Peculiar image of the week. Via Radarvirtuel, where you can see them fly in real time.
Peculiar image of the week. Via Radarvirtuel, where you can see them fly in real time.
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.
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 ?
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.
The Robosaurus is the only airplane eating, fire breathing robot on the planet. Pity the thing is merely build for entertainment purposes. Perhaps this thing could finally solve our traffic congestion problem? No seriously, there is truth in pop-culture.
Bikes seem to be a new life form. They are everywhere in the city. On the street, in bike parking, but also just as plentiful on the bottom of channels, on top of street lanterns or in the tiniest alleys. Somehow they find their way into every nook and cranny of this urban environment. Many of them do not seem to have an owner, and those who have get stolen so regularly that many people stop caring. They buy a stolen one of their own or just find one somewhere.
I observe and experience a trend taking shape in which bikes become an independent system that no one really has control over or responsibility for. Will bikes at some point detach completely from ownership and just hang around the city, letting us people ride their backs as long we pay a small yearly contribution?
Alright, we were mistaken. Money isn’t virtual after all. A recent TV commercial of a Greek bank shed light on the issue. Your money lives, is anthropomorphic and inhabits an earth-like world. And if you trust this particular bank’s services, your money’s environment will be turned into a ‘green’, sustainable and safe paradise, and the money will mate thoughtfully and reproduce optimally thus creating a happy family. Eventually, all this process will fill you with pride as a new age farmer of your personal money-verse.
Is the evolution of the single bladed razor into an exorbitant five–bladed vibrating gizmo the outcome of human needs, or is there another force in play? Say hello to Razorius Gillettus, one of the new species emerging from our technoeconomic ecology. Proof that evolution should be understood as a universal principle rather than a DNA-specific process. Yet if this is the case, how can we become responsible stewards of these new, non-genetic forms of life?
By KOERT VAN MENSVOORT
My first razor I got when I was fifteen. It consisted of two blades on a simple metal stick and I remember it gave me a really close and comfortable shave. In the twenty years that have passed since my first shave, I’ve used nine different models of razors. This morning I shaved myself with the Gillette Fusion Power Phantom, a rather heavy, yet ergonomically designed battery-powered razor that looks like a bit like vacuum cleaner and has five vibrating blades with an aloe strip for moisture. So what happened? A story about design, technology, market and evolution.
First, a personal disclaimer (in case you were wondering): Yes, I agree shaving technology was already sufficiently developed when I got my first razor twenty years ago. Actually already in 1975, shortly after the Gillette Trac II razor – the first two-bladed men’s razor – was advertised, its excessive design was parodied on the US Television show Saturday Night Live. The creators of the satirical television program played on the notion of a two bladed razor as a sign of the emerging consumption culture and made a fake commercial parody for a fictitious razor with the ridiculous amount of three (!) blades, emphasizing the consumer is gullible enough to believe and buy everything seen on TV. Of course, the comedians of Saturday Night Live could not know a three-bladed razors would become a reality on the consumer market in the late 1990′s. Let alone that they could have anticipated I would shave myself with a five bladed razor this very morning. Welcome in the twenty-first century folks: No we don’t travel in spaceships… but we do have five bladed razors!
“Have you seen my stapler? No, but just look it up on Google home office maps.”
CSIRO Researchers have developed miniature sensors that track lab equipment, coffee mugs and staplers in the office.
The sensors are called Fleck Nano and were build on CSIRO’s existing Fleck technology that is being commercially produced for monitoring cows on farms.
Fleck sensors collect data like location and temperature. They form an ad-hoc mesh network, and communicate with static nodes and each other via radio waves.
Technologist, environmentalist and nextnature thinker avant la lettre Kevin Kelly, muses on what technology means in our lives – from its impact at the personal level to its place in the cosmos as an evolutionary force. Seen at TEDxAmsterdam 2009.
Multi-touch designer and developer Richard Monson-Haefel considers sound as an important part of our user interfaces. As an application of “Calm Technology” which revolves around giving feedback about the running state of a system in the ‘periphery’ of our consciousness – a concept introduced by ubiquitous computing pioneers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown – he proposes to attach a sound to every process running on your computer: an unique croak, chirp or trill – the sounds of frogs, crickets, and cicadas of a small pond at dusk. Resulting in an ambient environmental murmur people should be able to interpret.
Don’t ask me what the purpose is of having your roof crowded with antennas. Solar energy roof-gardens I could understand, but antenna roof-gardens just seem hopelessly old fashioned.
Nevertheless I immediately realized I had to make a picture when I spotted this antenna roof-garden in Hong Kong, as I knew this could certainly go as our peculiar image of the week.
This translation of the essay ‘Real Nature is not Green‘ is a special treat from and for our fellow Next Nature explorers in China. We thank the people of the Microwave International New Media Festival, Hong Kong for their translation. Yes, we welcome translations in other languages as well.
These two co-workers found out the face tracking feature of the utterly advanced HP webcam will not recognize or track black faces.
Hewlett Packard says it’s because the program doesn’t respond to “insufficient foreground lighting.” Too bad for those born without “insufficient foreground lighting”? Amazing, what technorethoric euphemisms people come up with to justify racism these days.
So far for the vain hope that computer systems could overcome human defects and bring justice and equality to mankind. Pity. Thanks Michel.
Coca-Cola© succeeds in what most NGO’s try to achieve: getting the goods to the poor in
the 3rd world Africa. For most people there, a Coke is easier to get and cheaper than a bottle of drinking water. One might say that we shouldn’t encourage them to drink that much Coke, but we can also use the system. Colalife© aims to use the efficiency of the Coca-Cola distribution chain to ship medicines to the places that need them. Parasiting on the crates of Coke, the containers fit perfectly in the spaces unused.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”, a remark made by Thomas J. Watson of IBM in 1943. But what if the number of computing devices connected to each other would reach the number of one trillion? A short animation.
The US Food and Drug Administration is holding up the delivery of an iMac because they seem to think it is an apple, not an Apple.
I don’t want to believe that either UPS or the U.S. Government are so stupid as to think that my Apple computer is actually an apple, but I can’t come up with any other explanation (and neither can people on Twitter). On my UPS tracking shipment screen right now all I see is “Exception” followed by a note that my iMac was held up in in Louisville, Kentucky because, “UPS HAS OBTAINED DOCUMENTATION AND SUBMITTED TO FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND/OR DEPARTMENT OF AG/PPQ;AWAITING RESPONSE”