koert_van_mensvoort_2008

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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Biomimicry

Who will Question Bio-Engineering?

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.

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Fake-nature

Arizona gets a Cactus Cellular Tower Too

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.

If you know a cellphone antenna tree in your surroundings, please use the Next Nature spotting iPhone app to share it. The best spot wins a copy of our book.

Via BoingBoing.

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Hypernature

Escaped Pet Birds Teach Wild Cockatoos how to Talk

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.

Via DeMorgen, Via DailyTelegraph. Image: Shutterstock. Thanks: Dennis Lodewijks.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Jewels from the Ocean

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!

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Digital-Presence

Sight – As Second Life becomes First Life

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.

Via Beyond the Beyond, Via Venturebeat.com

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Corporature

Prada Morgana

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.

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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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