28 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
  2. Jul 2022
    1. Yet there were still many traps along the way. In what is now Iraq, the Sumerian civilization (one of the world’s first) withered and died as the irrigation systems it invented turned the fields into salty desert. Some two thousand years later, in the Mediterranean basin, chronic soil erosion steadily undermined the Classical World: first the Greeks, then the Romans at the height of their power. And a few centuries after Rome’s fall, the Classic Maya, one of only two high civilizations to thrive in tropical rainforest (the other being the Khmer), eventually wore out nature’s welcome at the heart of Central America.

      Progress traps through history: * 1. Sumerian civilization (Iraq) irrigation system turned fields into salty desert * Greek and Roman empire - chronic soil erosion also eroded these empires * Classic Mayan empire may have collapsed due to the last 2 of 7 megadroughts because it was over-urbanized and used up all water sources, leaving no buffer in case of drought: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/new-clues-about-how-and-why-the-maya-culture-collapsed/

    2. Most survivors of that progress trap became farmers — a largely unconscious revolution during which all the staple foods we eat today were developed from wild roots and seeds (yes, all: no new staples have been produced from scratch since prehistoric times). Farming brought dense human populations and centralized control, the defining ingredients of full-blown civilization for the last five thousand years.

      As per the last comment above, Tel Aviv researchers surmise that the progressive extirpation of all the large prey fauna over the course of 1.5 million years forced society in the Southern Levant to innovate agriculture as a means of survival. Our early ancestors did not have accurate records that could reveal the trend of resource depletion so continued short term resource depletion in each of their respective lifetimes.

    3. The first trap was hunting, the main way of life for about two million years in Palaeolithic times. As Stone Age people perfected the art of hunting, they began to kill the game more quickly than it could breed. They lived high for a while, then starved.

      Anthropology and Archelogy findings support the idea that humans began laying progress traps as early as two million years ago. Our great success at socialization and communication that harnessed the power of collaboration resulted in wiping out entire species upon which we depended. Short term success leading to long term failure is a central pattern of progress traps.

      Anthropology and Archelogy findings support the idea that humans began laying progress traps as early as two million years ago. Our great success at socialization and communication that harnessed the power of collaboration resulted in wiping out entire species upon which we depended. Short term success leading to long term failure is a central pattern of progress traps.

      A remarkable paper from Tel Aviv researchers studying early hunters in the Southern Levant as early as 1.5 million years ago revealed that our ancestors in this part of the world were poor resource managers and over many generations, continually hunted large game to extinction, forcing descendants to hunt progressively smaller game.

      Annotation of the 2021 source paper is here: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedirect.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2Fabs%2Fpii%2FS0277379121005230&group=world Annotation of a science news interview with the researchers here: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedaily.com%2Freleases%2F2021%2F12%2F211221102708.htm&group=world

      The researchers even surmise that the extinction of game animals by around 10,000 B.C. is what gave rise to agriculture itself!

    1. Dr. Ben-Dor: "Our findings enable us to propose a fascinating hypothesis on the development of humankind: humans always preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their environment, until these became very rare or extinct, forcing the prehistoric hunters to seek the next in size. As a result, to obtain the same amount of food, every human species appearing in the Southern Levant was compelled to hunt smaller animals than its predecessor, and consequently had to develop more advanced and effective technologies. Thus, for example, while spears were sufficient for Homo erectus to kill elephants at close range, modern humans developed the bow and arrow to kill fast-running gazelles from a distance." Prof. Barkai concludes: "We believe that our model is relevant to human cultures everywhere. Moreover, for the first time, we argue that the driving force behind the constant improvement in human technology is the continual decline in the size of game. Ultimately, it may well be that 10,000 years ago in the Southern Levant, animals became too small or too rare to provide humans with sufficient food, and this could be related to the advent of agriculture. In addition, we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans -- who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created -- from the bow and arrow to the agricultural revolution. The environment, however, always paid a devastating price."

      This is a fascinating claim with far reaching consequences for modern humans dealing with the Anthropocene polycrisis.

      Technological development seems to have been related to our resource overshoot. As we extirpated the larger prey fauna which were slower moving and able to be successfully hunted with crude weapons, our ancestors were forced to hunt smaller and more agile species, requiring better hunting technologies.

      Agriculture could have been the only option left to our ancestors when there was insufficient species left to support society. This is the most salient sentence:

      "we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans -- who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created"

      This is a disturbing finding as technology has allowed humanity to be the apex species of the planet and we are now depleting resources not on a local scale, but a global one. There is no planet B to move to once we have decimated the environment globally.

      Have we progressed ourselves into a corner? Are we able to culturally pivot and correct such an entrenched cultural behavior of resource mismanagement?

    2. In this way, according to the researchers, early humans repeatedly overhunted large animals to extinction (or until they became so rare that they disappeared from the archaeological record) and then went on to the next in size -- improving their hunting technologies to meet the new challenge. The researchers also claim that about 10,000 years ago, when animals larger than deer became extinct, humans began to domesticate plants and animals to supply their needs, and this may be why the agricultural revolution began in the Levant at precisely that time.

      This is an extraordinary claim, that due to extirpation of fauna prey species, we resorted to agriculture. In other words, that we hunted the largest prey, and when they went extinct, went after the next largest species until all the large megafauna became extinct. According to this claim, agriculture became a necessity due to our poor intergenerational resource management skills.

  3. May 2022
  4. Oct 2021
  5. Jul 2021
    1. Smart farming or precision farming is an approach to integrate the latest technology advancements with the world’s oldest industry. It’s the perfect amalgamation of two different worlds, and IoT devices are at the core of this revolution.
  6. Jun 2021
    1. the dairy farmers are having a hard time managing their cattle and keeping their farms a profitable venture. So, we are here talking about the ways to leverage smart dairy farming using IoT. Let’s explore how livestock management becomes easier and more profitable with IoT technologies.
  7. Apr 2021
    1. Despite important agricultural advancements to feed the world in the last 60 years, a Cornell-led study shows that global farming productivity is 21% lower than it could have been without climate change. This is the equivalent of losing about seven years of farm productivity increases since the 1960s.
  8. Jan 2021
    1. The Vertical Field setup retains many of the advantages of hydroponic vertical farms, but instead of the plants growing in a nutrient-packed liquid medium, the container-based pods treat their crops to real soil, supplemented by a proprietary mix of minerals and nutrients. The company says that it opted for geoponic production "because we found that it has far richer flavor, color, and quality."

      A richer and tastier alternative to hydroponics

  9. Oct 2020
    1. But, whereas engaged scholarship has a political imperative, academic microcelebrity has a market imperative. Academic microcelebrity is ostentatiously apolitical, albeit falsely so because markets are always political. Academic microcelebrity encourages brand building as opposed to consciousness-raising; brand awareness as opposed to co-creation of knowledge. It creates perverse incentives for impact as opposed to valuing social change. Microcelebrity is the economics of attention in which academics are being encouraged, mostly through normative pressure, to brand their academic knowledge for mass consumption. However, the risks and rewards of presenting oneself “to others over the Web using tools typically associated with celebrity promotion” (Barone 2009) are not the same for all academics in the neo-liberal “public” square of private media.

      I'm reminded here of the huge number of academics who write/wrote for The Huffington Post for their "reach" despite the fact that they were generally writing for free. Non-academics were doing the same thing, but for the branding that doing so gave them.

      In my opinion, both of these groups were cheated in that they were really building THP's brand over their own.

    1. Consumer demand is one of four important variables that, when combined, can influence and shape farming practices, according to Festa. The other three are the culture of farming communities, governmental policies, and the economic system that drives farming.
    2. Festa argues that this is why organic farming in the U.S. saw a 56 percent increase between 2011 and 2016.

      A useful statistic but it needs more context. What is the percentage of organic farming to the overall total of farming?

      Fortunately the linked article provides some additional data: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/10/organic-farming-is-on-the-rise-in-the-u-s/

    1. Still, organic farming makes up a small share of U.S. farmland overall. There were 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, representing less than 1% of the 911 million acres of total farmland nationwide. Some states, however, had relatively large shares of organic farmland. Vermont’s 134,000 certified organic acres accounted for 11% of its total 1.25 million farm acres. California, Maine and New York followed in largest shares of organic acreage – in each, certified organic acres made up 4% of total farmland.
  10. Aug 2020
  11. May 2020
  12. Oct 2019
    1. Indian soils are poor in organic matter content. About 59% of soils are low in available nitrogen; about 49% are low in available phosphorus; and about 48% are low or medium in available potassium. Indian soils are also varyingly deficient in micronutrients, such as zinc, iron, manganese, copper, molybdenum and boron
  13. Aug 2019
    1. "respondents positively associate health, safety, and the environment with organic farmers compared to conventional and GMO farmers" (Sax and Doran 636). Direct quote in support of MP #3, organic farming is better

  14. Jan 2018
  15. May 2017
  16. Sep 2016
    1. A local company named AeroFarms has built what it says is the world's largest indoor vertical farm, without the use of soil or sunlight.

      Its ambitious goal is to grow high-yielding crops via economical methods to provide locally sourced food to the community, protect the environment and ultimately even combat hunger worldwide.

      "We use about 95 percent less water to grow the plants, about 50 percent less fertilizer as nutrients and zero pesticides, herbicide, fungicides," said David Rosenberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of AeroFarms.

      http://aerofarms.com/