January 16, 2010


Vegetable factory in a box

The world’s first portable, containerised vegetable garden is set to be delivered in April. The scientifically developed  “vegetable factory”, from Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. is an insulated 40-ft shipping container, equipped with water-circulation system and LED lighting.

Reacting to a scandal caused by the importation of pesticide-tainted dumplings from China, Japan is seeing a number of designs emerge for small vegetable factories in which crops are grown artificially. Many are cultivated hydroponically in tiers of shelves under energy-saving LED  lighting.

Some are so small that they can be installed in a floor space equivalent to a “tatami” mat (2 metres square).

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Up in the Air

George Clooney’s starring role in “Up in the Air” is a movie about a special class of off-gridder – the business traveller – living in a peculiarly amoral world, of airports, corporate hotel rates and frequent flier cards. George Clooney plays a smooth-suited consultant whose job is firing people at a time when downsizing is the fastest growing industry in the US.  “We take people at their most fragile and we set them adrift,” says Clooney’s character.

Directed by Jason Reitman, the hero of Up in the Air inhabits an entirely new state: Airworld, where the hometown paper is USA Today, the laptop-plus-executive-lounge is the office, a mobile phone is the only permanent friend, the indigenous cuisine wilts under heat lamps, and the citizenry speaks a Byzantine dialect of upgrades, expense accounts, and market share.

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