Friday Offcuts – 29 July 2022

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Coming off an amazing week of technology insights on some of the new equipment and operating systems being used to extract wood residues off forest and harvest skid sites as part of the Residues2Revenues 2022 event, we’ve got an issue this week that’s jam-packed full of relevant new innovations along with video clips of some of this technology being put through its paces.

Drones (UAVs) feature strongly again today. Automatic drones are rapidly becoming part of transport systems that are being used across various industries. They’re also more often being flown out of visual range (BVLoS, Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight). As part of their extensive research programme, Finland’s largest Research Centre is focussing on developing new traffic management systems that can be used to monitor flights for the growing number of unmanned drones.

Vertiports, aerodromes for vertically rising and descending drones along with eVTOL (an aircraft using electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically) flight taxis are also being trialed. It’s not now science fiction – it’s already here. We’ve built in this week an eye-opening video, it’s a world first, where one of these eVTOL aircraft (aptly named Jetson ONE) has been used by the inventor to travel to and from his work place. It apparently provides an impressive 88% reduction off his usual commute time.

We’ve also built in details about a Boston-based firm, one of a handful of start-ups, that’s looking to leverage indoor drones to help warehouses keep track of their inventory. These new inventory drones feature indoor obstacle avoidance, the ability to read barcodes, even in low-light warehouse situations and they’re able to operate, even in poor Wi-Fi conditions. And that four-legged robot, Spot, produced by Boston Dynamics who was recently spotted being put through its paces in New Zealand rounding up sheep, is now being put through its paces by Japanese forest researchers. With chronic labour shortages they’re working with Spot to see if it could be used operationally to help them monitor and maintain their country’s forests.

Finally, DroneSeed, a company well known to the forest industry in Australia and New Zealand, spread their wings late last year by acquiring a US forestry seed collection and seedling supply business Silvaseed Company. It's enabled their business to expand reforestation services beyond aerial drone-based seeding to now include seed collection, seedling cultivation in nurseries, and on-the-ground tree planting services. The company’s now flying swarms of drones, 2.5m in diameter and carrying 26kg payloads to help restore wildfire-ravaged land just 30 days after the fire is out. As well as being at the forefront of reafforestation efforts from the air, they’ve also been very successful in bringing in investors having raised around US$36 million to date. And that’s it for this week. Enjoy the issue.

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Opinion Piece - Timber vital to build stronger state

I congratulate Minister Barnett (Tasmanian Minister, Guy Barnett) on pledging to deliver 10,000 new social and affordable homes by 2032. This is a big target and something that is desperately needed in Tasmania right now.

To get serious about social housing requires big targets, but it also brings us back to the realisation that many of the people who support solutions for homelessness and the cost of living, fail to support or acknowledge the fact that it will be forestry who provides for it. All housing requires wood, and lots of it.

Environmentally friendly homes require radiata pine framing and plywood for the substrates, hardwoods for the floors, windows, doors, benchtops and stairs, MDF and chipboard for kitchen/laundry cabinets and wardrobes; and treated pine for the fences and landscaping. That’s without even going into their furniture needs, packing boxes and paper products.

The reality is, it takes a broad mix of forestry species and a combination of processes to create the products that are required to achieve our social housing targets and importantly turn that housing into homes. 10,000 homes require a lot of wood, and the most environmentally responsible way to produce it, is to grow it and process it right here in Tasmania.

One average three-bedroom home requires 14 cubic metres of softwood and engineered timber to build the frame. To put that in perspective, we grow fifty house frames a day. That is, our Tasmanian softwood estate grows and processes enough softwood framing to build around two houses per hour. In addition, an average house uses around 4.8 cubic metres of hardwood, plus significant volumes of ply, chipboard and MDF for the fit out.

As demand increases, through social housing investment and a growing population, forestry must meet that demand challenge by having enough resource now and into the future. This demand can be met, but to do so we need to get serious about supporting the industry. To do this we must plant more trees now, encourage continued investment and growth and maintain our best practice forestry methods.

Our critics need to cease from being solely focused on shutting forestry down and picking the eyes out of it with non-scientific, non-peer reviewed, headline grabbing articles and reports that are more focused on fundraising than on finding solutions. Tasmanian forestry is a small footprint industry, and from it we produce a lot.

The total terrestrial land mass of Tasmania is 6.87 million hectares. Of that, around 50% or 3.4 million hectares is protected in reserves. One of the highest per capita rates in the world. Our softwood plantation forests, which is where the framing timber comes from, is 1.09% of Tasmania’s land mass and from that we harvest a mere 0.051% of the total land mass annually. Doing this we grow enough timber for 18,250 house frames annually. And that is just the frames.

Like our softwoods, hardwoods and specialty timbers also comes from a small footprint of working forests. The total area harvested and regenerated per annum to fit out our homes and to supply our domestic and much of our national hardwood and specialty timber demand is 0.12% of Tasmania’s land mass. So, for total production of hardwood and softwood timber combined, we harvest (and then replant or regenerate) 0.17% of Tasmania’s land mass per annum.

By comparison, agriculture uses 27.75% of Tasmania’s land mass to produce our annual food supply (17.49% livestock, 3.05% vegetables and 7.22% other produce). Despite the commentary from a few, our footprint is small and what we produce is essential.

Our local forestry industry produces most of our housing, furniture and other wood-based products, including fibre, and there are no better alternatives to timber, not by a long shot. Timber is a natural product and it’s renewable.

It’s a far more environmentally friendly option than, for example, carpet, vinyl and plastics which are all full of petrochemicals and glues; they also wear out and will end up in landfill within a decade or so, where they will remain for thousands of years.

A hardwood timber floor by comparison will last a lifetime, requires only 3.5 cubic metres of timber (for an average house) and will most likely be recycled or repurposed if the house was ever dismantled. In the worst case, if disposed of, it will biodegrade and of course by then the trees used would have regrown. It is the same for timber windows, doors, benchtops and stairs, timber is far superior to aluminium, stone or synthetic products.

Our mixed species forestry industry is critical to building environmentally friendly homes and our future depends on it. The only real alternative is imported timber from places where often the forestry practices are far less regulated than here, and we do import timber. Nationally we import around $2 billion worth of framing timber.

If Tasmania’s native timber products were to be added to the imported timber pile, instead of being produced here, that would be an additional AU$120 million worth of timber per annum that would have to be bought from overseas. We need and should embrace our local forestry industry. Our critics will try to tell you otherwise, but these are the facts.

Let’s get serious and help build 10,000 social and affordable homes, let’s build them now and let’s continue to build them out of renewable, sustainable local timber.

Nick Steel, CEO, Tasmanian Forest Products Association

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Phoebe’s journey from classroom to forest canopy

“On one hand my choice of forestry as a career was a last-minute decision that was questioned by many people around me. On another, it was a logical step after growing up exposed to the industry through my parents’ forestry nursery and consultancy work. Ultimately, it was completely the right decision. This has been reinforced each step of the way as I have navigated university, summer jobs, and have now entered the workforce.”

Phoebe Milne graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2021 with a Bachelor of Forestry Science having received grants from the WIDE Trust in 2019, 2020 and 2021 to support her studies. “I am now a Graduate Forester with Rayonier Matariki Forests in Hawke’s Bay. This is a role designed to establish and grow my holistic understanding of the business of forestry.

By nature, it is varied and interesting. It is also a steep learning curve. Since I started in January, I have been integrated into a wide range of teams including production, engineering, research and development, and forestry. I am lucky that in the process, as is almost always the case in forestry, my role gets me out, interacting with a diverse range of stakeholders and experiencing some of the best landscapes and natural environments that New Zealand has to offer.”

“I am passionate about forestry because there is so much to it. It is a significant primary industry for New Zealand comprising complex logistics operations and asset management decisions. This is all underpinned by the importance of sustainability and responsible stewardship of the land for future generations. Forestry has a lot to offer New Zealand economically, environmentally, and socially. I would love for this to be more widely recognised amongst the groups and sectors with which we interact. Ultimately, forestry has a bright future ahead that I am excited to be a part of.”

Source: WIDE Trust

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Drones – heading towards a futuristic vision

The role of drones is growing rapidly in various industries, including inspection, surveillance and time-critical transport. Fast, long-flying and cost-effective drones can cope with challenging environments. Technological developments and active research open up new avenues for them.

Automatic drones are rapidly becoming part of transport systems in various industries. They have great potential, for example, in construction and aerial surveillance or as part of industry site security solutions. Drones also play an increasing role in critical deliveries, such as the transport of blood and laboratory samples and even that of organs.

These solutions are utilised, for example, in Ghana and Rwanda, where road infrastructure is deficient. There, drones can facilitate transportation to remote areas. For example, coronary vaccines have been delivered in packages dropped by parachutes. Even in Finland, medicine and defibrillator transports have been tried.

VTT carries out a great deal of research and development work related to drones and their systems. The scale is extensive: research topics include autonomous drone operations, airspace control solutions, drones flying in flocks, and drones that can be used to fly for reasonably long distances with low emissions.

The future of drones is outlined at VTT using the impact roadmap for 2022-2026. In 2022, the focus will be on traffic management of the unmanned drones.

Typically, drones fly at altitudes below 120 meters in the airspace, which may also be used by, for example, medical helicopters and the Finnish Border Guard. In order to ensure safety, drones must be able to notify other airspace users of their existence and, possibly, also evade them, says Karvonen.

In 2023, drones flying out of visual range (BVLoS, Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight) will be topical. This requires both proven security solutions, secure telecommunications and video connections. Test areas for testing such flights have already been established in Finland. BVLoS flights are expected to become part of the transport system for critical logistics, security and control environments in around 2024.

In 2025, the trend is already moving towards vertiports, i.e., aerodromes for vertically rising and descending drones. In 2026, it will be possible to try eVTOL flight taxis, which will provide opportunities for rapid transport of medical or rescue personnel, for example.

Note: As part of this year’s ForestTECH 2022 event being run in both New Zealand and Australia in mid-November, one of Australia’s early pioneers and innovators, James Rennie, Director, Australian UAV, (who has undertaken extensive commercial operations with numerous forest companies) will be detailing some of the main trends expected in drone technology and deployment impacting on operators.

In New Zealand, the Tools for Foresters initiative will also be hosting a practical half-day workshop on standard operational procedures for using UAVs to undertake operational forestry assessments followed up by a session on how to analyse collected data for decision making. The workshop is free to all ForestTECH 2022 delegates.

Full details on the ForestTECH 2022 programme can be found on the event website .

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Source: VTT

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Methyl bromide’s replacement now operational

35 years since New Zealand pledged to end the use of methyl bromide there is now a viable, safer and environmentally sustainable replacement for methyl bromide as a biosecurity treatment for timber and logs at New Zealand ports with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) allowing Ethanedinitrile (EDN) to be imported and used in New Zealand from last Friday, 22 July.

The EPA’s approval of EDN for use and import in New Zealand offers the first direct replacement to existing log fumigation treatments, most commonly methyl bromide. Methyl bromide is a prolific ozone depletor and extremely harmful to the health of fumigators and local communities. Used to control invasive quarantine pests found in timber and logs, EDN is already approved for use in Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and Russia.

After a five-year review process the Environmental Protection Authority found that "EDN is the most viable replacement for methyl bromide as a fumigant of logs and timber, and that this would confer significant benefits to New Zealand’s economy, society, and environment." An EPA decision-making committee granted approval for EDN in April, but it has come into effect on 22 July after guidelines for safe use of EDN have been finalised.

In contrast to methyl bromide and other control options such as phosphine and debarking, the use of EDN has a net-zero environmental impact and is significantly more effective than these currently approved options. It is not an ozone depleting substance, is not a greenhouse gas, and does not bio-accumulate. Most importantly, EDN is better for the health and safety of fumigation workers and the surrounding communities.

Methyl bromide is a controlled substance under the Montreal Protocol and has been banned by many countries, including all 27 of the European Union’s Member States due to the harm it does to people and the environment. In 1987 New Zealand made a commitment to end the use of methyl bromide by 2005 but until now hasn’t been able to deliver on the commitment due to a lack of viable alternatives.

According to the most recent figures available New Zealand still uses around 600 tonnes of methyl bromide, the sixth-highest user globally. The EPA found that "the likely decrease in methyl bromide use as a consequence of approval of EDN would help New Zealand address its obligations to reduce ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol".

Responding to the news, Kade McConville Director of Draslovka Agricultural Solutions, said replacing methyl bromide with EDN will bring New Zealand’s quarantine treatment options into the 21st century.

"Today is a good day for the environment, port communities and the economy because it means New Zealand’s timber industry and ports can finally transition away from the use of a dangerous and environmentally unsustainable fumigant that has been increasingly banned across the rest of the world.

"EDN has been through a five-year process to gain approval for use in New Zealand and has the most up to date and scientifically derived data set about its safety, effectiveness and environmental impact. Now there is a safer, viable and more environmentally sustainable replacement for methyl bromide, and it has been approved for import and use by the EPA, New Zealand can move at pace to make the switch to EDN, and fulfil the commitment made many years ago to stop the use of methyl bromide to protect the ozone layer.

"As noted by the NZ Forest Owners Association it is also a positive step for the resumption of New Zealand’s valuable log trade with India which has largely been suspended in recent years due the lack of an effective alternative for methyl bromide”.

"The use of methyl bromide is embedded in the timber export industry, ports and timber fumigation companies. Now that EDN is approved, we will be engaging with the timber industry and ports where fumigation is undertaken to start the process of phasing in EDN. Most importantly, it is good news for the health and safety of fumigation workers and the surrounding communities who will no longer have to be exposed to methyl bromide."

The full EPA decision can be found here.

Source: Voxy

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Updating NZ’s ETS unit limits and price control settings

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme needs to be as effective as possible to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the global effort to reduce the impact of climate change, Climate Change Commission Chair Rod Carr says.

Minister of Climate Change James Shaw on Wednesday released the first advice from the Climate Change Commission on updating the NZ ETS unit limits and price control settings for the next five years. You can access the report on the Commission's website.

The advice on updating NZ ETS settings will now be delivered annually to the Minister by the Commission.

"The NZ ETS can be a powerful tool to drive emissions reductions. Confidence in the stability and predictability of the NZ ETS is key to making it effective. It needs to be kept up-to-date, so that it aligns with the country’s emissions reductions targets," Dr Carr says.

"Aligning NZ ETS settings up with our emissions reduction targets will make it easier and cheaper to achieve those goals, and guide us towards a thriving, low emissions, climate resilient economy." "We need a strong NZ ETS to incentivise the changes needed in investment and production, and support consumer choices. In addition, a package of well-designed complementary policies is also needed to drive efficiency, foster a sustainable transition, and tackle the market failures blocking action," Dr Carr says.

Updates to unit limits and price settings recommended Compared to current settings, the Commission recommends:

• Reducing the limit on the number of units available for auction
• Raising the trigger prices for the cost containment reserve and auction reserve price
• Changing to a two-tier cost containment reserve from 2023

"The unit limits aim to cap the emissions allowed by the scheme, in line with the country’s emissions reduction targets. The price control settings are guardrails to provide stability to the NZ ETS, while also enabling it to operate as an effective tool to reward low emissions choices. "High emissions activities will become more expensive and low emissions options more cost effective as the world prices the damaging effects of greenhouse gas emissions," Dr Carr says.

Changes needed to get to net zero

"Beyond the unit limits and price control settings, there are some other pressing issues that the Government must address to make the NZ ETS as effective as possible," Dr Carr says.

"The NZ ETS needs to be fit to reduce gross emissions to reach net zero long lived gas emissions sustainably. The Government has not yet said how it intends to do this.

"For example, the NZ ETS currently does not distinguish between carbon removals by trees or reducing emissions. Unless this is addressed, the NZ ETS is likely to deliver mostly new plantation forestry rather than gross emission reductions. This would ultimately put our economy at a competitive disadvantage relative to a decarbonised global economy and shift cost burdens on to future generations," Dr Carr says.

The Commission will hold an open Zoom session from 12-1pm on Tuesday, 2 August for anyone who would like to find out more about this advice. If you’d like to attend, please register to attend here

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For further coverage of this story, click here.

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US$36m raised for drone reforestation efforts

Fire seasons are now longer and the destruction more intense, as fires burn hotter and spread to more drought-stricken ground. Since the start of this year, 32,247 wildfires have burned over 3.3 million acres in the United States, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre. An early start to the season, and an especially brutal beginning in New Mexico, puts 2022 on the path toward record fire destruction.

Historically, fires would leave seeds in the soil and at treetops, but the hotter, more intense fires that occur now burn up the treetops and destroy the seeds in the soil, so there is much less natural regeneration.

DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that claims it can begin to restore thousands of acres of wildfire-ravaged land just 30 days after the fire is out. “We’re a one-stop shop for reforestation,” said Grant Canary, CEO of DroneSeed. “If you’re a land manager, and this could be tribal nations, this could be family forests, this can be public lands, this can be timber companies, and you’re affected by a wildfire, we’re one of your phone calls.”

Not all of the seeds or seedlings result in trees, and DroneSeed said that seed establishment and growth rates vary at each project site, due to soil conditions, water quality, grade of the terrain, climate temperature, tree species and other factors.

Canary likens his fleet of drones to a swarm of bees, navigating rough terrain, that can carry and disperse many thousands of seeds. Each aircraft can plant three-quarters of an acre per flight. In October 2020, the company announced that it was the first to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for this type of forest-seeding activity.

“The aircraft themselves, they are not what you can get at Best Buy. They’re eight feet in diameter,” said Canary. “They carry a 57-pound payload. We operate them in groups of three to five, and they’re going out there and they’re dropping seed vessels onto the landscape in pre-surveyed areas.”

DroneSeed is backed by 776, DBL Partners, Social Capital, Spero Ventures and Techstars. It has raised US$36 million to date.

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Japan's forestry industry tests robots

The yellow, four-legged robot walks up a grass slope, then marches through a forest full of twigs. It even mounts a stump and then climbs down unassisted.

It’s part of a trial run by Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) and SoftBank Corp., using robots produced by Boston Dynamics. The goal: find a solution to Japan’s chronic labour shortage in the forestry industry. If successful, it could increase reforestation in the country and help Japan achieve its carbon neutrality goals.

Forestry work is mostly manual and today’s workers are aging and declining in number, so researchers are hoping that the robots will be able to help humans monitor and maintain Japan’s forests.

A group of Japanese researchers launched a field test last month to incorporate these electric-powered quadrupeds to improve the safety and operational efficiency of forestry work. The robots use geospatial data, Wi-Fi and other communication technologies to cover vast areas of land independently.

In recent years, the government has been backing “smart forestry” initiatives, which use robots and other tech to improve communication, reforestation efforts and disaster recovery. With the rise in demand for timber, around half of Japan’s artificial forests are ready to be logged. But reforestation plans have been hampered thanks to large numbers of workers retiring or seeking other jobs. Logging’s low profit margin doesn’t help matters.

As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by forests has been declining, which raises the risk of natural disasters as forests have yet to be replenished, researchers said.

The team plans to verify whether electric robots are capable of patrolling, monitoring and carrying cargo through forested areas. This starts by confirming what kind of surfaces they can walk over.

Researchers will use Wi-Fi and satellite communications so that the robots, which are installed with high-precision, internet-linked positioning technology that enables self-guided walking, can operate in the woods where there is no reception.

The trial runs will be conducted twice before the end of this year: one in Shimokawa, Hokkaido, and the other in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. The researchers will use Spot, an agile mobile robot design developed by Boston Dynamics, an American firm 20% owned by SoftBank Group that is known for robots able to navigate terrain with unprecedented agility.

Source: japantimes

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New 2022 Industry Map strikes a chord

The only thing that is constant is change … and isn’t that the truth. Not only have we been facing the uncertainties with our businesses linked to COVID-19 over the last two years but changes for our own wood products industry over the last couple of years have been significant.

Every two years Australasia’s wood processing and manufacturing industry is detailed in an eagerly awaited Forest Products Industry Map that’s produced for this region. The new 2022 map has just been printed.

This is the fifth edition of a full colour 980mm wide x 680mm tall map produced by the Forest Industry Engineering Association combining major wood processing and manufacturing plants in both Australia and New Zealand.

It features 172 wood processing operations including 77 sawmills cutting in excess of 25,000m3 sawn lumber per annum (with sawn production levels), all fibreboard, particleboard, OSB, plywood, pulp & paper, veneer/LVL/CLT, paperboard and chip export operations along with major wood manufacturing operations.

Since the last edition produced in early 2020 there have been over 60 major updates to mill locations, ownership and production. Changes in the last two years have indeed been significant. The new map is now the most up-to-date industry reference providing an essential mapping resource for New Zealand and Australian forest products companies.

A folded copy of the map was inserted into major industry magazines in both New Zealand and Australia in early May. Maps since then have been going out the door. If you still don't have your own copy and wish to purchase folded or flat laminated (limited copies) maps, orders can be made directly from the FIEA website (

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Using drones to track warehouse inventory

Way back in August of last year, the launch of Corvus Robotics in the Actuator newsletter was highlighted. The Boston-based firm is one of a handful of start-ups looking to leverage indoor drones to help warehouses keep track of inventory. It’s a clever solution that’s been thus far difficult to achieve solely with wheeled robots, which have quite a bit of trouble reaching those top shelves.

Corvus is positioning its product as the “first unmanned warehouse inventory drones to enable fully automated inventory management,” though the company is far from alone in its solution. It did, however, just get a nice leg up in the form of a US$5 million seed round, led by Spero Ventures and featuring S2G Ventures, One Way Ventures, Flight Ventures and F7 Ventures. The company is a Y Combinator graduate, and the venture firm is also taking part in this early round.

Corvus’s drones are custom built for the job, featuring indoor obstacle avoidance and the ability to read barcodes, even in low-light warehouse conditions. The systems also feature an on-board autonomy stack, so they can keep operating even in poor Wi-Fi conditions — which are a bit of a constant in these sorts of settings.

Naturally, Corvus is citing ongoing labour shortages and pervasive supply chain issues as big drivers in helping raise this funding round. “The supply chain shocks in the past several years have affected companies of all sizes,” CTO Mohammed Kabir says in a release. “Every piece of inventory going to the right place is important. We’re building an end-to-end suite of solutions automating inventory visibility across the warehouse workflow, starting with drones for inventory scans.”

The round brings the company’s full funding to date up to US$8 million. As you’d expect, it’s largely going toward scaling the technology and advancing R&D. Among other things Corvus is looking to move its offering beyond simple storage, tracking inventory from the moment it enters to the time it leaves.

Source: techcrunch

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World's tallest mass timber tower opens

A historic milestone in the use of mass timber as a construction material has been passed with Korb + Associates Architects’ aptly-named Ascent tower was finally opened in Milwaukee on 15 July 2022.

Standing 25 stories and a total of 86.6 meters, the tower is now officially the world record holder for the largest mass timber structure in the world, surpassing Norway’s Mjøsa Tower by a scant 1.2 meters.

It cost US$80 million to construct and will provide Milwaukee’s East Town neighbourhood with a total of 259 apartment units built in partnership with structural engineers Thornton Tomasetti.

Ascent is now Milwaukee’s second mass timber residential development after the nearby Timber Lofts and will soon be joined by a 15-story design called The Edison, which is set to open next year.


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Jetson ONE - World's first EVTOL work trip

At the end of last year, we covered a story from Jetson (for those old enough you’ll remember well from your childhood those cartoons in the 1960’s that crossed our screens, the Jetsons), a Swedish company with a mission of making the skies available for everyone with their safe personal electric aerial vehicles. They were flying the vehicle through the forest. It looked unreal.

After months of rigorous trials and testing, the World’s first EVTOL (an eVTOL aircraft is one that uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically) commute has been completed. On 21 May 2022 the co-founder and Jetson ONE inventor Tomasz Patan flew from home to work. This reduced his commute time by an impressive 88%. A momentous occasion for the emerging EVTOL sector. Check it out in the video below.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... fifty bucks

Buddy and his wife Edna went to the state fair every year, and every year Buddy would say, "Edna, I'd like to ride in that helicopter."

Edna always replied, "I know Buddy, but that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks."

One year Buddy and Edna went to the fair, and Buddy said, "Edna, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance."

To this, Edna replied, "Buddy that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks."

The pilot overheard the couple and said, "Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny!

But if you say one word it's fifty dollars."

Buddy and Edna agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy manoeuvres, but not a word was heard. He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word.

When they landed, the pilot turned to Buddy and said, "By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!"

Buddy replied, "Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Edna fell out, but you know, fifty bucks is fifty bucks!"

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
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