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Survive 3

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Ant Paramedics

The ants, officially called Megaponera, often get hurt hunting termites — their sole source of food — because termites fight back ferociously, often inflicting serious damage on their attackers. But the ants have a special skill for healing their wounded comrades: They can detect when an injury is infected and treat it with antimicrobials they make themselves. “They have a very sophisticated system of coping with dangerous and sometimes deadly infections with remarkable efficacy,” says Erik Frank, a scientist at the University of Würzburg, citing a nearly 90 percent cure rate among the ants. “We can learn a lot from these tiny creatures.

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Nature's Designers

Effective innovations to slash aerospace emissions is a topic constantly flying around sustainability discussions. With the hottest days ever (note: this has been updated to the hottest year) marking 2023 and double the number of commercial aircrafts in service predicted by 2042 (up to 48,600), we need bold solutions beyond electric air taxis and greener fuels. Now, with the help of an impressive motley crew—slime mold, human bones, generative design, improved materials and 3D printing—an unexpected solution for a better aircraft not only exists. It’s out of the lab and in the skies. The reason experts are turning to slime mold and bone is a convincing one: nature-based algorithms are capable of designs that traditional approaches can’t come close to. Slime mold’s algorithm gets rid of unnecessary material while bones remove heft where strength isn’t necessary.

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Evapotranspiration Toilet

changeWATER Labs has developed a new way to dispose of human waste by evaporating out the water. These low-cost, portable toilets use a simple membrane to rapidly evaporate 95% of sewage without using any type of energy. This provides homes with a working toilet, without the need for power or plumbing. The compact, contained, stand-alone units can be dropped into any space quickly, and the ‘self-flushing’ technology works while being completely waterless and environmentally safe. This technology emerged from work done for NASA on wastewater recycling on the International Space Station and is now being deployed in off-grid rural and refugee communities.

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