These Tomatoes Are Helping to Improve the Environment

In California, an almost 100-percent energy-efficient tomato greenhouse is about to go online, thanks to the addition of a plant that provides heat, electricity, and valuable carbon dioxide gas.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

California tomato grower Casey Houweling is the first American to install a combined heat and power generation plant that will make his 150-acre greenhouse almost completely energy-efficient. The plant will use natural gas to keep the greenhouse warm, and the extra electricity it generates will be sold into the local power grid. Most notably, it will feed carbon dioxide gas, a waste product, directly into the greenhouse. The use of this gas helps increase plant growth and improve the tomatoes' flavor.

What's the Big Idea?

The power industry has long tried different approaches to reducing atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide gas. For Houweling, having a plant that recycles the gas means he no longer has to purchase it from an outside supplier. Additional adaptations, including rainwater capture and solar panels, save even more energy. Greenhouse-based farming also uses much less land. Scott Nolen of General Electric -- which built the plant's two engines -- says the modified greenhouse allows Houweling to "grow as much food on 150 acres as his neighbor on 5500 acres."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

California wildfires death toll climbs to 50

Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
  • 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
  • On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
Keep reading Show less