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"Absolute Time" guidance system for automated farm equipment

The only possible application for my "Absolute Time" theory
  (+3, -7)
(+3, -7)
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Last year a friend and I were having our own live version of the HB (there may have been drinking involved). During our session, I came up with the most useless theory- absolute time. Basically, by using GPS instead of time zones, timepieces could automatically adjust their time to be accurate according to the exact longitude at the present position. This would make life confusing, and has no practical application, until now:

I've heard that automated farm equipment using GPS navigation is improving the yield per acre (or hectare) of farms by reducing the width between rows. Rows governed by human operated equipment need to be wider due to the wandering of farm equipment caused by operator error.

Let's take this a step farther, shall we? If the exact position of the sun is known at a given position, then the amount shade caused by the presence of farm equipment can be controlled. By using absolute time instead of time based on time zones, we know the position of the sun at any given longitude between the extents of the time zone. Therefore, the amount of shadow created by the farm equipment could be monitored and controlled by performing operations at a specific location, and at a specific absolute time. Crops that required more sun could be left to the last possible second of sun exposure before picking.

The implementation would be relatively simple (compared to automated farm equipment), and large farms might actually realize a slight gain.

Aluicious, Nov 15 2006


       FYI, "absolute time" was what existed before the invention of the telegraph, where every locality had its own time setting. It was only train schedules and the widespread use of the telegraph that led to time standardization.   

       I really can't believe that the shadows of farm equipment have any impact at all on crop development, when compared to other variables.
DrCurry, Nov 15 2006

       Run the equipment at night?
Shz, Nov 15 2006

       Bun for absolute time, and also the fact that you managed, barely, to find an application for it.
bungston, Nov 15 2006

       I'm with [Dr. Curry]. A few more minutes or hours of sun isn't going to matter, because most (if not all) large crops are harvested after the plant stops growing. Also, the width of rows has more to do with sunlight getting down to lower leaves in between them than it does with human error. Sorry, but you've reaped a fish. Didn't the Native Americans plant those hundreds of years ago?
wittyhoosier, Nov 16 2006

       (-) "Absolute Time" is aptly named in that is has ... absolutely nothing to do with the idea. How you represent time doesn't limit what you can calculate, it just changes how you'd calculate it. As long as you know where you are, you can figure out what shadow your farm equipment is throwing.   

       If we're pretending that shadows are a big deal - which they're not - I'd expect us to invent
- translucent farm equipment
- mirrored, shiny farm equipment that reflects the sun towards the spot it previously obscured
- farm equipment with a solar generator on top and high-powered lights below, to not interrupt the light for a second
- thin farm equipment that automatically orients itself towards the sun, thin side first, to minimize the amount of shadow on crops.
jutta, Mar 06 2008

       That's a heavy expectation up to which to live.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 06 2008


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