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+ - The Electric Tractor - Is this the Zero Emission Vehicle Killer App? 1

Submitted by AttillaTheNun
AttillaTheNun (618721) writes "Steve Heckeroth has a long and storied history as an innovator in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry, focusing initially on passenger vehicles (including a converted porsche spider). Numerous obstacles that have stalled development in this area, primarily in the form of regulatory lobbyists and patent control by the entrenched players led him to pursue an industry in which the primary technical limitation in the passenger vehicle domain — battery weight — becomes an advantage, in the form of additional traction. He soon became the largest electric tractor manufacturer in the world, and continues to innovate in this field. An example of his work:

While the media and investor focus is on Elon Musk's attempt to disrupt the passenger vehicle industry, could farm machinery be the thin edge of the wedge towards an EV breakthrough?"

Comment: Re:Let me know when it gets to production (if ever (Score 1) 81

by AttillaTheNun (#46998983) Attached to: New Battery Tech From Japan Could Supercharge EVs

You're not wrong - something may very well happen to keep the technology from being mass produced. EV production and advancement has been stalled many times in an effort to maintain the status quo. Here's a story from Steve Hekeroth, an individual who knows all too well.

Unsurprisingly, it has taken a billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk, to disrupt the market. Let's hope the trend continues.

Comment: Re:Tonopah Rob is a Real Farmer (Score 1) 217

The dustbowl wasn't a one-time event - soil erosion on a massive scale continues to this day, and is a world wide problem:

You want sustainable efficiency?

This is a design system that is not only sustainable, but improves fertility and efficiency over time. Rather than design a system based on multiple inputs and a single yield, you design it based on the interaction of a complex web of natural systems and the yield is the surplus.

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system." - Bill Mollison [4]

Want actual references to working systems? Here's the best example: Sepp Holzer

Want more? See my original post.

Scalability? "If anybody ever suggests that permaculture does not scale, just
point to Willie Smits." - Paul Wheaton

Comment: Redundancy (Score 1) 765

by AttillaTheNun (#46980603) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology

It's nothing more than a theoretical discussion, anyhow, but putting aside all of the various arguments for and against gun ownership, if the primary concern here is whether a "smart gun" is a compromise between safety of the gun owner over safety of everyone else, I would prefer if a gun owner had two smart guns over one conventional gun.

I don't think the technology is there yet anyhow, but if it could guarantee a gun could only ever be fired by a legally registered gun owner, then I think that's a good thing. If you don't trust the gun to misfire in a critical situation, carry 2 of them.

This preserves the right for legal gun ownership, whether it's for hunting, sport or civil/self defence, while vastly reducing the consequences of unintended and unauthorized use of the weapon.

Realistically, It won't do dick to limit the manufacture and illicit sale and trade of non-smart guns, or to limit sociopathic use of a legally registered weapon, so it's a moot point.

Comment: Re:Tonopah Rob is a Real Farmer (Score 4, Informative) 217

They're farmers, but they aren't farming based on a sustainable model.

Nothing will end pest problems, but appropriate design will mitigate their impact on a system.

Chemical pesticides are less than 100 years old. We got along just fine for beforehand for millennia without them.

Here's another interesting fact - every culture that has adopted "modern" agriculture (i.e. the practice of clear-cutting forest, tilling soil and living primarily on annual (largely mono) crops) have eventually collapsed. All of them. It isn't a long-term sustainable model. Look to the lands of the middle east that were once lush edens for a prime example of how desertification is the end result. Look at the dust bowls of mid-western america as an example of how industrialization has only accelerated this process. Topsoil is the largest export of North America. The midwest prairies once had 6 feet or more of topsoil, until the clearing and tilling began. Contrast the long-term sustainable farming methods of North and South America (i.e. thousands of years), where the ratio of forested to cleared land for cultivating crops and grazing cattle was far different before western culture to what exists today.

The "simple" solutions do work (they aren't simple in any way, however, as it is the complexity of the natural system models and patterns that make them work). Every long-term sustainable culture has relied on them without fail. And I don't buy the usual retort of "try and feed the world with them". There are plenty of documented examples of permanent, sustainable agriculture (i.e. permaculture) systems that provide as much abundance and nutrition per acre. It's just a matter of appropriate system design.

I'll trot out the usual permaculture examples of proven systems and people leading by example:
Sepp Holzer and his Krameterhoff and Holzerhoff farms in Austria
Masanobu Fukuoka, who's system in Japan was rated the top 5% of rice production per acre in the country, yet also yielded an annual crop of barley on the same plot - all using natural methods.
Bill Mollison and the permaculture research institute in Tagari, Tasmania, and the PRI's he and Geoff Lawton have set up world wide, many in some of the most challenging environments in the world (i.e. the salted deserts of Australia and Jordan)
Mark Shepard and his New Forest Farm based in Wisconsin
The large-scale grazing practices based on Alan Savory's work to reverse desertification

Comment: Re:Mod parent up! (Score 1) 116

by AttillaTheNun (#46483475) Attached to: Conservation Communities Takes Root Across US

No doubt, if they persist with the status quo.

Is Tucson much different than Phoenix? Check this out:

Brad Lancaster has been showing how water harvesting techniques can not only make it work in Arizona, but on a larger scale actually recharge aquifers and restore waterscapes to reverse desertification in arid climates.

Comment: Re:454 / 16 (Score 1) 116

by AttillaTheNun (#46482351) Attached to: Conservation Communities Takes Root Across US

You can't compare industrial farming economics to a local community polyculture farm. It's a completely different game. I would argue the local CSA model is far more sustainable than industrial ag, and this is a clear example.

Industrial Ag requires thousands of acres of subsidized monocrop, big machinery, expensive seed (thanks to Monsanto), expensive fertilizer, transportation, and low-wage farmers and crop pickers to make a profit. It's an industry supported by big ag corporations and (thanks to their lobby efforts) government to maximize profit for the few at the top of the chain. The farmers and crop pickers are the last in line, as far as the revenue stream.

A CSA puts money in the farmers and crop workers first, works within and supports the local community. That's why it works, that's why it's sustainable, and expect to see more of them because the local food movement has legs, not because it's a fad, but because it is rooted in a sustainable design model.

Save gas, don't use the shell.