Nature: 3.8 Billion Years of R&D

first_img(Visited 49 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Scientists continue mining the biomimicry bonanza, but some still give all the credit to time and evolution.Here are three new biomimetics articles about plants.Sunflowers as solar energy models:  A clever short video on Live Science finds nature, once again, providing the optimum solution to a problem.  The problem is arranging mirrors in a giant solar collection facility so as to minimize shadows.  The solution: mimic the sunflower.  The spiral arrangement of florets in the center of a sunflower, following the Fibonacci series, turns out to pack the most light collection in the smallest space while minimizing shadows on other mirrors.  The video did not mention another property that solar farms would have difficulty imitating: sunflowers exist on stalks that can turn and follow the sun.Diatoms can feed, speed the world:  We are surrounded by bounteous resources we can hardly imagine: microscopic organisms in water that live in glass houses, called diatoms.  PhysOrg writes, “Ancient diatoms could make biofuels, electronics and health food—at the same time.”  Researchers at Oregon State are creating a “photosynthetic biorefinery,” the article says, getting the little nanofactories to make customized products by special order.  Give them water, some minerals and sunshine, and they could make a steady stream of affordable, eco-friendly products: biofuels, biomedical products, and even semiconductors.  “The key to all of this is the diatom itself, a natural nanotechnology factory that has been found in the fossil record for more than 100 million years.”Drugs on demand from plants:  Plants make a host of aromatic compounds they use for signaling, defense and symbiosis.  Now, mimicking “a crucial but obscure biochemical phenomenon,” scientists at Scripps have “followed nature’s lead” to figure out how to make terpenes, compounds hard to synthesize in the lab but made routinely by plants.  This could lead to faster and cheaper manufacture of drugs like the anti-cancer agent Taxol.  Science Daily quoted the senior investigator who said, “It’s exciting for us because we’re now making molecules that have never been made in the laboratory before, and we’ve done this by first observing what nature does.”Biomimicry on a RollOne article really excited about biomimetics can be found on PhysOrg from Mother Nature Network, titled: “Biomimicry: Science inspired by nature could feed the hungry, reduce impact of technology.”  This implies that many of our problems in civilization are not for lack of resources, but lack of know-how.  That know-how is all around us in plants and animals.  Whales, butterflies and fungi are just three of the examples in the article that can lead to more efficient machinery, more productive food crops, better medical devices and much, much more.“Biomimicry looks for how nature performs a function,” Marie Zanowick, a certified biomimicry professional for the Environmental Protection Agency, told Boulder Weekly. “It mimics natural strategy and the best design principles on this planet.““Design principles” as humans devise them usually require many brain cycles of research and development (R&D).  That’s true in nature, too, the article said.  In order to adapt, be resource-efficient, integrate development with growth, be eco-friendly and responsive to the environment, living things have learned R&D.  “It’s based on 3.8 billion years of research and development, and the only organisms that survive are the ones that follow life’s principles.”Need we keep repeating that neo-Darwinism is completely, totally, and irrevocably incapable of R&D?  Evolution is blind.  It has no foresight.  It has no purpose.  It cannot, therefore, come up with “design principles.”  Giving it billions of years doesn’t help; it makes things worse.Once we purge the last remaining fallacies out of biomimetics, it is poised to usher in a golden age of science grounded on what should be its foundation: intelligent design.last_img read more

Moad builds a genius space for Africa’s arts

first_imgInnovation, creativity, diversity and artistry are the watchwords driving the Museum of African Design (MOAD), a rather unusual space that embraces the avant-garde. (Image: Museum of African Design) MEDIA CONTACTS • Aaron Kohn Director Museum of African Design +27 84 951 2060 RELATED ARTICLES • Art auction at Wits to dazzle • Gallery: Constitutional Court • Soweto Fashion Week supports African design • Steampunk chugs along in South Africa • Madiba’s life captured in artMelissa Jane CookInnovation, creativity, diversity and artistry are the watchwords driving the Museum of African Design (MOAD), a rather unusual space that embraces the avant-garde.Located in a refurbished 1930s art deco building in the Maboneng Precinct, on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg CBD, Moad is a pan-African platform for contemporary craftsmanship. Opened in October 2013, it fuses modern inner-city vogue and the harsh grit at the centre of the City of Gold. Once a factory that churned out parts for the mining industry and later a garage for vehicle repairs, the neglected old building was falling into disrepair.But the high ceilinged warehouse has since been transformed into a bespoke contemporary space to house and exhibit Africa’s most avant-garde design ideas. The renovated gallery is 2 500 square metres in size, and is believed to be the first of its kind on the continent. “I actually didn’t realise that Moad was a first on the continent until well into the planning phase,” explains Aaron Kohn, the director of. “[Maboneng] Precinct is, in many ways, South Africa’s Design Neighbourhood, so the spot made sense for a number of reasons.”Maboneng Precinct is an urban rejuvenation venture.“More interesting perhaps, was that museums in Africa are largely dedicated to preserving local culture and heritage – and when they’re competing with buyers in New York and Paris, they’re limited. Then galleries are more interested in going to Frieze or the Armory and selling abroad, than in showing within the continent. So Moad has always consciously been interested in creating a space that artists and museums would be excited to collaborate with, within the continent.”Kohn adds: “The goal for it is really to become a cultural hub, a place to showcase what’s [happening] on the continent that’s innovative, but also to encourage that kind of thinking, design and creativity to young South Africans and to people visiting Johannesburg at the same time.”Refurbished art deco buildingIn creating Moad, the developers added an extra floor, bathrooms and a cocktail bar, but kept the building’s integrity largely intact. “Raw floors, metal bars and scaffolding ramps still dominate the three-level space, creating a rough-edged atmosphere that echoes the identity of the building and its urban surroundings.”The space will continually be refined, but Kohn maintains that the goal is to leave it as original and industrial as possible. “It looks like it will end up being a maker-space/hacker-space to teach design, engineering and innovation. There are a number of incubators and tech-focused co-working spaces in Johannesburg and around Africa, and we are involving as many people as we can to build this initiative.”It has already hosted exhibitions, with visitors agreeing that it is more than a gallery space. It dedicates itself to uncovering, encouraging and sharing design growth through large-scale unified temporary exhibitions.Kohn, an American, explains that he connected with Maboneng because he spent a lot of time in the area when he was an exchange student, and while co-founding African Lookbook with Phil Sandick. Lookbook is an online presence “for discussion revolving around oral histories and products in an online shop”. It connects designers and artists in Africa with shops, galleries and curators around the world.“I ended up here with a strange obsession with Africa, which started off thinking I could be the white saviour from America. Y’know, do a lot of good,” Kohn says. “And along the route of disillusionment, I started hanging out with a lot of artists from across the continent. I started studying African art and spent a lot of time in Johannesburg.”He has no formal training in design, but has a passion for African studies, which he studied first in New York, and as result became interested not only in design, but specifically African design.“African Lookbook was created out of a desire to not only provide contemporary African threads online for purchase, but to also build a space for the important narratives behind those creations. Part documentation of African artistry, part online shopping gem, African Lookbook is garnering attention from folks interested in unique products with a story,” Kohn explains.Maboneng real estate“The building that houses Moad has been called Moad since it was acquired in 2011 by the Maboneng Precinct, but it was only about a year ago that I started talking to them about how to turn it into an operational museum.”Kohn says that in future, the museum will work with different people for every exhibition. Moad is not interested in becoming a collective institution that stores art or wastes any budget on insurance and acquiring fees, he stresses. “We want to focus on the most exciting and relevant exhibitions that we can put on with works from across the continent.“I think that’s a new model that a lot more institutions around the world are looking at in terms of not having necessarily conventional museum staff, not having a permanent collection. It allows an institution that’s interested in the contemporary to stay contemporary.”He aims to get South Africans interested in Moad, with the hope that they will become more interested in museums in the rest of the country. “South Africa has no shortage of museums, yet they’re essentially neglected. This is part of a global debate where we have to think of new ways to get people through our doors; we have to change the perceptions of museums.”He concludes: “It’s fitting that a design museum be in an old factory, because that is where things are made. On the one hand, it’s challenging because there are no white walls, but on the other hand, the space is rugged and we can do pretty much anything we dream up inside.”ExhibitionsIn October 2013, Moad presented the annual showcase of the Southern Guild design collection. Over 200 works from more than 100 of South Africa’s leading designers and artists provided a detailed and contextualised view point on collectable, limited edition design.The following month, Google teamed up with the makers of KitKat chocolates, Nestlé, to create an exhibition of 3D printed chocolate sculptures for the Chocnology exhibition. It was intended to celebrate the launch of Google’s latest operating system.Moad’s first full-length exhibition, Native Nostalgia, runs until 9 February. A group exhibition, it is an exploration of nostalgia in five African countries – Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Benin and South Africa. The works on show tell the stories of bygone eras, but positions them firmly within present day narratives. “Through architecture, construction, cartography, photography, communal archives, and historical re-enactment, each artist and participant has a conversation with a past through which they did not live by juxtaposing design elements with those of today,” explains the gallery.Moad is at 281 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.last_img read more

Lamp Post Cache Makeovers

first_imgA LPC by IWillFindIt!!Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedYou might be a Caching Connoisseur if…September 25, 2018In “News”You might be a Caching Connoisseur if…September 25, 2018In “News”Geocaching Caption Contest 15 – Win a Barely Coveted PrizeOctober 21, 2010In “Community” Lamp Post Cache MakeoverUnderneath lamp posts skirts simmers a geocaching controversy.  Lamp post caches (LPCs) polarize opinions. A LPC is typically a small nondescript container placed under the metal skirt of a lamp post.   Some geocachers believe that LPCs are unimaginative hides and all too easy finds.Other geocachers see LPCs as part of the spectrum of geocaches that provides accessibility for all players.  The ease of finding LPCs also offers geocachers the ability to string together dozens or hundreds of finds a day.Julie Husting “IWillFindIt!!”Geocachers like Julie Husting, IWillFindIt!!, see the base of lamp posts as a canvas for adding more creativity to geocaching.  She believes that lifting the metal skirt on a lamp post should be more like lifting a curtain on stage.  Julie creates scenes to surprise and entertain cachers looking for a quick LPC grab.She adapted the idea from an LPC she discovered. Julie says, “I went to Fotomat GC17R5G by FishfulThinking which had a bunch of film canisters under it.  I thought that was really fun.  I got some cool tins at Disneyland.  One had the little green men from Toy Story on it.  I had a bunch of swag that had action figure toys so I put them on boards and put them in the Toys R Us parking lot and wrote a little story about them.  That was my first one — The Search for the Little Green Men  GC1D5FW. ”Julie now has nearly twenty themed LPCs in the Southern California area.  She says her craft has evolved: “I started with the Disney tins (Nemo, pirates, princesses, Mickey Mouse, Toy Story), then I moved on to holidays.  Now it is whatever we find that we like.  My boyfriend, Bob, does the majority of the work on them now.  He has gotten much more elaborate with them than when we first started.”A LPC by IWillFindIt!!Their motivation comes from reading the logs as more and more geoachers seek out caches by IWillFindIt!! Julie says, “Most people appreciate the effort that goes into them and they write really nice logs.  One person even brought a girl scout troop to Find Nemo to teach them about caching.”More geocachers will have a chance to discover LPCs like these.  Julie says, “My cousin, Sue aka $$tracker, also has some themed LPCs in the Santa Barbara area.  I will be sending one to be published in Texas pretty soon!”What do you think?  Do you know other geocachers who are reinventing LPCs?last_img read more

Haryana books owner of school

first_imgHaryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma on Sunday said some security lapses were found on the part of Ryan International School and a case was registered against its management and the owner under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. “Action will be initiated against the school management and its owner,” said Mr. Sharma, after a brief meeting with senior district administration officials. He, however, ruled out revocation of the affiliation for the school saying that over a thousand students would be affected. On the demand for a CBI probe into the murder, the Minister said the government was ready for probe by any agency if the family was not satisfied with the police investigation. Mr. Sharma said the safety and security of the students was the responsibility of the school managements during school hours and strict action would be initiated if any laxity was found by any private school.Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram, Vinay Pratap Singh told The Hindu that preliminary investigation by a three-member committee had found several security lapses on the part of the school management. “Though there are closed-circuit television cameras on the school premises, they were missing at a few strategic points. Another major lapse was to allow the support staff to share the washroom with students. Also, there were some discrepancies related to the verification of the support staff. The things would be more clear after the detailed report expected on Monday,” said Mr. Singh.last_img read more