i-crop: Pepsi's Revolutionary Precision Farming System
Sustainable farming is a topic of pressing interest and a domain of growing innovation in agriculture, but it's an incredibly complex issue involving multiple interrelated factors. A new partnership between Pepsi UK and Cambridge University addresses one of the most critical components in sustainable agriculture: Efficient water use in crop management.
i-crop is a revolutionary web-based platform for "precision farming," allowing growers to produce more while using less water by reducing under- and over-watering. The data-driven system intersects local weather information with data from soil moisture probes. By making data available for farmers to access online, i-crop empowers them to make better decisions about how and when to water their crops. After initial testing, the software has been shown to help farmers achieve 90% efficiency in water usage.
i-crop is part of PepsiCo's five-year plan to reduce water usage by 50%. The technology, however, is currently only available to PepsiCo-affiliated growers, which raises interesting questions about the relationship between corporate interests and social good in innovation, as well as bespeaking the disconnect between the value of open-source software and the fact that the best-funded research initiatives, most competent scientists and highest-grade technology tend to be subsidized by private corporations.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.