The Transformer of Autonomous Farmbots Can Do 100 Jobs on Its Own

The first fully autonomous ground vehicles hitting the market aren’t cars or delivery trucks—they’re ­robo­-farmhands. The Dot Power Platform is a prime example of an explosion in advanced agricultural technology, which Goldman Sachs predicts will raise crop yields 70 percent by 2050. But Dot isn’t just a tractor that can drive without a human for […]

Read More

California Proves That Environmental Regulations Don’t Kill Profits

To anyone who believes environmental regulation is poison for profits, California must be infuriating. The state’s pollution policies rarely wilt its perennially blooming economy. For the past nine years, a Golden State-centric think tank Next 10 has been releasing its California Green Innovation Index. The results this year show a continuing trend: For two and a half decades, California’s GDP and population have continued to rise, while per capita carbon dioxide emissions have stayed flat. But California isn’t done yet. It has two major upcoming goals: reducing emission to to 1990 levels by 2020, and 40 percent below that a decade later. So while California has continued to grow during phase one of its environmental overhaul, it’s still a question whether its long-term green ambitions will turn its economy as chilly as a San Francisco summer.

Read More

Should California Spend 4 Billion Gallons to Save a Few Fish?

In the the heart of California’s drought-parched Central Valley, fruit and vegetable supplier to the nation, a water district is defying a federal order to give some endangered trout a 3.9 billion gallon water ride out to sea. And it could be the first skirmish in a much wider conflict.

Read More

The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids

This may come as a shock to those of us who still associate homeschooling with fundamentalists eager to shelter their kids from the evils of the secular state. But it turns out that homeschooling has grown more mainstream over the last few years. According to the most recent statistics, the share of school-age kids who were homeschooled doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 1.7 to 3.4 percent. And many of those new homeschoolers come from the tech community.

Read More