David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Dickson Despommier On The Transition to Vertical Farming

Dickson Despommier:
One of the big issues there is where does the energy come from to power
up a huge indoor farming operation? So in the middle of the Arizona
desert the sun supplies everything. They don’t grow food at night. So
they don’t use grow lights. They don’t have to. They get an abundant
amount of sunlight, and because it’s double-skinned glass, it’s
insulated from the outside, so if the temperature goes to 120 they
don’t care, and in the winter if it goes down to minus 10 they don’t
care. It’s still 75 to 80 degrees inside their horizontal greenhouse.
All right? No one has ever done this up, because there are engineering
challenges as well as some economic challenges, but it’s mostly
engineering. If you grow food indoors in these big buildings how much
energy will it consume versus in fact how much might it even generate
by the parts of the plants you don’t eat. You can recycle that and get
some of that back at least. So that was the fifth year’s projects for
the students. I’m no fool. I don’t know the answers to these questions.
I parasitize their brains and oh, I was going to say the reason we
shouldn’t behave as a single species and not as 194 different species
is because we are a single species, and our brain is basically
engineered the same way regardless if you’re an aborigine living in the
middle of the Australian desert, or if you’re an IBM executive up in
Rye, New York trying to find out what the next alternate power source
might be. The fact is that if you could connect those genomes together
into a single thinking unit that’s six point seven billion inputs with
about a hundred trillion neuronal connections per input I don’t care
what the problem is. I don’t care what the problem is. It’s solved in a
minute. It’s not solved in an hour. Now I can give you examples of
where that actually works on a small scale: The International Ladies
Garment Workers Union. It’s a wonderful example of a cooperativity
[sic] among a group of people that agrees at a common end we are going
to behave together. We’ll take pay cuts. We’ll get pay raises, but no
one loses their job, and we’ll all produce clothing as the end of the
day. That’s our job, and that’s what we’re going to do. The engineering
company of ARUP, A-R-U-P, is a fabulous example of how to behave.
There-- I don’t know how many engineers they have on their staff.
They’re in 37 different countries. Every engineer can access every
other engineer’s problem, and there’s a blog and they go on the blog
and say “You know, I don’t know how to do this. I didn’t have this in
school,” or “This has never been encountered before. Help.” And 15
people will go on the blog and say you know what? The next day the
problem is solved, so they never say “I can’t do that. It just can’t be
done. It will never fly. It will never float.” You put that word “It
will never blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.” Next. I have somebody else
sitting here. I don’t want to talk to “It can never…” I want to talk to
“When can you…?” That’s what I want to hear. When can you build me a
vertical farm? And so I’ve heard that from about eight places. Four of
these places are for real, and one of those places will be first. Can I
tell you which one that is? No I can’t because I don’t know yet, and if
I did I wouldn’t tell you. So we have a lot of money sitting out there
waiting to get involved in this because they have sort of ignored the
concept of profitability, and they’re concentrating on need. I think
profitability will follow need. So when people see how good their food
is and how abundant it is and how readily available it is, the switch--
I will never eat anything grown outside. I can’t trust the outdoors. I
can’t control it. Everything you want is controlled indoors and I think
marketing will be a no brainer once it starts.

Recorded on: 6/10/08

According to Dickson Despommier the revolution may not be televised, but it will be blogged about.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less