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Oligeeks Head Down to the Farm



Drones that spray pesticide; special soil sensors linked to iPads; devices that detect crop contamination. These are just a few of the innovations wielded by a new Silicon Valley -Big Ag partnership that hopes to rationalize farming. The FT reports that a coalition of top technology and agricultural firms has created the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster to test out a new form of smart farming in the Salinas Valley. Through entrepreneurship and technological innovation, the Cluster hopes to pioneer a scaleable model of high-yield, high-efficiency farming that can meet the needs of a growing world population.


This is huge news. The industrial revolution transformed agriculture, massively increasing farm productivity and bringing new areas into cultivation. By creating a global transport and food processing system it enabled a new kind of agricultural market. Frozen lamb from New Zealand could be served for dinner in Norway.


The information revolution is going to have an even more powerful impact. The smart farm of the future will be more productive and more sophisticated than anything weve yet seen. Genetically modified organisms will change our ideas of what forms can grow. Techniques like micro irrigation and micro fertilization will make agriculture more productive even while dramatically reducing the amount of water and fertilizer needed to produce the worlds food.



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Stem Cell Therapy, Without the Culture War



In what could be a revolutionary discovery, Chinese scientists have found a newer, safer way to make adult stem cells as flexible as embryonic stem cells.




In 2006, scientists discovered that medical therapies could be derived from stem cells derived from adults, which seemed to render the ethical objections moot. The problem, according to Scientific American, is that the original way of doing this increased chances of dangerous mutations or cancer. The Chinese team claims to have found a safer way of deriving the cells:




Researchers have been striving to achieve this since 2006, when the creation of so-called induced pluripotent (iPS) cells was first reported. Previously, they had managed to reduce the number of genes needed using small-molecule chemical compounds, but those attempts always required at least one gene, Oct4.


Now, writing in Science, researchers report success in creating iPS cells using chemical compounds onlywhat they call CiPS cells.

If the researchers claims check out, this would be an important breakthrough, first of all, for the many patients in America suffering from debilitating conditions like Parkinsons disease, cancer and liver disease. Equally as important, this story is a reminder that, just as new technologies sometimes create vexing ethical problems, they can also resolve them.

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General Atomics has applied for DOE funds to commercialize a nuclear reactor that could lower electricity costs by 40 percent.

Kevin Bullis

August 19, 2013


A novel type of reactor could cut the cost of nuclear power by as much as 40 percent, making it far more competitive with fossil-fuel power plants. Designed by General Atomics, a San Diego–based company, the reactor could also be safer than existing reactors and reduce nuclear waste by 80 percent.


General Atomics has been working on the reactor for five years. Now it is trying to win several hundred million dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, which the company says would be crucial to commercializing the technology. At least one other new design aims to substantially reduce the cost of nuclear power, but it’s from a startup with limited funding (see “Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price”).




To reduce costs, General Atomics is making the reactor smaller than conventional ones. Several other manufacturers are taking the same approach, but this design goes further by substantially increasing the efficiency of the power plant. Using helium as a coolant instead of water allows the plant to operate at higher temperatures, and the reactor also incorporates a new gas turbine for producing electricity. Thanks to these changes, the technology can generate more power from a given amount of heat produced in the reactor core. While conventional reactors convert 32 percent of the energy in heat to electricity, this one is expected to convert 53 percent.




H/T Instapundit

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Talk to Harry Reid about that nuclear waste sitting around the US that should have been centralized.

I have some very bad news for Dingy Harry. 20 years from now no one will remember who he was. a (small) footnote in history)

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A quick reply after watching all of but only Newt's video at the Univ.


. . . He makes it sound like . . .


the schedule for the next 30-100 years is upwards and onwards.


He knows better.


He's part of the global cabal that has scheduled forced population reduction down to 200-500 million souls.


I suppose he could be construed as being partly right about THOSE 200-500 million souls . . . but not really.


Because the elite don't plan for the bulk of even THOSE souls to have much wealth . . . they are scheduled to be primarily biological robots drugged, trained, conditioned to service the elites and take care of the bulk of the 'nature preserves' that most of the landscape is scheduled to be turned into while the serfs and slaves live in Soviet style 'rabbit warrens/dreary apartment blocks.


Newt's a clever speaker. The ideas sound sooo attractive. . . . even doable . . .


But he knows better. He knows another plan has long been in the works and is grinding inexorably forward toward first chaos, death and destruction. Of course, THE BRAVE NEW WORLD is supposed to rise from the engineered ashes.


He also makes it sound like the dumbed down education system that he describes so well is in need of being rectified etc. when actually, it's being worsened deliberately.


But hey . . . folks need dreams . . .


Newt's farcical blather is as dreamy as a lot of others.


Help yourself.


The part that's so outrageous about Newt is that he KNOWS differently. Yet he still plays his conservative stalking horse role so very well. He's happy to trash traditional values, Christianity etc. in Alvin Toffler's book preface yet pretend to be a card carrying authentic Christian when it suits the script writers.



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New Labor Productivity Numbers: The Worst in 35 Years


6 HOURS AGO Ryan McMaken

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on labor productivity today. During the first quarter of 2016, labor productivity fell 0.5 percent, making the first quarter the third quarter in a row for falling productivity. Prior to the first quarter of this year, labor productivity had not fallen three quarters in a row since 1979 in the lead up to the 1980 recession and the 1981-82 recession.


The only other period with such a long period of declining productivity can be found in 1973 and 1974 in the midst of the 1973-75 recession following the Nixon shock:


As with any government statistic, this one should be approached with caution, but it's likely not a coincidence that we see poor productivity data in this time series during periods of known economic weakness.


We've already seen in recent days how the current "recovery" is weak and how young workers are staying out of the work force — thus laying the ground work for more stagnant productivity later.


So who can be shocked that the current productivity numbers are some of the worst

we've seen since the 1970s? Scissors-32x32.png


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