Industrial-sized grill smashes into car, killing teen

An industrial-sized barbecue grill broke free from its support beam on a camper, flew across a New York highway into the opposing lane of traffic and smashed into a car, killing the 19-year-old passenger on Saturday.

Police were investigating the accident on Route 31 in Macedon, N.Y., though no charges have been issued yet, WHAM reported. The driver of the car, Jared Jones, was hospitalized but has since been released. Seth Krebbeks, a 2015 graduate of Palmyra-Macedon High School, died on impact, The Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Witnesses told investigators the grill, described as being similar to “a pig cooker” by Macedon Police Chief John Colella, began swaying back and forth before it broke loose from the RV and soared into oncoming traffic, smashing into the car carrying Jones and Krebbeks, TWC News reported. The grill became unstable after the camper hit a pair of bumps, Colella told WHAM.

The driver of the camper is cooperating with authorities, police said.

Krebbeks’ friends remained in disbelief at the news and Palmyra-Macedon High School said grief counselors would be available.

“Out of everyone I know, he was the last one that deserved to die,” a friend, John Javorowsky, told WHAM. “He was such a good kid.”

“The idea that I’m never going to see him again, it’s unbelievable,” Kristy Tuncap told WHAM.

Premarket Stock Trading – CNNMoney

Premarket Stock Trading – CNNMoney


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Agroecology and industrial farming: leveling the playing field

Driving across the United States, the landscape of genetically modified corn stretches for hundreds of miles. Same crop, same variety, same methods, even the same seed company dominates the heartland–visual proof of the dominance of industrial agriculture. (Most of this vast sea of corn is used for animal feed or ethanol production rather than for human consumption…)

The same lack of biological diversity can be found in the industrial tomato fields of Florida, the vegetable fields of California and the cotton fields of the southern United States, with soy, rice, wheat and livestock also following the same pattern.

The negative consequences of industrial agriculture–from climate change to antibiotic-resistant bacteria–have been extensively documented. Agroecology, the “cleaner and greener” alternative to industrial agriculture, has also been extensively documented. Contrary to popular belief (and to a lot of industrial propaganda) agroecological methods can be just as productive as industrial methods.

While a few techniques have crossed the agroecological-industrial divide, they rarely challenge the monoculture mantra. Most large-scale farmers in the United States are locked-in to the markets of industrial agriculture and are reluctant to make sweeping changes to their farming system.

Over the last century chemicals and big machinery have replaced millions of workers. It’s capital intensive, though. Farming is a multi-million-dollar proposition–and a marketer’s dream.

Because all these inputs lead to chronic crises of overproduction and falling farm gate prices, farmers typically increase production and acreage to make ends meet. They take out more loans and buy more chemical inputs and more patented seed, which keeps the inputs industry very happy. But these farmers don’t just consume more inputs; they ultimately consume smaller neighboring farms too, growing the scale of their operations in order to maximize slim profit margins. Industrial agriculture is tailored to the needs of a capitalist marketplace – it overproduces vast amounts of food, feed and fuel and consumes vast amounts of commoditized inputs. This doesn’t necessarily help farmers, who, like many poor countries, produce cheap raw materials but consume expensive industrial goods. The wealth of our powerful industrial agricultural system ultimately accumulates capital in the hands of the input, grain and retail monopolies.

Agroecology isn’t compatible with this system. First off, agroecology, with its diversified cropping systems and labor-intensive fertility and pest management practices requires specialized, place-specific knowledge and skilled labor–and lots of it. While this can produce plenty of food and jobs, it can’t be scaled up to the massive farm size the monopolies demand. And even though agroecology does not result in the soil erosion, groundwater contamination, greenhouse gases and pesticide poisoning typical of industrial agriculture, neither the benefits, nor the costs of the environmental “externalities” are recognized in the marketplace. Agroecology gives us its environmental benefits for free, while industrial agriculture makes us pay for its environmental damage. How?

Industrial agriculture systems don’t pay for farmworkers’ illnesses after prolonged exposure to pesticides. It doesn’t pay for the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn’t pay for the loss of biodiversity, the runoff into our drinking water, or the decimation of rural communities and their social services. Industrial agriculture is a fa├žade of economic efficiency – and we all pay the price.

Nevertheless, industrial agriculture thrives because it is compatible with existing social, political, and financial systems. It has what agricultural sociologists call “thick legitimacy” i.e., everything about the system legitimizes the practice–no matter how destructive. The consolidated wealth of the input and retail sectors do not account for real costs of production, which is precisely why industrial agriculture thrives.

For agroecology to have a fair chance to “compete” with industrial agriculture we have to level the playing field by internalizing the true costs of industrial agriculture–that is, by making polluters pay.

But how do we do this without penalizing the farmer and making sure those pushing the poisons and the overproduction (the monopolies) are the ones paying? It starts with making them pay a fair price to the farmer for the product. It also means something called “supply management” to prevent overproduction. George Naylor, a corn and soy farmer from Churdan, Iowa calls for a “quota system”:

“Under the current laissez-faire policy of planting fencerow-to-fencerow, a farmer is always going to try to produce more bushels to sell either out of greed or fear of going broke. If a chemical input can seemingly increase income over the cost, it makes sense to use it. But when all farmers follow suit, overproduction results in low prices and our land and water are degraded. Instead, let’s say that each farm had a quota based on history of production and an assessment of how a good crop rotation along with conservation plantings could regenerate the soil and biodiversity. If the farmer is compensated with a price that will stabilize his or her income, their thinking and practices will be just the opposite of the laissez-faire, free market straight jacket. If a farm has a quota of 10,000 bushels of corn, that farmer will think, “How can I produce 10,000 bushels of corn with the least amount of chemicals and fertilizer and the most amount of conservation? Maybe I could use some of the other land for soil saving hay and pasture to feed a new herd for grass fed beef or dairy.” That farmer would be well on the way of becoming organic.”

It would also help level the playing field between agroecology and sustainable agriculture.

Co-written with Ahna Kruzic

Industrials Sector |

LONDON, Oct 5 Britain’s BT said it had

won a 100 million euro ($112 million) contract from staffing

company Randstad to provide cloud-based services and

connectivity to more than 3,500 sites across 37 countries.

MOSCOW, Oct 5 The Kremlin said on Wednesday it

regretted the fact that Russia and President Vladimir Putin had

become what it called an inseparable part of the U.S. election

campaign, saying it was fed up with Russia usually being

presented in a negative light.

4:57am EDT

* U.S. election, Brexit among other risks

(Adds details on risks, quote from VDMA president)

* Sources say government indicated it would take big chunk

of debt

RIA – Robotics Online – Industrial Robot Automation

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Robot Showdown: Droids to Face Off in DARPA Robotics Challenge

Make way for robots!

This weekend, some of the world’s most sophisticated robots will go head-to-head in a competition that tests their ability to assist humans in a natural or man-made disaster.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, funded by the U.S. military’s R&D branch, will pit 25 teams against each other as their robots attempt to complete a series of physical challenges, all while navigating around disrupted communications between the bots and their human operators.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday and Saturday (June 5 and 6) at Fairplex in Pomona, California. The winning team will take home $2 million, while the runner-up and third-place teams will receive $1 million and $500,000, respectively. [See images of Robots in this Year’s DARPA Challenge]

The challenge

The challenge, which began in 2012, was inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, in which an earthquake and tsunami led to the buildup of explosive gas in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The radioactive environment made it dangerous for human responders to take action, but robots could have investigated the stricken nuclear reactor in their stead, DARPA officials said.

“Disasters, both natural and man-made, are something we see every year happening throughout the world,” Gill Pratt, program manager for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, said in a news conference in mid-May. “If we could only intervene [with robots], we could mitigate the extent of these disasters,” he said.

Teams from countries around the world, including Japan, China, Germany, Italy and the United States, will compete in the two-day challenge. In December 2013, 16 teams competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials in Florida, and 11 teams were selected to attend the finals. This March, another 14 teams qualified to take part in the finals.

The competitors include Carnegie Mellon University’s CHIMP robot (short for CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform), NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s RoboSimian, Japan’s Aero DRC robot and Germany’s Momaro robot, to name just a few.

This weekend, the 25 finalist teams and their robots will attempt to complete one of four simulated disaster courses, featuring eight different tasks. Each robot will have one hour each day to complete the course.

The tasks

As part of the course, the robots will have to drive a vehicle to a simulated disaster zone, get out of the car and walk about 300 feet over a field of debris. At the disaster site, the bots must attempt to shut off a valve, connect some wires, cut a hole in a wall, climb a flight of stairs and exit a building. In addition, there will be a surprise task for which the teams won’t be able to prepare, DARPA officials said.

The teams will be awarded points for each task their robot completes, and the team with the most total points at the end of the competition wins. If there’s a tie, the team whose bot completed the most tasks in the shortest time will take home the top prize, DARPA officials said.

In a real disaster, communications are often poor or nonexistent. In order to mimic this scenario, the communications link between teams and their robots will be intentionally degraded during the competition, requiring the robots to be capable of completing basic tasks on their own.

Robot expo & workshop

During the competition, DARPA will also host a robotics expo, featuring interactive demonstrations from robotics organizations, first responders and unmanned systems manufacturers. The event will include demo technologies such as MIT’s robot cheetah, which made headlines last week for its ability to detect and jump over obstacles in its path.

In addition to the robotics challenge, DARPA also held a student contest to create videos about the future implications of robotics for society, called Robots4Us. Five winning teams have been selected and will attend the challenge finals in California.

On Sunday, DARPA will host a private workshop, featuring presentations by the winning robot teams, DARPA officials, industry leaders and the winners of the student video contest. The robot teams will discuss how they achieved their success, and the other participants will discuss the role of robots in future society.

The robotics challenge will be live-streamed on the DARPA YouTube channel.

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