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Koert van Mensvoort

Creative Director
Artist and philosopher. The discovery of Next Nature has been the most profound experience in his life so far.
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Hypernature

Jellyfish built from Rat Cells

Another step in the fusion of the made & the born: Researchers at Harvard University managed to make an artificial jellyfish using a sheet of silicone and rat heart cells. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart.

“Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat,” biophysicist and project leader Kit Parker told Nature Magazine. The long term goal of the scientists is to create artificial models of human heart tissues for regenerating organs and drug testing purposes.

Hypernature ahoy! Thanks Jeffrey, Marco.

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manufactured-landscapes

Dutch protest against Bad Weather

Some countries just don’t seem to have real problems. This weekend a protest was organized in Amsterdam against the bad weather. In the first three weeks of July the Dutch capital was treated with over 15 cm of rain. Enough is enough. The protesters demand at least two weeks of sunny weather.

The Facebook page of the demonstrators rapidly gathered over 1000 likes and although the turnout at the demonstration was somewhat disappointing the protests seemed to have had its effect. For the next week sunny weather is expected in the Netherlands. Unsure what authority complied with the demands.

Anthropomorphobia

Lowtech Plastic Surgery

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So this is what you get when artists Lucyandbart practice their low-tech plastic surgery techniques on visitors of the MU gallery in Eindhoven. We are clueless on whether it was actually their objective to end up in the blend between tribal Africa & Beverly Hills. Peculiar image of the week.

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Green Blues

Salad Dress

Hey there green fanatics! Push your organic-sustainable-veggie-lifestyle in the overdrive with the Salad Dress, created by Sara Hillenberger. No pollution, no child labor and no animals where hurt making of this dress. Its a 100% utopian green.

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Humane-Technology

New Volvo Recognizes Shapes of Animals like Deer & Elk to Reduce Crash Impact.

Volvo cars is testing a new safety system that automatically hits the brakes once an animal is detected in the vehicles vicinity. The Animal Detection System expands the range and capability of Volvo’s current Pedestrian Detection System. Its goal is to reduce the speed at which the animal is hit, which should reduce the severity of injuries. According to Volvo, about 200 people a year are killed in the U.S. due to accidents with wild animals. Since larger animals pose the biggest risk, the system is trained to recognize the shape of animals like deer and elk.

We welcome such sensible four-wheel species and wholeheartedly anticipate to be all watched over by machines of loving grace. Thanks @SteveSilberman.

Fake-nature

Enjoy Udder Milk

Infomercial on the hypernatural Udder Cows, optimized for utmost milk production. The video was created by Amir Admoni for the very first next nature power show in 2005, however we probably have to wait until 2050 before the Udder Cows will be grazing the meadows near you, if ever.

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Back to the Tribe

Amazon Tribe lacks concept of Time

A study, in Language and Cognition has shown that time does not exist as a separate concept for the Brazilian Amondawa  – an Amazon tribe first contacted by the outside world in 1986.

The Amondawa language lacks the linguistic structures that relate time and space. There is no word for “time”, or indeed of time periods such as “month” or “year”. Furthermore, the people do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different stages of their lives.

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Back to the Tribe

How People spend their Day

No, you aren’t looking at a graph of the Earths geological layers. The layers in this visualization represent an average of how thousands of Americans spent their day.

The data was collected by the American Time Use Survey, which NY Times translated into this interactive map that allows you to see the differences between various groups like employed, unemployed, men, women, Black, White and Hispanic.

Would be fascinating to compare the graph with a day in the life of a caveman – the hunting & gathering type. Surely there would be less time watching TV & movies back then, but how about household activities? Traveling and Socializing? We wonder how the border between work and leisure worked for them and whether they were active during the same ‘office hours‘.

Related: Time pilots us, Office Rebellion, Supermarket – our next savanna.

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Back to the Tribe

Rural Energy: From Kerosine to LED

While for most of us, happy blog readers, access to electricity is taken for granted, things are quite different in developing regions of the world. In India for example, over 65% of the population still lives in rural villages where electricity supply is very limited. If an electricity grid is at all available, it is typically very unstable.

Since electricity is known to be an engine for development, it makes sense to bring electricity to the rural villages of India, however, these rural areas cannot rely on the top down grid-electricity solutions. Local energy generation and concepts for distributed energy networks are more promising.

Marcel van Heist, designer and recent graduate at the Next Nature Lab at  Eindhoven University of Technology went to India with the goal to introduce distributed energy solutions in rural areas. After investigating the established Kerosene based energy models, Marcel came up with an alternative based on solar powered LED lamps built from locally available materials. Here’s how.

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Plastic Planet

Plastic Soup

Recipes from a post-fish world? Our peculiar image of the week was created by Nathalie Faber & Matthijs Immink.

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Anthropomorphobia

Swiss Army Nails

Functional multi-tool manicure. Comes in handy at a party where you can’t find a bottle opener. Peculiar image of the week. Unfortunately, neither the human responsible for the manicure or the one sporting it is known.

Via Incrediblethings.com.

Biomimicry

Get into Buckminster Fuller

You have a choice dear reader: spend 4 seconds scanning this blogpost, or spend the full 58:10 minutes (*) watching the retro-futuristic interview with polymath & nextnature thinker avant la lettre Buckminister Fuller.

(*) We are well aware these are times of short-attention span, yet sometimes you have to immerse yourself. We actually recommend watching the video twice to obtain an optimal understanding and appreciation of the material.

Anthropomorphobia

Further Incredibly Shrinking Man

At the last Next Nature Power Show, artist Arne Hendriks gave a lustrous talk on the possibilities of downsizing humanity to better fit the earth.

Last week Arne gave a longer talk on the same topic at TEDxBrainport. Interestingly enough in this new talk Arne not only promotes shrinking humanity as a means to avoid all kinds of overpopulation related disasters, but also adds a positive reason to his argument: shrinking humans could be a way to realize the long dream of human powered flight.

The crucial question: if human eugenics ever becomes acceptable should it be employed strictly to avoid disasters or also to realize human dreams? If we choose for the latter, why not add some wings? Anything is possible, as long as we avoid a situation in which humans don’t recognize each other as humans anymore.

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Augmented-Bodies

3D Printing a New Face

Earlier this year, Belgian surgeons successfully performed the country’s first full-face transplant using 3D printing. The operation was conducted by a medical team of Ghent University Hospital, led by Phillip Blondeel, assisted by Belgian 3D-printing company Materialise. Prior to the procedure the defects in the patient’s face were digitally scanned, after which anatomical models of healthy bones were 3D printed and used as a reference during surgery.

“We also printed a surgical aid to fit the lower jaw of a potential donor,” says Bellinckx. “This guide sits on the donor’s face during surgery and describes exactly where the surgeon needs to cut.”

Six days after the surgery, ahead of anybody’s expectations, the patient was able to speak. “He defied all odds,” says Bellinckx. Story via Wired.

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Biocustomization

Pineberry™

More hypernatural designer-fruit. What do you get when you cross a strawberry and a pineapple? A pineberry, of course.

Some seven years ago the pineberry was taken from its native South America and grown commercially in glasshouses by Dutch company VitalBerry BV. Today pineberries are available in supermarkets throughout Europe and, like most designer-fruits, the pineberry is trademarked and has its own wikipedia page.

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Boomeranged Metaphors

Vector Stones

These stones were dug up by future archaeologists, some centuries after the integration of the digital and the material world was completed. No seriously, our peculiar image of the week was created by Veronica Ranner.

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