Humans have spent the last 10,000 years mastering agriculture. But a freak summer storm or bad drought can still mar many a well-planted harvest. Not anymore, says Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who has moved industrial-scale farming under the roof.
Working in Miyagi Prefecture in eastern Japan, which was badly hit by powerful earthquake and tsunamis in 2011, Shimamura turned a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs. The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth.
The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen,” Shimamura says.
Read full article at GE
For a lesson in the compounding effects of surprising events, go back to a March afternoon in 2011: A powerful earthquake hits 40 miles off the eastern coast of Japan. The country’s building codes ensure that most structures can cope with even this major stress, but a resulting tsunami pounds the shore, unexpectedly breaches the sea walls, and ends up killing most of the more than 15,800 who die in this disaster.
The wave also knocks out the cooling system at a major nuclear-power plant situated on the coast, causing a meltdown. In time, the prime minister admits that the accident could have gotten out of control, forcing the abandonment of Tokyo, which would have crippled Japan. Citizens of the resource-poor country advocate abandoning nuclear power; analysts say that relying on imported coal or liquified natural gas could raise Japan’s carbon emissions by 37 percent. The meltdown hobbles a renaissance for nuclear power in the United States, and miscommunication about the disaster leads to upheaval in the Japanese government.
The quake, tsunami, and meltdown also affect an area known for manufacturing products vital to the world economy, notably cars and other vehicles, and those plants are shuttered for months. Twenty percent of the world’s silicon wafers come from this area, and electronics companies, which rely on just-in-time delivery of parts, brace for shortages. The meltdown also causes a brief worldwide panic about radioactive materials that might hitch onto Japanese exports.
Excerpt from an article written by Scott Carlson at The Chronicle Review. Continue HERE
We Are All Radioactive is an episodic documentary film created by San Francisco-based journalist Lisa Katayama and TEDTalks creator Jason Wishnow. It tells the story of a community of young surfers who are helping to rebuild a small coastal town destroyed by the tsunami in Japan in March 2011. Motoyoshi was a secret surf spot for ocean enthusiasts from Sendai. When the tsunami swept away the people and buildings there, a team of young surfers drove out to the coast, pitched tents on unaffected patches of land, and started helping generations of fisherman become entrepreneurs so they could spearhead their own reconstruction projects and develop new business ideas.
Seven short themed chapters make up Season 1. Half the footage is shot by our team, and the other half is shot by the locals themselves. The first half of the series was entirely crowdfunded. All the episodes are subtitled in Japanese and English.
In Chapter 1, we meet Autumn, an American woman living in Sendai. When the tsunami hit Motoyoshi, her favorite surf spot, she drove out to the coast and enrolled local surfers and fishermen in reconstruction projects.
In Chapter 2, a fisherman takes us on a journey around the world on his blue fin tuna boat, and a veteran surfer tells us how his uncle saved his entire family from being swept away by the tsunami.
In Chapter 3 of this online episodic crowdfunded documentary, we see how a hodge podge crew of volunteers has rallied to build a beer garden in a town devastated by the Japanese tsunami.