World's First Fully Automated Indoor Farm Is Being Built in Ohio

iStock.com/tacojim
iStock.com/tacojim

Farming has changed drastically in the last couple decades, but the mental image of people toiling in the fields from sun-up to sundown still persists. Alas, those days are quickly changing. Farming is now a high-tech business, and many farm owners are now using robotics and artificial intelligence to get the job done.

In the latest example of this trend, Forbes reports that plans are underway in Hamilton, Ohio—a suburb of Cincinnati—to build America’s first fully automated indoor farm. It needs no pesticides, very little water, and few people to run it. And that’s just how the farm, 80 Acres, wants it.

“80 Acres grows products much faster than in the traditional outdoor environment or even in a greenhouse environment,” Mike Zelkind, CEO of 80 Acres, told iGrow. “We can control all the factors, like CO2 levels, and when and how much to deliberately stress the plant to get the right level of nutrition and flavor.”

The company’s use of a closed loop hydroponic delivery system lets them recycle water and use 97 percent less of it than conventional farms. Once construction is completed by the end of the year, the 150,000-square-foot farm will grow herbs, kale, and other leafy greens year-round. This can be accomplished thanks to artificial intelligence, robotics, and sensors, which will all be used to monitor the crops at all hours of the day, 365 days a year. The fruits (and vegetables) of their labor will be supplied to Whole Foods Markets and other supermarkets in the Cincinnati region.

[h/t Forbes]

Bad News: The Best Time of the Day to Drink Coffee Isn’t as Soon as You Wake Up

iStock.com/ThomasVogel
iStock.com/ThomasVogel

If you depend on coffee to help get you through the day, you can rest assured that you’re not the world's only caffeine fiend. Far from it. According to a 2018 survey, 64 percent of Americans said they had consumed coffee the previous day—the highest percentage seen since 2012.

While we’re collectively grinding more beans, brewing more pots, and patronizing our local coffee shops with increased frequency, we might not be maximizing the health and energy-boosting benefits of our daily cup of joe. According to Inc., an analysis of 127 scientific studies highlighted the many benefits of drinking coffee, from a longer average life span to a reduced risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Sounds great, right? The only problem is that the benefits of coffee might be diminished depending on the time of day that you drink it. Essentially, science tells us that it’s best to drink coffee when your body’s cortisol levels are low. That’s because both caffeine and cortisol cause a stress response in your body, and too much stress is bad for your health for obvious reasons. In addition, it might end up making you more tired in the long run.

Cortisol, a stress hormone, is released in accordance with your circadian rhythms. This varies from person to person, but in general, someone who wakes up at 6:30 a.m. would see their cortisol levels peak in different windows, including 8 to 9 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Someone who rises at 10 a.m. would experience cortisol spikes roughly three hours later, and ultra-early risers can expect to push this schedule three hours forward.

However, these cortisol levels start to rise as soon as you start moving in the morning, so it isn’t an ideal time to drink coffee. Neither is the afternoon, because doing so could make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. This means that people who wake up at 6:30 a.m. should drink coffee after that first cortisol window closes—roughly between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.—if they want to benefit for a little caffeine jolt.

To put it simply: "I would say that mid-morning or early afternoon is probably the best time," certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Lisiewski told CNBC. "That's when your cortisol levels are at their lowest and you actually benefit from the stimulant itself."

[h/t Inc.]

26 Amazing Facts About the Human Body

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

At some point in your life, you've probably wondered: What is belly button lint, anyway? The answer, according to Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy, is that it's "fibers that rub off of clothing over time." And hairy people are more prone to getting it for a very specific (and kind of gross-sounding) reason. A group of scientists who formed the Belly Button Biodiversity Project in 2011 have also discovered that there's a whole lot of bacteria going on in there.

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Erin is sharing 26 amazing facts about the human body, from your philtrum (the dent under your nose) to your feet. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

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