Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Local Sourcing

Is 3D printing part of a larger trend toward local sourcing EVERYTHING?  The answer is going to have to be yes over time, because the cost of energy (read "oil") will go up so high, that only those items not physically available at a location will be shipped.  For the earth, and with human ingenuity, the only things not capable of being produced locally are raw materials like metals and fuels.

But what can be produced locally, if given the right incentive?  Food, energy, consumer goods, services.  200 years past, farms could be isolated by 100 miles of wilderness, and they would have to create everything on their own. In the future, we may have to return to that.  Admittedly it will be a slow process, but moving certain manufacturing and production facilities back from the outsourced nether will be beneficial as the cost of fuels keeps climbing.

Local sourcing.... not just a made-up phrase anymore.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hydroponic Systems

I know that hydroponics is a thing that's been around for years.  I also believe (perhaps wrongly?) that most of them grow marijuana.  But I was recently reading about some new systems designed for indoor cultivation through hydroponics that make me want to go out and become a farmer.  Or at least buy an expensive, giant apartus to put in my already cramped apartment.  

The one that I like the look of the most is called the OmegaGarden.  It's a cylinder with plants stuck to the inside, roots out.  There is a light in the center that is always shining on the plants.  And as it turns, it dips into hydroponic solution.  Basically, you have a rotating herb garden.  You can harvest amazing amounts from it, though the crops are limited.  And its almost $3000, so I won't get one any time soon.  Besides, I'm sure my girlie would like a more outdoorsy system....

Enter the WhirliGro.  Its a crazy tube system for growing plants sky high.  You suspend the tubes filled with dirt (yeah, not exactly hydroponics, right?) in spirals above the ground.  On the spirals, you plant vegetables. And over time, you get a bunch of plants on an apparatus with the same footprint as one or two.  Its kind of cool, if you have any place with dirt at all. But since I have a small apartment and no garden, I'd have to settle for something like the....

Green Wheel.  It is exactly like it sounds, except the inside is green, not the outside.  Similar to the Omega Garden, the green wheel has a light source in the middle, surrounded by plants in a growing medium.  But differently from the OG, the Green Wheel is small and stylish and capable of fitting on your counter.  The idea of fresh herbs on my counter is pretty cool, and one I might even pay money for.  When it is finally released for sale, I'll let you know my thoughts on the price point.