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Space Meat Coming to your Kitchen 854

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the future-is-now-or-something dept.
jdray writes "Australia's GizMag is running an article about the industrialization of a NASA-tested concept for artificially creating meat. The article mentions meat makers as home appliances. Carne-Matic aside, this sounds like a mixed blessing, and brings about visions of some sterile, Spandex-jumpsuit future where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy. Remember, Soylent Green is people!" You can read a curiously familiar Slashdot story from a month ago too.
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Space Meat Coming to your Kitchen

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  • by bladernr (683269) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:14AM (#13338740)
    its called SPAM
    • Not to mention that McDonald's has been using this technology for years. Mmmmm..... "All-beef" patty, "Special" sauce, lettuce (aka crunchy water), cheese?, pickles, onions, sesame seed bun....

      • Interesting parallel. Both claim to be offerring some kind of meat, but neither one really claims to offer food. :~}

      • All beef patties. (Score:3, Informative)

        by uberdave (526529)
        Of course they're All Beef Patties. They come from the All Beef company after all.
      • Not to mention that McDonald's has been using this technology for years. Mmmmm..... "All-beef" patty, "Special" sauce, lettuce (aka crunchy water), cheese?, pickles, onions, sesame seed bun....

        Just a couple nitpicks. I believe the correct spelling for a couple of those items are: "all-beaf" patties, cheeze, and sesamee seed buns. They also provide sope for the employess to wash their hands with after using the bathroom and hare nets for the foud preparers.

        • Beaf is awesome. I'm a vegetarian, and Beaf [veganessentials.com] is just about the best way to make roll your own gluten without spending a few hours in preperation. I wish McDonalds put Beaf in their burgers.

          Beaf is most fun when you pronounce it "Bee-Aff", as in, "Hey, Horace, pass me the bee-aff!".

          Also, from the perspective of someone who's a vegetarian because he doesn't want to kill animals, I suppose I'd prefer somewhat creepily grown meat to meat from dead animals.

          To reiterate, I love Beaf.
    • SPAceMeat
  • by Suburbanpride (755823) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:14AM (#13338743)
    I'm a vegetarian
    • by mikeophile (647318) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:17AM (#13338768)
      You might say this in jest, but I'd be interested in hearing what ethical vegetarians think about eating cruelty-free meat.

      • by oriole1 (908050) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:23AM (#13338847)

        "cruelty-free"???

        What about the folks who have to eat this stuff?

      • by P-Nuts (592605) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:26AM (#13338871)
        You might say this in jest, but I'd be interested in hearing what ethical vegetarians think about eating cruelty-free meat.
        As the artificial meat is technically an animal-derived product - you start with a real animal's muscle cell and replicate it - it would probably be ethically okay for vegetarians, but not for vegans. NB: IANAV
        • by Marc2k (221814) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:01AM (#13339220) Homepage Journal
          Most vegans (including myself) aren't against eating animal-derived products simply because they're derived from animals (though as a coping mechanism, you do eventually see things like a plain glass of milk or a block of cheese as pretty gross..which, if you think about it, they really are), but because of how they're derived. Good for instances include milk and eggs; in both cases, when you're mass-producing either product, it's practically inefficient to keep around very many males around, as only a few are necessary for the continuation of product, and extra animals hanging around consume a large amount of resources. I mean, milking a cow isn't intrinsically wrong, though it is weird when you think about it, but continually inseminating in animal in order to continually retrieve a product (or in this case, a raw good..either way, though) from it is pretty messed up from my POV.
          Back to those male cows though: you've got a lot of them, but you can't just kill them, that would be resource consuming in and of itself, so what do you do? You sell them off for veal. They, more often than not, have their hooves nailed to the tiny cages they'll spend the rest of their lives in, before being slaughtered for a delicacy. If I chose not to eat meat, but consumed a lot of dairy, I'd be directly funding one of the most inhumane (again, POV) parts of the industry I was personally boycotting. Male egg chicks are at least disposed of quickly, but usually not disposed of, generally just discarded, i.e. in a dumpster or elsewhere.

          So yeah, those are my main reasons for not partaking in animal products. It'd require some deep thought, but initially I'd say that yes, it is possible that I'd consume products that were derived from an animal, so long as it was humane, sterile, and non-harmful to the animal. This seems, again initally, like a pretty non-invasive procedure, and there will probably always be host animals around, hopefully ones living happy lives.

          *Note: I'm not in anyway trying to proselytize here; I'm not telling you what to do, think, eat, or say. The above information is accurate, as far as I'm concerned.
          • Stop, you're making me hungry.
          • It'd require some deep thought, but initially I'd say that yes, it is possible that I'd consume products that were derived from an animal, so long as it was humane, sterile, and non-harmful to the animal.

            I hear many ethical vegans say this, but it has always piqued my curiosity: why not choose to eat free-range, locally-raised, certified organic animal products? For example, I buy my milk from the local co-op, which acquires it from a local free-range organic farm: the cows are milked because they have giv
            • by Marc2k (221814) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @12:30PM (#13340108) Homepage Journal
              but my answer is to vote with my wallet

              I do too, and that's really my answer to your question. Milk and eggs come about as a biproduct of reproduction, and there are a heck of a lot of people, so any useful amount of milk and/or eggs has to come from a lot of reproduction going on (lots of gettin' busy). Thus, as you've mentioned, the only way to for that to be in any way sustainable is to slaughter the animals for meat. Since I started out as a vegetarian, and didn't want to support the meat industry monetarily, it was the next logical progression to become vegan. It's not something I pressure on people, though I advocate it, it's just that personally, when I was just veg, I felt like a hypocrite a lot of the time, because I was funding the meat industry semi-directly by supporting an industry that can only be sustained transitively by the meat industry.

              Also with regard to milk/cheese grossness, notice that I said it was a coping mechanism. If I were to stop being vegan today, I'd probably find both of them tasty and delicious, but since I'm choosing willfully not to consume either, it's easiest if I think about where it comes from, rather than keep thinking about what I may be missing out on.
            • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite@gmail.cSTRAWom minus berry> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @12:36PM (#13340182) Journal
              why not choose to eat free-range, locally-raised, certified organic animal products? For example, I buy my milk from the local co-op, which acquires it from a local free-range organic farm: the cows are milked because they have given birth to calves which will be raised for breeding stock (males) or replacement producers (female). When their cows are unable to safely produce offspring, they are sold for the beef.

              I once organised a forum led by an activist vegan nutritionist and a free-range organic rancher. I was hoping for some controversy and heated discussion (ah, the perversions of media), but what I got was an underlying agreement: for many vegans, it is the structure of the food system they object to, especially its depravities. The vegan actually supported the rancher in his venture, and suggested that given his carefully 'humane' techniques as the dominant method of production, only the spiritually-motivated vegans would remain.

              Vegans have developed an ideology (like any other movement) that blinds some of its purveyors. I have a friend who's devoted to it, she rescues livestock and keeps them on her property as 'farm pets' so they can live out their life as fertility producers (pigshit is good plant food). Still, it's a bit much, what are we going to do, free the cows? They can't be naturalized, just extincted by attrition according to that logic.

              I myself grew up on my grandparents' subsistence farm, and saw how old-fashioned animal husbandry is not too far from hunting-gathering in its relationship (respect) for the livestock. They had names and a 'good' domesticated life... except for the veal (hey, we're italian). I was once vegetarian due to the dissociation between slaughter and table, but now tell people that "I eat meat, but prefer to know its name first." My advice? strive for less than 10% meat in your diet, buy local from smaller family farms, make sure you know about the steps in the food chain that lead to your table... including the death of the animal.

              You must be easily grossed out.

              Others maybe, but I'm not, I like milking goats/sheep/cows and killing my own food. However, do you actually know what the pus/blood/urine/hormone/pollutant/antibiotic levels are in industrial milk? No, if you want to drink in comfort, don't ask.

          • One thing I've come to realize is that if you think about it, every single thing we eat is "pretty gross".

            Those naturally grown veggies have had all manner of bugs crawling all over them, not to mention being rained on by water containing who knows what pollutants .... and that's not even to mention what may be in the soil itself that surrounds them. Then, if you didn't just pick them yourself and fix them immediately, they've been handled by who knows who, and spent quite a while sitting in less than "cle
          • Part of living in modern society is accepting the fact that we'd rather not see how our food is processed.

            For example - I'm surprised you didn't metion hot dogs. The process is pretty disgusting but they taste pretty good so its a wash as to the disgust factor.

            Same is true of sausage. It is basically the bits of animal that you normally wouldn't use. Of course they grind it up and throw some fennel and other spices in.

            But does that stop me from eating those items on occasion? Hell no.

            I'm beyond
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:29AM (#13338913) Homepage
        You might say this in jest, but I'd be interested in hearing what ethical vegetarians think about eating cruelty-free meat.

        I for one would not eat this. It skeeves me out like you wouldn't believe. Tank-grown, faux-critter isn't on the list of things I'm likely to try.

        And, for many of us vegetarians, it's a combination of the ethics of meat combined with the fact that meat-heavy diets are held up as unhealthy overall.

        I think you'll find that for vegetarians, this stuff is a non-starter -- it's still meat. The fact that it's a lab experiment is even creepier.
        • i'll second that (Score:3, Interesting)

          by subtropolis (748348)
          There are several reasons why i'm vegetarian, and a couple of them have simply to do with how many animals are raised. Vat-meat surely avoids the cruelty of penned-up animals but the idea of meat which literally just sits there as it grows is really unappealing. If i were to eat meat, i'd prefer it to be free-range. It can only be healthier.
          • by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:42AM (#13339038)
            You mean kind of like how vegetables?
          • by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:55AM (#13339164)
            If i were to eat meat, i'd prefer it to be free-range. It can only be healthier.

            Why do you make that assumption? You have no idea what a 'free-range' cow is eating, or what diseases it had. If anything I would say it could only be less helthy. You have the knid of mentality that drives the demand for 'organic' products, even while in many cases it's impossible to know what 'organic' means; worse, even when we do know what 'organic' means we have no good idea of what is in any particular batch of 'natural' fertilizers or feeds and have little understanding of how the complex chemical mixtures in such things interact with our body when compared to the chemically simple 'artificial' fertilizers.

            Whenever I heaar people talk about this stuff I always remember a section from Neal Stephenson's book 'Zodiac.' The (environmentalist/chemist) main character's drug of choice is nitrous inhaled out of a plastic garbage bag. His reasoning is that he doesn't want to put drugs in his body that he can't draw a molecular model of. (It's been a few years since I read it - It's explained much better in the book). Anyway, it seems like a good philosophy to me. A lot of things that are 'organic' scare the crap out of me.
            • Re:i'll second that (Score:3, Informative)

              by MemeRot (80975)
              There are many health issues related to farm raised meat. Here's one: 80% of antibiotics used in America are used on livestock. Do you really want to be consuming low levels of antibiotics on a constant basis? These are a definite contributor to anti-biotic resistant strains.

              As far as organic vegetables, it's largely about the environmental impact, i.e. you don't get the huge nitrogen fertilizer run-off into the water supply. Also, you know that you're not eating genetically modified food. The genetica
          • Re:i'll second that (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SerpentMage (13390)
            Do you eat tofu, or soya? Ever see how that stuff is made? Well, I think tofu and vat grown meat probably have quite a bit in common!

            I also find it puzzling that somehow a cow ranging the field eating where they took a dump a while ago is "healthier" than a biologically steril vat growing meat!
          • Re:i'll second that (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bentcd (690786)
            . . . the idea of meat which literally just sits there as it grows is really unappealing.
            This is just a cultural meme that can easily change over the course of a generation. What different cultures think of as appetizing or revolting is so variable such a small transition as from hoof-meat to vat-meat is likely to be relatively painless. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that two generations from now, people might think in disgust of their grandparents who ate _actual_ _animals_ *yuck* :-)
            Should make
        • Well, there are vegetarians and there are vegetarians. Some eat meat because they don't want to condone (perceived) cruelty towards animals; others don't eat it because they think it's unhealthy (or at least less healthy than other food), or for religious reasons, or simply because they don't like the taste.

          Whether any given vegetarian will or will not eat this stuff (or even consider doing so) very much depends on why exactly they became a vegetarian in the first place.
        • I think you'll find that for vegetarians, this stuff is a non-starter -- it's still meat. The fact that it's a lab experiment is even creepier.

          ethical vegetarians don't eat meat because of the horrible animal suffering that's involved. i think a lot of them might give it a try if the cruelty (hell, sentience even) were taken out of the equation.

      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:17AM (#13339383)

        I'd be interested in hearing what ethical vegetarians think about eating cruelty-free meat.

        Your labels need refining. There are "ethical vegetarians" who don't eat meat because they are concerned about the unethical treatment of the animals. Most of these people have no problem eating meat raised on a traditional farm and slaughtered humanely or wild game killed in an ethical fashion. I don't see why they would have any problem eating this type of meat.

        There are people who have an ethical problem with the killing of animals that trust them, or the killing of animals who trust their slaughterers on their behalf. These people are usually willing to eat wild game, or animals raised in a way in which the animals are not taught to trust the farmers. I imagine they would have no problem eating this meat.

        There are people who have an ethical problem with the killing of higher life forms as defined at some arbitrary point. (For example some will eat fish, but no mammals.) These people most likely would not have a problem with this type of meat, although depending upon its origins some might.

        There are some people who object to the killing of any living animal. Some or those people will likely not have a problem with this meat and some will (since it does originate from an animal) but most will probably be fine with it.

        Finally there are people who believe meat is evil. These people will likely refuse to eat this meat.

        On a slightly different note, I read a study last week that said 1 in 5 high schoolers thought beef came from pigs. I don't imagine this will do anything to alleviate this educational problem.

      • by Walkiry (698192) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:27AM (#13339483) Homepage
        > You might say this in jest, but I'd be interested in hearing what ethical vegetarians think about eating cruelty-free meat.

        http://angryflower.com/vegeta.gif [angryflower.com]
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:15AM (#13338753) Homepage Journal
    For the benefit of my fellow Slashdotters, here is a place to whine about dupe articles. To wit:

    Large Scale Production of Artificial Meat
    Posted by timothy on Wed Jul 06, '05 02:27 PM
    from the vat-meat-cometh dept.
    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/07/0 6/1737228&tid=191&tid=14 [slashdot.org]

    Fraser Cain writes "Scientists at the University of Maryland think that large quantities of artificial meat (link: http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/artificial _meat_grown.html [universetoday.com]) could be produced to supply the world with animal-free meat products, like chickenless nuggets. This is based on experiments for NASA (link: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/space/03/22/fish .food/index.html [cnn.com]), that created small amounts of fish protein cultured from single cells. According to the researchers, larger quantities could be grown in thin sheets and then stacked up to create thickness. Of course, they need to figure out a way to exercise it to make it taste like regular meat."
  • GizMag (Score:5, Funny)

    by SpaceAdmiral (869318) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:16AM (#13338756) Homepage
    I guess Giz Mag doesn't mean what I thought it did.
  • by imsabbel (611519) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:16AM (#13338762)
    of the summary? If it tastes the same, i would have zero problems with artificial meat.
    I dont actually enjoy having animals slaughtered just for fun.
  • by ralph_the_wonder_lla (582153) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:18AM (#13338779) Homepage
    "Looks like meat, tastes like meat, I'll bet there isn't any meat in here. Doubleplusgood!" - 1984
  • w00t! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:18AM (#13338782)
    In the future, I see no more grissle or stringy bits of fat etc. Cheapest meat will taste like the best eye fillet you can buy, and nothing had to die.
    • Re:w00t! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@nOspAm.ian-x.com> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:27AM (#13338886) Homepage
      Yes, just like artificial sweeteners taste like the finest quality cane sugar or honey. Truly an age of marvels we live in.
      • Re:w00t! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xugumad (39311) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:44AM (#13339062)
        That's because they're something which is meant to be like sugar, but are explicitely not sugar. Unless I'm missing something here, this should be like real meat, except without any of the complexity of having to be an animal. I think the biggest risk is that it will lack variety...
    • Re:w00t! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dpilot (134227)
      Even if it were possible, it would never happen. You've neglected the emerging field of "Meat-oid IP". Big Companies and their lawyers will patent or copyright or whatever the best cuts of meat, and charge all the market will bear for them. In order to avoid the IP of the big companies, small companies will add extra elements like pseudo-gristle, imitation blood vessels, and ersatz stringy fat, all so they can make "cheap" meat that's more complex and more expensive to make than the "expensive" meat.

      Take a
  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:18AM (#13338787) Homepage
    Carne-Matic aside, this sounds like a mixed blessing, and brings about visions of some sterile, Spandex-jumpsuit future where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy.

    It's truly sickening to me the lengths that people go these days to ruin their eating experiences. Too many restaurants refuse to cook meat anything under "medium" - hell I'll sign a waiver to eat a burger medium rare! Too many people crinkle their nose unless you cook their meat to shoe leather and someone even asked me if I should be rushed to the hospital because my steak was "too pink".

    All the fears in the world about animal borne disease (avian flu, mad cow disease, etc) have spawned even more "illness psychos" who are obsessed with the latest in 99.9% bacteria free soaps, hand lotions, and air filters. We are breeding a population of individuals that are more susceptible to illness than ever before!

    Eat that fucking natural meat and cook it rare. When you are making some hamburger, wad up a ball, add some pepper and salt and eat it. I've done it since I was a kid and never had any ill effects.

    I am beginning to enjoy food less and less (especially out here in the Midwest where they have no tastebuds) and bullshit like this will only make it worse. Sadly, people will love it... See, no bacteria - especially when I cook it till it's charcoal.

    Blah.
    • Damn dude, that's fucking nasty. Seriously.

      Why not just walk up to a cow and take a bite out of their shoulder? It amounts to the same thing.

      Man invented fire for a reason.
      • by Ced_Ex (789138) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:39AM (#13339008)
        Man invented fire for a reason.

        On that note, man invented water because he was thirsty.

        Makes sense?
      • Our tastes have dictate that we cook meat; texture, flavor and temperature are enhanced by many of our tried and trued cooking methods. We have come to like cooked foods better, but not because raw (or rare) meats will kill you. The current problem that the grandparent post complains about doesn't have to do with cooking the meat, but cooking the bacteria on the meat and the parasites in the meat. Meats are now overcooked (to the tastes of some) to make sure that we are not being served bacteria.

        Where

    • by Washizu (220337) <bengarvey.comcast@net> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:43AM (#13339059) Homepage
      "Too many restaurants refuse to cook meat anything under "medium""

      Any place will cook your steak rare. It's safe to eat rare steaks because there isn't any bacteria inside the meat. It's on the outside, and that gets cooked.

      Ground beef isn't safe to eat rare because bacteria is all over it and must be cooked off.

      • It's safe to eat rare steaks because there isn't any bacteria inside the meat. It's on the outside, and that gets cooked.

        Sorry but this just isn't true.

        Meat can surely contain bacteria or the likes. Especially wild animals are likely to be infected or be inhabitet by parasites. Though, i guess that most of the meat being sold is probably more likely to be harmless.
    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:44AM (#13339068)
      Eat that fucking natural meat and cook it rare. When you are making some hamburger, wad up a ball, add some pepper and salt and eat it. I've done it since I was a kid and never had any ill effects.

      100% of the people I've talked to who have played Russian roulette have never had any ill effects either.

    • Well, burgers are different from steaks. Steaks can be cooked medium, because diseases tend to reside on the outside of the meat. Burgers, on the other hand, have had the outsides jumbled into the interior. Plus, because of longer shipping distances due to factory farming, meat is often less fresh than it used to be. As such, diseases have more time to fester.

      So really, making a medium-rare burger is a lot more risk than you may think. Personally, I think if you want something like that, I'd go for a s
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:19AM (#13338790)
    ...is brought to you by Soylent red and Soylent yellow, high energy vegetable concentrates, and new, delicious, Soylent green. The miracle food of high-energy plankton gathered from the oceans of the world.
  • by KingPrad (518495) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:21AM (#13338826)
    "The article mentions meat makers as home appliances. Carne-Matic aside, this sounds like a mixed blessing, and brings about visions of some sterile, Spandex-jumpsuit future where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy."

    Yeah, because I know all my home appliances are controlled by the government. I get a Toaster Use Coupon every Tuesday in the mail so I can use the toaster 3 times a week between the hours of 4-6 PM. Thank god for the central authority.

    I don't see what the problem is. If the meat tastes like meat and has roughly the same protein and calorie content but costs much less then this can only be a good thing, right? Maybe we won't need to raise millions of cows just for meat production and we can change some of the food crop over to something more useful like grains.

    I just don't understand how being able to synthesize food in every home in America means there would suddenly be a shortage of non-synthesized food, strictly controlled by the government.
    • by dustmite (667870) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:41AM (#13339035)

      I don't see what the problem is. If the meat tastes like meat and has roughly the same protein and calorie content but costs much less then this can only be a good thing, right?

      Because it won't taste like meat. It'll taste "something like meat, but not quite as good". Like soya-based 'meat' products. It'll taste just a little more mediocre, more bland, and more 'homogenised' than the real thing. You may not care, but many people already think modern packaged foods (and society in general) has become too bland, mediocre and homogenous, and this is just another step towards the ultimate bland, generic society. (Maybe. Maybe not. Probably.) Of course, the first generation to grow up on the stuff will just think that's normal.

      I just don't understand how being able to synthesize food in every home in America means there would suddenly be a shortage of non-synthesized food

      Because industrial agriculture requires economies of scale to work effectively. If the majority of people mostly eat synthesized food, modern large-scale agriculture will collapse. (Of course, it's debatable as to whether or not this is good or bad in itself, because industrial agriculture is not sustainable anyway.)

      • flavor (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Luyseyal (3154)
        The nice thing about lab meat is you can have such a wide variety of styles and flavors built in from the factory floor. You can have beer massaged Kobe beef at a fraction of the price. You can have built in italian, bbq, greek, etc. seasoning. All this and more for a fraction of the cost.

        Hell, I eat meat and I still prefer good veggie burgers to meat ones due to the lack of flavor in the vast majority of meat burgers and the amount of time it takes to make one. I can spend 20 minutes making the perfect Mex
  • by SB9876 (723368) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:23AM (#13338838)
    Opposed to what, a sterile, buisness-suited present where food production is controlled by large corporations who are more concerned about the bottom line than the welfare of either the customers or the animals used to make the food?

    Decentralized 'meat' production where there's no suffering involved, the risk of dangerous bacterial contamination from slaughterhouse processing is gone, the consumer has moer direct control over what antibiotics and hormones, if any, go into their meat is such an Orwellian idea.

    Since when did it become required in /. that every submitter comment try and pass off a technological innovation as being Orwellian/reckless/sinister with some sort of boneheaded Luddite comment?
  • I'm curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:23AM (#13338842) Homepage
    Where exactly did you get the idea that the meat you were eating now was somehow natural?
  • why the distopia? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RayBender (525745) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:24AM (#13338854) Homepage
    this sounds like a mixed blessing, and brings about visions of some sterile, Spandex-jumpsuit future where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy

    Jeez, lighten up. There are plenty of technologically-induced distopias to worry about. This one ranks near the bottom of the list. First of all, food is pretty much already controlled by a central authority (ADM anyone?). Besides, have you ever been inside an abattoir, or within 5 miles of an industrial hog farm? The idea of eating meat without killing cows (and mad cow disease!) seems pretty good to me.

    If you absolutely must freak about technology, worry about what happens when your health insurance company can do genetic screening on you. The go watch GATTACA.

  • Wait... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eric S. Smith (162) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:24AM (#13338863) Homepage
    where food production is controlled by some central authority

    Unless you grow it yourself, this is already effectively the case, isn't it? If you're not making a deliberate effort to the contrary, the bulk of the food you eat is likely to come from large operations and national chains.

  • by millennial (830897) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:28AM (#13338889) Journal
    SPACE MEAT!
    Well, it all started in 1962... Utilizing advances in modern food synthesis, scientists at NASA began work on a germ hostile space meat to be used into long expeditions in deep space! Only recently has their hard work paid off. As even more advances in the field of space meat have been made and applied to what is now known as operation meat. Seeing this as a way to end their streak of being sued by angry costumers poisoned by their burgers, the Mac Meaties corporation decided to try this miraculous space meat. Not having access to that technology, we make ours out of napkins.
  • by Erwos (553607) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:28AM (#13338894)
    A Muslim co-worker and I (I'm an Orthodox Jew, for reference) had a brief discussion of whether you could actually eat artificial pork. I'm _reasonably sure_ that under halakha, you could - meat is really defined as something that comes off an animal, and whatever this stuff is, if it doesn't come off an animal, it wouldn't have the halakhic status of meat. He also agreed that Shaaria would _probably_ not have an issue with it, either.

    I think the ideological implications are more interesting (fake bacon is one thing, but this...), but those aren't really of any concern on /., methinks.

    -Erwos
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Funny)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:31AM (#13338927)
    They've been serving this stuff in school lunch rooms across the nation for decades! Usually covered with cold greasy brown gravy.
  • Manwich (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kpansky (577361) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:31AM (#13338928)
    Excellent. Maybe now we can use some of those stem cells to create man meat. It wouldn't even be cannabalism because stem cells aren't people. Yummy.
  • by uberjoe (726765) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:34AM (#13338957)
    Can I use my Super Bass-O-Matic 76?
  • by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@joe-b[ ]win.net ['ald' in gap]> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:37AM (#13338983) Homepage Journal
    brings about visions of some sterile, Spandex-jumpsuit future where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy. Remember, Soylent Green is people!

    And I thought Slashdot's unlimited, completely baseless paranoia had reached its pinnacle :\
  • by doconnor (134648) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:45AM (#13339078) Homepage
    There are substantial environment benefits to making meat and other foods in the lab. Farming causes more environment distruction then any other industry. While some industries pollute the land, the damage can be reduced with better technology.

    Farming converts vast tracts onto a monoculture completely replacing the natural environment. North America used to have vast amounts of grasslands and millions of Bison. Now the whole area is covered with farms and people are only dimly aware that there was ever anything else there before.

    Most species are made extinct by habitat distruction and most habitat distruction is mostly caused by farming.
    • Environmental reconstruction is not the biggest problem with farming.. it's the pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's), which are virtually unregulated and dump all the feces from hundreds of thousands of animals into lagoons 30 feet deep and 3 square football fields in area... I believe Al Franken summarizes it well in his chapter "vast lagoons of pig feces".

      Of course.. we need to keep a substantial number of livestock animals alive in case of problems later on concrerning this meat
    • There are substantial environment benefits to making meat and other foods in the lab.

      You're just swapping one set of problems for another. If you are growing food in the lab, you now have to deal with contamination, you have to use aseptic procedures, disposable equipment, chemical sterlization agents etc. Unless what you really want to sell is a huge E. Coli or S. aureus or fungal colony...but anyone can do THAT...who wants to eat it tho? Ewww.

      The mere fact that
  • by elgatozorbas (783538) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:47AM (#13339101)
    Why exactly is this terrifying?
  • Geez. (Score:3, Informative)

    by eigerface (526490) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:48AM (#13339115)
    You can read a curiously familiar Slashdot story from a month ago too.

    I thought that was your sig.

  • by The Wicked Priest (632846) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:27AM (#13339487)
    with Jdray. "Sterile", or humane? And home appliances would of course be much less centralized than the current system. But more importantly, artificial meat could be one key to a sustainable future.

    A lot of people have moral qualms about killing animals for food, and their numbers are growing. I think this growth may, ironically, be correlated with increasing urbanization: as fewer people are involved in the process of raising -- and butchering -- farm animals, there's less desensitization to it. Urbanites experience animals most often as pets, rather than as servants or foodstock. Of course, most of these people still eat meat -- but even that is a less visceral experience than it used to be, with undifferentiated meat prodcuts like hamburger and chicken "nuggets" making up a large portion of what's consumed. So, although it's become easier for the average person to avoid confronting the realities of the slaughterhouse, it makes more of an impact when they finally do.

    I think these changes are all to the good. I'm not (yet) a vegetarian myself, but I gotta admit, I'm sympathetic. And if artificial meat makes the switch easier, I think that's wonderful.

    There's an even deeper problem with (natural) meat, though -- one which I even believe could, in combination with the spread of vegetarianism, lead to its complete abandonment within the next century. The problem is the cost. Not simply the monetary cost, which is an imperfect reflection of the true cost; but the fact that meat is incredibly inefficient. You can feed grain to cattle, and then feed the cattle to people; or you can feed grain directly to people. Skipping the cattle step lets you feed several times as many people. The price of meat already reflects this, to some extent, and it's only going to go up. But one of the largely uncounted costs is deforestation, as more and more land is cleared to create grazing grounds for larger and larger herds. This is a major factor in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, with very far-reaching consequences. We haven't paid much of that cost, yet -- but one way or another, we will. The sooner we can replace those herds with artificial meat, the less the blow will be.
  • by rdewalt (13105) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:53AM (#13339714) Homepage
    Sure, if it looks like meat, tastes like meat, and if my body doesn't know the difference, I'll give it a shot.

    However, having grown up on a dairy and beef farm, there is nothing more satisfying than a good slab of heated cow flesh.

    I'm an omnivore, have always been. I hate plants as well as animals.

    There was a militant vegan in my office. Ignoring her leather shoes and so on, she used to scoff me for my lunch. Smirkingly and smarmingly eating a banana like she was -superior- to me. "You know. Cows are superior to Bananas." "Impossible!" "Sure. After I'm done eating -MY- lunch, -I- can wear the peel."

    Unlike her, I've -seen- cows in person. I grew up on a farm. I -know- just how mind numbingly stupid cows are. I mean, they're nearly as dumb as your average member of $political_party. I mean, the cow's -ONLY- saving grace, is that they are tasty. (Mind you, I'm not of the faith that considers cows to be sacred.)

    I eat steak, chicken, fish, you name it. If its the flesh of a formerly living creature, there's a good chance I'd consider it food. Make it as rare as safe. I want to -taste- the meat. Steak Sauce? Sure, but -only- if I really, really f'ed up the cooking. She? Strictly Vegan, has been most of her life.

    I take practically no sick leave from work. If I'm out sick, people are surprised, and wonder about me when I return. Her? She was out sick constantly. Anyone so much as wrote 'Germs' on a post-it, and she had a three day cold.

    I'd like to think that -maybe- my diet contributed to a more formidable immune system.
  • by randomErr (172078) <ervin DOT kosch AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#13339736) Homepage Journal
    I haven't seen anyone talk about this yet, but this will open up a much bigger can of worms then most people think. Examples:

    * Monkey Meat - People will no longer have the taboo associated with eat Chimm Chimm.
    * Cannibals - Someone with phrack one of these units and take a human muscle sample (your own, a friend, a famous person, ect.) so they can indulge in eating human flesh.
    * Faked Identities - take someone's DNA, grow it, and use it in an examine.
    * Faked Deaths - take your own DNA, grow it, and put it into a house fire.
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @12:06PM (#13339849) Homepage Journal
    Whether you believe it or not, you are being poisoned. It may or may not be intentional, and I don't care if it is or isn't. But the fact of the matter is that the food production chain in most western nations is destroying the health of the consumers. There are a high number of chemicals that have found their way into the food supply due to their inexpensive provision of preservative, aesthetic and texture properties. Many of these chemicals may be the underlying cause of various chronic illnesses that are becoming epidemics in the western world. But we will never know because to compound the problem we are also being overmedicated.

    One of the worst ingredients that has found it's way into too much of the food supply is white processed sugar. One can of soft drink can contain up to 14 tablespoons of sugar in it. Sugar also has some light preservative qualities and tends to make everything taste better. In small quantities, sugar is mildly harmful. But at the rate that we ingest sugar, it is downright dangerous. Don't believe me? Next time you are at the grocery, pick up most prepared foods and look at the ingredients. You'll find that sugar or high fructose corn syrup is in nearly everything. It's a bit frightening especially since I had a personal health issue that no doctor could solve until I cut food with sugar out of my diet. Compounded with the medications that doctors tried to give me to cure my sinus infections, I continued to get more and more ill rather than get better. But once I stopped taking the antibiotics and the prevacid and dumped white sugar, white rice, white flour, corn syrup and honey ouf of my diet, my various illnesses went away. It's been about three years now and my health is better than ever.

    So now I read this story about "space meat" and it makes me cringe. I can only imagine what kinds of horrible effects this artificial food stuff is going to have on some people. (remember even if one person gets sick because of a chemical reaction it's one person too many) I have this feeling that if this becomes standard "food" for anyone they will need a whole slew of drugs to combat various ill effects caused by this new toxin. I don't call that living, I call it chemical bondage. Why can't we just start to work on improving organic farming???
  • by Ranger (1783) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @12:34PM (#13340154) Homepage
    where food production is controlled by some central authority, and real, hoof-grown meat is a rare delicacy.

    Since when is dog meat hoof-grown?

    Speaking of space meat, have you read Terry Bisson's excellent short story"They're Made Out of Meat"? [terrybisson.com]

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