Emergent Futures Tumblelog

This is the Tumblelog of Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle - Futurists from Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. Go to Emergent Futures to see more or follow on Twitter at FuturistPaul . If you right click on the pictures, titles or links in these posts you will be able to go to the original story on the web. If you click on comments for each post you can either read what others have said or add your own comment via Disqus. If you click on the date of a post it will take you to a single post view where you can copy the web link if you want to send it to someone else. If you click on the tags it will take you to other stories from Emergent Futures with the same tag.

futurescope:

LiquiGlide - a super slippery coating

fastcompany:

Scientists at MIT have developed this freaky non-stick coating that keeps ketchup flowing. Amazing solution to an old problem. Also one of the weirdest videos you will see this week.

Read more->

[MIT LiquiGLide]

Posted at 8:11am and tagged with: tech, technology, food,.

Paul Higgins: A bit cynical about this in the long term. Talked to one of our neighbours last week who builds urban gardens for people. he says that people start out all enthusiastic but many fall into disrepair

smarterplanet:

4 Tips For Starting A Farm In Your City [Video] | Fast Company

Consider this paradox: 49 million Americans live with daily food insecurity, 23 million live in urban food deserts, and collectively we’re all getting fatter. Simultaneously vacant lots, concrete grooves, and other desolate, empty spots dot urban landscapes, while a quarter of traditional agricultural land is severely degraded according to the UN.

Enter the urban farm: a fast, smart, cheap way to bring healthy food closer to those who need it, transform ugly vacant spaces into lush gardens, and promote a healthier, greener, more connected urban community.

A recently released video by the American Society of Landscape Architects uses case studies from edible-city innovators, such as Cleveland and Detroit, to offer practical advice for bringing urban farms to your backyard (or corner lot or rooftop). Here are four helpful tips:

Posted at 8:22am and tagged with: food, agriculture, urbanisation, urban farming,.

Paul Higgins: A bit cynical about this in the long term. Talked to one of our neighbours last week who builds urban gardens for people. he says that people start out all enthusiastic but many fall into disrepair

smarterplanet:

4 Tips For Starting A Farm In Your City [Video] | Fast Company
Consider this paradox: 49 million Americans live with daily food insecurity, 23 million live in urban food deserts, and collectively we’re all getting fatter. Simultaneously vacant lots, concrete grooves, and other desolate, empty spots dot urban landscapes, while a quarter of traditional agricultural land is severely degraded according to the UN.
Enter the urban farm: a fast, smart, cheap way to bring healthy food closer to those who need it, transform ugly vacant spaces into lush gardens, and promote a healthier, greener, more connected urban community.
A recently released video by the American Society of Landscape Architects uses case studies from edible-city innovators, such as Cleveland and Detroit, to offer practical advice for bringing urban farms to your backyard (or corner lot or rooftop). Here are four helpful tips:

wiredinsider:

Image by Julian Burfords

Good Eggs is trying to promote a local and sustainable business model. As they have researched how technology can help them, they’ve discovered “in cases where local food systems are thriving, food and groceries are treated as services instead of…

Posted at 5:29pm and tagged with: food, agriculture, tech, technology, business modelss,.

futurescope:

Chinese Restauranteur Boasts 18 Robot Workers

A restaurant in Harbin, China staffs 18 robots; one to welcome customers as they arrive, others to cook the food, and more to deliver plates to tables. The owner says the robots, which cost between 200,000~300,000 yuan ($32,000~$48,000 USD), can display 10 different emotions and speak simple phrases.

The robot stops automatically if a customer gets in its way thanks to ultrasonic range sensors, and will sound an alarm if it needs to be repaired.  And it knows to return to its power source when it gets low on juice (its batteries have a life of around 5 hours). 

[source]

Posted at 4:41am and tagged with: food, robots, technology, tech,.

futurescope:

Chinese Restauranteur Boasts 18 Robot Workers

A restaurant in Harbin, China staffs 18 robots; one to welcome customers as they arrive, others to cook the food, and more to deliver plates to tables. The owner says the robots, which cost between 200,000~300,000 yuan ($32,000~$48,000 USD), can display 10 different emotions and speak simple phrases.
The robot stops automatically if a customer gets in its way thanks to ultrasonic range sensors, and will sound an alarm if it needs to be repaired.  And it knows to return to its power source when it gets low on juice (its batteries have a life of around 5 hours). 

[source]
Writer Tyler Cowen on GMO food and the locavore movement. (via climateadaptation)

Posted at 6:38am and tagged with: food, agriculture,.

there is a false nostalgia for primitive agriculture, based on limited transportation and the arduous conversion of raw materials into comestible commodities. Rarely is it admitted, much less emphasized, that cheap, quick food — including its embodiment through our sometimes obnoxious agribusiness corporations — is the single most important advance in human history.

Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?

A new meta-analysis suggests farmers should take a hybrid approach to producing enough food for humans while preserving the environment

Full Story:Scientific American

Posted at 8:20am and tagged with: food, agriculture,.

Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?


A new meta-analysis suggests farmers should take a hybrid approach to producing enough food for humans while preserving the environment

Full Story:Scientific American

stoweboyd:

Stephanie Strom via NYTimes.com

Researchers have found that climate change is likely to have far greater influence on the volatility of corn prices over the next three decades than factors that recently have been blamed for price swings — like oil prices, trade policies and government biofuel mandates.

The new study, published on Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that unless farmers develop more heat-tolerant corn varieties or gradually move corn production from the United States into Canada, frequent heat waves will cause sharp price spikes.

More critical than short-term spikes is relatively high growth rates for food stuffs across the board, and especially for building blocks like corn and soy in the industrial food chain.

(Source: underpaidgenius)

Posted at 12:01pm and tagged with: Environment, climate change, food, agriculture, risk, economic,.

climateadaptation:

Though an old problem, the highly regulated fisheries of New England present deep misconceptions and much ire among many interest groups.

The few fisheries that remain work closely with environmentalists, economists, food distributors, port cities, coastal planners, non-profits, churches, restaurants, family support groups, higher education institutes, advocacy groups, unions, scientists, state and federal regulators, and even international regulatory bodies. Each of these groups have varying degrees of interests. And no voice is more important than the next.

Working together to provide solutions is much tougher than eschewing one or more parties for ideological reasons.

The above PBS piece shows how a handful of groups worked together to create a new business model for fisheries. There are no universal solutions. But, this model has been adopted in communities up and down the east coast (I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if this model has spread to the west coast or even Asian fisheries. The EU, though, is an entirely different story…).

The piece is 4:00 minutes, and well worth checking out.

See my other posts on fisheries.

Posted at 6:30am and tagged with: food, business models, innovation,.

climateadaptation:

Though an old problem, the highly regulated fisheries of New England present deep misconceptions and much ire among many interest groups.
The few fisheries that remain work closely with environmentalists, economists, food distributors, port cities, coastal planners, non-profits, churches, restaurants, family support groups, higher education institutes, advocacy groups, unions, scientists, state and federal regulators, and even international regulatory bodies. Each of these groups have varying degrees of interests. And no voice is more important than the next.
Working together to provide solutions is much tougher than eschewing one or more parties for ideological reasons.
The above PBS piece shows how a handful of groups worked together to create a new business model for fisheries. There are no universal solutions. But, this model has been adopted in communities up and down the east coast (I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if this model has spread to the west coast or even Asian fisheries. The EU, though, is an entirely different story…).
The piece is 4:00 minutes, and well worth checking out.
See my other posts on fisheries.

Paul Higgins: These sorts of charts and numbers irritate me because while I am in full support of not wasting water they are a glib simplification. For example:

Iceberg Lettuce at 1kg = 130L and looks more efficient that lots of others but a Kg of lettuce only contains 587kj of energy and 8g of protein whereas I kg of wheat contains around 14,000 kj of energy and around 110g of protein. In a world that is food constrained and likely to become more so in the future as populations and demand grows this is important.

On top of that you then have to factor in the energy costs of transporting all that weight for a much lower energy density.

I am not sure of the source of the chart above but others that I have seen calculate the water use based on what falls on the crops like wheat or sugar cane. This analysis is then added to the water use of other products like meat and milk where grain is fed to animals.However unless that water is actually used up in the process and is useful elsewhere (either economically or environmentally) the calculations are meaningless at best and manipulative and deceptive at worse. To do a full comparison you need to do a full water cycle analysis compared to not using that land to produce that crop. For instance most of the water that falls on land to grow crops is not used by the crop, it either evaporates back to the atmosphere or moves through the soil to enter underground aquifers and rivers. Why should those amounts be added to the water cost of a product?

The arguments become different when irrigation is used because clearly water has been diverted for the use it is being put to. However the same rigorous analysis should be done, not meaningless easy comparisons designed to influence people.

By all means let us have the debate. The issues of water will become more important as populations grow.

I took the numbers here from http://nutritiondata.self.com which uses USDA data. I also cross referenced them with my own knowledge of grain nutrient levels.

 smarterplanet:

UN-Water World Water Day

saveplanetearth:

Posted at 11:16am and tagged with: water, food, agriculture, Environment,.

Paul Higgins: These sorts of charts and numbers irritate me because while I am in full support of not wasting water they are a glib simplification. For example:

Iceberg Lettuce at 1kg = 130L and looks more efficient that lots of others but a Kg of lettuce only contains 587kj of energy and 8g of protein whereas I kg of wheat contains around 14,000 kj of energy and around 110g of protein. In a world that is food constrained and likely to become more so in the future as populations and demand grows this is important.
On top of that you then have to factor in the energy costs of transporting all that weight for a much lower energy density.
I am not sure of the source of the chart above but others that I have seen calculate the water use based on what falls on the crops like wheat or sugar cane. This analysis is then added to the water use of other products like meat and milk where grain is fed to animals.However unless that water is actually used up in the process and is useful elsewhere (either economically or environmentally) the calculations are meaningless at best and manipulative and deceptive at worse. To do a full comparison you need to do a full water cycle analysis compared to not using that land to produce that crop. For instance most of the water that falls on land to grow crops is not used by the crop, it either evaporates back to the atmosphere or moves through the soil to enter underground aquifers and rivers. Why should those amounts be added to the water cost of a product?
The arguments become different when irrigation is used because clearly water has been diverted for the use it is being put to. However the same rigorous analysis should be done, not meaningless easy comparisons designed to influence people.

By all means let us have the debate. The issues of water will become more important as populations grow.

I took the numbers here from http://nutritiondata.self.com which uses USDA data. I also cross referenced them with my own knowledge of grain nutrient levels.



 smarterplanet:

UN-Water World Water Day
saveplanetearth: