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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.

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Back to the Tribe

banksy cave art Image: Banksy
Modern technologies can revive ancient impulses

Modernity tried to whitewash our tribal selves, to erase the vestiges of the savannah in our genome.  But like graffiti in a city, our inner caveman is irrepressible.  The ancient hominid self springs up unpredictably and in unexpected places.

The tribe underlies the most fundamental parts of our identities, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pin down. How far have we moved from our small bands of foragers? Digital technologies like social networking sites and cell phones return us to an age of tribal-style social immersion.

Archaeologist finds ruins of ‘Friendster’

Archaeologist finds ruins of ‘Friendster’

Researchers conducting the Friendster excavation say the site has been deserted since the year 2005 A.D.

The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan

In 1961, the name of Marshall McLuhan was unknown to everyone but his English students at the University of Toronto — and a coterie of academic admirers who followed his abstruse articles in small-circulation quarterlies. But then came two remarkable books — The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) — and the graying professor from Canada’s western hinterlands soon found himself characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the hottest academic property around.” He has since won a world-wide following for his brilliant — and frequently baffling — theories about the impact of the media on man; and his name has entered the French language as mucluhanisme, a synonym for the world of pop culture.

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The instant nature of electric-information movement is decentralizing, rather than enlarging, the family of man into a new state of multitudinous tribal existences.

 

Marshall McLuhan – The Playboy Interview

Wifi dowsing rod

Wifi dowsing rod

Today’s technology advances so rapidly that people are often unable to update their media schemas in time and as a result are left cluelessly in awe of it all. Mike Thompson’s Wifi dowsing rod aims to work against this: By basing the design for a wireless internet detector on ancient technology, the user should immediately feel at home with the device.

Although perhaps impractical and anecdotal, the Wifi dowsing rod is an intriguing attempt of using ‘magic’ as a construct to cope with the technological complexity accumulating around us. A great gift for your grand-grand-parents.

To Milk the Cows, Click here

In millions of offices and homes around the world, people are hard at work planting crops, feeding cattle and tilling their land. Welcome to Farmville, the digital rural world where the sun always shines, where beans take two days to grow, where pink cows produce strawberry milk, where farming is leisure.

Farmville has become a viral Internet trend since its launch as a Facebook application in 2007. According to Zynga, the company that brought FarmVille into the world, it has rapidly grown to over 70 million users – compare that to the one million traditional farmers active in the USA.

Players sign up and get fields, infrastructure, and cash. Their task is to create bigger, better, and richer farms. The game starts off with a given piece of land and seeds …

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Back to the Tribe

Traditionally, technology is seen as a force that diminishes our instincts and puts us at a distance of nature. Increasingly however, we realize technology can also energize and amplify our deepest human sensibilities – even some we had forgotten about. Propelling us not so much back to, but rather forward to nature.

By VAN MENSVOORT

Almost two decades ago, Brian Eno – artist, composer, inventor, thinker – gave an interview in which he stated the problem with computers was that there is not enough Africa in them [1]. “Africa is everything that something like classical music isn’t. Classical – perhaps I should say ‘orchestral’ – music is so digital, so cut up, rhythmically, pitch wise and in terms of the roles of the musicians. It’s all in little boxes.”… “Do you know what a nerd is? A nerd is a human being without enough Africa in him or her. I know this sounds sort of inversely racist to say, but I think the African connection is so important. I want so desperately for that sensibility to flood into these other areas, like computers.” … “It uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.”

Twenty years ago, when Eno gave his interview, no one had a mobile phone. Today when you accidentally leave your house without your phone you feel amputated – as if you left a limb on the table – and you quickly …

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In modern life, we reenact instictual behaviors through our toys and technology In modern life, we reenact instictual behaviors through our toys and technology

How to grow your own toaster

Now here is an experiment any one can do at home: Look around in your house and try to find a consumer product of which you know where it was made and by whom. Got any? Indeed, this can be quite a difficult task nowadays. Which shows how disconnected we have become from the products surrounding us – for all we know they grow in the shopping tree.

Thomas Thwaites decided to take things in his own hand and see if …

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Mapping the DNA World

DNA related tools, once expensive and restricted to research and crime labs, are rapidly becoming affordable. Like GPS – once a high-tech wonder now turned into a everyday gadget – simple DNA sequencing may soon be available to almost everyone.

Undoubtedly DNA related applications will transform society as we know it:Synthetic petsAmateur food testingFaked DNA evidenceGenetic mapping,Genetic social networksDNA as information storageHumanDNA treesHyper Fruit… the applications are mind bubbling and seemingly infinite.

 

Mapping the DNA World

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