Koert van MensvoortCreative Director
Australians Wake Up One Hour Early Due to System Error in Their Mobile Phones
Customers of the Australian Telecom provider Optus didn’t get as much sleep as they’d hoped last week. Due to incorrectly set switching units in Brisbane, some phones in the state’s south-east automatically switched their time zone.
The glitch meant many woke an hour earlier than usual, leaving not just phone customers but whole households unhappy about rising early.
Bio Art & Design Awards 2015
So, you are well aware that biotech will drive our evolution, you took the crash course on synthetic genomics, you’ve got your map of the DNA world in your backpack and are now eager to redesign some microbes that turn waste into energy, eat plastic, detect flu, or build a better being altogether? You have a brilliant project plan already, but only need some – let say– euro 25.000 and a bit of help from a research group to turn your vision into reality? We have cake for you.
Over 300 Sharks are Now on Twitter
Twitter is steadily growing its user base. Recently 338 sharks in Western Australia subscribed to the microblogging service. They are now tweeting out where they are.
Australian researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals swim. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.
Experimental Office: No Chairs, No Desks
How natural is it to work from nine to five sitting on a chair behind a desk, staring at a computer screen, wearing a suit and tie? Although it is today’s standard, genetically people aren’t really attuned to this norm. To counter the sitting dogma, design firm RAAAF and artist Barbara Visser experimented with more dynamic office concept, entirely based on movement and leaning.
The next office is meant to help combat all of the health problems—from heart disease to diabetes—that the typical desk job can contribute to or exacerbate. Throughout the day, people lean in different positions and keep moving around the room. Supported by giant rock-like sculptures that presumably invite to a healthier, more active way to work than anything that’s come before.
Now Wait, Did Tanks Have Lasers WWII?
Recent World War II movie Fury is arguably the most immersive portrayal of WWII since Steven Spielbergs Saving Private Ryan. Both films portray the ghastly violence of war – and what it can do to the human body – realistically and with fine detail.
In Fury the viewer teams up with the battle-hardened crew of a Sherman tank out a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Tank is commanded by Brad Pitt, in what seems to be a watered down version of his Inglorious Bastards character. Get popcorn! Although you may loose your appetite during the film. Fury does a great job at making you feel you as if you actually are inside the claustrophobic Sherman tank, surrounded by Nazi’s out to kill you.
The Anthropocene Explosion
Biologically, there is nothing remarkable in the fact that humans are agents of ecological change and environmental upset. All species transform their surroundings. The dizzying complexity of landscapes on Earth is not just a happy accident of geology and climate, but the result of billions of years of organisms grazing, excavating, defecating, and decomposing. Nor is it unusual that certain lucky species are able to outcompete and eventually entirely displace other species. The Great American Interchange, when North American fauna crossed the newly formed isthmus of Panama to conquer South America three million years ago1 is just one among countless examples of swift, large-scale extinctions resulting from competition and predation.
What is remarkable, however, is the stunning speed of human adaptation relative to other species, and that our adaptation is self-directed. From sonar and flight to disease immunity, humans can “evolve” exquisite new traits in a single generation. The Anthropocene represents a catastrophic mismatch between the pace of human technological evolution and the genetic evolution of nearly every other species on Earth. As with many other geological epochs, the Anthropocene has been heralded with a mass extinction, one which is generally accepted to be the sixth great one to occur on Earth.2