While it is a simple process (usually) to grow a cactus in a pot, or put an orchid on a coffee table, some things hate being inside, and pine away for the outdoors. They leaf drop and crisp up and are generally whiny, thankless room-mates.
Biomimicry is the process of learning from nature, but what about nature evolving something we already knew?
‘The base of large trees inspired the buttresses of large buildings and cathedrals’, is a familiar, though as far as I can tell anecdotal, idea. It’s easy to see the parallels though. A large sweeping structure, supporting a tall, vertical object. When researchers began to look a little deeper though, other similarities between trees and buildings were discovered.
Biomimicry has been at the heart of robotics before the term ‘biomimicry’ was even coined. An ‘Android’ is a mechanical device made to resemble, and function like, a human. The term has been a sci-fi staple for decades, though its first appearance was in 1727.
Of course now the concept is so widely accepted that Michael bay has just started his second Transformers trilogy, and farmers in China are leaving the fields because it’s more profitable to make giant robot sculptures out of old tractors.
The field of biomimetic animal robots is in many ways even more developed than that of humans, and progressing all the time. While I’m continually thrilled by all this design and technology, as a generation raised on The Borg and Terminator films, I can never fully relax when researching this topic. Remember, we’re only ever one AI paradox away from the Matrix.
The mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus scyllarus, is a large predatory shrimp that smashes its prey to pieces. Camouflage isn’t really a strong point though.This colorful crustacean uses its ‘dactyl club’ to break open clam shells. Probably because they don’t spot it coming. Seeing as the US army have become interested in recent biomimetic research on the material of clam shells for use as body armor, that’s a hell of a punch. Continue reading
I’ve been a Wierd Al fan all my life. Ever since I learnt The Saga Begins and Amish Paradise word for word and was therefore never able to remember a single line from the originals.
Now that Wierd Al is releasing his 14th, and possibly final, full album he has published a song a day in the lead up to it’s release. My favorite is definitely the Robin Thicke parody ‘Word Crimes’ (or should that be #wordcrimes? (which would be ironic (yes, this is a nested bracket (yes, that is also ironic)))).
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), a multi-disciplinary watchdog organisation, have released their report on fracking and shale gas extraction in the UK. The document, compiled by scientists, engineers, architects and technologists, provides the most up-to-date analysis of the possible impacts of shale gas fracking in the UK.
In addition to concerns about unstable geology, water and air pollution the report also criticises the assertions of industry and government that fracking will increase jobs, decrease energy bills, and provide a ‘low carbon’ transition fuel.
The mystique of Bonsai is very difficult to dispel. Having been involved in bonsai as a hobbyist and professionally since 2011, I’ve regularly been called upon to try and crack through the public perception as a mystic, secretive and sometimes even cruel practice.
This gallery contains 27 photos