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This Cardboard Greenhouse Uses Saltwater to Grow Produce in the World’s Harshest Climates

“The idea is so simple that it’s rather insulting.”

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Cardboard Greenhouse Saltwater
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(TMU) — As the fast-heating global climate increasingly becomes a problem, researchers are warning that severe and prolonged droughts could devastate global food supplies by the end of this century.

However, UK-based company Seawater Greenhouse has devised a method of growing fruits and vegetables in some of the world’s most arid desert climates, and its key ingredient is saltwater.

While the idea seems counter to common wisdom—in most circumstances, the salts in seawater cause plants to wilt and humans to dehydrate—saltwater is actually key to irrigating the company’s farms located in some of the most drought-stricken regions of the globe, including such infamously dry locales as Abu Dhabi, Somaliland, Oman, and South Australia.

The technology was developed in the early 1990s when designer-turned-inventor Charlie Paton began testing his method in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Rather than relying on the traditional glass used in greenhouses, these farms use thick walls of latticed cardboard that are dampened by the saltwater, using the evaporated water to keep the interior of the structures humid and cool.

Paton told Wired U.K.:

“The idea is so simple that it’s rather insulting.

People say, ‘If that’s going to work then somebody would have done it before’.”

As the moist cardboard panels of the structure cool down the wind blowing outside, a small pump powered by another one of the planet’s most abundant resources—solar power—brings in seawater from the coastline, which trickles down the cardboard walls, humidifying the interior of these novel greenhouses.

The simple yet effective method has allowed for Paton to effectively create a system that bears abundant amounts of produce in the middle of the desert—similar to an oasis.

In the meantime, as seawater is collected and recirculated through the cardboard panels, salt precipitates on the exterior of the walls—not only fortifying the damp cardboard, but also leaving behind sea salt that can then be sold in local markets.

Paton even believes that his invention can change the environment it’s in.

“You can see there would be a plume of cool air coming off the greenhouse,” he explained, noting that the greenhouses could eventually return regions that recently became barren back to their naturally vegetated state. And that, in turn, would absorb carbon emissions. He added:

“I believe that when you get to, say, 20 years, you’d have enough vegetation to do the job of the greenhouses because they’re creating shade and shared humidity–changing the climate.” 

Paton believes that only 10 square miles (2,000 hectares) of these cardboard greenhouses would be required to feed Somaliland, where the population is roughly four million people.

However, organizations like the UK’s Department for International Development remain skeptical about the idea of a seawater-fueled greenhouse, and have rejected his multiple attempts to secure funding. Paton believes that there’s more than a bit of self-interest guiding their aversion to his invention.

Paton said:

“Have you heard of the Shirky Principle? It’s that institutions exist to preserve the problem to which they have a solution.

Sending food to starving countries is this knee-jerk reaction. How much have we sent to Somalia and Ethiopia, and what dent has it really made? If some of that humanitarian aid could instead be directed towards encouraging self-sufficiency, everyone would win.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Good News

Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Animals

Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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Animals

Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family

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Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.

“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.

Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.

Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.

“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.

“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”

The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.

The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.

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