An Australian start-up is using robots to pull weeds and herd cattle

  • The company, called Agerris, uses tech that has been developed at the University of Sydney’s Australian Center for Field Robotics.
  • One of its robots has the capacity to herd livestock and will be able to monitor the welfare of animals.

h/o: digital farmhand australia

  • An Australian start-up that develops robots which use artificial intelligence is hoping to soon sell its technology to the wider market.

    The company, called Agerris, specializes in both “air and ground field robotic systems” for agriculture. It uses tech that has been developed at the University of Sydney’s Australian Center for Field Robotics.

    Earlier this week, Agerris secured 6.5 million Australian dollars ($4.64 million) in funding in the hope of developing and trialing products that can then be commercialized.

    Early stage investment fund Uniseed said the money would be used to commercialize “robotics platforms, intelligent automated tools and artificial intelligence” with the aim of boosting agricultural productivity and sustainability. Uniseed, together with Carthona Capital and the BridgeLane Group, co-ordinated the investment.

    “Farmers worldwide will need to increase production through enhancing agricultural productivity, yet many often struggle to afford the best customized advice for their farm, leading to sub-optimal yields and efficiencies from their crops,” the CEO of Agerris, Salah Sukkarieh, said in a statement issued on the University of Sydney’s website. MORE

RELATED:

New autonomous farm wants to produce food without human workers

Down on a new robot farm, machines tend rows of leafy greens under the watch of software called “The Brain.”

Women leaders rip Ottawa for not ending Indian Act discrimination

Image result for Women leaders rip Ottawa for not ending Indian Act discrimination

Women leaders were in Ottawa Tuesday demanding an end to sex discrimination in the Indian Act.

It was supposed to have been taken care of in a bill passed last year called S-3.

But there is still unfinished business because a compromise between the house and senate to pass S-3 is still unresolved.

“Canada is an outlaw,” says Pam Palmater. “It’s an outlaw with regards to failing to uphold the basic human rights of equality for Indian men and women.”

Palmater was one of several leaders asking for an order in council – a vote in the federal cabinet that is approved by the Governor General.

Sharon McIvor says it would immediately make S-3 complete.

“Any given Tuesday the cabinet can make us legally equal to our male counterparts.”

Bill S-3 was supposed to do away with any lingering discrimination faced by women passing on status to their children after they marry non-Indigenous men.

The House of Commons wanted to keep a cut-off date of 1951 meaning those born before would still face trouble passing on status.

“The fact that we’re all here fighting for this makes absolutely no sense when we have a government that says there’s no relationship more important than the one with Indigenous peoples,” Palmater said.

“Unless they meant only Indigenous men.” MORE

Glaciers and Arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it’s too late

No one should be annoyed when schoolkids start leaving class en masse or surprised that Green New Deal advocates call for dramatic overhaul of American society. We should be grateful


‘The respectable have punted; so now it’s up to the scruffy, the young, the marginal, the angry to do the necessary work.’ Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

Forget “early warning signs” and “canaries in coalmines” – we’re now well into the middle of the climate change era, with its epic reshaping of our home planet. Monday’s news, from two separate studies, made it clear that the frozen portions of the Earth are now in violent and dramatic flux.

The first, led by the veteran Greenland glaciologist Jason Box, looked across the Arctic at everything from “increased tundra biomass” to deepening thaw of the permafrost layer. Their conclusion: “the Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.” To invent a word, the north is rapidly slushifying, with more rainfall and fewer days of hard freeze; the latest data shows that after a month of record temperatures in the Bering Sea, ocean ice in the Arctic is at an all-time record low for the date, crushing the record set … last April.

The other study looked at the great mountain ranges of the planet, and found that their glaciers were melting much faster than scientists had expected. By the end of the century many of those alpine glaciers would be gone entirely; the Alps may lose 90% of their ice. From the Caucasus to the South Island of New Zealand, mountains are losing more than 1% of their ice each year now: “At the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” said Michael Zemp, who runs the World Glacier Monitoring Service from his office at the University of Zurich.

…For the moment, though, don’t worry about the “effects”, just focus on what it means that some of the largest systems on Earth are now in seismic shift.

What it means, I think, is that no one should be shocked when Extinction Rebellion activists engage in mass civil disobedience. No one should be annoyed when school kids start leaving class en masse. No one should be surprised that Green New Deal advocates are now calling for dramatic overhaul of American society. In fact we should be deeply grateful: these activists, and the scientists producing these reports, are the only people on the planet who seem to understand the scale of the problem. MORE

Road to the Green New Deal Tour

Image result for sunrise movement: ROAD TO A GREEN NEW DEAL tour

In 2018, young Sunrise leaders put the Green New Deal on the map and permanently changed the conversation on climate policy in this country. The political establishment is scrambling to keep up with thousands of people across the country who are eager to take action and bring the promise of the Green New Deal into reality. The Koch Brothers are desperately trying to erode the incredible, bipartisan support that poll after poll shows for the Green New Deal.

That’s why we’re launching Road to the Green New Deal, 8 massive tour stops and over 100 town halls all across America. Our goals:

  • Give every single American an opportunity to hear from their neighbors about how the Green New Deal will improve their lives.
  • Counter the lies coming from the Koch Brothers and their allies.
  • Grow our movement to transform the 2020 election into a referendum on climate action. MORE

What Women Know About the Internet

The digital world is not designed to keep women safe. New regulations should be.

CreditCreditJoan Wong

Like too many women, I’ve been harassed online. The harasser described in explicit detail how he intended to violate me, though somehow his threats didn’t violate Twitter’s terms of service. Twitter, despite my repeated reports, did nothing.

So I did. I gradually tightened my privacy settings across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I mostly stopped sharing personal, nonwork-related updates and deleted photos of my children; I haven’t posted new pictures for more than a year.

I’m a tech journalist, so perhaps I am extra-sensitive to the dangers of the internet. But my concerns are widely shared by other women.

Several studies have found that women are more concerned about privacy risks online than men and are more likely to keep their profiles private and delete unwanted contacts. Female Italian college students are less likely to share their political views and relationship status than men and are more concerned about risks posed by other users and third parties. Norwegian women post fewer selfies than Norwegian men.

In other words, digital privacy is a women’s issue. We just don’t think about it that way, or discuss it that way. Of course, privacy is a concern for everyone, but this is also an issue, like health care, on which women have a particular view. Women know, for example, what consent really means. It’s not scrolling through seemingly endless “terms of service” and then checking a box. Online consent, just as it is with our bodies, should be clear, informed and a requirement for online platforms. MORE

 

 

This robot can sort recycling by giving it a squeeze

The robot, called RoCycle, uses pincers to pick through garbage and identify what materials each bit contains. It could help reduce how much waste gets sent to landfill.

Image of recycling robot sorting various items into bins
JASON DORFMAN, MIT CSAIL

Greasy pizza box, takeaway coffee cup, plastic yogurt pot—are they trash or recycling? What can and can’t be recycled is often confusing, not least because the answer depends on the facilities at your local waste processing plant. In many plants, grease-soaked cardboard or cups lined with polyethylene cannot be recycled and thus head for landfill—often taking a batch of other recycling with them.

One US waste processing company has reported that 25% of all recycling it receives is so contaminated it must be sent straight to landfills. Meanwhile, the amount of household waste rejected for recycling in England increased by 84% between 2011-2012 and 2014-2015, according to government figures. And it’s about to get worse. Much of the world’s waste is sold to China for recycling. But last month China introduced stricter standards for the amount of contamination it will accept: anything more that 0.5% impure will go in the ground.

That’s why the way we sort waste needs to get much better. Many large recycling centers already use magnets to pull out metals, and air filters to separate paper from heavier plastics. Even so, most sorting is still done by hand. It’s dirty and dangerous work.

So Lillian Chin and her colleagues at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT have developed a robot arm with soft grippers that picks up objects from a conveyor belt and identifies what they are made from by touch. MORE

Take Action! Prevent rich countries and giant corporations from dumping their plastic waste on poor communities.

Image result for plastic waste dumping
Take Action! We need the EU and more than 100 national governments to win this fight.

In early May, governments around the world will meet in Switzerland for a vote on international rules to help force wealthy states and corporations to stop treating developing countries like dumps for their plastic rubbish.

In the past two decades, businesses in the EU, US, Japan, Mexico and Canada have been exporting millions of tonnes of plastic waste overseas. That’s how European and North American plastic ends up choking the rivers and coasts of countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Together, we can fight that plastic flood and environmental racism — but we need a majority of governments to back the proposal.

You know how this works. If we show governments that this vote has massive public support, we can overcome the plastic industry lobbyists and polluters.

Sign the petition to governments around the world to vote for this game-changing proposal to update international law, and to minimise marine pollution and international dumping of plastic waste.

 

First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

This warning by Russ Diabo posted in Ricochet, July, 2015 is even more timely today.

Image result for Ricochet: First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

For the past several weeks, I have observed with increasing frequency a call for First Peoples to get out for the upcoming federal election. The mainstream media and now the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, are urging Indigenous people to vote, particularly since it is looking like a three-way race between the federal leaders and their parties (sorry, Elizabeth May).

…I took particular notice of an opinion piece by Tasha Kheiriddin in the National Post. Kheiriddin was responding to Regina Crowchild, a councillor with Alberta’s Tsuu T’ina Nation, who said that she would not want to see “an alien government’s polling station” on her reserve, adding that “if we join Canada in their election system, that’s a part of genocide.”

Here was Kheiriddin’s counterargument:

The reality is that, paradoxically, if First Nations are truly interested in more autonomy, they will never get it without cooperation from the federal government. That means electing a government that is sympathetic to their perspective — and they will never do so unless they go to the polls. Voting is not capitulation, but a recognition that in a democracy, you need to participate if you want your voice to be heard.

Despite the mainstream media’s pleas, we must remember as First Nation individuals we are connected to our families, communities and nations. Therefore we have collective or group rights, which Canadian citizens — whether founding settlers or recent immigrants — cannot claim.

In fact, Canada (including the Supreme Court of Canada) bases its asserted sovereignty and territorial integrity on the racist, colonial Christian doctrine of discovery. Kheiriddin’s argument makes sense only if Indigenous peoples already consider themselves as “Canadians.” MORE

2019 is the year young people rise for climate justice


Photo Credit: Allan Lissner

In Ottawa, Canada — unsurrendered lands of the Algonquin Anishnabe, water protectors and land defenders from across the country gathered on February 14–18th for the mass youth climate convergence, Powershift: Young and Rising, organized by 20 youth. Young and Rising came at a critical time in Canada, falling months after the worst wildfire season on record in the country and reports that glaciers are melting much faster than expected in the North.

Even with the latest UN report stating we have less than 12 years to radically transition off of fossil fuels to prevent the worst possible climate crisis, the Canadian government continues to invest in the oil industry at the cost of Indigenous rights and a liveable planet, while promoting a public image of reconciliation and climate leadership.

Within the past year, the Canadian government purchased an oil pipeline for $4 billion taxpayer dollars, and forcefully removed the Wet’suwet’en Nation from their unsurrendered lands (which they had already proven title to in the Supreme Court) for the Coastal Gas Link pipeline. Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc Tiny House Warrior, aptly dubbed pipelines in Canada as “transportation corridors that are taking stolen resources off of Indigenous territories,” in her keynote at Young and Rising.

“We are told that we have 12 years to act before irreversible catastrophe yet the urgency of the crisis is flatly denied or met with false solutions. We must build mass power capable of actually reversing this trajectory,” Nayeli Jimenez, Powershift Organizer told me.

Nayeli affirmed that the real solutions are being championed at the grassroots level, “Indigenous communities are standing on the frontlines against resource extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure across Turtle Island.” MORE