This weekend some of our sustainable, energy related, NANO Supermarket products are exhibited at the lustrous Lowlands popfestival. Come visit us at the Llowlab to charge your phone on our bio-electric bonsai tree, admire the algae lamp or the new energy belt that harvests sustainable energy from your belly fat to power electric devices you are carrying on or in your body. Design fiction ahoy!
A few days ago we wrote about the animal rights activists that broke into the Rayfish Footwear fish farm and stole the entire stock of genetically modified stingrays that the company was growing into bio-personalized sneakers.
The company now released a video in which their CEO, Raymond Ong, discusses the controversy around their product. He believes that “the issues that have surfaced since his company website was launched, reflect the complexity of our consumptive relationship with animals.” and calls the robbery an “irresponsible act that will have unforeseen consequences for years to come”.
The CEO furthermore claims the highest standards of wellbeing for both his stingrays and his workers, steering the debate towards the question whether it is more unethical to buy a pair of expensive handmade sneakers you know were “raised” for your own personal satisfaction, or to buy cheap disposable sneakers made by underpaid workers from cow leather “raised” under deplorable conditions.
“Most of us have become complete strangers to the products that surround us”, Ong said. The CEO also noted his concern that the genetically modified stingrays may interbreed with wild populations. Speaking of nature caused by people…
At first sight it seems plain wrong to roast your burgers on this utterly technological machine: barbecuing is supposed to be a nostalgic low-tech activity that brings us back to nature and sooths our inner caveman.
Yet although we, 21th century people, consider barbecuing a more natural way of cooking food than our everyday microwave, at some point in our human history – most anthropologists estimate around 250,000 years ago – cooking food on fires was a radically new technological achievement: a handy technique to extend our stomach and predigest our food before it would enter our body.
Cooking is perhaps the greatest example of how that what was once a technological achievement may be naturalized over time – up to the level that we don’t recognize it as technology anymore and think of it as part of our nature. Think about it next time you place a burger on the grill, or in the molecular food printer for that matter.
Bioethicist Paul Root Wolpe presents a parade of recent bio-engineering experiments, from glowing monkeys, to genetically boosted salmon, to cyborg insects. He asks: isn’t it time to set some ground rules? Sure. Bring it on Paul!
Now regular readers of this website already know most of the lustrous & monstrous examples, yet throughout the talk you feel a certain suspense: you-are-now-listing-to-a-real-bioethicist-who-any-minute-now-is-going-to-lay-out-some-crystal-clear-ground-rules-for-bio-engineering. Unfortunately Paul constrains himself to a call for rules, but doesn’t deliver them himself. Who will?
Thanks anyway Ewelina Szymanska.
Over six years ago we blogged our first cellphone antenna tree, and boy have they been propagating! Today you’ll find them in all kinds of species, cactus included. While biodiversity decreases, technodiversity increases. The one in the picture is being erected in a landscape theater in Arizona.
Join us in spotting Next Nature phenomena using our iphone spotter. The best spots win a Next Nature book.
In some parts of Australia it is no exception to hear voices when there are no people near. The voices are the chatter of wild cockatoos that where taught words and sentences from escaped domesticated cockatoos.
Increasingly, inhabitants of the New South Wales province report birds that shout ‘Hello there!’, ‘Hello Darling’ and ‘What’s Happening’ from the trees. Some people thought they were going mad after watching a flock of birds in their garden while the animals shouted things like: “Who’s a pretty boy then?”
According to Australian Museum’s naturalist Martyn Robinson, the language is picked up from pet birds that escaped their cages and joined wild flocks. “These birds are very smart birds and very social and communication and contact is important between them”
“The pet bird begins to say things it’s been taught by its owner and the rest of the flock learns and starts speaking too, to mimic the pet bird,” Mr Robinson said. “I just hope a pet that’s been taught dirty words doesn’t join a flock.” Indeed that would unsettle our suburban backyards.
Designer and former fashion model Barbara de Vries was cleaning plastic litter off her favorite beach in the Bahamas, when she noticed the plastic fragments were all uniquely tinted and molded after years tumbling in the ocean. The beauty of the litter inspired her to create a jewelery collection.
Diamonds plastics are forever!
So you thought your live was already pretty much media-saturated? Indulge in the design fiction film Sight and you’ll realize you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The short portrays a speculative future wherein we all walk around with contact lens-like devices that augment our reality and connect us to the cloud — everything from games to entertainment to instruction to dating coaches. Created by by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo.
Just image if style would be a primary need. You would be so lucky to find a Prada store in the middle of the dessert.
The classical Prada Marfa installation is located 60 km northwest of the city of Marfa in Texas. It was created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset and can be read as a playful critique on Image Consumption. Peculiar image of the week.
Thanks Avro Close Up.
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.
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.
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.
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.