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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Anthropomorphobia

We are already Cyborgs

Buckle up for another cinematic espresso shot from our favorite performance philosopher Jason Silva, who recently also appeared on the wonderful London Real.
If you care for a longer version of the ‘We are already Cyborg’ argument check out Amber Chase.

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Back to the Tribe

Kid Convinces Mother to go Vegan

While numerous children nowadays believe the woods smell of shampoo, there are also some critical young minds out there, willing to question things. Meet Luiz Antonio. When his mother tells him to eat his octopus, little Luiz responds by asking his mother where the octopus comes from and how it ended up on his plate. The mother explains the situation to Luiz, after which he responds with a pleading that drives his mother to tears.

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Biomimicmarketing

Modern Fata Morgana

Imagine bumping into a cola dispenser after a hike in the pristine Canadian forests for three days. Would you believe your eyes? Must be a modern Fata Morgana.

It happened to Dennis van Tilburg, who sent us this peculiar image of the week. The biomimic-marketing on the can dispenser only adds peculiar points to the scene. We are living in postcard nature.

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Fake-for-Real

How to Turn Pork in to Beef

This video by the Guardian shows you how to turn unwanted pork meat into beef in five easy steps. The method is becoming more commonplace in China’s food industry. We’re already anticipating recipes on how to turn pork into dinosaur.

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Hyperreality

Subway Beach

What would a caveman make of this optical illusion? He might simply conclude we are living in a Society of Simulations. Peculiar image of  the week.

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Hypernature

Baseball Rocks

Our peculiar image of the week invites us to reflect upon the status of everyday artifacts like a baseball. Tomorrows Fossils? The rocks were fitted with a leather string by artist Elizabeth de Maray. A real baseball can be seen in the background.

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Catalysts of Evolution

Let’s Build a Garden on Mars

Typically the impact of humanity on plant life is not always positive: Deforestation, decrease of diversity, soil pollution. Doom and gloom are all around. Hence, our delight to learn there are also people dedicating their time and energy to the expansion of plant life. Surely if they do it in such remarkable ways.

Astrobiologist Dr. Louisa Preston and Designer Vanessa Harden propose to build a garden on Mars. Thats not easy. One would need a gardening robot, fitted plant species and some kind of dome structure for the plants to grow in. These two young women now started a kickstarter campaign to realize their project.

Arguably, we owe it to our fellow carbon bases plant species, to employ our space rockets to their benefit, helping them to inhabit new worlds. Additionally, the astro plants may also provide human space travelers in their nutritious needs.

Go to the kickstarter campaign.

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Anthropomorphobia

Electric Skin Could Allow Robots to Feel

There are plenty of robot arms out there, but what about the skin to cover them in? A new kind of piezotronic transistor mesh could make for robotic skin that’s as sensitive as your own is, covered in thousands of tiny mechanical hairs.

The inventor of the technology, Zhong Lin Wan from Georgia Tech, says it has immediate applications in human-machine interfaces. It could for example be used to capture electronic signatures by recording the distinctive force an individual applies while signing. In due time, Wan expects the pressure sensor arrays could equip robotics and prosthetics with a human-like sense of touch.

Via Gizmodo, via Techreview.

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Biocustomization

Lets Grow a Glowing Plant

Four years ago we wrote about a vision to create bioluminescent trees that would replace streetlights. This dream is getting just a little bit closer, now that a team of Stanford trained synthetic biologists led by Antony Evans launched a Kickstarter campaign to grow glowing plants.

Using Genome Compiler software, the team is ready to input bio-luminescence genes into a mustard plant and have it be naturally glowing. Natural lighting with no electricity. Hypernature ahoy!

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Co-Evolution

Co-Evolving with Technology

Like bees and the flowers, we are entangled in a co-evolutionary relationship with our technology. But as in any relationship, we should make sure both parties are actually benefiting from the affair.

Looking at this next natural comic, it seems like our relationship might need some work. Thanks Ad.

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Biomimicmarketing

Next Nature saves Old Nature

Who would have thought synthetic organisms would ever be employed to save endangered species? Conservation biologist worried about the extinction of exotic frog populations are calling the help of synthetic biologists to avoid disaster.

Currently, a fungus epidemics with the eerie name batrachochytrium dendrobatidis threatens more than 2,800 amphibian species. The depicted Panamanian golden frog has already been pushed close to extinction by fungal disease, but conservationists believe the tragedy could be countered by a new generation of synthetically manipulated organisms.

“We face the prospect of losing a great deal from the natural world and we have to think of solutions that could be generated by all sorts of different techniques, including those involved in synthetic biology.” conservation biologist Kent Redford told the Guardian.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Synthetic Biology for Dummies

Arguably the most accessible synthetic biology explanation video we have seen so far. From selective breeding to genetic modification, as our understanding of biology is merging with the principles of engineering into a new discipline called synthetic biology.

Written, animated and directed by James Hutson, Bridge8.

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Manufactured Animals

Meanwhile on the Savanna

Our peculiar image of the week shows the DARPA Military Robot Bull in a field test. This mobile four legged robot is developed to support troops carry gear through rugged terrain. Unsure if it gives milk. Action movies are available here.

Via Global News Pointer. Thanks Monique.

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Nextnature Event

Join the Buckminster Fuller Challenge

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Are you that brilliant visionary mind pondering on a comprehensive solution that will radically advance human well-being and ecosystem health, but lacking the money to realize it? No worries! Simply submit to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, pick up your $100,000 and turn your revolutionary vision into a reality. This is not a spam message, its a design competition. Submissions are due April 16.

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