Benjamin Acosta, '23
I would be remiss to write in D.C. in 2021 on the inspirational wonders of earth’s fauna without recalling the cicada. While they did seem rather sedentary and pathetic at times, cicadas are not genetically lacking. Nanopillars coat the wings’ surface, rows and rows of spikes so small that gram-negative bacteria get caught on them and stretch until they pop.
The wing surfaces are also highly hydrophobic. Water condensing onto the wings accumulates until the droplets are large enough that they just repel off of the wing and jumpity jump into the air. Dirt and other particles can be carried along, making a cicada’s wing a self-cleaning, antibiotic shield.
Scientists have replicated this molecular ingenuity in various surfaces, such as bacteria-resistant artificial corneas, as cicada genes pave the way for cleaner hospital materials.
His life drains quickly, and the solution is feet away… Just hang on a couple days, they say, we have to process the blood, it’s all the type AB we have. He fades out.
Hospitals normally freeze blood in organic solvents that prevent ice crystallization at 1:1 ratio. It takes a while to extract the solvent from the blood to ready for use, which just does not meet the needs of dying patients. Additionally, this method can only store the blood for about a month!
Antarctic fish, how do you do it?
Good question, we have the answer in our blood.
Oh, that’s cool.
Voila, that’s how scientists figured out how to prevent frozen blood from crystallizing while having the blood ready to go upon thawing. Pretty cool, eh?
Frankly, whales are not fish. Nonetheless, it was Frank Fish who realized and calculated that, counterintuitively, the bumps known as tubercles on the front edge of humpback whale flippers actually give the mammals more control and efficiency in their swimming endeavors. Normally, angling fins too steeply reduces the amount of water flowing over the fin, causing stall, which would lose the whale a lot of lift. But these tubercles distribute pressure to allow a gradual stall, giving whales a far greater capacity for angling downwards.
His mind prompted, Fish began to think about what else could use this interesting modification. What about… wind turbines! It turns out, adding tubercles can easily double the productivity of wind turbines, especially at lower wind speeds.
And, of course, Hyperspace
The technology of our dreams. Even before 1977, when George Lucas revealed to the world the existence of ancient hyperspace technology in a distant galaxy, Kepler and Einstein and countless others mused on the speed of light and travelling at such speeds. Wouldn’t it be just splendid if we could travel across the Milky Way in a matter of hours? (Yes, that would require velocities significantly higher than lightspeed, or the ability to enter another dimension of space.) Maybe we would find Ewoks =D
Little known fact: Hyperspace travel was not a humanoid invention.
While our planet’s whales have cool adaptations to enable greater agility in the water, elsewhere exist whales that have (objectively) cooler adaptations to enable greater agility in—you guessed it—hyperspace. Let me introduce you to my favorite animal: the purrgil.
(just Google it, also, see main photo)
Indeed! It was these four-tentacled purple and yellow giants that inspired people to follow them into the blue-tunnel dimension and settle or interact with the countless planets of their galaxy.
There’s a word for when someone uses someone else for their own benefit without looking after that someone else’s well-being: slavery. Kingdom Animalia has so much diversity to offer, and humans have always taken its members for themselves, enslaving them for our own technological advancement, from work animals like oxen, horses, and mules to the canaries in the coal mines, to the countless mice whose lives have been gruesomely deprived as injections and pills degraded their bodies to the point of death.
And what have we given them? The least these animals could ask for is the health of their homelands, for their families’ sakes, but through industries fueled by their sacrifices we heat the atmospheres and overturn the ecosystems that have long balanced hundreds of thousands of species. We burn their world, and ours, as we innovate from their inspiration.
I hope that it is evident that furthermore, melting the ice caps and deforestation equates to purging our richest library of beautiful creatures and engineering blueprints. Not just those discussed above, but thousands of others, and not just animals, but countless plants, and fungi, and protists, and bacteria! Who would want to throw away such creative genius? And look at that! Doubly efficient wind turbines! Looking to animals can be both an emotional and practical inspiration for reverting the damages we have caused. And as seen, other animals have more to offer medically than their bodies for testing.
That is to say, if we care for our cohabitants of Earth, we care for ourselves (not that that should be our sole motive for caring). Before we choke on our own emissions, let us say, as Ezra Bridger did to the purrgil before they saved his life, “Help me… We want to help you. Let us help you.” If we work with them and help each other we can live. Let our technological advancements and our daily lives be based on the needs of the natural world that is falling apart around us rather than what is profitably destructive.
But, if worst comes to worst, let’s just hope that the purrgil drop by, and we’ll find a fresh planet to slowly destroy.
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