October 24th, 2007

Presidio

I love my school.

So, for Principles of Sustainable Management, we're currently discussing Janine Benyus and biomimicry.

Somebody brought up a company that's making wave and tidal power systems inspired by the forms of seaweeds, fan corals, and shark fins. (These designs look like they might be a good fit for the idea that's been batted around of getting power generation from the Golden Gate. Past proposals have been windmill-like -- which is a non-starter due to concerns about the blades hitting wildlife.)

From that, somebody else brought up the poorly named Sycamore Fan, which uses the helicopter-seed design, which turns out to create more airflow for less power input. I pointed out that helicopter seeds in America are mostly from maples. (ETA: The tree called "sycamore" in Europe is a variety of maple, but the American Sycamore has globe seed clusters with fluffy, slightly dandelionish seeds. They're fun to throw at walls, as they explode and send seeds flying everywhere. My family had a huge sycamore in the front yard, when I was growing up.)

The fact that one species can produce both maple syrup and helicopter seeds is, I submit to you, completely awesome.
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