Tag: Designed-by-Evolution

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Anthropocene

Anthropo-scene #8: Anthropocene Rabbit

I was on my bike, cycling to Berlin’s Gleisdreieck area to attend Re:publica, Germany’s hip and cool digital culture event, when a pile of rubble caught my attention. “Gleisdreieck”, or “rail track triangle”, has in recent years become a hotspot of urban development. For decades, the area had been a kind of inner-city wilderness, an urban savannah with little formal use.

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Augmented-Bodies

Hacking Human Cells to Use Solar Power

Our cells are not that different from a car engine: they depend on carbon-based fuels for energy. But using carbon for energy is an inefficient process. This is what the biotech startup BiPlastiq seeks to resolve, using solar energy instead of carbon and oxygen, by hacking our cells.

The founder of BiPlastiq, Christopher Powell believes that by hacking our mitochondrial structures to use solar energy, the power output of our bodies might increase dramatically. This upgrade could arguably transform human bodies into regenerative machines and extend human lives by decades.

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Anthropocene

Anthropo-scene #7: Anthropocene Bird

What does it mean to be a bird in a world massively altered by human actions? This White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), a beautiful raptor, is finding it out while hovering above Baylands Park near Palo Alto, California.

Humans have made not only the Dodo, but dozens of bird species, vanish from Earth in the past decades, through hunting, habitat destruction and the spread of cats, rats and dogs with the help of ships. Globally, 1300 out of a total of 10,000 bird species are seriously in decline. Other birds have learned to live with humans and profit from their presence.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Plastivore – A Bird that Feeds on Plastic

Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind.

Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in due time, new species might evolve that could feed on plastic. Her speculative ‘Plastivore’ bird (Latin for ‘plastic eater’, plasticio meaning ‘plastic’ or ‘food that contains particles of plastic’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) thrives on a diet of fungi and plastics.

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Biopolitics

Recreating Woolly Mammoth DNA

Bioengineering might soon enable us to bring long gone animals back to life, à la Jurassic Park. Recently, a team of scientists at Harvard University managed to insert wooly mammoth DNA into the genome of its closest relative – the Asian elephant.

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Designed-by-Evolution

High-Speed Driverless Taxi for the Sky

How do you feel when you get stuck in the traffic jam? Have you ever fantasized about escaping to another space? An innovative solution to a better way for transportation has been proposed by NASA Space Act company skyTran: an autonomous, high-speed, elevated Personal Rapid Transportation system.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Genetic Modification Could Prevent TB

Tuberculosis might sound like a thing of the past but it is still a serious problem, causing an estimated 1.3 – 1.5 million deaths in 2013 alone. The main root of tuberculosis is infected cattle, which is transferred to humans via consumption of unpasteurized dairy products. However, it has recently been announced that genetic modification allowed scientists to produce cattle resistant to tuberculosis.

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Augmented Bodies

Diseases Of The Future

Nowadays humans suffer from diseases that didn’t exist in the past, a trend that will probably continue into the future. A wide range of new disorders, especially related to the latest technologies, may affect us.

The disease of the future are related to our modern lifestyle, they affect the psyche but, in the long run, can also debilitate the organism. Computers, video games, office work, virtual realities, and their lumbering presence, are just some of the elements that have changed the context in which we live and the way we spend our time. Technology has found our new weaknesses and will exploit them.

Even if it’s impossible to know which pathogens will afflict us in the future, we can explore the health issues that could emerge as a consequence of technological advancements and our inability to cope with them. Virtual Reality Addiction, Nature Deficit Disorder, Computerization of the Personality, Nanotech Poisoning, shown below a selection of third millennium diseases.

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Biomimicry in Action

We live in a world that is already designed! An inspiring topic about recent developments in biomimicry, American natural sciences writer Janine Benyus gave a talk on how nature influenced our future.

She provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already playing a part in determining the products, technology and systems we build. Video via TED.