Could this 2.0-bird be suffering from Infobesity? Then it must be the result of excessive infocalorie consumption.
Following people and news-sources on microblogservices like Twitter, has become a new addictive nature to many people. While our brains have only just adapted to print, radio, television and the (passive) internet, things worth knowing are now being funneled into them as if they were sponges. Read more
Designing Bugs That Eat Plastic
It is a well known secret that plastic hardly breaks down and almost all of the plastic ever made still floats around somewhere. With the great pacific garbage patch now twice the size of Texas and over 500 billion plastic bags produced a year – which take about a 1000 years to decompose – plastic is well on its way of becoming a basic material in the Earth’s ecosystem.
Earlier, we’ve discussed some of the dramatic effects of this material and suggested how a future microbe able to digest plastic could thrive on the vast amount of plastic ‘food’ available in the biosphere. It might take a million years, however, for a plastic-eating microbe to evolve.
Orthorexia Nervosa: the healty eating disorder
Following anorexia nervosa (under eating) and bulimia nervosa (overeating), orthorexia nervosa (healty eating) is the latest eating disorder in the book. It is characterized by a fixation on eating what the sufferer considers to be healthful food, which can ultimately lead to early death.
While anorexia is typically associated with our visual culture and its unreachable beauty ideals, orthorexia seems closely related with our information age and the easy access to facts and figures. Today so many data about health benefits of our food are available – how it was processed, prepared, etc– and food packages are routinely decorated with scientifically detailed data on their contents. We are suffering from ‘overknowledge’.
While most of us respond to the food-data-overload with an occasional dosage of self chosen ignorance – forget about the facts, grab a burger! – people suffering from orthorexia will spend just as much time and energy thinking about food as someone with bulimia or anorexia.
The Eye of a Cyber Sapien
An earlier post on this blog already displayed the possible future of sight using augmented contact lenses. Researchers at MIT take this second sight to a next level by creating a retinal implant that could help blind people regain much of their vision.
People receiving the implant would wear a pair of glasses with a built-in camera that wirelessly powers the implant and sends images to a micro-controller on the eye-ball. These are then processed and send to electrodes implanted below the retina.
Besides the immense value for blind people imagine the future possibilities for truly virtual and augmented reality. Always wanted infrared sight? Or would you prefer to hook it up to your Second Life account? You can also just watch a movie.
Buttons are everywhere: throughout your day you press them on phones, alarm clocks, keyboards, elevators, dishwashers and of course on the computer screen. Although buttons did not exist in old nature – taken that nipples do not count as buttons – the little symbols of control have been ubiquitous throughout most of our lives. But for how long?
When a bird builds a nest, we call it nature, but when a human puts up an apartment building, suddenly it’s culture? As if the dividing line between nature and culture wasn’t difficult to draw already, artist Semâ Bekirovic is making it even more difficult.
For months she “fed” the family of coots in her environment with her own stuff (nude photo’s, old toothbrushes, etc), which the coots incorporated in their nest. The result is an artwork beyond her control.
Pity we can’t ask the coots how they feel about their new dwellings. Since they have constructed it themselves, they might be quite satisfied with their next nature building materials. It is merely our human perspective that makes the outlook of this next nest somewhat uncanny.
Second Sight – Augmented Contacts
Getting information as fast as possible and on the spot is the trend. So what could be more direct than having information fired directly into the eye?
Today — together with his students — Babak A. Parviz, bionanotechnology expert at University of Washington, is already producing devices that have a lens with one wirelessly Radio Frequency powered LED. To turn such a lens into a functional browser, control circuits, communication circuits and miniature antennas will have to be integrated. These lenses will eventually include hundreds of semitransparent LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye: words, charts, imagery enabling the wearers to navigate their surroundings whithout distraction or disorientation. The optoelectronics in the lens may be controlled by a seperate device that relays information to the lens’s control circuit. Read more
Tangible hologram projector
Meet A.T.R.E.E.M. (acronym for Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine), a device that compares daily activities, energy and products to the growth of a tree.
“From an ecological perspective, CO2 is a byproduct of the living, either directly or indirectly. From the economic perspective, CO2 may become the world’s largest commodity market. What do we consider the price of our own byproducts?
This project aims to criticise the carbon trading system as well as raise awareness of how good we are at destroying the planet.”