Japan’s Next Generation of Farmers Could Be Robots

As the average age of farmers globally creeps higher and retirement looms, Japan has a solution: robots and driver-less tractors.

The Group-of-Seven agriculture ministers meet in Japan’s northern prefecture of Niigata this weekend for the first time in seven years to discuss how to meet increasing food demand as aging farmers retire without successors. With the average age of Japanese farmers now 67, Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama will outline his idea of replacing retiring growers with Japanese-developed autonomous tractors and backpack-carried robots.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has warned that left unchecked, aging farmers could threaten the ability to produce the food the world needs. The average age of growers in developed countries is now about 60, according to the United Nations. Japan plans to spend 4 billion yen ($36 million) in the year through March to promote farm automation and help develop 20 different types of robots, including one that separates over-ripe peaches when harvesting.




An international team of astronomers, including three Leiden scientists, discovered a galaxy that is 13.4 billion light years away. That means that this galaxy came into existence about 400 million years after the Big Bang, breaking the previous oldest galaxy record with 150 million years, the Leiden University announced. 

This newly discovered galaxy is exceptionally bright, which is why the astronomers could see it at such a distance. It is located in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major.

“The system already surfaced in recordings with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer telescope. We were amazed at its enormous brightness and distance, and initially did not believe it, because such bright galaxies are not supposed to exist at that distance. However, careful measurements with the Hubble showed us that the galaxy was further than we thought”, Marijn Franx, professor of astronomy at Leiden University explained. “All repeated checks confirms the earlier results We therefore did not only set a distance record, but found an elephant in the extremely young universe, where we expected to find a mouse. But frankly we do not understand how this elephant could come into existence that early.”



Alaska Fishermen Concerned GM Salmon Could Harm $6.4 Billion Fishing Industry


Not only is it possible that the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of AquaBounty’s GM salmon will harm the environment, Alaska fishermen are concerned the GM fish could tank the fishing industry.

AquaBounty’s salmon have been genetically altered to contain growth-promoting genes from Pacific chinook and an eel-like fish called the ocean pout. They are said to grow up to 4 times faster than regular salmon, which might seem like a boon to the fishing industry, but fisherman are concerned of another outcome which could damage their livelihoods.

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/alaska-fishermen-concerned-gm-salmon-could-harm-6-4-billion-fishing-industry/#ixzz3tCeQmXuJ
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Schlumberger to buy oilfield gear maker Cameron in $14.8 billion deal

The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N) will buy oilfield equipment maker Cameron International Corp (CAM.N) in a deal valued at $14.8 billion to streamline supply chains and offer cost-effective services to oil and gas customers who have slashed budgets.

The deal is the latest example of energy companies joining forces to help them cope with slumping oil prices LCOc1, down 60 percent since June last year and hitting new lows each day.

Schlumberger will be able to bundle its services, which range from surveying a site to drilling wells, with Cameron’s products such as pressure valves and blowout preventers, one of which was used in BP’s Macondo well that exploded in 2010.

The two companies already have a joint venture since November 2012 aimed at deepwater drilling services.