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Benyus believes we may have been approaching the problem all wrong. Instead of learning about tighter-fitting windows, or the latest quicker picker-upper, maybe we should learn about organisms whose function and survival depend upon remaining dust-free in an inherently dusty environment. Maybe we need to study the eyes and nose of a camel. How do they keep the dust out in desert storms? What about roots of plants that need to absorb nutrients without clogging with dirt, or those amphibians needing to stay moist, or the insects that need to breathe through their pores? And what do leaves in dry environments do; how do they prevent dust from accumulating when they can't count on rain to wash the particles away?

Want to efficiently improve airflow in a home or building? Architects might ask a biologist how those organisms that must cool themselves by panting, moving air across a surface to evaporate moisture, do so with minimal energy expenditure. Benyus suggested that building designers consider that birds pant and cool themselves by oscillating a pouch in their chests at an easily maintained resonant frequency. Perhaps windows could include a section of flexible slats that would oscillate at a resonant frequency maintained by occasional short bursts of electricity or, better yet, by the wind or the sun's energy.

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