Nepenthes Bottle Greenhouse

I love plants. Both as inspiration for biomimicry and in their own right. Sometimes though, I hate them. Really hate them.


While it is a simple process (usually) to grow a cactus in a pot, or put an orchid on a coffee table, some things hate being inside, and pine away for the outdoors. They leaf drop and crisp up and are generally whiny, thankless room-mates.

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Solid foundation – This trees roots have grown into an I-beam

Biomimicry is the process of learning from nature, but what about nature evolving something we already knew?


‘The base of large trees inspired the buttresses of large buildings and cathedrals’, is a familiar, though as far as I can tell anecdotal, idea. It’s easy to see the parallels though. A large sweeping structure, supporting a tall, vertical object. When researchers began to look a little deeper though, other similarities between trees and buildings were discovered.

Continue reading Solid foundation – This trees roots have grown into an I-beam

To colonise the moon, man may go back to the caves

The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is 5 years into its mission to  “help the world develop a deeper understanding of the lunar environment” and pave the way for mans return to the moon. Maybe even in a more permanent role.

This video released last week outlines many of the discoveries made since launch in 2009, highlighting a variety of ‘hole’ structures. A number of these have been found in the dark lunar maria, ‘seas’ of ancient volcanic activity. Ranging from 5-900m diameter, they widen underground and are though to be the collapsed ceiling of lava tubes. Other pits are formed from meteorite impacts.

The suggestion of the NASA video is that these areas will be suited to prolonged human settlements as they offer protection from radiation and further meteorite impacts. Living underground has the benefit of more stable temperatures as well, though we’ve made use of that since the birth of man right here on earth.

Interestingly, LROC, the camera system mounted on the LRO, indicated in 2012 that the moon may not be entirely tectonically inert either. So anyone setting up an underground home might need to tread carefully. Still, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru would be the first to say that living in a hole in the ground out in space has its own issues…

via Topless Robot [cc]

High Fri-delity – Top 5 biomimetic robots

Biomimicry has been at the heart of robotics before the term ‘biomimicry’ was even coined. An ‘Android’ is a mechanical device made to resemble, and function like, a human. The term has been a sci-fi staple for decades, though its first appearance was in 1727.

Of course now the concept is so widely accepted that Michael bay has just started his second Transformers trilogy, and farmers in China are leaving the fields  because it’s more profitable to make giant robot sculptures out of old tractors.


The field of biomimetic animal robots is in many ways even more developed than that of  humans, and progressing all the time. While I’m continually thrilled by all this design and technology, as a generation raised on The Borg and Terminator films, I can never fully relax when researching this topic. Remember, we’re only ever one AI paradox away from the Matrix.

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Are the USA are promoting the final frontier of solar power?

It’s no big surprise that the USA are worried about energy supply. they are well-known to have among the highest energy use per capita on the planet. So they’re looking for the solution in a typically American fashion; dramatic, high-tech, and not in their country. Space Based Solar Power

In fact, not even on this planet.  This interactive infographic on space based solar power was published on the US Department of Energy website during space week.

Continue reading Are the USA are promoting the final frontier of solar power?

Clam-punching shrimp focus of new biomimicry research

The mantis shrimp,  Odontodactylus scyllarus, is a large predatory shrimp that smashes its prey to pieces. Camouflage isn’t really a strong point though.

credit Alexander Vasenin [cc]
This colorful crustacean uses its ‘dactyl club’ to break open clam shells. Probably because they don’t spot it coming. Seeing as the US army have become interested in recent biomimetic research on the material of clam shells for use as body armor, that’s a hell of a punch. Continue reading Clam-punching shrimp focus of new biomimicry research

High Fri-delity – Top 5 songs about language

I’ve been a Wierd Al fan all my life. Ever since I learnt The Saga Begins and Amish Paradise word for word and was therefore never able to remember a single line from the originals.


Now that Wierd Al is releasing his 14th, and possibly final, full album he has published a song a day in the lead up to it’s release. My favorite is definitely the Robin Thicke parody ‘Word Crimes’ (or should that be #wordcrimes? (which would be ironic (yes, this is a nested bracket (yes, that is also ironic)))).

UPDATE: Wierd Al just released Mandatory Fun,  and immediately hit the top of the charts with 104,000 sales in the US. I suspect he’ll use his new-found riches to finally move to Alberquerque.

Continue reading High Fri-delity – Top 5 songs about language

Green Building Press picks up 5 Biomimetic Buildings Story

Just found out that The Green Building Press are also promoting my story on Exploration Architecture and their 5 Biomimetic Buildings.

Click below for their piece and right here for the original.

In Search Of Buildings That Learn From Nature
In Search Of Buildings That Learn From Nature

The Green Building Press also publish The Green Building Magazine as well as curate GreenPro a sustainable building products database.

I’m constantly looking out for new stories. Think you have one? Or maybe you want me to write for you? Use my contact form here.

New technology site Factor features 5 biomimetic buildings story

The story I published last month for Friends of the Earth has been picked up by what looks like a fascinating new website called Factor, which focuses on innovation and technology stories that will make a big impact on our planet.

Click below to see their version of the story, and here to see the original.


They also have a load of other great stories on there, from electric cars that refuel as you drive to getting your own Star-Wars style speeder bike by 2017!

I’m always interested in writing more. Get in touch!

Snowpiercer – left me cold


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An engaging reality, though disapointingly a little simplistic. My hope was for something dark and gritty, with a deep sense of what had created the train and the multi-varied pressures shaping it’s inhabitants.

What in fact I found was a strong central concept, but something that felt shallow and weakly fleshed out. Bordering on a film noir-ish setting, the adventure ‘up to first class’ was suitably break neck, though the constant drum banging about ‘the first class suppressing the second and third’ wore very thin only a quarter of the way into the book.

That said, volume two promises to be ‘outside the train’, and I look forward to seeing the film, if only for the atmosphere and my own sense of closure 🙂

View all my reviews

The book of the mimicry of the living

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