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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Posts Tagged ‘Technorhetoric’

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  • Bob_Moog


    In Next Nature, not only old nature is being idealized. Because of the rapidness of new emerging technologies, we have a tendency to dwell on earlier prototypes. To recall memories, or to give that ‘real’ experience. We call this bittersweet longing for past technologies technostalgia. Technostalgia shapes our memories, our past and thus our present.

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  • iphone_x600

    Here Comes the iPhone Virus

    By analyzing billions of phone calls, researchers at Scandinavian telecom company Telenor, mapped how social connections between people – measured partly by how often they called each other – correlated with the spread of Apple’s iPhone after its 2007 debut.

    The diagram above shows the evolution of the largest network of Telenor iPhone users over time. Each node represents one subscriber, and its color indicates the model used. In this case, red equals 2G, green means 3G, and yellow means 3GS.

    Researchers learned that its owners helped spread the iPhone virus spread rapidly throughout their social network. A person with just one iPhone-carrying friend was three times more likely to own one themselves than a person whose friends had no iPhones. People with two friends who had iPhones were more than five times as likely to have sprung for the Apple device. Apparently the iPhone virus was highly contagious.

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    Technology vs Football: 4-4

    Some matches remain interesting, even though they’re predictable. Take the continuous battle between technology and football. Every time the stakes get high, such as at the World Championship, the debate is reopened.

    Since the mistakenly denied goal of Engeland – Lampard’s shot bounced down from the crossbar over the goal line – the heat is on in football land. The error of the referee created fury all over the world, and brought the issue of technology and football again on the agenda of FIFA. Last week, FIFA announced that they will reconsider goal-line technologies.

    A couple of these technologies have been rejected by FIFA in the past years. In 1999, a proposal by the Football League to install cameras in goalposts was discarded. In 2007, FIFA experimented with the ‘smartball’ (a micro-chipped ball) and the HawkEye System (cameras that would send the position of the ball to the referee), but both got suspended because they faced technical difficulties. FIFA voted instead for adding extra referees. Just last March, after a similar vote, FIFA tried to kill the debate by announcing that “This is an end to the potential use of technology within football.” It lasted for two months.

    Would goal-line technology ‘kill football’ as some suggest? How much technology can a game based on human skill and chance endure? And to what extent are referees part of the game? Football and technology are already intertwined: the endless camera viewpoints and slow motion stills, the referees with headsets, the tweaked football shoes. Is goal-line technology so much different? Would we rather accept a failing micro-chip than a tired referee? And who is easier to blame: a referee that takes sides, or a cleverly hacked football?

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    When Dreams become a Commodity

    As neuroscience progresses, we gain access to previously inaccessible and unexplored areas of the human mind. Consequentially the intricate processes in our brain are cultivated and transferred into explicit information. Soon after, they become a commodity.

    In his forthcoming film Inception, director Christopher Nolan – renowned from blockbusters like The Prestige and The Dark Knight – explores the notion of people entering and sharing a dream space. If you had the ability to access somebody’s unconscious mind, what would that be used and abused for? The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cob, an expert in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable.

    “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind, can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.”

    Although the technologies presented in the film are vastly speculative and assume a level of info-neuroscience that might never be realized – if only because the fundamentally distributed architecture of the human brain would turn out principally incompatible with digital information technology – the thought experiment of having shared dream spaces and being able to steal thoughts directly from someones mind, has a certain luster nonetheless.

    Besides the obvious implications on governmental, corporate and personal espionage – I know where you slept last night – , there could be serious ramification on our copyright & patent system as well. While one currently has to materialize an idea to a certain extend when filing a patent, the technology to share and record your dream space allows you to have witnesses that can prove you did indeed already have that certain brilliant idea, long before someone else filed the patent, in your dreams…  Yet another step in the materialization of the virtual.

  • happylife_530


    As our everyday living spaces are packed with electronics and become increasingly sentient, we might one wake up in a house that knows more about your family’s state than you do.

    Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau (remember their lustrous audio tooth?) are investigating if such technology would be helpful or too invasive. Their HappyLife project consists of a visual display linked to the thermal image camera, which employs facial recognition to differentiate between members of the family.

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  • Runaway Robots Hunted by the Mammals They Were Designed to Replace

    Runaway Robots Hunted by the Mammals They Were Designed to Replace

    Last week, the U.S. Navy announced that four of their “REMUS 100” unmanned underwater vehicles sailed off-radar and stopped responding to commands. The ‘bots were part of a fleet of thirteen drones being used in a training exercise to locate mine-like objects on the ocean floor off the coast of Virginia.

    After days of searching for the runaway bots using manned boats and aircrafts, the U.S. Navy has yet to find anything. So now, they’ve called in the real underwater experts: dolphins and sea lions, trained to detect mines.

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  • Making a Telegraph with Stone Age Tools

    The suited guy in the video is an employee from the office of materials that goes into the wilderness to test if it would have been possible to create a fully functioning telegraph with stone-age tools.

    Guess what? Using no modern tools or materials and relying entirely on material found on the ground in the wilderness, a telegraph switch producing .7 volts of electricity was completed. This shows that – if only one had the right knowledge –
    an entire telegraphic network could have been constructed in the stone age.

    Now our suited friend only has to wait for another stone-ager to create a second telegraph so he has someone to communicate with. Perhaps smoke signs would have been a better plan? Anyhow it is comforting to see that the presence of human knowledge and skill is more decisive than the existence of manufacturing infrastructure.

  • One day at the Dentist

    One day at the Dentist

    Do you also have that feeling sometimes that your dentist is undertaking all kinds of activities in your mouth that aren’t really necessary? Yet, you usually just trust the dentist on its expertise as you realize the prospect of an all organic natural mouth just isn’t an viable alternative  – at least, not one your environment will appreciate.

    Dentistry is technological by definition, but when to say enough? Perhaps one day when your dentist proposes to implant a Tooth Phone? Although it might be handy to silently listen to your voicemail, chew SMS with your friends and have your insurance company continuously monitor your health levels and food intake – feeling paranoid already? Don’t worry, the Tooth implant from Motorola is science fiction (still).

    Rendering created by Sean Hamilton Alexander. Same guy who photoshopped the Google lens.

  • LED Religion

    LED Religion

    The Catholic Church is not exactly renowned for its progressive attitude towards technological progress. Just think of the belligerent attitude the Church still has towards contemporary next nature phenomena like condom use, the anti–conception pill or gay marriage and you’ll get the drift. When it comes to fund raising, however, the Church tends to be more technologically progressive.

    During a recent visit of the Central Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, I spotted these LED based wake lights, which seamlessly replace the wax candles traditionally used to make your prayer tangible. Apparently the God fearing people in control of the Church decided there is no noteworthy spiritual difference between LED’s and burning candles?

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  • Battle of platforms

    Battle of platforms

    Ever wondered why there is so much competition in the world of operating systems? This video made by Leon Wang illustrates that “old nature” mechanisms like survival of the fittest, are not likely to change in the next.

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  • Rare mutation: Razorius Gilletus Vectrus

    Rare mutation: Razorius Gilletus Vectrus

    If you haven’t read the recently posted essay “Razorius Gilletus – On the Origin of a Next Species?”, you probably won’t understand much of the following. Anyhow, I’d want to share my find of the Razorius Gilletus Vectrus, a variation on an extinct razor species I recently bumped into while traveling in Asia.

    The Gillette Vector is a two bladed razor, introduced on Azian markets some years ago, with a design very similar to the ancient Gillette Atra, which was introduced in the late seventies. Production of the original Atra halted more than a decade ago, as not many people are buying two bladed razors anymore.

    Apparently the Gillete corporation felt their ancient Atra razor could still thrive in Asian countries like India and Thailand, where the budgets for buying razors are a less and the razors of the Gillette brand have to compete with cheaper local models. Hence they decided this would be the perfect habitat for a revival of the almost extinct Atra razor, which is now called Vector.

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  • Geminoid Female

    Geminoid Female

    Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaska University) has done it again! This time in coöperation with robot-maker Kokoro Co. Ltd. Objective: to create a realistic-looking remote-control female android (actroid) that mimics the facial expressions and speech of a human operator. Result: “Geminoid F”.

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  • US Judge Rules Gene Patents Invalid ‎because they are Natural

    US Judge Rules Gene Patents Invalid ‎because they are Natural

    Did you know that about 20 percent of your body isn’t really yours? It has been patented by some corporation you probably never heard of. You can’t patent gold, you can’t patent gravity or the speed of light. And yet, 20 percent of the human genome has indeed been patented, in what critics argue is a slippage of the patent and copyright system. Times are changing, however.

    Genome patents began about 30 years in the U.S. (following an important 1980 ruling), and have been ongoing in other nations, as well. In a recent ruling though, a US federal judge has overturned the patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer on the grounds that they are not man-made, but products of nature.

    The BRCA1 and 2 genes were patented by the company Myriad Genetics, that charged women more than $3000 to test for genetic mutations. The American Civil Liberties Union and individual breast cancer patients took the case to the federal court. They argued that the patent stifled medical research. The ruling could have implications for another 2000 human genes which are currently under patent.

    The ruling is a huge step forward for encouraging more real research into genetic testing, rather than locking up important information. Yet we do anticipate some future troubles in response to the statement that you cannot patent something natural. If the discussion on ‘what can and can’t be patented’ comes to the question ‘what is natural and what isn’t?’, we can expect some fierce debates on what it exactly means to be natural – especially as we are living in a time in which things that the made and the born are fusing and our notions of nature and culture are shifting accordingly.

    Obviously, within the NextNature.net quarters we are eager and prepared to have this discussion. In the end it might well turn out that one can patent bananas, carrots, hurricanes, global warming and engineered microbes, but not computer viruses, financial systems and razor species. Perhaps a way out would be to turn the definition around and say: Nature is that which can not be patented?

  • Connected


    This is your life. We concur. Self portrait by Kasey McMahon made of steel, CAT5 and other data cables. Photo by Kevin Rolly. Peculiar image of the week.

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  • Stephen Hawking: Übermensch

    Stephen Hawking: Übermensch

    This sculpture of scientist Stephen Hawking – who is both highly intelligent as well as highly dependent on technology – is our peculiar image of the week. Created by by Dinos & Jake Chapman.

    Ironically the piece is called: Übermensch. Seen at Niet Normaal.

  • Cough in your cellphone, not your sleeve

    Cough in your cellphone, not your sleeve

    Coughing into your cell phone could soon save you a trip to the doctor’s office. Thanks to software currently being developed by Star Analytical Services, people may soon be able to install an app that can diagnose cold, flu, pneumonia or other respiratory diseases by analyzing the sound of your cough.

    The premises of the software is simple: Trained health workers are already able to distinguish cough types by sound, so why not create software that does the same?

    If the idea is successful, it could save patients across the world a trip to the doctor’s office. Instead, they could simply cough into their cell phone and receive a diagnosis a few seconds later.

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  • Outer-Space as Local-Space

    Outer-Space as Local-Space

    In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, two unmanned interplanetary space probes that were sent out to explore the outer space. Aboard each was a record which intended to communicate the story of earth to potential extraterrestrials.

    In order to portray the ‘diversity of life on earth’ the records contained 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added spoken greetings from earth-people in fifty-five languages, an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ‘ethnic music’, as well as messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim.

    While we can only hope that any potential extraterrestrials are familiar with the concept of a record player, one might wonder whether the simple-mindedness of this action reflects the egocentrism of ‘human nature’ or ‘Western Culture’. What does it reflect that we turn ‘outer-space’ into ‘local-space’ in terms of perceiving the universality of our technology not only as relevant and transferable beyond our culture, but also beyond our planet? In this day and age, our technical knowledge and abilities have gone way beyond the LP, but has our ability to contextualize and put our own technological developments into perspective?

    Source: www.geo.de, voyager.jpl.nasa.gov