Snow Day Blog #4

I’d like to offer an alternate title to my blog. I think an equally appropriate name would be “Humanity < Termite Swarm intelligence”.  This was a note I made after watching the Ted Talk on biomimiciry, while I might have been exaggerating a little bit depending on the context of the situation looking back it’s an interesting thing to consider. In the context of my mushroom venture this week my team and I have been contacting experts in the field and asking their advice on how to best grow mushrooms because we have had some difficulty in the past and are looking to improve our process. But who is the real expert in this mushroom growing area? It isn’t a human, its the mushrooms themselves and the area they they evolved to grow in. In this most basic sense we can use nature as a model or mentor to grow mushrooms after all nature is where they are made to grow. I think if we can mimic nature in our process it should not only help the success of the project but the simplification of the process. Another aspect of our project that nature can help us model is the temperature aspect. There are many ways that all kinds of different life forms use to keep themselves warm or cold. If the mushrooms we produce need to be grown at a lower temperatures we could study the adaptations of plants and animals in hot climates keep themselves cool. On the flip side mushrooms once grown are very sensitive and we should also try and look to nature as a model to store and transport the mushrooms in the most effective way.

“Optimize rather than Maximize”

The article titled “Life’s Principles as a Framework for
Designing Successful Social Enterprises” talks about optimizing your venture rather than maximizing it. They give examples like designing a stethoscope to be affordable and rugged rather than as precise as possible. The section is about creating the most cohesive venture possible instead of simply creating the greatest output of product. In regards to my own project I interpreted this to mean don’t solely focus on outputting mushrooms think of the venture in a more holistic way. The entire process should be efficient and effective where every aspect can have a purpose and not be seen as waste. In accomplishing this and optimizing your venture the system as a whole will be better.

This idea of optimize rather than maximize is similar in meaning to the phrase “cradle to cradle”. The idea is to stop the consumer-centric model we have of ventures (cradled to grave) and do something more sustainable. This wasn’t something I thought about when thinking about mushroom production in Sierra Leone. To be honest I am more worried about getting the supplies in the first place than what happens to them after they’ve been used. However, the idea of creating something truly sustainable, zero waste, is exciting and while maybe not achievable in one semester of work it is something every venture should strive for and something I will pay more attention to throughout the process of our venture.

Interesting Alien Facts

  1. A friend approached me about the idea that gay culture is what has been keeping surrealism alive. It went dead after WWII and was kept alive in secret.
    1. This is alien to me because I barely know what surrealism is much less how it is impacted by war and the safety of the nuclear family.
  2. Someones job is Georgia (and maybe other states too) is to count butterflies because if you can prove that they are decreasing as a rapid enough rate then you can automatically make the land being surveyed a protected park.
    1. Honestly, this is such good news. I was excited to hear this because its important to keep lots of land protected in america, but I also had no idea that people wrote laws dictated by butterfly population.
  3. Another concept that I recently discovered (believe it or not) was delivery food. I suppose I have never lived anywhere urban enough to have food delivered right to your door but a few nights ago when my friends called for Chinese food and a half and hour later it showed up I discovered the magic.  I think I knew in the back of my mind from movies and TV shows that this concept existed but I had never heard of anyone I knew ever doing it so it felt unreal until I experienced it first hand.

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