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Charles Gray's professional and not so professional writings

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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Posted by Charles Gray on April 3, 2017

I saw an interesting webpage yesterday, about using containers for indoor farming.

 

From the company’s website:

 

What is a Leafy Green Machine?

Also known as the LGM, the Leafy Green Machine is a pre-assembled hydroponic farm inside an up-cycled freight container. It is capable of producing yields at commercial-scale in any climate and any season.

 

It’s an interesting concept, and one that could be very important in coming years. In terms of society, it’s another example of moving from food as farmed, to food as a manufactured product. You don’t need to find good soil, or a place with decent rainfall/river resources, because you provide all of that inside the container. If you can get water and power, you’re good to go. Take a look at all the places in the city where you can fit a TEU and you’ll see a potential farming site.

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“Son, Cabbages are in this year. Better go add some more containers to the back 40…”

 

 

Why should we care?

 

Well, one thing that is likely to be coming for the world is increasingly unstable weather conditions, and understand, I’m not just talking about droughts.  Rain at the wrong time can kill a crop just as effectively as a drought can.  The more we can decouple food production from exterior weather conditions, the better off we’d be.

 

Even better, using containers lets you avoid the question of “how do we get the money to build a big-ass skyscraper farm?”  This is an incremental solution that could be funded by a trickle, instead of requiring an immense amount of funding from the start. Believe me, that’s more important than a lot of people give credit for— it’s a lot easier to get the government, be it national or local, to fund something that isn’t demanding tens of millions or more for the initial start up. Even better, it makes it more open for private actors.

 

But since this is a writing and sci-fi blog, let’s ask: what other developments could this see?

 

Well, the big one is the further marginalization of rural America. Not now, not in the next year, but let’s look ahead to some distant time when A growing percentage of the nation’s food supply is provided by things like these designs. What happens then?  Does big agribusiness go away (note, before people tell me I’m full of it, I do know that the the “profitable price point” for lettuce and things like grain are radically different things. We are, after all, talking about the future.

We’ve already seen how ugly the rural/urban divide can get, so does it get uglier? Or does the ability to decouple a city or a town from larger supply networks see a growth in smaller towns?

I don’t know. After all, sci-fi writers have explored both concepts— the death of the rural society in favor of the megalopolis, and the death of the megalopolis in favor of smaller rural settlements.

And the amusing thing is that many of them have something like our modern day developments in containerized or factory farming as the impetus for the change, or all that they usually fluffed it as “food factories”. It looks like, for good or ill, we may be moving into their future.

Posted in fiction, technology, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Posted by Charles Gray on January 4, 2017

I’ve been doing a lot of other work recently and sadly, I’ve been neglecting my writing blog.  The good news is, that work involves finishing up three novel drafts which will be out in the first quarter of 2017.  I’m also hoping to get this blog back and operating, especially since it’s sort of nice to talk to people now and then.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2016, and that 2017 will be even better for you!

Posted in Freelance Writing, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Beware of Grammarly… (sort of).

Posted by Charles Gray on June 1, 2016

 

…And your spellcheck on word and any other automated software you have that claims to check your spelling and writing, especially if you are a fiction writer.  While these systems are good—and yes, I use them, they are not infallible. They are not based on a sapient being reading your work, but a computer program that is simply comparing your words and grammar to a list of rules, with no understanding of what you’re actually writing. Using them slavishly can result in letting inconstancies slip into your writing, losing the specific ‘tone’ you’re looking for in a characters dialogue or just leaching out any “jazz” from your writing.  Do not rely on them.

That being said? They can actually help you so long as you understand that they are not a tool to slavishly follow, but can be a way to alert you to possible problems in your writing. If Grammarly throws up a million blotches of red on your manuscript, it’s likely that you have a problem. If it throws only one or two, look at them and decide for yourself if they need to be changed.

But never just hit the button to accept the computers suggestion without making certain that it is the right suggestion.  Grammarly and applications like it can be an excellent tool—but never forget that they are only a tool, not a substitute for an author’s skill.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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