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I am a fan of biomimicry, but as I have posted before (here and here) and fear I likely will be forced to again (since we are, in fact, we humans, The Smartest Monkeys) I am NOT a supporter of twisting this noble practice for nefarious deeds.
I’ve unearthed from the unsavory depths of humanity’s dark underbelly the latest example of what I am calling “Biomockery”: innovations based on nature’s lessons and guidance used for ill (i.e. weaponry, poison, habitat destruction, havoc-wreaking, and general death-dealing). This one, like my previous post on the topic, comes gift-wrapped from our grinning friends in the U.S. military.
Yes, the Office of Scientific Research of the U.S. Air Force is studying bats (and birds and insects) that can fly in all kinds of difficult weather and still maintain their balance, agility, and adaptability. Why? Why else?! To mimic the characteristics of these supreme fliers in new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) – you know, flying robots the military uses to perform reconnaissance as well as attack missions.
But wait! Our fly-boys are getting help from researchers at Brown University and the University of Michigan, so they’re not going it alone. College can kill, too, you know.
My source material states: “Bats, the only mammals that can fly, have fluid wings that are nearly as dexterous as human hands. They are also able to withstand very strong wind gusts. The research teams are studying these two areas in particular…Wing flexibility will be a key component of the future UAV’s.”
Cool. Let’s copy it so we can kill some other people with different colored skin without putting our own skin at risk. Yes, I know this research and implementation may eventually trickle down to the private sector and be used for more peaceful, more mindful, more ecologically sound endeavors – and I know the military has more money than, well, God, so they get to do the research first. But, I’ve said it before and will say it again – “Scientists: please use your biomimicry powers for good!” – and if you decide not to, please don’t call it “biomimicry” – call it what it is: biomockery.
I’ve been thinking about my last post (Calling all scientists: use your biomimicry powers for good!) and have decided that when innovations based on nature’s lessons and guidance are used for ill (“ill” being weaponry, poison, habitat destruction, etc.) then it is contradictory (blasphemous?!) and flat out wrong to call it “biomimicry.”
I’ve decided to call it “biomockery.”
Now I will be on the lookout for examples of biomockery…if you see any, please let me know so they can be exposed, discussed, lamented…