“R&D = Research and Duplicate.”
Note: “nature as interface” doesn’t turn up very many results in El Goog — only one, in fact. Time to change that and own the phrase, nay? This is the new SEO, refuting the zero-sum logic of PPC competition. If you can push this meme harder, good. Do so.
“A clue to this function may be found in the circumstance that such magicians rarely dwell at the heart of their village; rather, their dwellings are commonly at the spatial periphery of the community amid the surrounding rice fields, at the edge of the forest, or among a cluster of boulders. For the magician’s intelligence is not circumscribed within the society–its place is at the edge, mediating between the human community and the larger community of beings upon which the village depends for its nourishment and sustenance.”
I’m working on a more bacterial angle. Have you seen Existenz, the Cronenberg sci-fi flick? I think that the “pods” in that film — a VERY remarkably techno-prescient #codechant invokation of iPods before they happened — anyways, that’s the future of tech to my mind. Biotech. Engineered electrical interfaces. I think there’s going to be methods of weaving permaculture, cymatic/electromagnetic effects, and geometry to create a living interface. Best of all - a living interface that can do all sorts of tricks Teh Internets are unprepared for, in addition to accessing/remixing/pre-sorting digital data.
HOW CAN WE PING THE GLOBAL MYCELIUM NETWORK?
Jensen: Can you give some examples of these partnerships?
Stamets: A familiar one is lichens, which are actually a fungus and an alga growing symbiotically together. Another is “sleepy grass”: Mesoamerican ranchers realized that when their horses ate a certain type of grass, the horses basically got stoned. When scientists studied sleepy grass, they found that it wasn’t the grass at all that was causing the horses to get stoned, but an endophytic fungus, meaning one that grows within a plant, in the stems and leaves.
Here’s another example: At Yellowstone’s hot springs and Lassen Volcanic Park, people noticed that some grasses could survive contact with scalding hot water — up to 160 degrees. Scientists cultured these grasses in a laboratory and saw a fungus growing on them. They thought it was a contaminant, so they separated the fungus from the grass cells and tried to regrow the grass. But without the fungus the grass died at around 110 degrees. So they reintroduced this fungus and regrew the grass, and once again it survived to 160 degrees. That particular fungus, of the genus Curvularia, conveyed heat tolerance to the grass. Scientists are now looking at the possibility of getting this Curvularia to convey heat tolerance to corn, rice, and wheat, so that these grasses could be grown under drought conditions or in extremely arid environments, expanding the grain-growing regions of the world.
Other researchers took a Curvularia fungus from cold storage at a culture bank and joined it with tomatoes, expecting that it would confer heat tolerance. But the tomatoes all died at 105 degrees. They discovered that the cold storage had killed a virus that wild Curvularia fungus carries within it — which was odd, since you’d think cold storage would keep the virus alive. When they reintroduced the virus back into the Curvularia cultures and then reassociated the fungus with tomato plants, the plants survived the heat. So this is a symbiosis of three organisms: a plant, a fungus, and a virus. Only together could they survive extreme conditions.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. They show the intelligence of nature, how these different entities form partnerships to the benefit of all.
Source: The Sun. Is that meta or what?
WHO IS ALREADY @ WORK IN THIS PLAYGROUND?
Even freakier than it looks, this is an art installation:
The biomass of disassociated living cells and tissues can be measured
in the thousands of tons. These fragments do not fall under current
biological or cultural classifications. The notion of the Extended
Body developed by the TC&A (Tissue Culture & Art) Project can be seen as a way to define this category of life and, at the same time, an attempt to destabilize some of the rooted perceptions of the
classification of living beings.
This is a project of SymbioticA, a very eXistenZ-pretentious and fascinating Australian team. Their more academic-restrained title is the “Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts” — and if anyone is going to be growing the Pods, it’ll probably happen in their labs first.
• Tissue Engineering
SymbioticA have built a reputation as the leading laboratory that investigates the in vitro growth and manipulation of living tissue in three dimensions. The work of The Tissue Culture & Art Project, and many other subsequent projects, guided the developments of protocols and specific techniques of tissue engineering.
The development of a life sustaining device for tissue engineered art is an area of investigation that requires expertise in diverse knowledge pools from biology, through engineering and fluid dynamics to art and display strategies. Artists in SymbioticA and scientists from the School of Anatomy and Human Biology have been researching the development of an “artistic” bioreactor for the last five years.
Then there’s the fascinating wiki project @ OPEN WETWARE. Hands-on garage bioneers and university students collaborating will lead to strange wonders, new horrors and hopefully some intelligent algae-based interfaces for data aquisition online.