Kimbal Musk is a Brooklyn farmer…



Vertical farming is an indoor farming method in which crops are grown in stacked layers, often without soil. The practice is becoming more popular and important as urban populations grow dramatically and available farmland decreases….While vertical farming isn’t a new concept, these eco-friendly indoor farms are now rapidly expanding.

Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, who was named “Global Social Entrepreneur” of the year by the World Economic Forum in 2017, started Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company based in Brooklyn, in 2016. Square Roots’ mission is to bring fresh, local food to cities around the world by empowering younger generations to participate in urban farming.

Musk said the company plans to open a Square Roots “Super Farm” — with 25 climate-controlled shipping containers, cold storage, biosecurity infrastructure and everything else needed to run a vertical farm at scale — in less than three months…

“Environmentalists, urban farmers, architects, agronomists, and public health experts, among others, have been joining this mini revolution as they partner to work out a way to salvage a food-scarce, ultra-urbanized future,” Kheir Al-Kodmany, a professor of sustainable urban design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a report.

It involves various techniques, such as hydroponics, which uses mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent; aquaponics, which uses aquatic creatures — such as fish and snails — and cultivates plants in water; and aeroponics, which grows plants in the air.

It works. A fair number of knowledgeable folks believe this can be economically self-sufficient and beneficial.

This 9 minute film got its indie director a gig writing the new Pacific Rim movie

Click to run the video

In just a few years, Emily Carmichael has gone from making an animated webseries for Penny Arcade to writing Pacific Rim: Maelstrom and directing Powerhouse, the next big project from Steven Spielberg.

Today on Ars Technica, we’re proud to host the digital debut of Stryka, one of Carmichael’s short films that rocketed her from gamer geekdom to Hollywood. It’s the tale of a neurotic alien lizard living in Brooklyn, just trying to get by on small time heists. She has just one problem. Her partner in crime just isn’t bringing the zing anymore, and she’s been secretly doing jobs on the side with someone else.

Watch the video. RTFA for a peek inside just how easy – and unlikely – creative success can be.

NYPD sued over coppers stealing White Castle hamburgers from Brooklyn men – and then arresting them!

Two Brooklyn men are suing the NYPD cops who took their freedom and allegedly tried to take their White Castle hamburgers.

It was Halloween 2012 in Coney Island, the neighborhood reeling from Hurricane Sandy, when Danny Maisonet and Kenneth Glover had a craving for sliders.

They were getting out of a taxicab, carrying a bag of the burgers, when they walked into cops rounding up a group of men suspected of looting a supermarket on Neptune Ave., lawyer Robert Marinelli said in the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The cops — it’s unclear if they were kidding or starved out of their minds — demanded the bag of food. The plaintiffs refused to turn over the burgers…

Glover and Maisonet claim they were struck with flashlights and handcuffed. They were charged with obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct — not looting.

Officer Angelo Pizzarro swore in the complaint that Glover and Maisonet were standing in his way and forced him to walk around them while struggling with the alleged looters.

The charges against the duo were ultimately dismissed.

I’d wait a year or two before admitting to eating White Castle hamburgers. Though, I imagine a certain amount of time was wasted waiting to see if these phony charges were going to proceed to trial.

Truly, some coppers think they are above the law – and the rest of humanity.

Brooklyn 6th-graders hospitalized by Axe Body Spray overdose

6th graders in New York City believe this crap?

Emergency crews went to a Brooklyn school to investigate a report of a hazardous smell — only to learn that someone released Axe body spray in a classroom.

The Department of Education said in a statement that Axe was sprayed around 1 p.m. on Wednesday in a room full of sixth-graders at Medgar Evers College Preparatory School.

“EMS transported eight students to the hospital, and parents of two students took them to their own doctors,” the statement said.

Officials at the school on Carroll St. in Crown Heights said disciplinary action is pending. There were no serious injuries.


Toilets explode in NYC apartment building, injuring four residents

He flushes the toilet from around the corner, now

A Brooklyn man was seriously injured by an exploding toilet in his co-op and remains so traumatized by the blown-up john that he uses a rope to flush from a safe distance outside the bathroom.

Pierre was knocked unconscious briefly and woke up covered in blood when the toilet exploded.

Michel Pierre was one of four tenants injured…at the Caton Tower development in Flatbush by powerful blasts from their bowls…

I’m afraid to flush the toilet right now,” said Pierre, 58, who was so punished by the porcelain that he needed 30 stitches to close shrapnel wounds on his head, arm and legs…

Pieces of ceramic, like bomb shrapnel, hit Pierre and shattered all over the room.

The water had been turned off that day in the 19-story building while a plumbing contractor installed a backflow prevention valve…

Pierre’s cuts were treated at Methodist Hospital. Two other injured tenants were taken to Kings County Medical Center and a fourth to Woodhull Medical Center, according to the source…

Pierre, an information technology specialist for a government agency, said he doesn’t know when he can go to the bathroom in peace again.

“I can’t stop thinking about it every time I look at the bowl,” Pierre said, who was relieved that he wasn’t sitting down during the fateful flush.


Pic of the Day

Brooklyn bridge builders
Click to enlarge

Brooklyn Bridge under construction – picture of the day at the Guardian Unlimited.

A photographic highlight selected by the picture desk. The Brooklyn Bridge opened on this day in 1883 linking the two New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Two men stand on a high catwalk, surveying the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, with Manhattan in the background. Large ships and ferries sit in docks in the East River.

Yes, I fiddled with the photo before posting it. I imagine the original photographer might have also done so – given today’s hardware and software.

Jet airliner reports close encounter with drone – over Brooklyn!

This is similar to the design seen by the Alitalia pilot

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a report from a pilot of an Alitalia passenger jet who says he saw an unmanned aircraft while landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot can be heard telling controllers on radio calls captured by the website

“The FAA is investigating a report… he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right,” according a statement sent to CNN by FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. “The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet,” she said.

That description puts the aircraft somewhere over Brooklyn and on the other side of the airport from where the plane was coming in for a landing…

The Alitalia aircraft did not have to take any evasive action and landed safely at JFK…

For recreational hobbyists, flying remote-controlled planes is only allowed by the FAA up to 400 feet in the air, and within sight of the operator. If they are going to fly within three miles of an airport, they have to let air traffic controllers know.

Flying unmanned aerial vehicles is illegal for most business purposes; however, governments and public entities such as police departments can apply for permission to operate them.

20 years ago, it would have been called a UFO.

Morality goon squads in Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhoods

Women’s clothing stores warned not to use mannequins – faceless heads are OK

The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”

In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.

The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking.

In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules…Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.

The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees…

Continue reading

Corporate profits unaffected by body of climate change law

Tornadoes touched down in NYC and Brooklyn, today

Almost 50 percent of global investors in a survey said government efforts to combat climate change will have little effect on corporate profits, while most say global warming is a danger to the planet…

Actions to limit pollution will have “not much impact” on profitability, according to 49 percent of respondents in the Bloomberg Global Poll, while a third said profit may fall. Eight percent of the investors, analysts and traders surveyed among Bloomberg’s global customers said such efforts would have a positive impact on corporate profitability in their nation…

“Business must realize that without some form of socially responsible behavior with regard to concerns over the environment, very high costs will fall upon society eventually,” John O’Connell, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based investment firm Davis Rea Ltd., said in an e-mail. “I do not see a major impact on profitability.”

Measures to control heat-trapping gases from power plants and factories vary by nation. The U.S. never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement adopted in 1997 that aims to limit greenhouse gases from industrial nations. The European Union has set a target of cutting the emissions in its nations by 20 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels…

Only a majority of American corporate officials echoed the anti-science ideology which rejects responsible action against climate change. European and Asian, Latin American business leaders had only a distinct minority who preferred to sit on their hands.

In a move to curb emissions that doesn’t need approval from Congress, the Obama administration has required automakers to double by 2025 the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. Kim Caughey Forrest, an analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, in Pittsburgh, said…”The move to smaller more efficient cars will happen as gas prices rise,” Caughey said in an e-mail. “We saw this happen in the past few years. I don’t know if the market needs the artificial incentives.”

I’m not certain which cart is before which horse. Given that so many portions of the American corporate demographic are as insular as our conservative politicians, parochial, ignorant of science – and only care about next month’s balance sheet – I’m not certain if they support the agitprop that makes us the only Western nation backwards enough to ignore climate change – or they helped originate propaganda to aid their perceived threat to profits.