back to article Samsung offers $90,000 if you can fix California's epic drought with tech

Samsung is offering prizes of up to US$90,000 to device devs who come up with good ways to tackle the record-setting drought in California – and who are willing to use the its brand-new Artik Internet of Things (IoT) platform to do so. In announcing the competition at IoT World in San Francisco on Tuesday, Samsung chief …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course you researched California's agriculture before that posting?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Just for those promote being a veggie to save water, enjoy those almonds !

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward

            My point is saying that cattle are the issue, when Almonds (one of California's largest exports) use obscene amounts of water as well.

            " takes about a gallon of water to grow one almond, and nearly five gallons to produce a walnut."

            Now beef, does indeed use a lot as well, but simply to say go veggie is going to fix California issue is utter bollocks, when the largest user of water is not livestock.

            Also, when I hear these arguments thrown around, that being veggie will fix everything, again is horse shit. A lot of land is completely unsuitable for crop growing on any scale, but ideally suited to sheep and goats.

            Yes, we should cut down on meat use, that I agree on, but to simply say, going veggie will fix everything, is just wrong. Killing off the walnut and almond trade in California will have a MUCH bigger impact than killing of the livestock trade.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Ever been to the Central Valley? Before irrigation, it was pretty much unusable. As it is, irrigation has brought it's own set of headaches as the salts in the irrigation (not NaCl salt) water is turning the land even more unusable without fertilizers and mineral treatments.

                The good farmland has been taken over by cities and those who like to see green fields without the nuisance of tractor and worker noise.

            2. Sykobee

              So my pitch is:

              Using the ARTIK 10, create a Terminator-style robot that will hunt down almond and walnut growers and terminate them, saving lots of water.

              Samsung might as well hand over the $90k now, tbh.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      What type of cow eats watermelon and oranges?

      (Mea culpa. No real idea of California’s range of crops but I will look it up.)

    3. Grikath

      @ 1980s_coder

      yeah... because promoting the growing of organisms that use the evaporation of water as their primary mode of internal transportation and osmotic control is a really, REALLY stellar idea in an area that's known for droughts. <applause>

    4. Bitbeisser

      Well, that is a bit beside the whole point. There isn't enough water for any kind of plant production. I just past a few days ago by an nuts and fruit orchard and those trees look really bad. Likewise for fields that would normally at this time of the year be green with lettuce and cabbage are all but parched...

  2. lawndart


    It's going to take a huge amount of Artiks to build the dams.

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    Disaster by arrogance

    This type of thinking is so gimmicky it is pathetic. What should be done with the radio devices? Tag drops of water?

    Hydro science is much older than computer science and throwing "Internet 'cause Internet" at it, is last century thinking.

    1980s coder nails it. Cattle and supporting industries are NOT industries that should be operating under these conditions.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Disaster by arrogance

      Completely agree, most of what they're doing in that example could be done with decades old tech, hooking it up to an 'app' doesn't change the core challenegs or offer solutions to problems that matter.

      +1 for 1980s Coder too, Chris Packham has been pushing that for decades (he's the first person I recall bringing it to my attention anyway) and this is coming from someone who adores a good ribeye.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disaster by arrogance

      Right, because no problem has ever been solved by looking at things in a different way? A commercial company offering up a small amount of money to attempt to incentivise people to see if any innovative use of new techniques can be brought to bear is "pathetic" because you say so? So what if nothing comes from it? At least they looked.

      Can you genuinely not begin to consider potential products? There's absolutely no benefit you can see in being able to analyse a range of both ground and atmospheric measurements to determine the optimum time to water your crops? Given the scale of the problems facing California, being able to save 1% of agricultural usage of water by watering at the best time (when most needed, least likely to be evaporated, etc.) is potentially worth having. Bear in mind the sheer scale in acreage of agriculture - being able to water just those areas that need it, based on data collected from a huge region within the last hour is good, no?

      Yes, hydro science is much older than computer science. What's your point? Praying to rain gods is much older than computer science too. Much of recent hydro science advancement has come about through the use of computers - much more so than praying to the deities to send rain has even achieved.

      And frankly "cattle and supporting industries" are far from being the largest problem here.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Disaster by arrogance

        Unless Artik can make more water, it's total bullshit.

        Either farming is reduced or seriously, seriously advanced or more water is found. Period. Less people would be nice as well, but I don't think anyone is going to voluntarily off themselves, do you?

        There already exists FAR better farming techniques. Maybe now they will use them.

        But the easiest thing is make low power desalination plants. Again, technology that already exists.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Idiotic gimmickry: Real in America. Economics: Unreal in America

    It's not the meat....

    The Elevator Pitch:

    Agriculture accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water consumption, but 2 percent of the state’s economy. To spell it out a little more clearly: Under Jerry’s Brown water plan, it’s fine to use a gallon of subsidized water to grow a single almond in a desert, but if you take a shower that’s too long, prepare to be fined up to $500 per day. The fact that the growers, who remain a powerful interest group in California, happen to be exempt from water restrictions reminds us that water is not allocated according to any functional market system, but is allocated through political means by politicians and government agents.

  5. Anon the mouse

    So attach the artik to an amount of c4 or similar, attach to Nestlé bottling plant and retreat to a safe distance. Then trigger remotely via the Internet. Problem solved

  6. Nigel 11

    Lawnkiller drone?

    Equip a fleet of small drones with image processing kit that can detect bright green grass immediately adjacent to houses in the middle of a California summer. Deploy glyphosate spray. Once it is established that the choice is between a temporarily brown lawn or a permanently brown lawn, water consumption will drop dramatically.

    There, solved.

    By the way, why can't Almonds be grown somewhere with higher natural rainfall?

  7. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge


    Build a few nuke plants along the coast dedicated to desalination. Discounted reactors for buying in bulk, all the fresh water they'll ever need, plus a booming salt business.

    Wait I forgot. California is full of eco nutters so it'd have to be giga-acres of solar PV and still wouldn't reliably match the stable continuous reactor output.

    Oh well. Enjoy your drought.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Desal

      Too late, Cargill already employs lots of people in their California solar desalination plants. They're also ahead of the IoT curve because they store the fresh water in the clouds where it can be transported and fall from the sky where it's needed.

      Wait, what? Are you sure that's not how this IoT thing works? Oh, never mind then, it seems I've been misinformed.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Desal

      Nukes plants in an earthquake zone.

      Can you even hear yourself?

  8. Wade Burchette Silver badge


    Turn into King Canute and command the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to switch to its warm phase again.

    For those who don't know about the PDO, it is an approximately 30 year cycle between a cool phase and a warm phase. In the warm phase, the water is warmer around Mexico and California. This also means more El Ninos, warm water between South America and Australia, and weaker La Ninas. More warm water means more evaporation which means more rain. In the cool phase, the warm water moves north to around Alaska. The waters around California are cooler and thus less rain. This also means weaker El Ninos and more La Ninas. La Nina usually makes the southern half of the US warm and dry. Long-term droughts are nothing new in that part of the world. For example, the Anasazi Indians, the ones who built pueblo houses in the rocks, had to leave because of drought.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Solution

      Thanks Wade! I've been trying to remember this for the last 3 years. I first read about it in a book called "Mendoza in Hollywood" (by Kage Baker) and the rest of that series.

  9. stupormundi

    Easy to fix the drought:

    Rain follows the plow.

    Just plow more.

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    El nino to the rescue?

    don't Panic but it is the time for another El Nino event. This usually results in the wrong sort of water falling on California by the bucketload.

  11. Keir Snelling

    What are some of the most notable natural features of California?

    A long coastline.

    Lots of sunshine.

    Hmmmmn. Solar powered desalination?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Yep. No gimmicks required!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019