Author: Florian Conradi and Michelle Christensen


Mind Expanding Lead

These pencils release allegedly mind-expanding aromas, letting you ‘smell your way to smartness while you write’. According to the creators, the fragrance is encapsulated using nanotechnology, where microscopic bubbles (shouldn’t this be nanoscopic bubbles?) containing the fragrance are blended in with the lead. When you write, the fresh fragrance is released from tiny nano-capsules, and ‘a fragrant effect with the ability to improve learning’ is released into the air.

The pencils, which sell for just two dollars a bag, come in the scents ‘Refresh”, Healing’, and ‘Positive’.

Assuming that our tools of expression can now begin to enhance our intellect and performance, perhaps we should start looking forward to the potential near-future production of the ‘Refreshing Keyboard’ or the ‘Healing iPhone’?



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?


Guided Growth

The Hermaphrodite Effect

According to research carried out by scientists from the Columbia Environmental Research Centre, sewage water containing hormones and pesticides caused by human consumption is leading fish all over America to change gender. Within this phenomenon, male fish are turning partly-female, and are starting to produce female eggs. What it is exactly that is causing the gender-ambiguity in specific fish, and at what rate, is still to be proven. However, the scientists argue that part of the reason comes from hormones, such as birth control pills.

One might wonder how exactly this phenomenon can be understood in terms of being ‘Next Nature’, but it seems to reflect ‘nature caused by human culture’ in the sense that it perhaps lies exactly in between our ability to control ‘old nature’ and turn it into products (birth control pills) and the phenomenon of culture (the common use of extra hormones) getting so out of control that it leads to unexpected consequences.



Controlling Human Odour

The ultimate personal hygiene product, feces odor tablets, is another Japanese innovation sold by the Takano Yori Beauty Clinic. These pills promise to make your excrement completely odor-free in three days of use. “…people must be responsible for their odors”, according to what is written on the bottle. Apparently 600,000 bottles were sold in the first six months, according to Colors Magazine.

No excuses…yet another example of how old nature becomes controlled and culturalized.

Via: and


Digital Overruns Nature: Pixel Attack

Apparently, camouflaging oneself with digital patterns rather than nature-imitated patterns functions as a better camouflage within “old-nature” situations. So the digital patterns function as a better camouflage in the analogue world?

Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp take a very different approach to creating military camouflage uniforms and accessories. Instead of realism, they employ the mathematics of fractals to design patterns. The company developed their patterns by running multiple fractals (graphics with feed back loops) and advanced algorithms through computers in a process they call Camouflage Designated Enhanced Fractal Geometry.

Does this mean that eventually the digital might look more natural than natural?