Alphabet’s latest moonshot is a field-roving, plant-inspecting robo-buggy

Alphabet (you know… Google) has taken the wraps off the latest “moonshot” from its X labs: A robotic buggy that cruises over crops, inspecting each plant individually and, perhaps, generating the kind of “big data” that agriculture needs to keep up with the demands of a hungry world.

Mineral is the name of the project, and there’s no hidden meaning there. The team just thinks minerals are really important to agriculture.

Announced with little fanfare in a blog post and site, Mineral is still very much in the experimental phase. It was born when the team saw that efforts to digitize agriculture had not found as much success as expected at a time when sustainable food production is growing in importance every year.

“These new streams of data are either overwhelming or don’t measure up to the complexity of agriculture, so they defer back to things like tradition, instinct or

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Washington state’s broadband guru on an internet moonshot and being a metaphorical prom king

Russ Elliott in his man-cave COVID-19 workspace. (Photo courtesy of Russ Elliott)

When a buddy of Russ Elliott‘s asked if he’d join him in starting a telecom company, he flat out said no. While his friend had been a great help building a website he needed, the venture didn’t have any financial backing and Elliott wasn’t versed in internet connectivity.

But when his friend took the unusual step of sending him a motivational postcard — something with an iceberg and a corny message about not knowing what’s out there unless you took a risk — it played on his mind. Elliott had an MBA. He had drive. He decided to embrace the inspirational cliché.

With that, some 20 years ago Elliott helped launch what became a successful business in Colorado called Brainstorm Internet, serving as its president for 13 years.

“We were nimble and quick and had smart people on

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Moonshot Idea: Ambassadors for science – Business – Columbus CEO

The power of scientific knowledge can serve as the great equalizer for the future. What we do now to prepare our youth who are most at risk of getting left behind will echo for generations to come.

Our youth are our future, and what we do today to grow science literacy will shape that future. According to Pew Research Center, only 30 percent of Americans seek out scientific news, and on international tests, the U.S. stands, at best, in the middle of the pack on science and math scores.

As John Adams famously stated, “facts are stubborn things,” and the lack of trust in science coupled with our setbacks in preparing the next generation in science-based fields raises an alarm. It illustrates that now is our moment to act for science literacy.

As we navigate this unprecedented moment, the future of Columbus will be defined by our ability—across racial and

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