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Learning from Nature to Survive Climate Change

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Nature is a master at what it does. It knows how to adapt, survive, thrive, nurture growth, evolve, connect, synergize, exchange energy, and work in a very structured pattern often known as sacred geometry.

With that being said, many of the missing technologies of today are because we haven’t spent enough time looking at the incredible bio-technology world all around us. If we can learn to work harmoniously with nature while taking advantage of what it is teaching us then it will be only a matter of time before we can thrive on this earth.

Climate change and the waves to come.

Were you aware that one of the greatest world crisis of our modern world is climate change? These rapid changes in our world have been completely responsible for the super storms that we have started to experience more and more frequently.  

via motherboard.vice.com

via motherboard.vice.com

Other weather changes range from super hot summers to longer winters. These types of issues have been overlooked time and time again but is actually threatening our communities and even economy when you think that these types of super storms can drastically effect our world’s food production.

Luckily countries all across the world have started taking drastic steps to help combat these severe climate changes to hopefully return our world back to a more balanced state. Some of the amazing examples of some of the nations that are battling against these severe climate changes are new innovative “green technology” that doesn’t utilize energy from the traditional source such as fossil fuels, and things like utilizing more carpool lanes.

As a whole, we as the stewards of this wonderful planet, should all work together as one species, to help restore balance to our world. It might not be easy, but it does require everyone’s help to make it a reality. Just remember, we have absolutely everything to lose if we do nothing, and yet everything to gain from our efforts towards change.

While we work to correct the error of our ways there will be hard times and waves ahead. These waves are caused by our past mistakes and may not be avoidable. There are super storms and super droughts worldwide. Unfortunately, some of these will be here for a while until the earth returns to balance.

Technology is working to learn from nature so we can survive the upcoming changes

Past examples of Technology Learning from Nature:

Velcro

This little invention has been utilized by so many of our everyday items, so much so that even NASA and the United States military use velcro on their military uniforms and space suits.  Yet how did we come to create velcro?  

Well, there was the amazing swiss engineer named George de Mestral who, at some point in the early 1940’s, saw just how nature used its own version of velcro by seeing just how plant burrs stuck to the hair of dogs. The word velcro actually comes from the world’s “velours,” which means velvet while, “crochet” which also means to hook, and when you put them together, well you get velcro.

Spider Silk:

Spider silk is one of nature’s strongest materials. When you measure it just on weight alone, spider silk is 5 times stronger than steel, all the while being not only more lightweight but also stretchy. In nature, spiders utilize their sticky webs to ensnare and immobilize their prey.

In nature, there are 7 different types of silk that the spiders use to create their sticky strands. Out of these types, not one single known spider has the ability to possess all of the glands, yet a male spider will have at least 3 of these types while the female will have four of them.  The fourth of course is the one that is for the egg sac. Below is a list of the 7 different types of glands:

via chm.bris.ac.uk

via chm.bris.ac.uk

In our modern world, we sought to harness the power that the noble spider holds, and that is a sticky substance that is not only super strong but flexible at the same time. So scientists got together and were able to create a medical product that has the ability to duplicate the properties of the silk strands of spiders.  

A type of flexible tape that when peeled from a wound, can cause no damage to the tissue underneath it. In the world of medicine, this wondrous new type of flexible tape can even be used on the elderly who often struggle from frail skin or the sensitive skin of a newborn baby.

via seas.harvard.edu

via seas.harvard.edu

The traditional medical grade tape was made by applying a sticky type substance on the back of the material. Yet the new breakthrough in this silk-inspired tape was that researchers were able to apply a silicon-based film on the back of the material (similar to the old way of application on traditional medical grade bandages), but after this they then laser etched a grid pattern into the silicon adhesive. The reason for the laser etching was simply to give the adhesive a type of texture to help with adhering to the surface.

Desert Beetles:

Another great example of how nature is able to survive even the harshest of climate changes is the noble Namib Desert beetle. This little guy has been able to find an ingenious way to help us survive well in its extremely parched world. How is this little beetle able to do so? Well, is is due to the beetle being able to collect water by absorbing the fog around it and turning that into droplets of water on the ridges of its back.  

So in a way these little guys have been able to not only survive in their extreme climates but in a way show us how we could potentially harness the same type of condensation collection to help generate clean drinking water for all the inhabitants of the dry areas of the earth.

Researchers are studying Cacti and Desert Beetles to pull water out of air

The Namib desert is home to a plethora of different organisms such as some beetles and even multiple kinds of cacti have been able to adapt so well to their harsh environment, that they are able to literally pull moisture and water straight from the dry air.

In all honesty, it isn’t really a secret that our modern society is literally and actually killing off the only planet anywhere near us that can sustain life. Through the rising temperatures of our planet, as it continually gets hotter and hotter researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or (SEAS for short) along with Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, have decided to conduct a study that seeks to develop a way to literally create, pull and transport condensation for use for our growing need for water.

Professor of  Materials Science at SEAS, Joanna Aizenberg said that,

“Everybody is excited about bioinspired materials research”

via seas.harvard.edu

via seas.harvard.edu

Utilizing all of what nature has to show us, the researchers have been able to receive inspiration from the mighty desert beetles bumpy shell, along with the incredible structure of cactus spines and lastly from the slippery surfaces of the pitcher plants.  

After heavily researching all of these elements the researchers were then able to create a material that is able to harness the incredible powers used by nature, also including a special Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces technology or SLIPS or short, that was developed in Aizenberg lab, the research team was then able to not only collect but direct the flow of condensed water.

The researchers stated that,

“By optimizing that bump shape through detailed theoretical modeling and combining it with the asymmetry of cactus spines and the nearly friction-free coatings of pitcher plants, we were able to design a material that can collect and transport a greater volume of water in a short time compared to other surfaces.”

I strongly believe that if we slow down and observe just how nature has been able to survive for so long, despite the rapid changes in climate, that we could potentially gain the knowledge of nature itself and actually get into a mindset of adapt the right way and overcome. So that when new challenges arise for our world, we will be able to meet them head on.

Sources-

www.sciencedaily.com

www.livescience.com

www.nrdc.org

www.chm.bris.ac.uk

Image Source: good.is

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News

Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”

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In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.

The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.

The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.

The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”

 “This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.

“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”

However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.

The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.

“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”

He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”

A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”

One hopes that things don’t reach that point.

In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.

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News

Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour

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Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.

In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.

While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.

“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.

See for yourself:

Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.

In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.

Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”

Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.

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Environment

South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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