Tag Archives: bacteria

Science gets cuddly

22 Apr

This knitting stuff is good for a yarn. There seems to be nothing that some creative out there has not knitted and much of it makes for wonderful teaching aids. You could spare live animals lined up for dissection in Biology 101 by using Emily Stoneking‘s models instead.

For Marine Biologists there’s individual creatures of the sea starting with plankton, especially the beautiful work done by artist Anita Bruce; moving along to nudibranchs – confetti for divers I say – as sewn by Brigette Zacharczenko, aka the Weird Bug Lady, whose flickr/deviantart set will have you swoon over huggable Daphnia, trilobytes,  weevils and silverfish, to name but a very few (the real Glaucus Atlanticus will have you believing in dragons),

moving on to squid, fish and to a whole coral reef. The HCCR or Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a project started by The Institute for Figuring (go figure) trying new ways to engage people with science and environmental issues. In this case the engagement is on the state of coral reefs and the plight of the seas.  It has satellite coral reefs in a number of Australian cities, in Cape Town, in Europe and in the USA. You might be forgiven for thinking that the H is for Hyper or Hyperbole with all this stunning creativity but the Hyperbolic comes from Mathematicians: Dr. Daina Taimina came up with the idea of crocheting hyperbolic planes; in nature these are found on the frills of nudibranchs (see a beautiful gallery at National Geographic here) to the growth patterns of a coral reef.

For the study of Human Biology there are plenty of organs, such as those found in the etsy shop of Sarah Louisa Burns,


and there’s even a Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art with a knitted brain by Karen Norberg – on the subject of brains: I came across this Brain Cap by Alana Noritake. I wonder if it could be used as a ruse during a zombie attack? While the zombie is eating the braaains (cap) you could make your getaway … –

then there are cells, genes, DNA and even molecules – something to please students of Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Knit_a_neuron Javelin's_etsy_shop

There are some knitted bacteria, but I much prefer these plushy diseases.


Bar a few cacti (and mushrooms) I could’nt find much for Botanists. There seems to be a preference for knitting a covering article for a plant. Though they do that for animals too.


Now knitted food, thats another thing altogether! You could fill whole shops and restaurants with the variety…


Systems thinking in the kitchen

10 Apr

My friends over at Lifelab Projects / Digitaal Dialoog (thanks, Darin!) sent me this link about the Philips Kitchen-of-the-future concept. Its so far up my alley, there’s been an accident! The Microbial Home by Philips Design won the prestigious reddot luminary design award 2011. Its a domestic-scale ecosystem and its aesthetically very pleasing to boot.

C_Philips_DesignThe kitchen has a number of elements of which the Bio-Digester Island below is the central hub. It has a methane digester with the appropriate bacteria to convert vegetable trimmings and bathroom waste into an energy source. You can see a gas mantle light on the crossbar.


In the description it says that the digester needs a constant supply of waste and water. I wonder to what exactly that translates for our home habits? Would that pull a change in cooking, for example, more cooking at home and/or more use of fresh foods (for appropriate waste)?

C-Philips_DesignThe island is linked to a larder, the design of which takes its geographic context into account. Above the table is a ceramic garden and larder where vegetable groups are grown and stored on the basis of their symbiotic chemistry.


The larder design draws on alternative knowledge (granny knowledge in the sense of this blog) on storing food. It has a twin-walled terra cotta evaporative cooler at its center, the compartments and chambers vary in wall thicknesses and volumes, and are designed to keep different types of food at different optimal temperatures. The outer surface of the cooler is warmed by hot water pipes, which have been pre-heated by the methane digester.


This makes me think of the Save Food from the Fridge project by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Jihyun Ryou, especially what looks like (damp) sand between the terrra cotta walls.