Posts tagged agriculture

Food and water. Yeah it’s something we need.
I like to eat breakfast, and you probably do too.

What if something cataclysmic where to happen (nuclear winter, asteroid collision, pole shift) and most agriculture was wiped off the face of the map?  Not a pleasant thing to hypothetically brood over, but a tangible architectural undertaking if you happen to be Norwegian.

The answer in many ways would lie in seeds and their ability to be stored, grown, tended, and used for food and re-population of a depleted environment. An interesting solution has already been long in development on a remote island in the arctic circle.  Not only is it functional, but looks like a fully-loaded computer tower with a multi-chambered storage facility to boot.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seedbank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago.The facility was established to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds from locations worldwide in an underground cavern. The Seed Vault holds duplicate samples, or “spare” copies, of seeds held in genebanks worldwide. The Seed Vault will provide insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large scale regional or global crises. The island of Spitsbergen is about 1,120 kilometres (700 mi) from the North Pole.

The Seed Vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement between the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (previously named the Nordic Gene Bank, a cooperative effort of the Nordic countries under the Nordic Council of Ministers).

article source
article source

One of the T-shaped monoliths in Gobelki Tepe, this one bearing a relief of a fox.

It’s more than twice as old as the Pyramids, or even the written word. When it was built, saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths still roamed, and the Ice Age had just ended.

The elaborate temple at Gobelki Tepe in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, is staggeringly ancient: 11,500 years old, from a time just before humans learned to farm grains and domesticate animals.

According to the German archaeologist in charge of excavations at the site, it might be the birthplace of agriculture, of organized religion — of civilization itself.

“This is the first human-built holy place,” Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute says in the November issue of Smithsonian magazine.

Schmidt and his colleagues say no evidence of permanent settlement has been found at the site, although there are remains of butchered animals and edible plants.

However, all of the bones are from wild animals, and all the vegetation from wild plants. That means the massive structure was built by a hunter-gatherer society, not a settled agricultural one.


One thing that is brought to the forefront by this event is the significance of the sun’s effect on our solar system, and the abnormal stall of an 11 year cycle.  It is also noted that there is a constant fluctuation between warming and cooling cycles of the sun, which in turn contribute to the rise and fall of  temperatures (mini ice ages) on this planet in the past.

The record-setting surface of the sun. A full month has gone by without a single spot  (Source: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO))

The record-setting surface of the sun. A full month has gone by without a single spot (Source: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO))

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots — is an influencing factor for climate on earth.

According to data from Mount Wilson Observatory, UCLA, more than an entire month has passed without a spot. The last time such an event occurred was June of 1913. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749.

When the sun is active, it’s not uncommon to see sunspot numbers of 100 or more in a single month. Every 11 years, activity slows, and numbers briefly drop to near-zero. Normally sunspots return very quickly, as a new cycle begins.

But this year — which corresponds to the start of Solar Cycle 24 — has been extraordinarily long and quiet, with the first seven months averaging a sunspot number of only 3. August followed with none at all. The astonishing rapid drop of the past year has defied predictions, and caught nearly all astronomers by surprise.


These are some fantastic pictures of Cambodia from National Geographic.

I was always intrigued by this part of the world. The way their temple architecture intertwines surrounding foliage looks like a future civilization where environment has integrated with structure. Cambodia has an interesting political history, with social revolution and many changes fertile in its wake.

Dancers in traditional Khmer dress prepare to perform at the Angkor temple complex. Khmer culture almost vanished during the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge communists in the 1970s, but Cambodians today are reclaiming their inheritance.

khmer dancers

Giant strangler fig tree roots embrace the crumbling Ta Prohm temple at Angkor. Although the forest has overrun this sacred site, it has largely escaped the looting that decimated many of its fellow Cambodian temples.

ta prohm temple