Stiks and sharks…

This week, we started the LOLA shows and though all of the presentations were informative, a few stood out to me. The first was the one on leather and the company that makes a bionic version which is a natural leather, cultured in a laboratory but does not harm the animal.   I had not even imagined something like this could be done! The second was the Speedo company which looked at shark scales (dermal denticles) to increase a swimmer’s speed and glide in the water by replicating on the swimsuit. I thought it was especially interesting that these suits had been used at the Bejiing Olympics and then banned because it had actually worked too well! The third was the lotus effect-biomimicry in clay roofing tiles and paints which enables the materials to be self-cleaning as it repels water and eliminates the build up of dirt/debris. Lastly, the stikwood was awesome! It used reclaimed wood and natural adhesives (honeycomb) to create a wood look that is so much easier to apply, just peel and stick directly on the surface of a wall or other object! I had actually never even heard of any of the subjects presented on so I learned something from each one, as noted above, and realized that people actually do care and are trying to make a difference! Regarding the lecture from Dr. Armstrong, I thought it was interesting to see how she was raised and was surprised at how primitive it was and that people actually chose to live like that when they could’ve chosen otherwise. Although I don’t believe in other “higher beings” other than God, I did agree with some of Dr. Armstrong’s philosophies such as taking time to stop and meditate, to actually listen for what God is saying instead of always having the answers myself. I also thought it was commendable that she is so passionate about conservation and that there are so many ways to get involved, you just have to educate yourself first and she would be a good starting point with options to explore. We also discussed several TED talks within our communities, such as designing to cyclability which suggested making textiles a closed loop system which could be adopted by upcycling. This is a completely do-able option and there is no reason one should not take the time to do so. Another was designing to reduce chemical impacts which highlighted just how much pollution is caused from textile production. Adopting clothing lines that use organic cotton without harsh pestisides would be one way to assist in this process. Lastly, designs that look at models from nature and history suggested using forms that have already proven to be effective such as building with bamboo. To adopt this principle, our government would need to require builders to use a percentage of bamboo and have an effective growing system in place, in a region where bamboo could be grown and harvested to replace so much of our wood consumption.

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