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Architecture & Design Nature Science

How the Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world

The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products despite being 237 times smaller in land area than the world’s export leader, the United States.

That’s according to a fascinating article on Netherlands agriculture density through “architecture“ (ie., extensive use of greenhouses) as examined by Arch Daily:

“Dutch agriculture is defined by vast landscapes of greenhouses, some covering 175 acres, which dominate the architectural landscape of South Holland. In total, the country contains 36 square miles of greenhouses, an area 56% larger than the island of Manhattan.”

Photographer Tom Hegen has captured these sprawling greenhouses from above in a mesmerizing series entitled “The Greenhouse Series.”

Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with using less land, by growing crops indoors. At inside temperatures above 20 degrees, constant humidity of around 80 percent and the use of LED lighting to permit precisely cultivation, in order to produce year-round. The indoor gardens provide growing conditions for plants like tomatoes, peppers or strawberries around the clock and in every kind of weather, which doubles the average yield of an outdoor farm.

How a country so small and very dense — 507 people per square kilometer — can also produce heaps of crop indoors to become a world-leading agricultural exporter is astonishing.

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Architecture & Design Technology

RIP Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer

The inventor of the laser printer at Xerox, Gary Starkweather, has died at the age of 81.

When Starkweather first proposed the idea of a laser printer to his boss at Xerox, they shut his idea down. But curious and determined, Starkweather persisted because he was convinced of the possibility of making precise copies.

Starkweather developed the printer at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 before completing it in November 1971

Even more interesting his how the genius inventor did it. Writes the Wall Street Journal:

To avoid blurry prints, Mr. Starkweather had to find ways to direct laser pulses precisely. He devised a cluster of revolving mirrors and a lens to guide the light. One of his breakthrough ideas came while he was mowing the lawn; he turned off the mower and drove to the lab to test it out.

Xerox created the first-ever laser printer in 1969

The Xerox printer found itself in nearly every office and home eventually, making the company an absolute fortune.

We often forget how people we’ve rarely heard of impact our lives. Gary Starkweather was one of them, as was Evelyn Berezin who developed the world’s first processor.

The prescient Starkweather also issued a warning about the negative effects of our over dependency on technology. The WSJ writes:

Though he never lost his fascination with technology, Mr. Starkweather worried about some of the consequences. “We talk about productivity,” he said, “but I’ve watched people go from 40-hour weeks to 60-hour weeks.”

He disliked the pressure to stay digitally connected at all times. “A big question about the future of information technology,” he said, “is, ‘Do I get to stay human in the process?’ ”

RIP Gary Starkweather
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Architecture & Design Nature Science Travel

Photographer captures rare Devil Horns solar eclipse over the Persian Gulf

Avid photographer Elias Chasiotis captured an incredible ‘red devil horns’ sunrise over the Persian Gulf during a rare solar eclipse just before the new year.

The amateur photographer was vacationing in the coastal city of Al Wakrah in Qatar on December 26 when he snapped the rare spectacle of moon blocking the sun.

“Astronomy has attracted me since I was a kid,” Chasiotis said in an interview with Bored Panda. “I’ve been an amateur astrophotographer for the last 15 years as well. I took these photos in the coastal city of Al Wakrah, Qatar, on the morning of December 26, 2019, when an annular eclipse was in progress.”

“I was worried that nothing would come out of the eclipse. However, when the sun finally began to rise, it looked like two separate pieces, some sort of red horns piercing the sea. It soon took the form of a crescent, with the so-called ‘Etruscan vase’ inferior mirage effect visible. Due to its shape, the phenomenon was nicknamed the ‘evil sunrise.’”

Interestingly, the stunning images of the red crescent sunrise emerged a few days before the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

Make of that what you will.

See more of Chasiotis’s photos on Facebook.

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Architecture & Design Health Nature Travel

Beautiful apples from around the world

William Mullan is a photographer who specializes in taking pictures of rare apples from around the world.

The golden Knobbed Russet, the star-shaped api etoile, hard red Black Oxford apple — these are just a few of the varieties that appear in Mullan’s 200-page photo-book, Odd Apples.

Writes Atlas Obscura on how Mullan’s fascination with apples came to be:

Mullan was born in the United States, but grew up in the United Kingdom, where a teenage encounter with an Egremont Russet led to his love of apples. Its spicy, persimmon-like flavor “just blew my mind,” he says. But many of the apples he’s photographed were born in North America, including such romantic cultivars as the Black Oxford and Hidden Rose.

“There’s just this sense of infinity with [apples] that I love,” Mullan says. While he imagines he’ll move on to other subjects in the future, for now, he’s still entranced by apples.

Even better, during his exhibits, he slices the apples open and passes the edibles around for his audience to enjoy.

You can follow Mullan’s work on Instagram.

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Architecture & Design Travel

Spooky Indonesian church shaped like a chicken

There is a bizarre-looking church in the Indonesian jungle that’s shaped like a giant chicken.

Located in the forests of Magelang, Central Java (here it is on Google Maps, Gereja Ayam or “Chicken Church” was built in 1992 by Daniel Alamsjah.

He foresaw the structure in the late 80s when he received a spiritual message from God telling him to construct a prayer house for all religions in the shape of a dove. However, given the small beak and fluffy feathers, it appears to look more like a chicken.

Closed temporarily in 2000 for renovation — the second-floor walls have since been repainted with scenes from Indonesian mythology — the church has since been reopened as a tourist attraction but still offers a religious tour.

You can learn more about the church on its official tourism website.

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Architecture & Design Technology Travel

The musical road in the Netherlands that sings Frisian national anthem

There’s a road in the Netherlands that starts to sing the Frisian Folk Song when cars hit the right speed of 60 kph/40 mph limit.

The musical road resides in the village of Jelsum in the north part of Holland. The structure was built in 2018 to celebrate the unique language and culture of the Friesland region. But the special ‘singing road’ also served as a warning to slow down speedy drivers.

However, the musical road struck a chord (literally) with the locals who grew tired of hearing the notes 24 hours a day.

According to Dutch News, the €80,000 custom-built road was finally removed for driving (see what I did there) ‘psychological torture’.