If I could reveal anything that is hidden from us, at least in modern cultures, it would be to reveal something that we’ve forgotten, that we used to know as well as we knew our own names. And that is that we live in a competent universe, that we are part of a brilliant planet, and that we are surrounded by genius. Biomimicry is a new discipline that tries to learn from those geniuses, and take advice from them, design advice. That’s where I live, and it’s my university as well. I’m surrounded by genius. I cannot help but remember the organisms and the ecosystems that know how to live here gracefully on this planet. This is what I would tell you to remember if you ever forget this again. Remember this. This is what happens every year. This is what keeps its promise. While we’re doing bailouts, this is what happened. Spring. Imagine designing spring. Imagine that orchestration. You think TED is hard to organize. (Laughter) Right? Imagine, and if you haven’t done this in a while, do. Imagine the timing, the coordination, all without top-down laws, or policies, or climate change protocols. This happens every year. There is lots of showing off. There is lots of love in the air. There’s lots of grand openings. And the organisms, I promise you, have all of their priorities in order. I have this neighbor that keeps me in touch with this, because he’s living, usually on his back, looking up at those grasses. And one time he came up to me — he was about seven or eight years old — he came up to me. And there was a wasp’s nest that I had let grow in my yard, right outside my door. And most people knock them down when they’re small. But it was fascinating to me, because I was looking at this sort of fine Italian end papers. And he came up to me and he knocked. He would come every day with something to show me. And like, knock like a woodpecker on my door until I opened it up. And he asked me how I had made the house for those wasps, because he had never seen one this big. And I told him, “You know, Cody, the wasps actually made that.” And we looked at it together. And I could see why he thought, you know — it was so beautifully done. It was so architectural. It was so precise. But it occurred to me, how in his small life had he already believed the myth that if something was that well done, that we must have done it. How did he not know — it’s what we’ve all forgotten — that we’re not the first ones to build. We’re not the first ones to process cellulose. We’re not the first ones to make paper. We’re not the first ones to try to optimize packing space, or to waterproof, or to try to heat and cool a structure. We’re not the first ones to build houses for our young. What’s happening now, in this field called biomimicry, is that people are beginning to remember that organisms, other organisms, the rest of the natural world, are doing things very similar to what we need to do. But in fact they are doing them in a way that have allowed them to live gracefully on this planet for billions of years. So these people, biomimics, are nature’s apprentices. And they’re focusing on function. What I’d like to do is show you a few of the things that they’re learning. They have asked themselves, “What if, every time I started to invent something, I asked, ‘How would nature solve this?'” And here is what they’re learning. This is an amazing picture from a Czech photographer named Jack Hedley. This is a story about an engineer at J.R. West. They’re the people who make the bullet train. It was called the bullet train because it was rounded in front, but every time it went into a tunnel it would build up a pressure wave, and then it would create like a sonic boom when it exited. So the engineer’s boss said, “Find a way to quiet this train.” He happened to be a birder. He went to the equivalent of an Audubon Society meeting. And he studied — there was a film about king fishers. And he thought to himself, “They go from one density of medium, the air, into another density of medium, water, without a splash. Look at this picture. Without a splash, so they can see the fish. And he thought, “What if we do this?” Quieted the train. Made it go 10 percent faster on 15 percent less electricity. How does nature repel bacteria? We’re not the first ones to have to protect ourselves from some bacteria. Turns out that — this is a Galapagos Shark. It has no bacteria on its surface, no fouling on its surface, no barnacles. And it’s not because it goes fast. It actually basks. It’s a slow-moving shark. So how does it keep its body free of bacteria build-up? It doesn’t do it with a chemical. It does it, it turns out, with the same denticles that you had on Speedo bathing suits, that broke all those records in the Olympics, but it’s a particular kind of pattern. And that pattern, the architecture of that pattern on its skin denticles keep bacteria from being able to land and adhere. There is a company called Sharklet Technologies that’s now putting this on the surfaces in hospitals to keep bacteria from landing, which is better than dousing it with anti-bacterials or harsh cleansers that many, many organisms are now becoming drug resistant. Hospital-acquired infections are now killing more people every year in the United States than die from AIDS or cancer or car accidents combined — about 100,000. This is a little critter that’s in the Namibian desert. It has no fresh water that it’s able to drink, but it drinks water out of fog. It’s got bumps on the back of its wing covers. And those bumps act like a magnet for water. They have water-loving tips, and waxy sides. And the fog comes in and it builds up on the tips. And it goes down the sides and goes into the critter’s mouth. There is actually a scientist here at Oxford who studied this, Andrew Parker. And now kinetic and architectural firms like Grimshaw are starting to look at this as a way of coating buildings so that they gather water from the fog. 10 times better than our fog-catching nets. CO2 as a building block. Organisms don’t think of CO2 as a poison. Plants and organisms that make shells, coral, think of it as a building block. There is now a cement manufacturing company starting in the United States called Calera. They’ve borrowed the recipe from the coral reef, and they’re using CO2 as a building block in cement, in concrete. Instead of — cement usually emits a ton of CO2 for every ton of cement. Now it’s reversing that equation, and actually sequestering half a ton of CO2 thanks to the recipe from the coral. None of these are using the organisms. They’re really only using the blueprints or the recipes from the organisms. How does nature gather the sun’s energy? This is a new kind of solar cell that’s based on how a leaf works. It’s self-assembling. It can be put down on any substrate whatsoever. It’s extremely inexpensive and rechargeable every five years. It’s actually a company a company that I’m involved in called OneSun, with Paul Hawken. There are many many ways that nature filters water that takes salt out of water. We take water and push it against a membrane. And then we wonder why the membrane clogs and why it takes so much electricity. Nature does something much more elegant. And it’s in every cell. Every red blood cell of your body right now has these hourglass-shaped pores called aquaporins. They actually export water molecules through. It’s kind of a forward osmosis. They export water molecules through, and leave solutes on the other side. A company called Aquaporin is starting to make desalination membranes mimicking this technology. Trees and bones are constantly reforming themselves along lines of stress. This algorithm has been put into a software program that’s now being used to make bridges lightweight, to make building beams lightweight. Actually G.M. Opel used it to create that skeleton you see, in what’s called their bionic car. It lightweighted that skeleton using a minimum amount of material, as an organism must, for the maximum amount of strength. This beetle, unlike this chip bag here, this beetle uses one material, chitin. And it finds many many ways to put many functions into it. It’s waterproof. It’s strong and resilient. It’s breathable. It creates color through structure. Whereas that chip bag has about seven layers to do all of those things. One of our major inventions that we need to be able to do to come even close to what these organisms can do is to find a way to minimize the amount of material, the kind of material we use, and to add design to it. We use five polymers in the natural world to do everything that you see. In our world we use about 350 polymers to make all this. Nature is nano. Nanotechnology, nanoparticles, you hear a lot of worry about this. Loose nanoparticles. What is really interesting to me is that not many people have been asking, “How can we consult nature about how to make nanotechnology safe?” Nature has been doing that for a long time. Embedding nanoparticles in a material for instance, always. In fact, sulfur-reducing bacteria, as part of their synthesis, they will emit, as a byproduct, nanoparticles into the water. But then right after that, they emit a protein that actually gathers and aggregates those nanoparticles so that they fall out of solution. Energy use. Organisms sip energy, because they have to work or barter for every single bit that they get. And one of the largest fields right now, in the world of energy grids, you hear about the smart grid. One of the largest consultants are the social insects. Swarm technology. There is a company called Regen. They are looking at how ants and bees find their food and their flowers in the most effective way as a whole hive. And they’re having appliances in your home talk to one another through that algorithm, and determine how to minimize peak power use. There’s a group of scientists in Cornell that are making what they call a synthetic tree, because they are saying, “There is no pump at the bottom of a tree.” It’s capillary action and transpiration pulls water up, a drop at a time, pulling it, releasing it from a leaf and pulling it up through the roots. And they’re creating — you can think of it as a kind of wallpaper. They’re thinking about putting it on the insides of buildings to move water up without pumps. Amazon electric eel — incredibly endangered, some of these species — create 600 volts of electricity with the chemicals that are in your body. Even more interesting to me is that 600 volts doesn’t fry it. You know we use PVC, and we sheath wires with PVC for insulation. These organisms, how are they insulating against their own electric charge? These are some questions that we’ve yet to ask. Here’s a wind turbine manufacturer that went to a whale. Humpback whale has scalloped edges on its flippers. And those scalloped edges play with flow in such a way that is reduces drag by 32 percent. These wind turbines can rotate in incredibly slow windspeeds, as a result. MIT just has a new radio chip that uses far less power than our chips. And it’s based on the cochlear of your ear, able to pick up internet, wireless, television signals and radio signals, in the same chip. Finally, on an ecosystem scale. At Biomimicry Guild, which is my consulting company, we work with HOK Architects. We’re looking at building whole cities in their planning department. And what we’re saying is that, shouldn’t our cities do at least as well, in terms of ecosystem services, as the native systems that they replace? So we’re creating something called Ecological Performance Standards that hold cities to this higher bar. The question is — biomimicry is an incredibly powerful way to innovate. The question I would ask is, “What’s worth solving?” If you haven’t seen this, it’s pretty amazing. Dr. Adam Neiman. This is a depiction of all of the water on Earth in relation to the volume of the Earth — all the ice, all the fresh water, all the sea water — and all the atmosphere that we can breathe, in relation to the volume of the Earth. And inside those balls life, over 3.8 billion years, has made a lush, livable place for us. And we are in a long, long line of organisms to come to this planet and ask ourselves, “How can we live here gracefully over the long haul?” How can we do what life has learned to do? Which is to create conditions conducive to life. Now in order to do this, the design challenge of our century, I think, we need a way to remind ourselves of those geniuses, and to somehow meet them again. One of the big ideas, one of the big projects I’ve been honored to work on is a new website. And I would encourage you all to please go to it. It’s called AskNature.org. And what we’re trying to do, in a TEDesque way, is to organize all biological information by design and engineering function. And we’re working with EOL, Encyclopedia of Life, Ed Wilson’s TED wish. And he’s gathering all biological information on one website. And the scientists who are contributing to EOL are answering a question, “What can we learn from this organism?” And that information will go into AskNature.org. And hopefully, any inventor, anywhere in the world, will be able, in the moment of creation, to type in, “How does nature remove salt from water?” And up will come mangroves, and sea turtles and your own kidneys. And we’ll begin to be able to do as Cody does, and actually be in touch with these incredible models, these elders that have been here far, far longer than we have. And hopefully, with their help, we’ll learn how to live on this Earth, and on this home that is ours, but not ours alone. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action
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100 thoughts on “Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action

  • August 7, 2009 at 4:05 am
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    The Wright brothers were successful because they didn't mimic birds in their transfer of power to the air. They did use principles of lift that birds use to get off the ground. Before the brothers the attempts to create flight involved a flapping motion, or lighter than air devices such as balloons.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 4:08 am
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    Good question. The only thing I can criticize is it comes off a bit faith based. Yes nature has done a lot and it is a good idea to learn from nature, but she is presenting it kind of like a religion. Just because it is natural does not make it good, right, moral, or even better. What does it mean to have cities provide the same level of ecosystem services? That is not the function of a city. This common notion that natural is better just because it is natural is not valid.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 4:12 am
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    How incredibly cool. The upcoming videogame 'Brink' also mentions the coral cement.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 5:28 am
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    Things that don't exist can't be authorities.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 5:35 am
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    Yes because big cities do a hell of a lot more good for the environment than say forests. -_-

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  • August 7, 2009 at 5:36 am
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    OK, i checked it. All Pictures belong to MB.

    Hm….. why is my previous comment to you not displayed?

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  • August 7, 2009 at 5:54 am
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    Yes… we can't stand for any scientist coming off sounding faith-based. How can anyone look at nature and deny an intelligent designer? I think it takes FAR more faith to think something as complex as DNA somehow formed on its own.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 6:31 am
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    Yeah, but she sounds like she is coming from an unproven axiom that "natural is best". As a scientist, that kind of flaw turns me off when the proposition is somewhat based on that axiom. We can learn from nature, but to say we should mimic nature BECAUSE it is natural is weak. She is not even strongly saying that, it just kind of sounds that way.

    Kind of like someone arguing intelligent design, but then saying it has nothing to do with religion.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 6:35 am
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    If you say the intelligent designer is evolution, like many do, then i understand. As for a god-like designer, what evidence is there of it?
    We actually have some understanding to how a primitive DNA structure could come about.
    Scientists do not use faith.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 6:43 am
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    Well, nature is subject to evolution. And evolution is always set on making everything in nature just perfect at what it does. I think shes only saying we should look to nature to give us easy answers. We dont have to mimic all of it. Just the stuff that we find useful. And not because its natural, because it works.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 7:03 am
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    i don't like the speaker she keeps sounding like she's in bliss

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  • August 7, 2009 at 7:03 am
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    5*'s Brilliant Presentation.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 7:39 am
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    This is not an intelligent design freak, don't worry guys. Get to around 3:45 if you want the scientific questions and answers. What she is saying is fantastic, what better efficient design is there than nature itself. She shows examples of how creatures survive with such minimal resources and how we can copy that.

    We have all the resources in the world at our finger tips, some of the things stopping us from doing the right thing is greed and ignorance.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 9:28 am
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    uh no……just because nature is complex you instantly attribute it to "Him"……have you look at the sky at night? you see those twinkling lights? most of them are stars much like our sun which may have planets like earth….why would the designer be our "God"…that is the height of human arrogance. That belief is so local….so…earthly…compared to the vastness of space and immensity of time.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 9:32 am
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    well if you wanna reveal something we USED TO KNOW….that would be THE MANY USES OF CANNABIS….from making ropes….to sails…PAPER…to the brilliant ideas it generated….to the MEDICINE it was used for….also FOOD, SHELTER *houses* and the CLOTHES we used to wear…most people forgot about that…and sad thing is they don't teach this in schools…education….FAIL!

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  • August 7, 2009 at 9:37 am
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    I see what you're doing… coming from the teleological argument with a bunch of unfounded assertions.

    First that there is a design, second that nature is a being, third that there is such a thing as perfection, fourth that if there is a designer that it is male, and fifth that this design works well.

    I'm sure I left a couple out but those were the ones that came to the top of my head.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 10:42 am
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    Wow, it's really incredible to imagine where technology will eventually lead when considering all the things we could learn from nonhuman life.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 10:59 am
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    with a user name like that, one can only expect great insight

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  • August 7, 2009 at 11:22 am
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    I love my planet!

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  • August 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm
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    I don't see any meat in this, science by definition comes from the observation of nature, technology comes from science.

    The only thing you need to turn observation into technology is for someone to make the connection, but those people are rare.

    How many people saw the lid rattling on a boiling pot before James Watts came along and thought – "I can use that to make a steam engine".

    The flip side of this is once someone like James pointsout the connection, it seems obvious to everyone.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 1:49 pm
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    what if greed and ignorance are hardwired to our genes?
    – then altruism & compassion must be hardwired as well.

    how to behave, it's up to us.

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  • August 7, 2009 at 9:35 pm
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    a lot of studies and experiments find what makes us so different from chips is that we work together and we dont just care about ourselves. we understand what benifits one can help the whole group aswell.

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  • August 8, 2009 at 3:16 am
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    Actually her talk is about how nature, over millions of years has found the optimal designs (in most cases, not all) through evolutionary algorithms that allow for increasingly complex and intricate designs where at first everything was clunky and through successive generations and mutations bad designs were weeded out and better ones kept. That we are still at that "clunky design" phase and could do well to use those same algorithms to our advantage.

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  • August 8, 2009 at 3:22 am
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    But this universe isn't balanced, in fact the matter in it is non-uniformly distributed, and this universe isn't perfect, I have occasional back pain because my back isn't built to handle the constant stress of walking upright, and I get headaches from sinuses that are malformed and prone to weather changes, oh and I'm fat because my body retains calories believing that it might not have a next meal.

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  • August 8, 2009 at 3:53 am
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    Axiom is a logic term, and I deal with proof. But why she sounds that way specifically (other then the the talk of brilliants and design) is that she defines Biomimicry partly as 'sustainable'. That is one of those organic feel good terms that has nothing to do with an efficient design. Second is that she supports a group that says 'cities [should] provide the same level of ecosystem services'. as (I presume) a non-developed area. Cities are good for the environment as is(see Charter Cities)

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  • August 8, 2009 at 5:48 am
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    "The URL contained a malformed video ID."

    But i know this Car. My original comment (that did not post?) was that GM/O had indeed a similar project. At first i thougt it yielded a very similar car but as it turns out i was misstaken. They only use it for the internal structure.

    the drag on the Elise is not suprising as it needs downforce to keep its feather wight on the road. Another exaple of high drag coefficient (cd) is the Corvette C6

    Stock cd: 0.28
    Z06 cd: 0.31
    ZR cd: 0.34

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  • August 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm
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    This presentation warms my heart.. it seems there might be a future for us on this planet after all.

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  • August 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm
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    If you Google for the exact phrase "How does nature remove salt from water", you actually get zero results.

    🙁

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  • August 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm
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    Indeed, the Flying Spagetti Monster has designed the universe very well.
    Let us pray to him right now.

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  • August 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm
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    That "Opal" car she was talking about, there's a vid showing how the program works.
    Pretty interesting stuff.

    (skip over the 17 second ad at the start)
    watch?v=kTUlyYWNgFQ

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  • August 8, 2009 at 8:34 pm
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    Nice commercials at the end.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 1:43 am
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    She fails horribly with anthropomorphism. Then makes a bunch of assumptions.
    Its a cool presentation otherwise but basically she's assuming people haven't allways done this or that we haven't recently aquired the technology to do it. In the end her point is kinda moot, relabeling things after the fact.
    She mentions antibacterials, how is the dicovery of penicillum (and all the subsequent antibiotics based on it) not biomimicry?

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  • August 9, 2009 at 4:03 am
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    old idea. VERY old idea.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 4:37 am
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    An old idea but a good one. Great overview of some new products I look forward to seeing, good video.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 4:46 am
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    Actually one already 😉

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  • August 9, 2009 at 4:52 am
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    Obviously this is an old idea. I think Janine's, point was just to spread some awareness, and to get people thinking and talking. Which clearly has worked.

    I enjoyed most the information on actual projects under taken with private capital. Theres no better way to creat change

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  • August 9, 2009 at 5:02 am
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    Intellectual property is theft!

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  • August 9, 2009 at 6:54 am
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    must take google a little while to collect the result, coz i'm still seeing zero.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm
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    that was brilliant. I knew we had looked at birds for flight and sharks for hydrodynamics but I didn't appreciate just how much nature had to offer.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 3:09 am
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    Here is GM/O's thing:

    watch?v=kTUlyYWNgFQ

    thanks go to to roidroid

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  • August 10, 2009 at 6:38 am
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    Nope, not a fan of Bruce Lipton, don't know him. So you're saying that our everyday decisions are affected by our genes that are dominantly activated? Interesting… I thought it was simply a matter of choice. So does that mean that we are not in control of our actions but our dominant genes are?

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  • August 10, 2009 at 6:39 am
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    "what we need to do is use our collective intelligence to find ways that allow us to alter our gene switches"
    – So you're saying that to be able to not be controlled by our genes is we need to find a way to "tweak" it so that we can act on favorable outcomes? Interesting.

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  • August 13, 2009 at 7:53 am
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    i totally disagree. by saying we cant control our behaviours is to question the very essense that sets us apart from other animals.

    ALL behavioural traits can be induced or supressed by concious will. physical traits of course are determined by genetics. but behaviour is not. even if you are predisposed to be shy, for example, u can voluntarily choose not to.

    it is via technology that we overcome pysical barriers. and it is via our minds that we overcome behavioural barriers.

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  • August 13, 2009 at 8:35 am
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    "9 times out of 10 the ingrained pattern will win"

    neurons that fire together wire together. the next time you try to overcome ur physiological predispositions you be will be more and more successful until ur have 'conditioned' urself to react in a way that you willfully choose to.

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  • August 14, 2009 at 8:20 am
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    making just one [conscious] decision to change a deeply ingrained pattern IS considered an effective strategy for creating behavioral change.

    by being able to change ur pattern of behaviour you have proven that tought and concious will can overpower any genetic predispositions

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  • August 14, 2009 at 8:25 am
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    actually, science was first concieved as a way of proving that the world is so complex that only god could have created it.

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  • August 14, 2009 at 8:32 am
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    lol exactly. CONCIOUSNESS IS GOD!!!!!

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  • August 14, 2009 at 9:00 am
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    I agree, once again.

    if thought can control emotions you are essentially controlling gene expression. and if thought can control gene expression i think it would be safe to say that the only limit to what one can experience psychologically and physically is linked to the richness of functional genes in ones genome. imagine wut unexperienced emotions and abilitys lie out there in combinations of nucleotides we have not yet experienced!

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  • August 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm
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    ok there genius. y dont u emperically define conciousness for me then?

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  • August 23, 2009 at 3:54 am
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    YES! nominate Jacque Fresco! He would be a brilliant presenter!

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  • September 6, 2009 at 4:56 am
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    Interesting talk but I don't like the speaker. It's not a miracle that the electric eel doesn't fry itself with 600V because volts aren't electric flow. She didn't mention the current because it's probably an underwhemling number.

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  • September 17, 2009 at 12:20 am
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    Wow, way to complain about humans being human. Well Done!!

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  • September 30, 2009 at 10:07 pm
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    yea…they kill way too much time…

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  • October 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm
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    "I live here."

    hahahahaha

    I disagree with you, but you made me laugh really hard. It takes quite a lot to inspire the average Joe to take an interest in science and that personal touch is usually what sells it.

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  • January 4, 2010 at 8:11 pm
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    Dude, could you explain the concept of heaven and hell??? i just can help but see that as little sadistic. Not a very brilliant idea from a supreme being…more like something old aged human beings created.

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  • February 4, 2010 at 9:26 am
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    I AM SO LOVING THIS!

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  • March 27, 2010 at 1:31 am
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    found this by accident, loved it! found the two websites she mentions, gonna devour them later.

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  • July 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm
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    flower at 2:18 looks like a vagina ;D

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  • August 2, 2010 at 7:32 am
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    their new 7 series looks like a Volvo s class 🙂

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  • September 2, 2010 at 7:39 am
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    Excellent. Thanks for the wisdom.

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  • September 13, 2010 at 1:41 am
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    Brilliant

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  • January 11, 2011 at 4:58 am
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    Within every cell of all of life, there exists an interactive receiver/transmitter system, with quantum characteristics which has the capability of interpreting the encoded signature which is transmitted from sources that have only been realized by some as of late.

    The medium used to send and receive information between all of life on the planet and the sentient design system is earth’s magnetic field and through varying frequencies which stimulates oxygen molecules

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  • January 26, 2011 at 10:02 am
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    Hell to the yeah. Permaculture design + biomimicry = the future

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  • February 10, 2011 at 8:26 am
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    what is the difference between the terms "biomimicry" and "biomimetics"?

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  • March 11, 2011 at 8:24 am
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    @Hypergalactica I like how self depricating you are but this is the conclusion billions of our ancestors have come to in one way or another since forever! As an atheist I want to remind you that simple things can produce complexity given enourmous lengths of time but as an environmental, psychedelic type I also want to say something profound about how nature's pattern intelligence IS the genius, Gaia, metamind you allude to but I seem to have run out of characters and blown it… Drats.

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  • June 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm
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    cool stuff

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  • December 21, 2011 at 6:10 am
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    Inspiring… and I'm not very easily inspired anymore; I was made dull and complacent and learned taking everything for granted, growing up. But for the last couple of years I've been trying to unlearn the misinformation, lies and blindness!

    Thanks to inspirational people like her – Janine Benyus – and others, for instance Carl Sagan, I've been re-learning how to appreciate all this wonder that is our existence! It's easy to notice just the ugliness, but to see the beauty… is spectacular!

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  • January 31, 2012 at 7:58 pm
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    Very powerful lecture.I agree that we must go return back to mama,mama nature…..

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  • February 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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    How Janine Benyus is not yet considered for a Nobel Prize is beyond me.

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  • September 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm
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    20 times more effective than existing fog moisture collection nets ? are they really so effective ? if they are… can such be made locally, rather low tech, from available materials ?

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  • April 14, 2013 at 6:42 am
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    anyone got the website she recommended at the end of the talk?

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  • May 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm
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    Actually the inventor of the Lily Impeller Jay Harman would be a worthy presenter too!

    Jay Harman is know for his *patents* that are helping to define biomimicry based on the SHAPE of MOVEMENT

    /watch?v=B5ccTOPfHvI

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  • May 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm
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    coincidence noted in Genesis 1:28
    In the beginning … of the universe science has noted the following:

    128 is the INVERSE of the OLD fine structure constant which is the signature of the universe.
    WHAT IF I suggest you go to China and visit the VERTICAL 128 meter spring temple Buddha.

    However 137 is the current INVERSE of the NEW fine structure constant that science has identified.
    137 is more recent.

    Now WHAT IF I suggest that in your mind go visit the HORIZONTAL 137 meter Noah's Ark!

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  • May 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm
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    @5:51 we see an image of the kingfisher breaking the density barrier without a splash so it can see….

    that particular image of the Kingfisher reminds me of the well known middle ages sketch of the 'dove' a.k.a. the Holy Spirit diving into the Grail cup … 😉

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  • May 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm
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    @11:07 "Nature is Nano"

    reminder to the readers, go to

    Ask Nature DOT org

    namaste

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  • March 18, 2014 at 6:46 am
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    whats that little bug called??

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  • August 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm
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    I wonder if I can still use the organism without infringing on someone's patent of natural process on earth.

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  • September 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm
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    pls, move the mic further from your mouth…

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  • August 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm
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    We are surrounded by genius… we are geniuses, who have forgotten about it. Love for the idea of biomimicry…

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  • October 4, 2015 at 5:30 am
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  • October 11, 2015 at 8:19 am
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    messi gimu–lee

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  • March 10, 2016 at 8:34 am
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    I love this!

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  • March 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm
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    This presentation raises a lot of philosophical questions/issues.

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  • April 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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    Intelligent, incredible design doesn't happen by accident.

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  • July 9, 2016 at 3:00 am
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    Hello!!!!! The designer is God!

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  • October 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm
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    All in nature is about optimization.

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  • April 19, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    I am a physicist turned farmer. Janine, you are incredible. I see in my farm miracles in every tiny bit of Nature. I feel with you. Would like to hear more from you . I would also like to invite you to India to my Centre, Renewable Energy Centre, Mithradham for your vacation. (www.mithradham.org). I will be privileged to take care of your food and accommodation during your stay here, if you accept my invitation.

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  • October 3, 2017 at 11:12 pm
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    00:11
    If I could reveal anything that is hidden from us, at least in modern cultures, it would be to reveal something that we've forgotten, that we used to know as well as we knew our own names. And that is that we live in a competent universe, that we are part of a brilliant planet, and that we are surrounded by genius.

    00:42
    Biomimicry is a new discipline that tries to learn from those geniuses, and take advice from them, design advice. That's where I live, and it's my university as well. I'm surrounded by genius. I cannot help but remember the organisms and the ecosystems that know how to live here gracefully on this planet. This is what I would tell you to remember if you ever forget this again. Remember this. This is what happens every year. This is what keeps its promise. While we're doing bailouts, this is what happened. Spring.

    01:30
    Imagine designing spring. Imagine that orchestration. You think TED is hard to organize. (Laughter) Right? Imagine, and if you haven't done this in a while, do. Imagine the timing, the coordination, all without top-down laws, or policies, or climate change protocols. This happens every year. There is lots of showing off. There is lots of love in the air. There's lots of grand openings. And the organisms, I promise you, have all of their priorities in order.

    02:20
    I have this neighbor that keeps me in touch with this, because he's living, usually on his back, looking up at those grasses. And one time he came up to me — he was about seven or eight years old — he came up to me. And there was a wasp's nest that I had let grow in my yard, right outside my door. And most people knock them down when they're small. But it was fascinating to me, because I was looking at this sort of fine Italian end papers. And he came up to me and he knocked. He would come every day with something to show me. And like, knock like a woodpecker on my door until I opened it up. And he asked me how I had made the house for those wasps, because he had never seen one this big. And I told him, "You know, Cody, the wasps actually made that." And we looked at it together. And I could see why he thought, you know — it was so beautifully done. It was so architectural. It was so precise.

    03:25
    But it occurred to me, how in his small life had he already believed the myth that if something was that well done, that we must have done it. How did he not know — it's what we've all forgotten — that we're not the first ones to build. We're not the first ones to process cellulose. We're not the first ones to make paper. We're not the first ones to try to optimize packing space, or to waterproof, or to try to heat and cool a structure. We're not the first ones to build houses for our young.

    04:05
    What's happening now, in this field called biomimicry, is that people are beginning to remember that organisms, other organisms, the rest of the natural world, are doing things very similar to what we need to do. But in fact they are doing them in a way that have allowed them to live gracefully on this planet for billions of years. So these people, biomimics, are nature's apprentices. And they're focusing on function. What I'd like to do is show you a few of the things that they're learning. They have asked themselves, "What if, every time I started to invent something, I asked, 'How would nature solve this?'"

    04:51
    And here is what they're learning. This is an amazing picture from a Czech photographer named Jack Hedley. This is a story about an engineer at J.R. West. They're the people who make the bullet train. It was called the bullet train because it was rounded in front, but every time it went into a tunnel it would build up a pressure wave, and then it would create like a sonic boom when it exited. So the engineer's boss said, "Find a way to quiet this train."

    05:17
    He happened to be a birder. He went to the equivalent of an Audubon Society meeting. And he studied — there was a film about king fishers. And he thought to himself, "They go from one density of medium, the air, into another density of medium, water, without a splash. Look at this picture. Without a splash, so they can see the fish. And he thought, "What if we do this?" Quieted the train. Made it go 10 percent faster on 15 percent less electricity.

    05:48
    How does nature repel bacteria? We're not the first ones to have to protect ourselves from some bacteria. Turns out that — this is a Galapagos Shark. It has no bacteria on its surface, no fouling on its surface, no barnacles. And it's not because it goes fast. It actually basks. It's a slow-moving shark. So how does it keep its body free of bacteria build-up? It doesn't do it with a chemical. It does it, it turns out, with the same denticles that you had on Speedo bathing suits, that broke all those records in the Olympics,

    06:22
    but it's a particular kind of pattern. And that pattern, the architecture of that pattern on its skin denticles keep bacteria from being able to land and adhere. There is a company called Sharklet Technologies that's now putting this on the surfaces in hospitals to keep bacteria from landing, which is better than dousing it with anti-bacterials or harsh cleansers that many, many organisms are now becoming drug resistant. Hospital-acquired infections are now killing more people every year in the United States than die from AIDS or cancer or car accidents combined — about 100,000.

    07:04
    This is a little critter that's in the Namibian desert. It has no fresh water that it's able to drink, but it drinks water out of fog. It's got bumps on the back of its wing covers. And those bumps act like a magnet for water. They have water-loving tips, and waxy sides. And the fog comes in and it builds up on the tips. And it goes down the sides and goes into the critter's mouth. There is actually a scientist here at Oxford who studied this, Andrew Parker. And now kinetic and architectural firms like Grimshaw are starting to look at this as a way of coating buildings so that they gather water from the fog. 10 times better than our fog-catching nets.

    07:49
    CO2 as a building block. Organisms don't think of CO2 as a poison. Plants and organisms that make shells, coral, think of it as a building block. There is now a cement manufacturing company starting in the United States called Calera. They've borrowed the recipe from the coral reef, and they're using CO2 as a building block in cement, in concrete. Instead of — cement usually emits a ton of CO2 for every ton of cement. Now it's reversing that equation, and actually sequestering half a ton of CO2 thanks to the recipe from the coral.

    08:25
    None of these are using the organisms. They're really only using the blueprints or the recipes from the organisms. How does nature gather the sun's energy? This is a new kind of solar cell that's based on how a leaf works. It's self-assembling. It can be put down on any substrate whatsoever. It's extremely inexpensive and rechargeable every five years. It's actually a company a company that I'm involved in called OneSun, with Paul Hawken.

    08:53
    There are many many ways that nature filters water that takes salt out of water. We take water and push it against a membrane. And then we wonder why the membrane clogs and why it takes so much electricity. Nature does something much more elegant. And it's in every cell. Every red blood cell of your body right now has these hourglass-shaped pores called aquaporins. They actually export water molecules through. It's kind of a forward osmosis. They export water molecules through, and leave solutes on the other side. A company called Aquaporin is starting to make desalination membranes mimicking this technology.

    09:35
    Trees and bones are constantly reforming themselves along lines of stress. This algorithm has been put into a software program that's now being used to make bridges lightweight, to make building beams lightweight. Actually G.M. Opel used it to create that skeleton you see, in what's called their bionic car. It lightweighted that skeleton using a minimum amount of material, as an organism must, for the maximum amount of strength.

    10:10
    This beetle, unlike this chip bag here, this beetle uses one material, chitin. And it finds many many ways to put many functions into it. It's waterproof. It's strong and resilient. It's breathable. It creates color through structure. Whereas that chip bag has about seven layers to do all of those things. One of our major inventions that we need to be able to do to come even close to what these organisms can do is to find a way to minimize the amount of material, the kind of material we use, and to add design to it. We use five polymers in the natural world to do everything that you see. In our world we use about 350 polymers to make all this.

    11:03
    Nature is nano. Nanotechnology, nanoparticles, you hear a lot of worry about this. Loose nanoparticles. What is really interesting to me is that not many people have been asking, "How can we consult nature about how to make nanotechnology safe?" Nature has been doing that for a long time. Embedding nanoparticles in a material for instance, always. In fact, sulfur-reducing bacteria, as part of their synthesis, they will emit, as a byproduct, nanoparticles into the water. But then right after that, they emit a protein that actually gathers and aggregates those nanoparticles so that they fall out of solution.

    11:47
    Energy use. Organisms sip energy, because they have to work or barter for every single bit that they get. And one of the largest fields right now, in the world of energy grids, you hear about the smart grid. One of the largest consultants are the social insects. Swarm technology. There is a company called Regen. They are looking at how ants and bees find their food and their flowers in the most effective way as a whole hive. And they're having appliances in your home talk to one another through that algorithm, and determine how to minimize

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  • February 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm
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    MY TEACHER DID NOT GIVE THE RIGHT LINK TO THIS. SORRY A DISLIKE FORM ME.

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  • February 26, 2018 at 11:37 pm
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    My teacher didn’t give me the right link to this, therefore, I disliked this video

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  • February 28, 2018 at 6:27 am
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    Non flammable

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  • March 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm
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    Best Ted talk ever

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  • April 19, 2018 at 4:02 am
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    How we are amazed by the design of our universe
    But the real question is how it designed !
    It's great to understand our world and how it's works
    But to refer to the system as a person that builds it'self is what not quit understandable !?

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  • July 5, 2018 at 6:07 am
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    Medical advances seem to come almost exclusively from nature: penicillin from mold, myriad medications from neuro, hemo and enterotoxins from snakes, snails, spiders, plants… it’s a m a z I n g. The natural world has all answers and that’s why we need to stop destroying it!

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  • October 3, 2018 at 9:55 am
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    I love you

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  • December 1, 2018 at 1:52 am
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    The website she mentions is https://asknature.org/

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  • August 19, 2019 at 10:47 pm
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    if you type "benyus" in the youtube search this is the first result

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  • October 18, 2019 at 10:45 pm
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    Humans must know their limitations for them to fit in

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  • October 19, 2019 at 1:46 am
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    A wonderful presentation

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