Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace

How much effort should you put into creating new things?

With all the technologies available to us now, data and scalable algorithms will be the key to making sure that businesses grow effectively. Join Alexander and Jason as they explore what it means to have a “quantum advantage” for your business today.

Unlocking the Quantum Advantage for Businesses

Part of the article that is discussed in this episode puts forward the long-term goal of reaching a “quantum advantage for materials, to utilize quantum computing to achieve capabilities that cannot be achieved on any super computer today.”

While the possibilities are endless and it’s exciting to think about all the innovation that could happen when we reach that point, let’s not put the cart before the horse. We need to establish a foundation so that these futuristic tools can become a reality. If applied quantum algorithms continue to break down despite the complexity and sophistication with which they were made, then this means that researchers need to go back and reassess the technologies supporting it in the first place.

Efficient Data Collection and Education

How can TARTLE help businesses become more efficient with data collection? 

In this episode, Alexander shares how a local natural gas company in New Mexico sends out paper surveys in the mail. This company invests in this system and hopes that someone will take the time to diligently fill out their 15-question survey and mail it back to them. 

Investing in mail is expensive and it does not target the intended audience. Instead, they can digitize the survey and collect the information they need directly from the people who participate in that region with oil and gas. Beyond data collection, they can also increase awareness about their industry by embedding educational videos to teach people as they collect their data.

What’s your data worth?

Sign up for TARTLE through this link here.
Follow Alexander McCaig on Twitter and Linkedin.

Regardless of where you’ve set up a dealership, leads are the lifeline of your business in the automotive industry. You can go to any manager in any of these car shops, and they’ll all tell you that their top priority is getting quality leads.

But if the automotive industry is limited to the same resources for lead generation, is anybody really profiting? In this scenario, all the dealerships are just fighting over the same information. There’s nothing special or evolutive about getting this data. What dealerships need to have is the opportunity to go and meet people differently.

As it turns out, Jason Rigby knows a lot about the automotive industry. In this episode, he explains how lead generation works for car dealerships today—and how TARTLE provides a superior alternative.

Don’t Waste Your Time and Effort

When dealerships in the automotive industry can create more varied connections, they get better at identifying blind spots. They can connect to people who may have been left out of the lead generation lists that everyone is fighting over.

In addition, if dealerships are just trying to get as many leads as possible, you’re just getting “passive aggressive information.” Jason Rigby coined this term to refer to the information that you get after interrupting someone’s online experience with a form they need to fill out.

So if you are a car dealership, what can you do after that? How can you be so sure that they actually wanted to buy a car when they filled out that form? How strong is their intent? Sure, these people received a targeted ad through some online system and they happened to click on your banner. But what are your chances of actually getting to converse with that person?

Let TARTLE Help With Lead Generation in the Automotive Industry

With all these questions, it’s clear that there are plenty of loopholes to traditional lead generation.

You deserve to have good leads that convert into sales. Leads that aren’t shared with every other dealership in the area. Leads that give you the opportunity to establish a working relationship with the people who will someday buy your cars.

With TARTLE, you have the power to decide how much you are paying for the leads you need. The TARTLE platform offers fully qualified leads that allows you to establish a relationship with the person. You have a closer relationship with your target audience because you are getting data packets directly from these individuals. 

Closing Thoughts

At this point, you might be a little skeptical. So what’s in it for TARTLE?

Alexander McCaig makes it clear: TARTLE does not earn anything from any of your data transactions. It’s a free marketplace with the goal of bringing people closer together. We want to create ethically sourced leads and connect people to the people they need.

If you are running a business on tight margins and dealing in risky ventures, we understand how important it is to safeguard your assets. That’s why you need to be pre-emptive. Invest in systems and platforms that think of your safety as well. 

You decide what your data’s worth.

Sign up for TARTLE through this link here.

Follow Alexander McCaig on Twitter and Linkedin.

Imagine trying to shoehorn all of human creativity and human nature into prediction models. We base our perspective of human nature on two-dimensional grids, molding our society and its systems towards these grids. Despite this being the norm, people aren’t so clear-cut as to simply be placed into broad labels.

So how then, do we categorize human behavior? Is there a better approach to what we have now? Perhaps one that encompasses everyone, while still taking into account the multifaceted nature of a person.

In this episode, join Alexander McCaig and Jason Rigby as they tackle human creativity and the variances that make everyone unique.

Three-Dimensional People In Two-Dimensional Systems?

In the 1960s, a two by two grid was employed by Boston Consulting Group as a model they can show to their clients. Because of its simplicity, it can be easily understood by everyone. More importantly, it is a convenient way to present data.

With systems that involve predictable and binary data, using a grid makes sense. However, using a two by two grid is not the best approach when dealing with human behavior and creativity. We cannot simply force people into one of the four categories within the grid.

A person, whose thoughts and actions are infinitely complex, cannot be placed into a singular label. Everyone is three-dimensional, such as that emotions can’t be numerically described, and therefore cannot be placed into two-dimensional grids with a pen and paper.

With systems that require labels and measurements, using a grid is indeed the most efficient way to do so. For mapmakers, laying out squares to measure land is easy, because of its two-dimensional nature. For geneticists, the Punnett chart is a simple way to predict chromosomal traits and how they blend together. And so, dealing with predictable components using a grid is common sense.

An example of a two by two grid that attempts to categorize human beings is the New York Magazine Approval Matrix. The matrix gets released every week and is a literal grid that places current human events and happenings into one of four categories. They take these incredibly multifaceted aspects of our society and force them to fit within a single two by two grid.

The Infinite Variability of A Human Being

Humans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. No matter how small, the tiniest difference in personality or thought processes can develop into entirely different people, with unique expressions of creativity. Even a single variation in one’s environment can create a completely unique experience for a person.

With things like predictive traffic models, you can somewhat predict a group of people’s general behavior. During the pandemic, however,  a traffic model cannot explain the sudden reduction in traffic. Moreover, it cannot predict the outcome of a virus and how it affects traffic in the future.

Again, a two-dimensional grid cannot be used to describe a person’s thoughts and decisions for their future. For example, a person thinks about a past event. However, this thought relates to how they should act in the future. This causes a shift in ideas and perspective in how they think about themselves. This scenario cannot be described by simply using a two-dimensional system.

TARTLE has figured out the commonality between everyone, and that is their inherent uniqueness and creativity. Every person is an outlier compared to everyone else and should be treated as such.

Using a Unity Model for a Holistic Approach

With that being said, there is a type of system that attempts to approach human uniqueness in an all-encompassing manner. A unity model. An entity should then design systems and models that are for humans, rather than a target demographic. This eliminates the metaphorical walls that divide people into specific groups, without limiting the scope and growth of a given system. 

Creativity is an inherent trait that is both unique and ubiquitous to everyone. An expressive painter cannot be labeled as “weird” or “crazy” for being creative in their own way. Rather, it is who they are as an individual.

A person’s label should not be confined within the walls of a grid, but rather a gradient of creativity that cannot be simply described with a word or two. Going back to describing painters, no one should compare one artist’s expression with another artist, with each artist being unique on their own.

Instead of visualizing a system as a grid, we should instead view it as a spherical model. Imagine plotting a single point on a sphere. If this sphere was rotated, it would still be equal to any other point plotted on the sphere.

Closing Thoughts: The Norm of Two-Dimensional Systems

Each person should be treated as an absolute uniqueness; a gradient of colors that cannot be defined by binary systems. Everyone is inherently creative, and everyone has experiences and thoughts unique to themselves.

Despite our society’s norm of placing everyone into clear-cut definitions, we should instead strive to expand our perspective towards the infinite creativity of human nature. Just because everyone has adapted to this norm, does not mean that it is the correct way to describe people.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Critically Thinking Through Data

Critical thinking is hard. No, really. It takes patience, dedication, and a degree of humility that is hard to maintain. Some people think that if you think critically, you will automatically agree with them. Others think that critical thinking means uncritically rejecting whatever your parents and grandparents taught you. Neither will ever put it quite that way but if you pay close attention to what is said by some, those conclusions are hard to avoid. Not that you should take my word for it. If you were paying attention, you might have caught that I did a little bit of the first – assuming that people thinking critically will agree with me. See? It’s hard to avoid the traps even when you’re writing about them. 

So, what really is critical thinking and how does one do it? Thinking critically means being willing to take the time to understand something as thoroughly as possible before reaching a strong conclusion about it. To be willing to take a look at different points of view and weigh them against each other. It’s more complicated than hearing the two main sides of an issue and then assuming the truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s more complicated because the truth may be in between, but how far is one side or the other? Or one side might be completely wrong. Or the truth might be something neither side has even considered. I told you this is hard. 

How does one begin? As with a lot of things, mindset is everything. You need to realize that you will likely never know every single thing about any one thing. Aquinas once said humanity has yet to discern the essence of a single gnat. Nothing has changed in the eight centuries since he wrote that. We know more, but not everything. If that sounds depressing, it shouldn’t. It means there is always more to learn. 

Start small, with a subject that already interests you and pick up a book that catches your eye. And yes, a real book if you can, something you can highlight and make notes in the margins. Don’t try to power through and crush out the page count. Save that kind of reading for fiction. Yes, there are different kinds of reading. That fact and much of the method I’m about to lay out are in How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler.

In any case, take your time and read through it, making notes as you go. Pay attention to others the author cites and get their books, and do the same with them. With each book, take the time to learn the author’s voice, how he thinks, what his own presuppositions seem to be. Then be willing to correct your conclusions when you realize you got something wrong. Don’t forget to pick up one or more works that contradict the author, whether he cites them or not. Every now and then the lone voice crying in the wilderness is saying something you should be paying attention to. Remember, it was once the consensus in certain circles that no planets existed outside the solar system, or that eugenics makes total sense and you should totally cure people by cutting them so the evil humors could escape. It’s usually worth listening to the person challenging the consensus. Even if he proves to be off his rocker, just kicking the apple cart can get some new and productive thoughts going. 

Doing all of that will actually just get you started thinking truly critically. After taking in all that data, you need to sift and weigh it, looking up additional information to fill in holes you’ll find as you go along. 

All data analysis needs to be approached with a similar level of patience and humility. How many companies when they collect marketing data run it through different analytical models to see if they line up? Or have multiple people look at the data? How many organizations have people whose whole job is to check different analyses against each other to see if it all adds up? The answer is sadly few.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Data is the Gold Standard

Gold has been the standard for monetary value for millennia. Ever since humanity realized it likes shiny rocks (relax, I know it’s a metal) gold has been highly desired and sought after. More than a few people have been killed because they had it and someone else wanted it. In one of the more distressing attempts to get out of the Great Depression FDR actually ordered the confiscation of privately held gold, sending agents to people’s homes and offering them the ‘fair compensation’ of fiat currency. 

Interestingly, it doesn’t even change value much. An ounce of gold today can buy pretty much what an ounce of gold could buy fifty years ago. However, it has a much larger dollar value attached. What that tells you is that one green piece of paper is worth a whole lot less than it was fifty years ago. 

There are of course things more valuable than gold. Platinum is a precious metal that is rarer and more valuable as a rule. Bitcoin is argued by many to be more valuable than gold, at least in the modern age. Should we ever get the EMP apocalypse that would probably change. However, there is one thing that is definitely worth more than all of those, and arguably has always been, and that would be data. Good old-fashioned information, the currency of kings, robber-barons, politicians, and tech lords around the world. 

A piece of information can alter the fate of empires, or make the difference between a massive profit or going out of business. That’s why today businesses and governments spend billions, if not trillions collectively to gather as much information on you and me as they possibly can. That’s why there are so many apps that want permissions to every bit of info on your phone, or there is so much info tied up in a simple digital photo. It’s also why there are cameras everywhere. Sure, at the beginning they were probably put in strictly with the idea of improving security and catching criminals. Then it became about tracking traffic, both foot and car. But there is a mission creep. The local government or the particular business you are in can now use those cameras to track your movements, who you talk to, what kind of clothing you like to wear and when. 

What one might consider to be particularly galling is the fact that not only is all the data gathered without your actual consent, it’s done often without your knowledge and then it is kept from you. Even better, the means of acquiring information are kept from you. Not so much the knowledge of the means (though in some cases that is true) but the means themselves. After all, you can’t exactly get a hold of those street cameras for your own purposes. 

Then of course, there are the satellites. Oh yeah, if you don’t like location data and street cameras, you will absolutely hate satellites. Those things can seriously read your license plate from space. They have far more resolution than you can get from Google Earth where the average person is limited to what you can see from around 150ft. Just imagine how much data the government, and the mega-corps that can afford to pay the fees to access the higher resolutions can get from those. 

Not that I want my neighbor having access to that information either. What I would like is not having companies and my government spying on me, even for the ‘common good’. That’s why TARTLE is so important. We are at the forefront of a movement to regain control of our data. That starts with people signing up and protecting their data with us and deciding whether or not you share it on your terms. But that, as they say, is just the beginning. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Chicken of the Sea

There are nearly 8 billion people on the planet. And those 8 billion people need to eat. And especially in the developed nations they eat a lot. That means that companies are constantly looking for new and abundant food sources to supply the ever increasing need for food. One of those sources is the skipjack tuna.

This particular breed of tuna is insanely abundant and they breed quickly. How quickly? Instead of the chicken of the sea, you could reasonably call them the rabbits of the sea. They are able to breed young and year round, that means that their population is able to replenish itself very quickly. Given that some of the species’ predators, like certain kinds of sharks, have entered the endangered species list, fishing them might actually be helping control them and preventing them from forcing out other species. Yet, given the increased demand for tuna, that might not be the case for much longer. 

Sadly, that is the way things typically progress. We push on one specific source until it is threatened and then move onto another until we finally learn to manage the source in a responsible way. Think of how bison were hunted nearly to extinction as America expanded into the West. Much like the skipjack is currently, their supply seemed to be infinite. Obviously, we learned that was not the case, but barely in time to save the species. 

Then there is the way the tuna are harvested. Once upon a time, the way they and most other fish were pulled from the ocean was little different from the way your grandpa pulled trout out of the river. The poles were just bigger and the lines stronger but the principles were the same. However, what has happened is that fisheries have adopted a fancy form of net fishing (also an old form of fishing that has been around for thousands of years) called purse seine fishing. Rather than simply dipping or dragging a net from a ship and seeing what comes up, this method involves massive nets that are actually secured at the bottom so the fish can’t escape. It’s very efficient. It is also indiscriminate in what it catches. There are literally tons of other fish and aquatic mammals that are caught in these fancy nets, including various endangered species of dolphins and some of the sharks that prey on the tuna (yes, controlling the skipjack population by fishing them is fixing a problem we’ve helped create in the first place). 

It would certainly be better for the dolphins, sharks, and whatever else gets unintentionally caught in those nets if we went back to the more discriminate pole and line fishing method. Of course, given that the method is less efficient, it would no doubt raise the price of tuna in the store, which means it might not be the go to option when funds are running a little short. How much would the price go up? Who knows? I don’t know what the profit margins on a can of tuna are. If they are pretty big, then the companies could certainly afford to make less money. If they are already low, then grandma will pay the price when she makes tuna casserole for Friday dinner. Perhaps that means there would be some other alternative, or the casserole would be smaller, or more people would discover the joy that is leftovers. 

This is a bit of a digression but there are people that actually won’t eat leftovers, which is definitely a first world problem. Growing up, if it wasn’t in the fridge for more than a week, it was fair game. Not that much lasted that long. How much less waste would there be, of tuna and pretty much anything else if people weren’t afraid to reheat things in the oven? 

Whatever the case, solving these issues won’t be easy and will require a lot of data and subsequent analysis of it. That’s where you and TARTLE come in. If you have any data that would help with that, share it. How much tuna does your family take in? Are there leftovers? How much does it cost in your area? Ever see it in the clearance aisle? Do you fish tuna? How often do you go out? Are there ways to improve pole and line fishing not widely known? Are there alternatives to tuna? These might seem like small things, but they are part of a larger whole and that data can help determine how big of a problem there is, or if there really is one at all. Should there be a true problem, that kind of information can help provide the best solutions. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Sometimes, it takes a long time before you are proven right. Not that too many people seriously doubted Einstein’s prediction that gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of space – existed. However, it wasn’t definitively proven until 2016, nearly a 100 years after the Jewish scientist first posited their existence. Even in 2016, with the technology available, it took a major event to trigger waves large enough to be detected. That event was the collision of two black holes over a billion light years away. 

In 2012, the Higgs boson particle was finally discovered. Predicted back in the 1960s, the subatomic particle was needed to complete the Standard Model. Once the Large Hadron Collider finally proved the particle’s existence, physicists could say that they had a solid grasp of the fundamentals of how subatomic particles behave. 

Data Waves and the Politics of Science in the Universe

It would be easy to go from these and other discoveries and say that everything is going perfectly smoothly in the world of physics. However, that would be to ignore all of the crazy things going on that we have no clue how to explain. Just take dark matter. There is a lot more of it in the universe than there is visible matter. The ratio seems to have gone down, from 10/1 to 6/1 likely thanks to more accurate analysis as well as people just getting better at detecting normal matter. How much of the change in the ratio is taken up by the discovery of extrasolar planets, or that neutrinos actually do have a tiny bit of mass? Yet, there is also a large amount that we can’t account for. There is also dark energy, which has no relation to the concept of dark matter. It’s just a term for the energy that might be causing the expansion of the universe to speed up. Yes, that’s a thing. And let’s not even get into quantum mechanics where things get really weird.

Pretending everything is chugging along smoothly would also ignore the fact there are issues that are more political than scientific to be dealt with. That comes into play especially when scientists are delving into those strange and mysterious elements, the places we don’t understand. That’s because the discoveries that come from research into those poorly understood fields sometimes have implications for what we consider to be established science. Those who have made their careers on things like orbital mechanics, star formation, how gravity works, and so forth don’t much like people telling them their theories are wrong. 

Einstein himself fell prey to this. When he was still working out his theory of relativity the common understanding of the universe was a steady state model. It had always been here much as we see it today. He and others were resistant to the Big Bang Theory that was getting peddled by one Fr. George Lemaitre. Einstein was so resistant he actually added a fudge factor into his equations called the cosmological constant that would make the answers compatible with a steady state model. Einstein later removed it, calling it his greatest blunder. 

If Einstein didn’t care about having his preconceptions challenged, it’s no wonder that scientists today struggle with the same impulses, though now, it is perhaps even worse. There are various incentives to not rock the boat. Too many are primarily interested in getting tenure at their universities, or getting their grant money from the government. Pursuing those goals rather than the truth means that new ideas aren’t just treated with suspicion, they can be flat out suppressed, holding back not just a particular scientist, but science as whole, thus limiting our ability to understand the world around us. That is precisely why we need more openness, more transparency in our data, so that others can go into it and research things for themselves and hopefully learn to be open to whatever the truth may be.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Aeron Zentner is an accomplished leader in the world of analytics, supply chain management, research and a couple dozen other things. Currently the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at Coastline College, Dr. Zentner has helped in the completion of thousands of research projects and has been published dozens of times. In his spare time, he works as an editor and author for SAGE Publications and McGraw Hill.

Aeron first started to get into analytics back in 2008 when he practically fell into a research analyst job. At the age of only 29 he became a Dean and not long after was asked to teach analytics to people who did not have a major in it. To do that, to teach analytics to people who were not necessarily steeped in it, he developed an experiential learning program with SAGE. He worked with twelve other experts around the U.S. to develop the program which will be coming out soon. 

Data and Coastline College

Teaching others about the importance of data is a genuine passion for Aeron. He sees it as a bridge that will help us achieve a greater understanding of the world around us. This can help people, regardless of the field they are in to get beyond mere intuition and gut reaction that is based on immediate observations and provide a bigger picture of what is going on beyond what they directly experience. It helps actually provide the ‘why’ to what they are seeing and experiencing. The data then can be the bridge that will help people utilize their available resources more efficiently, to get the most bang for their buck. 

How does one stop bias from creeping in though? Bias after all is a part of the human condition, we naturally see things in a way that is favorable to ourselves. The first step is to actually take a hard look at the questions that we are trying to use data to answer. Is the question itself biased? How is it being framed? It is also worth looking at what is influencing us. How much is based on our interpretation of customer behaviors and how that will affect our activity going forward? Finally, any company should check itself against its mission. Is your personal bias, or even the success of the company in a particular area influencing decisions in a way that is contrary to the mission? That mission becomes a standard by which the company can measure itself. 

So, not to put too fine a point on it, how does Coastline College measure up? Does the college and its students live up to Coastline’s own high standards? Does the college produce students who are competent to analyze data? One thing the college is doing is tracking students post-graduation to see how they themselves are actually performing according to their own goals at the time of graduation. And of course they go directly to the students when they come into the college as well. Surveys ask them why they selected Coastline and the particular courses they did. What are their goals? What do they hope to get out of their time at the college?

All of that data helps the college be a lot more flexible than other similar institutions. It also helps that they are small, which allows them to more easily tweak their classes, how they are constructed, how long they are and to make changes to the overall college experience if they identify a problem.  

With such a focus on getting direct data from their students, Coastline College is setting itself up to be a true beacon of the next stage of the digital age, one that will be instrumental in getting people to better understand the changing world.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Death and taxes. Both are inevitable and nobody much likes either one. Especially taxes. The system is naturally inefficient and more than a few people of all political persuasions can’t help but think that some if not all of that money is just vanishing into thin air. 

Fortunately, there are a few out there working to reform the Byzantine mess that is the IRS and the U.S. tax code. One of those brave souls is Annette Nellen. Annette is a professor at San Jose State University and has been on so many boards and received so many awards in the area of taxation and accounting that it would take all the space in this article to list them all. Her most recent article that made a wave or two in tax land advocates for getting rid of the standard April 15 due date. 

Let’s Talk Taxes!

This in part has to do with the previously mentioned inefficiency of the current system. Given that all of your tax data is collected digitally and then digitally deposited in your account, why do you have to deal with a bunch of cumbersome paper forms, or digital forms that duplicate them, and then send in your tax return, most likely digitally. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for most people if the IRS just sent you your return? No forms, no waiting, not glitches that lose your return in the mail, they just calculate what you owe and send it to you. Unless you are self-employed or make a lot of charitable donations this system should work very well. 

Some object that they really don’t trust the IRS will their data. The truth is though that they have it already. That’s precisely why the direct return would work. However, Annette has some ideas that would make the situation more palatable. 

First and foremost, all of your data would go into your own unique cloud. This would work whether you work at Starbucks or run a public benefit data management and protection company. That way, you could sync different incomes, donations, accounts, and the software to process it all in one place. The big benefit would be that you could even set the system to process a return for you on your own timetable. It wouldn’t change the total, just when you get it. Or, a person could adjust their various exemptions on the fly if they want to tweak their taxes so that they are only ever paying in exactly what they are required to, eliminating the need for a return at all. 

This could be especially beneficial for those who are self-employed. One of the hazards of working for yourself is hoping you don’t wind up owing a massive amount at the end of the year. Many just set aside money out of their income for that specific purpose. The system Annette proposes would allow the self-employed to pay throughout the year. 

This brings up a question, if this would work so well, what is the real hold up? In a word – technology. Not that the technology doesn’t exist. Rather, the IRS and government in general doesn’t have it yet. Government agencies tend to lag very far behind in the technology department. There are a lot of reasons for that, but you can also be sure that it will change in the years to come. As the professor observes, the generation currently in college is growing up largely technology dependent. They live in a world where people don’t use cash, or even a card, they just pay with their phones and call it a day. As they move up the ranks in the private and public sector, the need for the technology even in the most backward of government warehouses will need to catch up. 

All of this is just the beginning of course. There are a lot of issues with our current system and many things that could be done to reform it. Until then, make sure your taxes are in on time.

What are your taxes worth?

Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Algae Goes Moo

Guess what, the Earth is only so big. Yes, it is big but it still has a finite size. That means there is only so much room for people and the resources necessary to support them. How much? There is a lot of disagreement on that but in principle, there is only so much space so there is definitely a limit. Which means it makes sense to spend time thinking about how we can make the best use of the resources we have until someone figures out how to efficiently terraform Mars.

One of the many resources we have that does have limited space is farmland. We’ve frankly done a great job in the last hundred years of figuring out how to get more and more out of less. Unfortunately, that has in part been through the use of growth hormones, fertilizers, and pesticides. While that has allowed us to get more food out of less land it has also had downstream effects on the environment that have been less than desirable. Yet, we don’t want people to starve. So, what do we do?

One of the biggest consumers of farmland isn’t actually people but cattle. There is a ton of farmland used to grow food for cattle. Combine that with what we use for people and then factor in the fact there is only so much fertile land to be used and it doesn’t take a genius to see that eventually we will run out. For one, there is the fact that there are only so many nutrients in the soil and if we don’t give farmland a break, it will eventually run out of them. That’s part of how the USA rose in power so quickly, it had farmland that was virtually untapped, allowing people there to grow more crops that were larger and more nutrient dense than what was possible in Europe where people had already been farming for centuries. Many cultures have understood this, which is why they developed the concept of crop rotation. Different crops use different nutrients so switching crops lets the soil build up the ones not currently being used. It’s also why the Mosaic Law directed the ancient Hebrews to periodically allow their fields to lie fallow. It gave time for plants and bugs to decay, animals to poop, and bugs to till the soil and rejuvenate it. 

Now though, it is very hard to turn back to that system of farming, maybe impossible. Again, what do we do? One possible solution lies in another problem that we’ve created. Ironically, one that has been exacerbated by industrial farming – algae. 

While fertilizers have contributed to algae blooms in the coastal areas of our oceans which have in turn darkened those oceans and could lead to disruptions of our ecosystems on that end (a subject we’ve gone more in depth on elsewhere), that very algae has a lot of nutrients. Nutrients that could be of use if we harvested more of them and used them to feed both people and cattle. Why not just people? Let’s be honest, Travolta was right in Pulp Fiction, “bacon is good”. And where would Sammy J be without his royale with cheese? People aren’t going to stop eating meat en masse no matter how much some might want that to happen. So it makes sense to find a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to feed the cattle and so feed the people. Why not make use of this abundant resource and in so doing help solve another problem that we’ve inadvertently created? 

For the record, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to pursue reforms to industrial farming. Those are sorely needed. Yet, it is this kind of outside the box thinking that will allow people to live in a way that is both sustainable and comfortable. TARTLE strives to promote and stimulate that kind of creative problem solving by encouraging people to share and donate their data with research organizations. That will help them pursue solutions to our most pressing problems with the best data available – yours.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.