Recently published as a paper from the CESAMES Conference, December 2013, Paris. I was sadly unable to attend in person, but they thought the paper interesting enough to publish, for which I am grateful.
The subject is a variation on biomimetics, or seeing what we can learn from Nature and natural systems. In particular, how natural systems are synthesized, with levels of organization at centre stage—naturally.
The paper looks, inter alia, at homeostasis in natural systems (a subject curiously overlooked in manmade systems); research showing how the brain's episodic memory may be organized; and social insect societies and the lessons they have to offer for things like overpopulation in human societies—should we care to learn!