A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
Seven Brilliant Examples of Nature-inspired Design (Digital Trends)
As we’ve come to realize, sometimes the best solution to a problem isn’t always the most complex, and similarly, the best answer isn’t always a new one. While humans may just be getting our feet wet (relatively speaking) with ingenuity, the animal kingdom has millennia of evolutionary trial-and-error where we can learn.
Biomimicry, as it’s called, is a method for creating solutions to human challenges by emulating designs and ideas found in nature. It’s used everywhere: buildings, vehicles, and even materials. Here are eight of the most astounding technological applications inspired by nature.
How Fish Show Who is the Boss (Gizmodo)
If you have pets, you know animals communicate in lots of different ways. One of those ways involves urinating on one another.
Well, not right on one another, since the fish are in the water. Scientists at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the University of Bern wondered whether cichlids were peeing simply because they had to, or as a means of communicating aggression. It turns out that angry cichlids let out some pee to tell one another they’re pissed. Fish literally have pissing contests.
Sustainable and Innovative Business
Australian scientists hope a drug that mimics part of a shark’s immune system may help treat an incurable lung disease. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) scars lung tissue, causing breathing to become progressively harder. It kills more than 5,000 people each year in the UK alone, according to the British Lung Foundation. Researchers hope a new drug, inspired by an antibody in the blood of sharks, can begin human trials next year. The drug, AD-114, was developed by researchers at Melbourne’s La Trobe University and biotechnology company AdAlta.
Embrace Green Building Without Breaking the Bank (Entrepreneur)
The 35 acre AltaSea campus, designed by the renowned firm, Gensler is a net-positive energy use campus, and as such will work to balance the energy consumption of its facility.
Sustainable buildings appeal to commercial tenants for reasons beyond a basic desire to help the environment. As they search for the next ideal office space to lease, entrepreneurs know to watch for verification through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.
Employees who work in buildings with LEED status are healthier, more productive and more likely to remain longer with their companies. In tandem, business owners have signaled a willingness to spend more on eco-friendly spaces — and building owners are taking note. It’s anticipated that commercial-building owners will spend $960 billion globally by the year 2023 upgrading building infrastructure to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s rigorous LEED standards.
As unconventional wind turbines go, the flapping machine introduced by Tunisian company Tyer Wind is on the far edge of quirky. Employing dual oscillating blades that mimic the figure-8 motion of the wings of a hovering hummingbird, the turbine’s relatively compact design make it a potential fit for residential use.
As one of our partners, Dr. Ballard, of the Ocean Exploration Trust frequently mentions, the great expanse of dark, deep water is still a mystery. Only 5–10 percent of the ocean has been explored in detail, but we still lack accessible data to protect and manage the marine ecosystems. In a world of accelerating change, especially when it comes to the climate, this means we are exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk. That is why Environmental Systems Research Institute, aka, Esri and the United States Geological Survey led an innovative public-private partnership to create the Ecological Marine Units (EMUs), a 3D representation of the world’s oceans.
The EMU map differs from existing maps of marine ecoregions or biogeographic realms because it is globally comprehensive, driven by quantitative data, and truly 3D. With its extensive yet detailed information about all dimensions of the ocean, including the surface and what’s beneath it, the global EMU map champions the wise use of ocean resources and the preservation of environmental resilience.
The National Zoo’s Baby Seal Is Cute and Cuddly, Don’t be Fooled (Smithsonian Magazine)
It’s a girl! A new baby seal pup was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on January 21, the latest in its successful breeding program for gray seals. January is a cold, tough month for any baby animal, which is part of the reason why gray seal pups are so large at birth. This new pup was already 37 pounds when she was first weighed on January 24. She also has a thick, warm coat of white fur.
Killer Whale Menopause (niume)
Did you know the killer whale is highly praised for the sophisticated hunting techniques and peculiar means of communication by means of vocalization? The killer whale is the marine omnipresent mammal and they are a generalized species feeding on varied, available food sources. They are considered among the most highly social animals. Among the marine animals, the killer whale has the second heaviest brain indicating the highest intelligence.
The most astonishing phenomenon the killer whale undergoes is Menopause, the condition marked by the stoppage of the reproduction. This is considered a biologically rare phenomenon. Very few species present this phenomenon – two species of the whale and humans.
Honorary Mayor Campaign (San Pedro Chamber of Commerce)
We are thrilled to announce Ann Carpenter from Braid Theory is campaigning to be the next San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Honorary Mayor in order to raise money for and awareness about AltaSea. The candidate who raises the most funds is declared the Honorary Mayor of San Pedro for the next two years at the Chamber’s Annual Luncheon in June.
Here’s where you can help AltaSea – please plan to join us for dinner at our first Honorary Mayor event at the Whale and Ale on Thursday, February 16th. Whale and Ale owner and AltaSea Community Ambassador, Andrew Silber will be donating 15% of any restaurant sale if you mention ‘AltaSea’ or ‘Ann Carpenter’ or ‘Honorary Mayor Race’ between 5:00 and 9:00pm. During your evening out, plan to dine and shop with our neighbors at the Grand Emporium – they are donating 15% of the evenings’ proceeds and at Maral Designs, who will be donating 10% of the night’s sales.
In addition, donors who contribute a minimum of $10 to AltaSea towards Ann Carpenter’s Honorary Mayor Campaign will be entered in our Treasure Chest Drawing. Each $10 donation equals one ticket, winners will be chosen randomly throughout the campaign and notified via email.