Thursday, March 28, 2019

Robots Go to Weed

A lot of hours are spent weeding on an organic farm. If weeds are not removed they steal soil fertility and moisture from the crop. That means smaller, less nutritious crop and less profit for the farmer. For organic raised farm products the farmer has access to a very limited arsenal of herbicides to selectively kill or hinder the growth of weeds. Many hours are spent physically removing weeds by hand, handheld tools or human driven machine (See my Sept 20, 2010 post on weeding). A potential solution from the field of machine robotics is a machine that can distinguish weeds and either remove them or spray them with a targeted quantity of herbicide. A machine that can physically remove weeds  would greatly reduce the cost of production for organic farmers. And for conventional farms that use herbicides the machine could reduce the quantity of herbicide required by applying it directly on the weeds and not in the surrounding area. This is an instance where robots can and will make small-scale farming easier and more profitable.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Stating the Obvious But Making It Sound Special

I was in KFC (I get cravings) and saw a rustic looking sign claiming that their chicken is, "Farm Raised." Wait a second. All chickens are raised on a farm. Whether it's a one acre hobby farm or a 1,000 acre commercial complex, both are a type of farming. Clearly KFC is appealing to our sentimentalized idea of farming.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Chanel's enchanted forest show angers environmentalists


Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld "turned the vast glass nave of Paris’s Grand Palais into an autumn forest for the event, strewing dead leaves, moss and logs on a mirrored runway and installed nine tall trees inside."
I admit, it's a brilliant idea from the perspective of a fashion designer . But the concept of putting on a fashion show in a simulated forest setting reinforces our acceptance of being once removed from nature.