Ever wondered what will happen to our city gardens if space becomes scarce? Jewelry designer Hafsteinn Juliusson has shrunk these gardens and made them wearable. His line ‘Growing Jewelry’ holds actual living greenery. The sterling silver accessories are handmade in Iceland and seem like a promising alternative for bringing some green into the city streets. No green thumb? Don’t worry! It only needs watering every 5 weeks, although Hafsteinn takes no responsibility for that. How about growing a rose for your next date?
Gumboot chiton is a marine snail with an appetite for algae growing on rocks. Grazing on rocks would destroy the teeth of others, but not the gumboot chiton. This snail produces the hardest biomineral yet discovered to deal with its punishing eating habits.
This mineral, called magnetite, has inspired a new type of solar cell and a new type of lithium battery. By understanding how the snail produces this mineral, researchers could develop similar ways to make nano-materials at room temperature. This will allow researchers to develop low-cost, high-efficiency microscopic structures.
Dr. Kisailus, of Riverside’s Bourne College of Engineering in California, believes that understanding the gumboot chiton will lead to solar cells that can capture and convert more sunlight into electricity, as well to more efficient batteries. “If we can reduce the size of particles in batteries, which at present, are massive on a nano-scale, this will reduce their recharge time and increase their power efficiency”.
Via Elements Science
It’s a self-evident truth that there’s nothing that can’t be better with bacon – including housing. While Next Nature was busy dreaming up new in vitro meat (IVM) foods, the mad scientists of Terreform ONE in New York went ahead and designed an entire dwelling made of IVM pig cells. While the prototype for the “victimless shelter” is just conventional pig leather, the real deal (if it ever exists) would be a complex structure with tissue-engineered bone for support and giant sphincters for windows. We’ll leave it up to the religious authorities to decide whether a pork house is kosher.
One of the arguments that environmentalists use against factory farming and burning fossil fuels is that these activities are “unnatural” or that they “go against nature.” But what exactly is this “nature,” and who gets to define it? The answer is that nature actually comes from culture.
What would happen if you let computer and man compete? Not in obvious ways, like who can do faster calculations or win the Jeopardy game show. Rather, what about a challenge right on the border of our abilities?
Speech is one such border. Many smartphones have fairly advanced speech recognition. Although humans can still recognize spoken words much better than a computer, we can easily misinterpret a message or forget it. To pit human against machine, design student Ylja Band made an online experiment in which she makes man and machine compete in the form of the Chinese whisper challenge. The human participant and the computer try to pass the same message via speech, ending up with very different results.
In a darkly ironic reversal of its normal role, Photoshop is now being deployed to make models look more fleshy than they actually are. In part spurred on by the impossible beauty standards that Photoshop has made commonplace, models have become so adept at self-starvation that magazine editors have to use software to make them look healthier.
Former Cosmo editor Leah Hardy recently described the “reverse-retouching” that occurred under her tenure:
The godfather of news, Walter Cronkite, had a show on CBS that showed off technology of the future. One episode that aired on March 12, 1967 showed off what a kitchen would look like in 2001.
Cronkite predicted that “Meals in this kitchen of the future are programmed. The menu is given to the automatic chef via typewriter or punched computer cards.” and not only the meal, but also the “cups and saucers are molded on the spot.”
It’s long been a desire of the human species to have complete control over our own thoughts. We’ve all had these moments where we curse our brain. Asking questions like: “Why wasn’t I more fun at that party”, “Why did I act so mean to that person? “ and “Why am I not reaching my creative potential?”. In the last couple of decades, a plethora of psychoactive substances have been discovered. With them came the ability to exercise control over our conscious minds.
Living lamps like Latro Algea Lamp by Mike Thompson are nothing new. But design studio MADLAB has created Bacterioptica, a lamp that contains organisms and bacteria from the family that owns it. The statement reads:
“It is alive in a very literal sense: it cultivates, distributes and illuminates the bacterial life of its family members by way of a branching assembly of metal rods, glass petri dishes and fiber optics.
“Bacterioptica is adaptive by design, not only in its form and mechanics, but more importantly, in the way it evolves. Step- by-step instructions guide the family through procedures to experiment with and prepare each bacterial sample for its place in the chandelier. Whether featuring bacteria from the skin, the yard or the dinner guests, Bacterioptica is continually changing in shape and luminosity.”
With this lamp your family can literally light up your life.
Digital and genetic techniques increasingly influence life. Our belief in progress through technology stands in the way of a moral debate on this development.
By Rinie van Est
We keep a close watch on what voters and members of parliament want, but the future of our society is determined by something else: technological development. At least, that’s what thinkers such as Dominique Janicaud believe, who wrote: ‘Technological power is more revolutionary than any revolution; it comes from above, no one can know where it is going’. In views such as these, the role of politics is limited to properly spreading technological innovations. I do not agree with this. Without trying to undermine the revolutionary force of technology, I do think politics is capable of a democratic steering of technology to a certain degree. In fact, I believe that interaction between the political domain and the techno-economic domain is the essence of our democracy. But here, politics is neglectful, because it has a blind spot for the ideological role that technology plays in our society.
Via The Popupcity.