In our culture, nature is generally depicted as a beautiful spectacle that is romanticized as a positive force. Time to shed some light on its darker sides. Meet Cymothoa exigua, aka the tongue parasite. You’ll never be alone again once it crawls into your mouth (if you’re a fish). This parasitic crustacean will eat and replace your tongue:
When one of these crustaceans encounters a rose snapper, it enters the fish’s mouth and steadily devours the fish’s tongue. Once it has done this, the crustacean uses hooks on its underside to attach itself to the floor of the fish’s mouth and thereafter serves as a replacement tongue.
Cymothoa exigua is strictly speaking off-topic as it is an old nature rather than a next nature phenomenon. Nonetheless it is a good example of the extreme crudeness of old nature, which we hardly ever encounter among the biomimic marketed products in the supermarket.
Readers question: Does a next nature equivalent of Cymothoa exigua exist and if so, what would it be?
The rise of digital currencies reduces the need for physical interaction and communication between people. At the same time every payment method still leans on trust. But how can we trust what we can not physically touch, smell or hear?
Artist Heidi Hinder envisions a payment method that brings back personal contact between people: hug & pay. Indeed, paying with a hug. But also pay with a handshake, a high five, and even with a tap dance.
For her project she uses RFID tags and readers that are worn by the customer and the seller. The payment data is transmitted by physical contact.
The project was awarded with a grant from the Awesome Foundation London, which allows Heidi to develop her concept further. We are already anticipating bithugs as a new digital-physical currency.
According to a study by brain researchers, regular gamers identify so strongly with their avatar – the character that executes their action in the game – they have the same emotions for their avatar as for their best friends.
Emotionally the avatar has a similar position as ones best friend, despite its “virtual” presence and the often longer lasting relationship with ones best friend, says neuroscientist Shanti Ganesh, who just defended her phd thesis on the topic.
Remember those good old days days when you were actually carrying goods out of the racks in a shop? If the Korean Virtual Shopping Store becomes a success, all shop shelves will soon be LCD Screens.
Customers simply choose their desired items by touching the LCD screen and checkout at the counter in the end to have all their ordered stuff packed in bags. Image consumption in the overdrive. Thanks Arnoud.
404 error on the Toilet. Another one of these tiny unexpected moments that make you realize you are spending so much time in the virtual realm that its metaphors are boomeranged into the physical environment. By Dennis Vernooij.
By crafting brick objects in the shape of traditional stones, artist Maarten van den Eijnde, makes us realize that human presence has expanded the variety of stones found on the planet.
According to the artist these bricks will probably survive us, since they have been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout human history. Peculiar image of the week.
For those who “eat meat, but don’t like in-vitro meat, because it is so unnatural”. Please spend 5 min to watch this video and change your thinking.
You were watching the surconsummation fragment (French for overconsumption) from the Samsara, a documentary in the tradition of next nature classic Koyaanisqatsi.
Thanks Arnoud, Thanks Ehsan.
Five years ago we presented a speculative product called Organic Coke to stir a discussion on the use of natural imagery to market products. Last year we reported on an internal presentation of the Coca-Cola company that analyzed the opportunities of Organic Coke. Guess what? This month the soda-giant launches healthier and eco-friendlier option to consumers. They call it: Cola Life.
‘Coca-Cola Life’ is said to be an all-natural, low-calorie soda packaged in a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle. The drink is made with a mixture of sugar and stevia-based substitute, and contains two times fewer calories than regular Coke. The all organic sugar drink is launched in Argentina, with total world domination soon to follow. The website is a schoolbook parody of biomimic marketing, except that it is not a parody.
This illustration by Daniel Quinn gives us a satirical yet bona fide view on our changing relation with nature. Oddly enough the illustrator presents all human activity as blank space. As if we are merely reducing complexity and slowly but steadily turning the planet into Mars. Obviously, the blank planet does adds to the comical effect, yet one might just as well argue complexity on the planet increases as a result of our human presence. No?
Thanks for the heads up Geoff Hamilton.
This Face ‘doek’ (Dutch for blanket) was designed by eighteen year old Noortje van Steenis and put in the corridor of her high school as a protest against the addiction of her fellow students to Facebook. She doesn’t have a Facebook account herself. The Facedoek functions like an old fashioned announcement space. Everyone is allowed to write on it. Peculiar image of the week. Picture by Marcel van den Berg.
Minutes ago the world’s first lab grown hamburger was grilled in London. The cultured beef burger has been engineered by Prof Mark Post, who lived up to the promise he made some years ago.
More remarkable than the look & taste of the burger, which only stood out because it was presented in a petri dish and described by one of the panelist as ‘hot’, was the revelation that Serge Brin, co-founder of Google.com, financed the project.
With today’s presentation of the first lab grown hamburger by Prof. Mark Post, in-vitro meat makes an important step towards our daily diet. Cultured meat could one day be a sustainable and animal friendly alternative to today’s meat production. Yet, despite this technological breakthrough, many people still find it is an unattractive idea to eat meat from the lab. Before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat in-vitro, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.
While most of the ongoing research focuses on duplicating current meat products (like hamburgers) and making the cultured beef affordable, sustainable and tasty, the envisioning of new meat products that fit this new technology is equally important. Just like industrial manufacturing brought us new furniture, in-vitro meat technology may lead to entirely new food products, beyond todays sausages, steaks and burgers.
Besides a Hamburger, What Else?
Although cultured meat is typically presented as a technology to solve problems like animal suffering, food scarcity and climate issues, the technology could also be framed positively: Eating in-vitro could bring us entirely new food experiences and eating habits that may enrich our lives.
Meet the first species named after a website. Discovered in 2004, the honor of naming this new monkey was auctioned off to raise funds for the national park it calls home. The monkey is now know as the Goldenpalace.com Titi. Yet another example of the dominance of the technosphere over the biosphere.
Since its christening as Callicebus aureipalatii, however, there’s no evidence that the titi enjoys online gambling any more than it used it.
Image via Nova Taxa.
Once a vast carpet of healthy vegetation, the Amazon rain forest is changing rapidly. This color-coded satellite image of Bolivia shows dramatic deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Loggers have cut paths into the forest, while ranchers have cleared large blocks for their herds. Fanning out from many of these clear-cut areas are settlements built in radial arrangements of fields and farms. Healthy vegetation appears bright red. This image was taken on August 1, 2000. We imagine the landscape has changed significantly in the last 13 years.
Are Drones the mosquitoes of the 21st century? They are rapidly propagating, while getting smaller and smaller. Soon they will be everywhere: Buzzing around you, spying on you and potentially attacking you.
A small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering a bold move towards the wild robotics. The town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for shooting down the unmanned aerial vehicles.