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San Diego Zoo Creates Biomimicry Incubator 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the float-like-a-butterfly-literally dept.
waderoush writes "The San Diego Zoo has built a world famous reputation as a tourist destination, for helping to rescue the California Condor, and maybe (if you're old enough) for Joan Embery's appearances with Johnny Carson. Now the zoo is using its expertise to drive innovation by establishing a new 'Centre for Bioinspiration.' While the Anglicized spelling of 'center' might seem pretentious, the zoo has a down-to-earth goal of innovating through the emerging field of biomimicry, which is exemplified by Qualcomm's Mirasol display technology (the displays generate colors using the same type of interference between light waves that causes iridescence in butterfly wings). The center includes an incubator for developing new bio-inspired products and technologies, where ideas would be advanced to a proof of concept or working model, and then licensed. The incubator also intends to help develop bio-inspired ideas from outside the zoo."
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San Diego Zoo Creates Biomimicry Incubator

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  • wtf... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:17AM (#41175869)

    While the Anglicized spelling of 'center' might seem pretentious

    You must be American to believe words can have social standing, I mean damn I guess that is why you had a war on "terror".
    I am glad I am not a word in the dictionary, sounds like a very oppressive place to be. :-/

    • Re:wtf... (Score:5, Informative)

      by norpy (1277318) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:33AM (#41175963)

      The interesting thing is that "center" is actually the anglicised version of "Centre" which is a french word used in it's original form by the UK/Australia/NZ and others.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by freetard (2718961)
        And those 'others' include all the Commonwealth countries, and former French colonies. Really, only the Americans spell it 'Center'- so they're the pretentious ones, going around making up their own 'special' version of English. Pretentious gits.
        • Exactly. Center=middle. Centre=a place or building. eg. The center of town is the home of the Town Centre mall.
      • by fm6 (162816)

        Actually, Brits spell it "centre".

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Words don't have social standing? Try saying "what the fuck" next time you go for a job interview. If you live in the UK, the way you use language is a major class signifier. I remember mentioning the movie "Educating Rita" to a British colleague, and wincing at his characterization of the title character.

      I agree that the whole concept of a "war on terror" is bogus. But that's not strictly an American thing. To quote George Orwell, "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respe

  • Do Americans really see using centre instead of center as pretentious? We see people trying to use center in a misguided attempt to be cool or latch on to US culture as kinda lame.

    • Re:Pretentious? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @04:52AM (#41176225)

      It's a bit idiotic to spell it as "centre", yes. That's not how it's spelled in the States. Do we consider it pretentious...? ... absolutely, yes. While you can get away with theatre for theater when your subject is legit theater, you'd get mocked as pretentious if your "theatre" was in reference to a street puppet show.

      But.. Centre? That's nothing but elitists trying to distance themselves from the low-brow American and aping the erudite and superior European -- neither stereotype, of course, is accurate. It is what it is, though, and pretentious Americans tend to latch on to European spellings, habits, etc etc etc, in an effort to appear more fancy and sophisticated.

      It's shallow, trite, and pointless -- and those who made the choice did so intentionally to affect an air of elegance and nobility. That's pretentious, yes.

      • by biodata (1981610)
        Maybe they aspire to make their centre international, rather than a local US center.
      • by fm6 (162816)

        Centre? That's nothing but elitists trying to distance themselves from the low-brow American and aping the erudite and superior European

        Oh gawd. Not everything is about "elitists". When you see two spellings used, it's hard to remember which one is correct for your country. Probably most people who say "centre" think that that's the correct spelling when you talk about a building as opposed to a geometrical concept.

        This is why I don't watch cable "news".

        • by Kreigaffe (765218)

          What? Um, no. Hard to remember which one is correct? Give me a break -- this is American English 101. Words don't end with -re, over a century ago they were changed to "-er". The ONLY time you'll see "centre" is on foreign-sourced and non-localized media.

          Any Americans who use "centre" over "center", excepting those who have immigrated from an English-speaking nation that uses English-English, is doing so purposefully to affect a European feel to whatever it is they're saying or labeling -- because in t

          • by fm6 (162816)

            Right, because everybody in the U.S. is so good at spelling.

            We you one of those people who claimed that Obama was an elitist because he was heard asking for Poupon mustard for his burger?

            • by Kreigaffe (765218)

              You're reaching for fucking straws. Do you think they ACCIDENTALLY misspelled center as centre? It was *absolutely* a conscious decision.

              I love how you're painting me as a right-wing whacko, though, merely because I'm not such an idiot to excuse away pretentiousness as a simple accident or misremembrance. No, asking for a type of mustard you like is not pretentious. Don't be a fucking idiot any more than you already have been.

              Calling this place a "Centre" as opposed to "Center" is pretentious. It's a U

              • by fm6 (162816)

                Maybe you're not a right wing wacko, but the way you angrily and obsessively motives into a simple spelling error is pretty wacky.

                Of course, I don't really know what's going on in other people's brains. And neither do you.

    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      "Centre" is pretentious"??

      At least it's actually a real word, if not the spelling you may prefer, unlike "Bioinspiration".

      • Er, what? Is this like a modern day "Television isn't a real word" type of deal?

        Its gotta start somewhere. In this case, I've seen "Bioinspiration" used a number of times already.

        • by 1u3hr (530656)

          Er, what? Is this like a modern day "Television isn't a real word" type of deal?

          No, it's like the old days, when words were in "books", such as "dictionaries".

          Its gotta start somewhere. In this case, I've seen "Bioinspiration" used a number of times already.

          I don't read lot of zoo press releases, so I guess I'm out of the loop on this.

          So is Google apparently [google.com]

          • No, it's like the old days, when words were in "books", such as "dictionaries".

            New words come into use all the time. How many things do we say now that has no entry in a dictionary yet? Bioengineering wasn't in dictionaries until ~1955. Before that, I suppose we had cynics like you trying to mock it since it's a newer concept? Give me a break.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:22AM (#41175901)

    while Anglicized spelling of 'center' might seem pretentious

    How is it pretentious to use correct spelling? Should they have called it the "Can I has Bioinspiration Centr, LOL"?

    • by Markizs (674865)
      Boinspraton centr, pls
    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      It would be correct if this was in the UK, or Australia. Maybe Canada, I'm actually not sure how they spell it.. but here in the States nobody spells it that way. Here, it's tire, not tyre. It's jail, not gaol. Center, not centre. Color, not colour.

      The other spellings are recognized, and not incorrect.. but not correct, either.

      But hey, I'm sure the English don't mind one bit when the English-English spelling of a word is discarded for the American English spelling of a word, right?

      • by zakkie (170306)

        American English is a fallacy. There's English, and there's wrong.

      • by freetard (2718961)
        Canada, yes. We try as much as possible to use the correct spelling of words we've stolen from other languages- it at least gives a nod to the original owners. Americans are like 'Pfft, this old word? Hell no, we made it up! Sure, it sounds just like yours, and means the same, but we totally made it up ourselves- look! It's not even spelled the same! We've got "color", "advertize", "monetize", "monopolize", "bastardize", and "center", just to mention a few! And they're spelled proper, too!'
  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:26AM (#41175919) Journal

    1. Too, many, commas;

    2. "(if you're old enough)" is redundant - we can work out our own ages and guess why we may not have heard of something;

    3. Never use the phrase "drive innovation" unless you're writing a management speak generator;

    4. British English is still spoken by far more people than American;

    5. What is the purpose of biomimicry? Don't give me an example - give me some idea of why it's useful so I want to read more;

    6. The display "generate colors" - submitter was clearly so proud of being able to insert a non-pretentious Americanised spelling that he forgot his gramma;

    7. (don't explain things in brackets like this);

    8. For "products and technologies, where ideas would be advanced to a proof of concept or working model...", see 3. Too much babble. How about "An incubator will develop proofs of concept or working models for licensing";

    9. What is "bioinspiration"?

    Why, yes, I did get out on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but that doesn't excuse this summary.

    • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:44AM (#41176003) Homepage Journal
      I'll take the trace-elements of pretentiousness and excessive punctuation allegedly within the article-summary gladly before I'll tolerate another narcissistic frothing comment from another hissing pedant of trivialities. Lighten up folks. Why not be satisfied that other slashers are trying. As if the NSA couldn't find some old POS you wrote somewhere along the path of life. And the same for anyone else too. Also, don't take this personally -- it was an opportunity to address multiple grouches at once. At least you provided what could possibly be argued as constructive criticism.

      I didn't get up on the wrong side of the bed; I just aint gotten into it yet.
      • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @03:55AM (#41176029) Journal

        The art of communication is the art of being understood.

        The art of rhetoric is the art of convincing others.

        Primary source authors can often get away with doing neither well - their readers know the field and can fill in the gaps. But the only purpose of a site like Slashdot, pointless comment threads excepted, is to effectively communicate on what is reported elsewhere.

        The same problem is apparent in Wikipedia. There are clearly many Wikipedia authors who either know the established parts of their field well or who know where to find relevant information. But it is so rare to find people who are good at presenting information. There is, alas, a modern notion that it is sufficient to merely know something but unnecessary to be able to understand and articulate your factoid. I have have never seen people more angry at me than when I ask them to explain themselves.

        • Beautifully said and even informative; but I still think the 'community' could use a little less venom and bit more positive input. The comment directly below says a lot. Not only do superfluous vilifications of the author distract from the article, many are oft no more eloquent than what they strive to belittle.
          Now on to Biomimicry?
          • Yeah, I know. Like I said, I got out on the wrong side of the bed.

            I intend to use this thread this morning to distract myself and release my inner minor irritation.

          • by 1u3hr (530656)

            . Not only do superfluous vilifications of the author distract from the article

            The author invited it with his superfluous vilification of the use of the word "Centre" right at the top of the summary, and it has had the effect of turning the enter focus of discussion away from whatever the hell "bioinspiration" is to debating the degree of pretentiousness of an inoffensive word.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          The same problem is apparent in Wikipedia. There are clearly many Wikipedia authors who either know the established parts of their field well or who know where to find relevant information. But it is so rare to find people who are good at presenting information. There is, alas, a modern notion that it is sufficient to merely know something but unnecessary to be able to understand and articulate your factoid. I have have never seen people more angry at me than when I ask them to explain themselves.

          Same goes

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by VortexCortex (1117377)

      1. Too, many, commas;

      It's comas, and yes, the article, might have caused, a few to menny.

      2. "(if you're old enough)" is redundant

      Unless you're too old to realize you're old enough, or are suffering from a recent coma...

      3. Never use the phrase "drive innovation"

      What if it's the drive you're innovating? Blanket statements are typically wrong; Never say never again.

      4. British English is still spoken by far more people than American;

      Yes, by all the pretentious people. It's quite a problem if you ask me.

      5. What is the purpose of biomimicry?

      Obviously to Mimic Life, you ignorant twit.

      6. The display "generate colors" - submitter was clearly so proud ... he forgot his gramma;

      It's grammar, and yes the submitter already remarked he was proud of being both old enough and American. Fortunously us US citizens u

      • Yes, a real response, bravo.

        What if it's the drive you're innovating?

        It's "innovation" that really gets my goat - "drive" is just yellow icing on the turd. But your suggestion would produce the most degenerate adjectival phrase. A phrase is more than a sequence of words, except in the dictionaries which try to claim otherwise.

        Obviously to Mimic Life, you ignorant twit.

        That's the meaning. I might as well have asked you, "What's the purpose of a cat?" and received the response, "To have four legs and a tail," you armpit-smelling bureaucrat.

        Fortunously us US citizens utilize our amazing organic information processing units and thus can forgive a few errors

        It's true - Americans forgive the minor errors and g

      • 8. ... Too much babble. How about "An incubator will develop proofs of concept or working models for licensing";

        Pot, meet kettle. How about, "An incubator helps gets shit started." Oh, but then we wouldn't need the sentence at all, because that IS what Incubator means!

        This is a wonderful illustration of the hamster wheel turning in a yankee brain when pushed gently. You are either more expressive than I give Americans credit for, or an observant Englishman.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      British English is still spoken by far more people than American;

      Not where this museum is located -- in America, as others have commented above.

      What is "bioinspiration"?

      That's easy enough to figure out just by dissecting the word. Bio Inspiration; e.g., inspired by biology.

      Why, yes, I did get out on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but that doesn't excuse this summary.

      I've redefined "aliterate" to mean not someone who can read but doesn't (the real meaning) to someone who reads nothing but the intern

  • I'm guessing there will be more discussion on the correct spelling of 'Centre' than the actual topic at hand...
  • by Covalent (1001277) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @06:10AM (#41176481)
    According to the next article, this apparently means that this new center won't really do anything. After reading how "buzz-wordy" the summary was, I can see why the authors feel that way. All this summary said to me was "zoo buzzword buzzword buzzword' which translates to "zoo overpriced dull ill-advised".
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      When I saw "biomimicry incubator" I thought "hey cool, an incubator more like the underside of a duck's ass, will that improve incubation times or something? Or is this the first step towards axolotl tanks?" And then I found out that they were using the word "incubator" in the stupid slangy sense, not the literal one. That's what makes it a stupid cutesy name, and thus, a stupid cutesy title for the article. It's not an incubator, it's a laboratory or maybe a think tank if you want to get traditionally cute

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Or is this the first step towards axolotl tanks?

        I see you never finished the series. The axolotl tanks turned out to be human women. As to "incubator," that's a business term, and IMO shouldn't be used on a nerd site without explanation. I mean, you wouldn't talk about pions on a business site without explaining what they were... if an MBA could actually understand the explanation in the first place. It would be like Sheldon trying to explain something to Penny.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      I'm sorry, but don't you think that your post treads dangerously close to being a bit too on-topic for this article discussion?

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