Earth Week In Science; Portents of the Future

Science Today, Biomimicry, Apprenticed To Nature Once Again

Are viruses the way to green manufacturing?
"Even in a place like MIT where you can't walk down the hall without running into someone famous, she stands out for her scientific vision and scientific bandwidth and ability to touch all areas of the community,"
Prof Angela Belcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the superb Biomimicry Student.
She does not emulate one species at a time, but Nature herself.
She engineers evolution, recruiting viruses to assemble random new choices en masse, using conscious selection and reiteration to investigate and recombine the results.
Belcher, Prof. of Energy, chooses combinations of elements and proteins based on what most improves the quality of life, medicine, energy, and environment.
She represents an entirely new way of doing and conceiving science, not just the most revolutionary of methodology, but beyond paradigm and disciplines.

"when we begin to see organisms and ecosystems as mentors, we become students and our relationship changes, from hubris to humility" learn to see "with the eyes and the heart of the apprentice"

Biomimicry is key to a more sustainable shift to sustainability. When the engineer stands at the foot of a lower species seeking stand-undering, it changes the whole "better than nature" paradigm back to "we are nature". To become the apprentice is to shift from disrespect to seeking respect. As more industries make essential progress at nature's tutelage, others must follow; such is the way of human enterprise, of evolution, of revolution.

Sustainable is simply better investment.

The best overview imaginable of the strongest current in (the "fall" of) western thought AND 21st Century scientific technology is this recent Canadian TV show.

Treat soil as though it were a dead matrix for chemistry instead of a living thing.
Turn the sequestration of toxins in the crust upside down.
The "highest" primate has been pretending to "be above" even our own natures until not only Nature is the enemy, but each of our "human nature"s is likely as not a mad dog one way or another (often in packs).

Without a veneration of the Allness we are too many rats in the cage, too many packs of mad dogs in the "wilderness".

Take a look at the complexity of the actual 3D structures of chlorophyll.
Each chlorophyll molecule an arm, a solar reflector, and a collector panel, working together as part of a larger complex.
Each part of more and more complex structures as evolution proceeds forward, upward, onward.

Here's something even a mad dog can get one's teeth into, Formula performance from an electric car.

BAE provides details of 'structural battery' technology
"The beauty of what we've got is that, when it's fully developed, a company will be able to go out and buy what is a standard carbon-composite material, lay out the shape, put it through the curing process and have a structural battery,"
Molded "batteries" composed mostly of carbon fibre.

'Amazing' electric racing car
Made with beta release of BAE's structural batteries.

Researchers develop new system to 'eliminate' batteries
"The emerging area of power harvesting technology"
Wirelessly charged materials powered by ambient radio waves' "waste energy".

Doped molded carbon fiber and polymers will not only get stronger with the molecular biomimicry cited above, and be able to store a charge,
carbon fiber can be made to carry electrical charge more efficiently, and bucky tubes may soon compose the ultimate nano transistor.
I believe the possibilities hinted at in these two articles will also be a part of 21st century composites.
A jelly may not seem like the best foundation for a structural element, but if you read throught to the end, you'll see that the action is in taking the action out of solution and focussing it on the molecular interface.

Jelly batteries: Safer, cheaper, smaller, more powerful

Power from the people
Fuel cells that run on oxygen and glucose, at blood chemistry levels, have been demonstrated in rats.

'DNA robot' targets cancer cells

DNA computer 'calculates square roots'

Electric motor made from a single molecule

Memristors' current carves protected channels

Biomimicry asks one to assume these diverse kinds of power will come together as one.
Already solar panels are trending towards asphalt and roofing, now batteries and 'generators' are beginning to look like cars frames and walls. Such integrated systems would not need big dangerous expensive centralized distribution. Expect to see them soon in micro-devices, micro-bots, drones, and things soldiers have to carry. Sports-men's equipment and airframes will mark the second generation.

'Pharmacy on a chip' gets closer
Pharmacy on a chip is the flip side of "Lab on a chip"
New sensor chips are the cheapest and most acurate, whether measuring DNA or momentum.
Microfluidics are predicted to make it easy to test for an array of molecule, in concentrations as small as one incidence per sample, or in a swarm, 3 in an hundred (statistical significance limit only).

Mobile phones expose human habits
A first glimpse of a world with a few more data points.

First, maybe in our health care devices, and in DARPA's microbots, then in our phones, and then ubiquitous, these won't just change the cost and power of health care. They will turn our world inside out, making our data map much more vast than the real world now feels.
First the Earth, then the Universe, will be our lab; math and algorithms our hypothesizes, tools, experiments, and results.
There will be no privacy, you leave your scent wherever you go, an array may sniff things about you that you don't even know, like states of health or emotion. The child of the future might as well put one's whole life on Facebook to try to make sense of the storm.

The following 2 programs are very comprehensive and current, well worth anyone's time.

The Nature of Things – Earth Energy
Iceland's main power station is also a mineral spa, heats most buildings and homes, and provides drinking water for most of the nation. 
Denmark's sea of serious windmills. Effective and sustainable power is core to real systems biomimicry.
How solving power issues in integrated and holistic ways solves other problems as well.

The Nature of Things – Build Green
More excellent currently deployed building solutions with Earth energy.

The Nature of Things – Bee Talker; The secret world os bees
Power, information evolution feedback, and the human imagination are all key, another most critical key is bees.

Single molecule's stunning image
Ever Smaller meets Seeing with a Tuning Fork – the Atomic Force Microscope

What's next? the answer continually amazes me.
Overarching patterns do emerge however.

Not only will structure and power generation and consumption began to come together, but power and data will also continue to blend. Where ever power is used to process and communicate data, it is also increasingly collecting chemical, mechanical, and other physical data. Increasingly the Defense Dept. is doing research on swarm behavior and evolutionary algorithms that apply evolutionary algorithmic methods to themselves.

Future wires may well power themselves enough for the needs of computation and communication, and structural elements will increasingly embody micro electronics as well as power collection or storage.

It is not that hard to see the day when a few small micro-pieces of nano-engineered materials can form a mobile linked multi-sensor platform that takes it's power from "context" due to Sun and variations in ambient fluctuations in heat, vibrations, and radiations.

Such a material will not bring the grey goo, but it could be on the way there.
These "nano-bots", really at micro scale, will be built taking advantage of self assembling materials, but they will not be able to do such assembly. The microfluidics they are built to perform will quickly find ways to build tinier more integrated structures however.

True Microbotics, fabricated at the nano scale, will bring more revolution in human being than microelectronics.
This is not the distant future, it's 10-20 years from now, depending on how hard we resist it.

Farther along, but probably before robots out-think us in every way, true nanobots will be constructed at the femto scale, by microbots. These may well soon after become to a large degre self replicating.
The reasons I don't worry about the gray goo are Love and Reason.
Emotion, attachment, is the only solid basis for rationale.
I believe our micro electronics are in the process of using us to figure out how to program such things.
Even as most of us don't get it yet, and inefficiently as it progresses, inevitably we go towards more possibilities.

Microcomputers, sensors, microdrones, these things are coming together in ever smaller more integrated packages. We are nearing a critical point where lower power and smaller scales enable ambient energies like sound and the natural radio environment to provide power. None of this is sci fi, this is all stuff that has been demonstrated to be feasible (some programs, like picoradio, seem to 'evaporate' into state secrets right about here).

It is not inconceivable that many of us will see the day when the built environment is our best source of advice, as we attempt to wade oceans of information by asking the patterns to show themselves; soon after problematic patterns will be asked to heal themselves.

Complex problems of engineering, maintaining, and modifying our built environment, and it's impact on Earth, will be beyond our comprehension or concern, much as it was before, but at our behest to a much greater degree.

We've built mechanical bees that fly in scale, we've geared them up and precisely measured their power, and now we've even wired up beetles' and rats' brains to choose their course by remote control.

The sky is literally the limit.

Eventually we will be asking ourselves very seriously where the inside and outside begin and end. No matter how we go about it, the collective will rise to a degree that the modern ego cannot, for it simply will not, survive.

The modern ego always was just a(n) (in)convenient illusion.

RFID chip implanted into man gets computer virus

Youth today give me great encouragement, and concern, regarding the question of retaining freedom, individuality, and diverse thought in action, as we also become Borg. There is a way to make this world much more humane when it is taken from human hands, but doing it in time, while keeping the best of what we call humanity…
hmmm. bzzzzz
We must listen first to the bees, there is no choice but to be their collaborators.

For our robot to act right it must have a heart, even if it contains no fluid, which it probably will.
Shareholder profit is not the heart of our future.
Mature 21st technology will breathe eat and shit, it will have fluids very much like ours which will be modified to be even more similar and seemless with our tools.
There will be no room for humans who are tools of others.

As science begins to lay our emotions bare, and learns to apply motivation to automated (collective) discernment, we must also realize the necessity of all that which western thought has historically tried to distance itself from.

Searching for the origins of life… and our future
It's not just that mind blowing cosmography is becoming common, this article stresses the way that important work is increasingly very interdisciplinary. Even "pure" science of a single discipline requires the specialists that enable the very toolage and experimental methods and interpretations, who are from other disciplines like ogic, design, electromechanical design, physics, et cetera.

We must build our better compass while we are not yet quite entirely lost.

Anthropology, Exo-biology, and materials engineering have always been very multidisciplinary, but now they are all more tightly actually, and conceptually, linked. Our understanding and our methods of expanding it have become one giant field that no one can master. Our daily lives, toolage, survival, and interdependence are part of that. Software engineers cannot do the user testing part of their job without the methodologies of the social sciences and younger social scientists can't do their job without the software.

More than ever we are in need of the entire old meaning of the Greek word technologia.
As the 20th century closes the interdependent complexity of our toolage is incomprehensible to the unaided brain.
As the 20th Century opened, most toolage and structure needs could be accomplished by wood; tools that were all steel still had a countable number of tools, operations, and resources they depended upon. Today most devices we use require tools built with numerical control machinery that reduces tolerances to 1 or 2 millionths of a millimeter, which itself requires many such tools to build.

These extreme dependencies of one tool, or individual, on the other will actually improve with biomimicry, becoming reinforced by redundancies, cycles, stacked balancing acts, and a lushness diversity.

Centuries ago we sent science to the eight corners of Allness to find the answer, the results are now coming in from all over.
Inside and out, Earthly and not, the answer is to respect and revere the fragile uniqueness of every aspects of our being.
Love remains the answer.
The goal is lush again.

How to predict the future

Real-life Jedi: Pushing the limits of mind control

Will we all be tweaking our own genetic code?

New understanding about megalithic monuments helps illuminate the post Stone Age mind just when many are questioning the whole point of agriculture, much less snivilization.
Stonehenge design was 'inspired by sounds'

Hearing the past
Visitors to Stonehenge in Wiltshire rarely experience the historic site without the rumble of traffic noise from the nearby A303. But UK researchers have managed to recreate the sound of a ritual there, as heard by our ancestors 4,000 years ago.

Timewatch Dig at Stonehenge – Article List from 2008

Unlocking Stonehenge's secrets from 2008

Stonehenge's huge support settlement from 2008

Apr 2008

Stonehenge builders' houses found from 2007

Grow your own meat

Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists'

National Trust aims for nature generation

Haitian invasion welcomed in rural America

Is English or Mandarin the language of the future?


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