Tag Archives | Nature

It’s Not Science Fiction, It’s Biomimicry– With Guest Dr. Michael Nosonovsky

Via Midwest Real

“In the first half of the 20th century, the prevailing idea was that humans could be masters of nature and the universe. We thought that human power was unlimited. We thought- ‘we can change rivers, we can move mountains,’ we can actually conquer nature. Then sometime in the second half of the 20th century, we made the realization that the relationship between nature and humans is actually much more complex than that.”  -Dr. Michael Nosonovsky.

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IMG_6042If you love technology, congratulations! You’re living in what is, without a doubt, the most exciting time for it in human history. We’ve got self-driving cars, Oculus Rift, ubiquitous pocket-dwelling supercomputers and giant televisions in nearly every home. It’s almost enough to make you forget about ISIS, Ebola, killer asteroids and climate disaster.

Almost.

So let’s dampen the fear mongering feedback loop a bit further by jumping the technological brainwashing (I use that phrase with great affection) up a few notches.Read the rest

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Hawk vs. Drone

via CNet:

Drones have it kind of tough nowadays. Not only do people think drones flying around are annoying (or worse), camera-toting remote-controlled gizmos often find themselves attacked by planes, sharks and, now, hawks.

The drone in the above video, owned by Christopher Schmidt, is just minding its business flying around the skies above Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, Mass., when a hawk seemingly comes out of nowhere and, in one fell swoop, throws the drone to the ground.

The hawk, a natural predator, likely thought the drone was invading its turf, and, according to Schmidt’s report, happily retreated after defeating its prey. Fortunately, both the hawk and the drone came away from the brief scuttle unscathed.

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Magic Mushrooms and Natural Intelligence

Simon G. PowellIn a time when Artificial Intelligence is getting all the headlines, English author and film-maker Simon G. Powell is making the case for Natural Intelligence – the idea that life itself is intelligent and nature has solutions to problems we have yet to even understand. And it was a series of mushroom trips – “like insights into the essence of existence” – which initiated and propelled his work.

Powell describes these first revelatory experiences in the latest podcast from The Eternities: “I had a mystical experience, what felt like divine energy [was] pulsing through me. It was like I tasted something that most people don’t taste and it was absolutely astonishing. ”

Powell went on to write The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning (2011), which traced the history of the sacred psilocybin mushroom and discussed its visionary effects, also examining the current science and lasting spirituality that surround it.… Read the rest

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Want to Change the World? Read This First

260px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Richard Heinberg writes at Common Dreams:

History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances. The ecological context (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources) may either present or foreclose opportunities for those wanting to shake up the social world. This suggests that if you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

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Consumer Reports Campaigns to Ban Use Of ‘Natural’ On Food Labels

"Botfly Larvae: An All-Natural Source For Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Nightmare Fuel" Pic - Geoff Gallice (CC)

“Botfly Larvae: An All-Natural Source For Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Nightmare Fuel” Pic – Geoff Gallice (CC)

Consumer Reports states that most people believe that products labeled “natural” are better for them. The watchdog organization would like to see the use of it banned.

The claim “natural,” which is stamped on countless food labels, is widely misunderstood by consumers, according to a new a survey of 1,000 people from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Nearly 60 percent of people look for the term when they shop for food, probably because they think the products labeled natural are better for them than products without that claim.

About two-thirds believe it means a processed food has no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms, and more than 80 percent believe that it should mean those things.

The reality is that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t developed a formal definition for the term.

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You Have Dormant Primal Powers. This Guy Can Unleash Them.

Via- Midwest Real

“You can blend respectfully and mindfully with your environment as you move. This is a high level of mindfulness requested here. In my opinion, this is a physical manifestation and experience of my spirit… I would even say it’s a spiritual experience of my body.”

Do me a favor- stand up. No problem, right? Now walk around. That’s pretty easy, huh? Next, smash the nearest wad of food into your mouth hole. Isn’t this fun? Ok, sit down, look at the screen, and you’re done! Sound familiar? I know to me it does. I practice that sequence of movements with devoutly religious regularity. I’m going to make a tremendously presumptuous leap and assume that you do the same. Isn’t it sad that the mediocrity of our physical habits is that god damn obvious? Yet, if you’re lucky enough to be a normal-ish, healthy-ish human being you’ve got some serious untapped potential.… Read the rest

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Hop Leaves Discarded in Brewing Process Could Fight Dental Disease

Pic: Dr. Hagen Graebner (CC)

Pic: Dr. Hagen Graebner (CC)

Another natural cure for a common ailment. Take note, though, beer drinkers: It’s the part of the leaves discarded in the brewing process.

Via Eureka Alert:

Beer drinkers know that hops are what gives the drink its bitterness and aroma. Recently, scientists reported that the part of hops that isn’t used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease. In a new study in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that they’ve identified some of the substances that could be responsible for these healthful effects.

Yoshihisa Tanaka and colleagues note that their earlier research found that antioxidant polyphenols, contained in the hop leaves (called bracts) could help fight cavities and gum disease. Extracts from bracts stopped the bacteria responsible for these dental conditions from being able to stick to surfaces and prevented the release of some bacterial toxins.

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See Otter Kill And Eats Alligator in Amazing Series of Photos

Pic: US Fish & Wildlife/Geoff Walsh (PD)

Pic: US Fish & Wildlife/Geoff Walsh (PD)

Otters are cute and cuddly (and I’ll be damned if they can’t play a mean washtub bass), but they’re also voracious predators who use ambush hunting tactics to take down everything from fish to small birds… and apparently that includes alligators, too. Check out this amazing picture of an otter attacking and eating an alligator, and then see the rest at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

 

 

 

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The Biology of Altruistic Suicide

Pic: Neon_JA (CC)

Pic: Neon_JA (CC)

Kanina Foss writing at the University of the Witwatersrand:

The question of why an individual would actively kill itself has been an evolutionary mystery. Death could hardly provide a fitness advantage to the dying individual. However, a new study has found that in single-celled algae, suicide benefits the organism’s relatives.

“Death can be altruistic – we showed that before – but now we know that programmed cell death benefits the organism’s relatives and not just anybody,” says Dr Pierre Durand from the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology and the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) at Wits University.

When Durand and his colleagues from the University of Arizona released the results of their first study on suicide in single-celled algae in 2011, they showed that when an organism commits suicide by digesting up its own body, it releases nutrients into the environment that can be used by other organisms.

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