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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 ‘Wild-systems’

  • Self Catching Fish

    Self Catching Fish

    Researchers at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts, are testing a plan to train fish to catch themselves by using a sound broadcast to attract them into a net. If it works, the system could eventually allow black sea bass to be released into the open ocean, where they would grow to market size, then swim into an underwater cage to be harvested when they hear the signal.

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  • making_perfect_life_rathenau_nextnature

    European Parliament goes Next Nature

    Alright the title “Making Perfect Life”‘ may sound a bit 20th-century-modernistic-techno-optimistic-naive, but for the rest we are confident this conference is going to be pretty good study material for the European parliament members.

    “Biology is increasingly engineered in much the same way as technology, while technology is becoming more and more life-like. These two engineering trends not only intensify current debates about the desirability and acceptability of genetic engineering and human enhancement, but also raises novel issues, like who’s in control of machines with a life of their own? The social and political consequences of these two bio-engineering trends are discussed at the conference Making Perfect Life on November 10th 2010 in the European Parliament in Brussels.”

    Organized by our friends of the Rathenau Institute. And guess what, you can register too.

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  • Constellation


    No this is not some stellar system far away. What is it then? Lets make another picture, this time with the flashlight on…

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  • found_bill_1500

    Design Fiction – Medical Bill of the Future

    According to this fictitious future medical bill almost every part of the human body will be repairable in 2028. Gut bacteria replacement, Bone tissue growth for skull repair, Airlift, Cryogenic brain protection.. the list is lustrous. Yet, the scenario also wittingly shows how technological progress may have a price of technological dependence: The emancipation from bodily constraints is traded for a social-psychological dependence. The things we design end up designing us.

    Zoom in on the full image for the creepy details. Via Wired. Todd Tankersley was the photographer. Aaron Rowe was the writer. Thanks Stephan.

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  • whatareyoulookingat

    Augmented Reality Maps

    Since a few years the internet in combination with mobile phone technology brought us something that we refer to as augmented reality: A digital projection that is placed over imagery of the existing environment to create a whole new world on the screen.

    Earlier this year Microsoft Bing-Maps architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas showed how augmented reality features can be added to digital world maps. Including streaming video. This means that when you switch to the streetview mode you get to watch live video streams, at least when someone is broadcasting there at that moment. It’s also possible to see older footage that has been put in place with geographic photography techniques so ‘video time travel’ becomes an option.

    As many mobile devices already support photo and video, we can anticipate digital maps to become “live” within some years. This reminds us of the ultimate sonar system from ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’. And like the sonar system from the movie we can ponder on the ethical implications of a system that records half of the world. Will it add a whole new perspective or simply turn every camera phone into a potential security camera? The Big Augmented Reality Maps Brother is watching you!

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  • debug_process02

    Debugged: ‘Graphic Design Bugs’

    The Eindhoven-based design team ‘Edhv‘ made an installation to turn creepy crawlers into genuine graphic designers. By letting crickets, woodlice, ants and many other insects loose in a box with a camera on top of it, they are able to track the path of these little creatures. Through some tracking software and scripting these patterns then get printed on to big sheets of paper. Through modifying the landscape in the box they can create all sorts of logos and typography. As it turns out; each type of insect has it’s own specific pattern so no two prints are the same.

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  • ECO Currency – Explanation Video

    Earlier we have discussed the ECO currency, now here is an explanation video.

    The ECO currency is an alternative currency to express environmental value. People who conduct labor in support of the environment receive ECO’s from a global fund, which is financed via a micro bank tax on global financial transactions.

    The idea for the ECO currency originates from the hypothesis that an important factor in our environmental crisis is the disconnect between the economic ecology and the environmental ecology: Environmental values are easily destroyed because they go unnoticed within the economical system. The aim of the ECO currency is to make environmental value explicit in economical terms. Would the rain forest still be destroyed if we could pay people to let the trees stand?

    If you want to stay up to date on the project, there is always a Facebook page.

    The video was made by Marcel van Heist, Jop Japenga and Billy Schonenberg. Voice: Sean Lynch, Music: Armand Amar. Coaching by Koert van Mensvoort & Luna Maurer.

  • Next Nature intro by Bruce Sterling

    This project is about Nature’s brand image.  One might surmise that “Nature,” being 100 percent all-natural, can’t have any brand image.  The facts suggest otherwise. Try it for yourself: tell a friend that something seemingly 100 percent natural is actually “96 percent natural.”  Not a great difference, apparently, yet a profound unease arises.  That unease is the subject of the many provocative essays and remarkable graphics on NextNature.net


    The project is a study in why we feel uneasiness when the Nature brand is violated.  It’s also about the exciting new-and-improved varieties of unnatural unease that have come to exist quite recently.   It explains why this sensibility is spreading, and what that implies for who we are, and how we live with Nature.

    Now, when Nature is slightly artificialized — say, by installing a park bench under a tree — we rarely get any dark suspicious frisson about that.  The uncanny can only strike us when our ideological constructs about Nature are dented.  We’re especially guarded about our most pious, sentimentalized notions of Nature.  Nature as a nurturing entity that is harmonious, calm,  peaceful, inherently rightful and all-around “good-for-you.”

    This vaguely politicized attitude about Nature never came from Nature.   It was culturally generated.  Nature didn’t get her all-natural identity-branding until the Industrial Revolution broke out.  Then poets and philosophers were allowed to live in dense, well-supplied cities, where they could recast Nature from some intellectual distance.   Before that huge effusion of organized artifice, people lived much closer to the soil.

    These farmers rarely spoke of “Nature” in the abstract.   They were too deeply involved in a lifelong subsistence struggle with natural events, such as inclement weather, bad harvests, weeds, pests, and blights.   They certainly never mistook their existing state of affairs for the Biblical Eden: their theological utopia in which Nature was always harmonious, calm, peaceful and good-for-you.

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  • russian_fire

    Climate Craze in Russia

    Climate change is often thought to have its winners and losers, with Canada, Nordic countries and Russia being portrayed as among the lucky few chilly nations where moderate climate change could mean net benefits such as lower winter heating bills, more forest, longer crop growth and perhaps more summer tourism.

    Russia’s two-month heat wave, which wrecked a quarter of Russia’s grain crop and may cut $14 billion from gross domestic product, is dimming prospects that northern countries will “win” from climate change.

    While Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2002 joked that less icy weather would enable Russians to buy fewer fur coats, President Dmitry Medvedev now blamed the heat wave on global warming – even though most experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change.

    People in Nordic nations and Canada are becoming aware that climate change will not be a simple blessing for them. Possible damaging side-effects of less chill weather, including the risk to forests and crops of insect pests normally kept in check by winter frosts.

    Via Reuters, Thanks to the Canary Project. Image via English Russia.

  • Nanoparticles in Sunscreen Damage Microbes

    Nanoparticles in Sunscreen Damage Microbes

    Nanotechnology has been hailed for its benefits because of the potential ability to create drugs that could cure cancer and radiation poisoning, make miniature pollutant filters resulting in healthier air and even produce better tasting food. Excitement over these benefits has led to corporations heavily investing in the technology for their products.

    However, the same properties that allow nanotechnology to be valuable give it the potential to cause unforeseen consequences for ecological and human health. To date, it’s unclear whether the benefits of nanotech outweigh the risks associated with environmental release and exposure to nanoparticles.

    Environmental Health News reports that nanoparticles in sunscreens, cosmetics and hundreds of other consumer products may pose risks to the environment by damaging beneficial microbes.

    Researchers Cyndee Gruden and Olga Mileyeva-Biebesheimer from the University of Toledo added varying amounts of nanoparticles to water containing bacteria. The bacteria were grown in a lab and stained with a green fluorescent. It turned out the nano-titanium dioxide – also used in personal care products – reduced biological roles of bacteria after less than an hour of exposure. The findings suggest that these particles, which end up at municipal sewage treatment plants after being washed off in showers, could eliminate microbes that play vital roles in ecosystems and help treat wastewater. Oops!

    Nanotechnology is yet another example of mankind playing with fire: It requires enormous care and restraint, yet on the other hand, playing with fire is perhaps one of the very special abilities that defines us as humans.

    Via: Environmental Health News.

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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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  • ECO Currency – A Proposal to Balance Economical and Environmental Value

    ECO Currency – A Proposal to Balance Economical and Environmental Value

    Imagine we would have an alternative monetary currency for environmental value. Would the rain forest still be destroyed if there existed an ECO–currency to express its value and pay farmers to let the trees stand? Designers of the Next Nature Lab are investigating how we can link economy with ecology. A proposal on how we can link economy with ecology.

    The starting point of the ECO–currency(*) project is the hypothesis that an important factor in the ongoing environmental crisis is the disconnect between the economical ecology and the environmental ecology. With the latter we mean the ecology of plants, trees, animals, and other organic material. Whereas the economical ecology is defined by our financial system of market, money, goods and other economical exchange. Our second working hypothesis states that we could address environmental issues by linking the economical sphere and the environmental sphere in a better way than that is currently the case.

    Comparing the two ecologies: The rain forest is a stable, self-sustainable and threatened ecosystem, whereas the financial system is a unstable and threatening ecosystem that feeds on the biosphere.

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  • Revisiting Jurassic Park

    Revisiting Jurassic Park

    When searching for Next Nature in the world around us, one does not necessarily have to look at the present. The science fiction novel Jurassic Park, written in 1990 by the recently deceased Michael Crichton and later turned into a big blockbuster movie by Steven Spielberg, already discusses the fusion between the born and the made.

    Halfway through the book, there is a chapter where Dr. Wu, the chief scientist, tries to convince Hammond, the CEO, to go over to a next version of dinosaurs.

    Hammond sighed. “Now, Henry, are we going to have another of those abstract discussions? You know I like to keep it simple. The dinosaurs we have now are real, and -”
    “Well, not exactly,” Wu said. He paced the living room, pointed to the monitors. “I don’t think we should kid ourselves. We haven’t re-created the past here. The past is gone. It can never be re-created. What we’ve done is reconstruct the past – or at least a version of the past. And I’m saying we can make a better version.”

    “Better than real?”
    “Why not?” Wu said. “After all, these animals are already modified. We’ve inserted genes to make them patentable, and to make them lysine dependent. And we’ve done everything we can to promote growth, and accelerate development into adulthood.”
    Hammond shrugged. That was inevitable. We didn’t want to wait. We have investors to consider.”

    “Of course. But I’m just saying, why stop there? Why not push ahead to make exactly the kind of dinosaur that we’d like to see? One that is more acceptable to visitors, and one that is easier for us to handle? A slower, more docile version for our park?”

    Remarkable is how these topics, which were science fiction when written two decades ago, are still very much up-to-date and even more relevant today than before. Gene modification for patent purposes is a subject that was covered recently. How far can, and perhaps more importantly should, mankind go ?

  • Europe airspace reboot

    After a ban on flying last weeks due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the European airspace was slowly rebooting to its old state of activity. This movie shows the movement of planes over time and shows how the activity grows.

    Via Infosthetics

  • 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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