe our improved communication to SEs and Galaxy Notes. After all, snail mail is pretty much a thing of the past. People may perceive our constant tapping away as social isolation when, in fact, we are involving ourselves with others–just in another medium. Yes, social media is part of a vicious universe, but with it, we are able to build connections. 

Businesses now have platforms like Facebook and Twitter to thank for their growing successes. Spreading the word has never been easier. Through online advertising and connectivity, brands become more efficient and productive. Not to mention they manage to save an enormous amount of time and money. Promoting through billboards and magazines seem to be almost primitive–definitely a thing of the past.

The Internet is home to everything viral. Fake news is sometimes part of that sphere. However, with such easy access to information, fact-checking technology is always available. Details that previously would’ve required a trip to the library are now just a Google search away. While the facts we learn may be seemingly futile, everything has value to some extent.

Technology has also piloted improvements in healthcare and travel. Everything is convenient. With new features such as online travel agents and virtual therapy, most of our needs are attended to much quicker. Our movements become fleeting and gratification is met in the blink of an eye. We may grow impatient, but with technology evolving as fast as it is, virtually nothing will have to wait.

Additionally, online classes educate us anywhere at any time. We can now learn remotely, outside the four walls of a classroom. Even Ivy Leagues are jumping on the bandwagon, offering courses that are accessible through your laptop or smartphone. Perhaps the question is not, “what are parents feeding their kids that make them so smart?” but “what is on our kids’ smartphones that make them geniuses?” To be perfectly honest, it makes much more sense.

Of course, technology, whether we like to think so or not, also boosts creativity and imagination. Because the Internet makes sharing ideas so simple, we can create jobs in the comfort of our own homes. Design a bestselling app and you’re pretty much financially set for life. Fund-me websites also make concepts reality. With so many people willing to donate to different prototypes, bringing ideas to fruition is not that difficult. In fact, we, not the government, may be funding majority of our future.

We may have doubts about technology taking over the world (or the universe). We may see ourselves at the hands of robots and machines. But the human mind is powerful and together with technology, can pretty much conquer anything.

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How The World’s 1% Can Help The Poor

You can always count on the occasional “J.K. Rowling Once Again Donates Half Her Fortune To Charity” to restore your faith in humanity. In fact, much of UNICEF and Red Cross’ funding comes from the likes of celebrities such as Taylor Swift. However, shelling over a sizable check doesn’t always equate to positive impact. Charities such as the Giving Pledge encourage millionaires to be more involved in giving back.

People with money to donate must choose carefully if they want their giving to be cost-effective.

Joining the Giving Pledge does not require an individual to support any particular causes or organizations, but instead “encourages signatories to find their own unique ways to give that inspire them personally and benefit society.”

Because the rich and famous rely firstly on monetary donations, the Giving Pledge works to ensure cost-effectiveness. After all, celebrities don’t always have the time.

Those signing up to… an “Effective Giving Pledge” would publicly commit to giving away half their wealth to whichever organizations they believe would “most effectively use it to improve the lives of others, now and in the years to come.”

Just as the Giving Pledge has successfully inspired many of the wealthiest people to give bigger, an Effective Giving Pledge would help inspire them to give better.

Helping millions of people is good, but helping billions is much better.

It is not simply the responsibility of the 1% to donate, but to do so effectively and with a passion for change.

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Water Fabric Is Now In Fashion

A number of big brands have found ways to turn trash into fashion. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have gone back to basics. In an attempt to mimic spider silk, they produced hydrogel, an eco-friendly water fiber with the potential to revolutionize fabrics.

Hydrogel consists of about 2% cellulose and silica… suspended in water with some molecules that are shaped like tiny bracelets, called Cucurbiturils. These chemicals… hold the cellulose and silica together, allowing long, extremely thin fibers to be pulled from the gel.

The water evaporates shortly after the fibers are drawn out of the hydrogel, leaving behind a silken strand that is stronger than [most materials]. The strings also work like bungee cords, in some cases having a property of energy absorption called “damping capacity” that exceeds natural silks.

In friendlier terms, hydrogel produces fabrics that are pretty darn strong. The process uses non-hazardous solvents and demands minimal energy. Unique properties from its molecules also detect toxins and treat waste waters.

For anyone into sustainable fashion, this could shake up the textile industry. That’s what I call super science!

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Wine Found In Museum Is Older Than The US

Wine enthusiasts might say that longer-aged drinks taste better. Most of the time, they are right. But what about a bottle that is nearly two-and-a-half centuries old? This Madeira, discovered at the New Jersey Liberty Hall Museum, is even older than the United States.

This particular type of vino was important in the early days of the United States.

Because our forefathers couldn’t figure out a way to grow wine-making grapes in the colonies, they needed to find a good place to import from.

That place was the Madeira Islands off the coast of Portugal.

The Madeira dates back to approximately 1769 and could be worth big bucks. It was also apparently not the only drink hiding within the walls of the museum.

Some of the bottles… had been specially created for New York millionaire Robert Lenox, who died in 1839.

Talk about finely aged! While there is no word on who will get to taste the practically-ancient drinks, the Portuguese president may get a sneaky taste of the Madeira.

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This Clock Is Perfect For Frequent Travellers

All jet-setters know that time is a hassle when traveling on a regular basis. When trying to keep up with family on the other side of the world, it’s easy to forget time zones. This intelligent World Clock is a game-changer. Give it a roll and it’ll tell you what time it is anywhere in the world!

Developed by Japanese product designer Masafumi Ishikawa, the tiny clock has 12 flat edges and a single hour hand. Each side corresponds to a city – and as you roll [it] from one side to another, the hand automatically changes its position to show the time in that location.

Pretty neat! In addition to its sleek wooden interface, users don’t have to manually set the time. It is a smart device, after all. A second version of the product even addresses daylight savings.

Rotation is the only physical action necessary to tell the time anywhere on earth. The trick is a simple ball bearing that sets the new position of the hand when the clock is rotated.

I’m not usually one for quirks, but this clock is certainly a brainy find.

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