Archive for the 'bio' Category

focus and context, part II-2: brain childs and their evolution

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This post is a follow-up to the last post. There is also a copy of this essay at the Azimuth project.
If you read the essay you will in particular understand that I profoundly disagree with most of the key concepts as formulated in the video by Kirby Ferguson, who also investigated intellectual property in the context of evolution.

Feb22: some additions to the essay in orange more additions eventually on Azimuth

diversity maintenance

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

“Dreimäckriges Blauquallendrachengespenst verwandelt sich in einen Kugelblitz um die ausgecyborgte, zweigebeinigte “Jeanne die Arge”, zu töten”. Artwork by Hugo Buster, acrylic paint and pencil

Just a quick link to what seems to be an interesting study about biodiversity with the title Experiment gives insight into how species maintain diversity (via In the study it was investigated how biodiversity could be maintained despite dominance. Experiments with male voles, ordered by testesterone level, were performed:

when they released just a few of the high testosterone males and lots of low testosterone males into the same area, the males once again reigned supreme with the ladies. But when they released lots of high testosterone males with lots of lots of low testosterone males, the males with the lower levels actually did better than those with the high levels, indicating that there was something clearly at play. The researchers suggest that such results came about because the high testosterone level males spent more time fighting or showing off than mating, which gave the low testosterone males more of a chance to mate.

Holograms Reveal Brain’s Inner Workings

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

“HirniKoppic”, Copic Markers on paper, by artist “nettwürg” on the occasion of the rumors about the possibility of closing the Medizinhistorisches Museum (Berlin Medical Historical Museum) of the Charité.

Using Digital Holographic Microscopy (DHM) researchers of EPFL gathered quite some interesting images from inside the brain:

->Holograms Reveal Brain’s Inner Workings.

When do we get to see brain images from image imaginations? and when can others recognize these?

plastic surgery

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Photography: Pal Lindlund

This post is like the previous post a comment to the discussion about human-machine hybrids in the recently uploaded game-scheme article.
In a passage from human to a human-machine hybrid the tolerance towards body modifications plays an important role.
There was recently an interesting interview in the english newspaper “The Guardian” wether cosmetic surgery does help or damage people.
The interview however didn’t really touch the issue of how strongly plastic surgery (and other body modifications) is influenced by cultural predispositions (which are of course often influenced by economic considerations, but not only by these). In particular it also didn’t touch upon the question in how far the design of the human outer appearance via cosmetic surgery (especially its current boom) etc. might be seen as a step in a human-machine-hybrid transition.

New economic schemes in games

Friday, March 25th, 2011

In the blogpost on the return of investments I proposed to use games for testing new economical scenarious. I currently try to make an article out of that.
In the draft I sofar have given an overview about games and roughly motivated why I think that it may be a good idea to introduce new economical schemes. In particular I talk about the limitations of this planet, design and in particular about something that I dubbed “recycling-run-away effect”.

Amongst others I also try to line out why I think that the nuclear waste problem may be a worse problem than the safety of reactors (see also the first post on Fukushima).

Comments are appreciated, here is the draft:
update (06072015) :
It currently looks as if an article format is rather not suited for the writings and findings made within the context of the game draft article. It is also still not clear wether this project will ever be finished and if in which form. You may though still find on and off some informations in this context, likethis blog post is an example.

update (06072011) : This blog post is now used as a referrer URL for the game scheme article, thus newer versions of the article and comments will be uploaded more or less regularily. Please note that this offer to our randform readers costs our private money. Since randform is currently purely financed by Tim Hoffmanns income as a math professor, we may eventually be forced to reduce or close this offer, depending on download rate, inflation, etc. Most of the content of the article is also spread on the Azimuth project like the section about the Game environment. The Azimuth updates are usually more current.

->version July 06, 2011

The most essential content article of the article was presented on July 1st at the open knowledge conference 2011 in Berlin:

Talk: “Testing new toy economies/political structures in MMOGs” at

older versions of the article:

->version May 25, 2011

->version april 26, 2011

-> New economical schemes in games, version march 25, 2011

about competition, part III

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011


around teufelsee

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

On the occasion of the current convention on biodiversity some images from a green part of Berlin, called Teufelsee (the “satanic lake”) in the district of Köpenick.


phytoplankton decline

Thursday, July 29th, 2010


In todays nature magazine there was an article about the “Global phytoplankton decline over the past century”. I have no access to the article however in an article by Markus Becker – a reporter from the german news magazine Spiegel Online – it was reported that since 1950 on average the mass of phytoplankton declined globally by 40%. Since phytoplankton are amongst others a major food source for food webs this affects e.g. the abundance of fish. Moreover phytoplankton are responsible for much of the oxygen present in the earth’s atmosphere. A main reason for the decline of phytoplankton is climate change.

-> related article on randform about oceans and climate change
->related article on randform on microorganisms and oxygen supply
-> see also here
update 30.7.10: You might also want to kick into the subject by reading
about the decline in fish occurence:
->Elizabeth Kolbert on overfishing on Azimuth
-> randform post about fish consumption and nutrition

some koi after the click

Bright Green Design

Thursday, June 24th, 2010


BerliNordik is a rather new forum for sustainable design, it is

“an international platform that brings together young talented designers from Berlin with their colleagues from the Nordic countries on the subject of sustainable design. “

The berliNordik blog informs amongst others about activities of BerliNordik. Recently BerliNordik coorganized an exhibition called “Bright green design” where I attended the opening. For the exhibition few product design objects were chosen. I actually had also sent in a proposal but unfortunately -again- it wasn’t chosen (maybe I write later about that project in product design). Below some images from the opening.

There are images from three projects in the images. One project is featuring a partially wooden bike called “Holzweg”. Here I was asking myself how good the different material components can be dissassembled. Another project is the Yellowone Needle Cap – a protective cap that turns an empty soft drink can into a safe depository for used needles, by Hân Pham. The third project is “Spot on the BUOY” by Adrian Paulsen. In this envisaged project a buoy is supplied with a paper towel for oil spills and e.g. lights so that the buoy acts as a kind of sensor for oil spills. Clearly the buoy would only be appropriate for rather “light” spills it would certainly not be addaped for the recent oil spills in the gulf of Mexico. Any paper would be totally overstrained with this spill.

(Images of the other projects from create berlin )

In the below images you can see also the discussion of jury members and organizers about “what is green design“. One key issue here was the quandary of eco-designers, which is that to a great extend the task of a designer is to communicate a product and thus in part to encourage more consumption, which is against sustainability. It is also in part the task of an eco-designer to greenwash a product. Last but not least sustainability is often in conflict with economic interests, i.e. due elaborate production methods and materials and e.g. longer durability often only small profits can be made which is a problem in our economic system. Moreover next to the demand of incorproating new green technologies, questions about certification of eco-efficiency, compliance to new standards etc. are making the design process difficult.

->Video of the opening
Interview by Lilli Green with visitors of the exhibition about “what is green design” (-> video)


Saturday, January 23rd, 2010


In an earlier randform post, the distribution of surplusses was discussed, among others it was proposed to simulate a different way of distributing surplusses in a game-like environment. There were some comments to this:
Sabrina Says:” why don’t you make a business model out of that game prototype?”
Victor Says:
“if you have these dangerous ideas to abolish banks or let them go bankrupt, this is communism!
“did you fit in all your parameters?!”

Here a reply to the comment by Victor “if you have these dangerous ideas to abolish banks or let them go bankrupt, this is communism !” :