Made to beat the real thing.
By digital artist Andy Thomas.
Made to beat the real thing.
By digital artist Andy Thomas.
The idea of “disembodied” meat, whether grown from trees or in the lab, has been around for at least a century – if not way longer. The medieval notion of the “vegetable lamb of Tartary”, a live sheep that sprouts from a plant, could be thought of as the great-granddaddy of “victimless” meat. However, the idea of truly in vitro meat had to wait for the invention of cell culture. No doubt French surgeon Alexis Carrell pondered taking a nibble of an immortal drumstick when he created an “immortal” chicken heart cell line in 1912.
Perhaps the earliest explicit mentions of cultured meat comes from British statesman Frederick Edwin Smith. In 1930, Smith predicted that “it will no longer be necessary to go to the extravagant length of rearing a bullock in order to eat its steak. From one ‘parent’ steak of choice tenderness it will be possible to grow as large and as juicy a steak as can be desired.” Winston Churchill famously echoed this sentiment only two years later. According to Technovelty, in vitro meat made its first appearance in fiction in 1952. Since then, sci-fi authors have described inspiring, bizarre and uncanny speculative meat futures. Click through for some of the most evocative…
Next Nature is continuing the tradition of visionary lab-grown meat speculation: Support our crowdfunding campaign for the world’s first in vitro meat cookbook!
At the end of his TED talk, tissue engineer and entrepreneur Andras Forgacs receives presumably the very first standing ovation on the TED stage for a speaker arguing that lab grown meat and leather is a civilized way to move beyond slaughtering animals for hamburgers and handbags.
Forgacs is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, a company developing novel biomaterials. These include cultured meat and leather which, as they put it, “will require no animal slaughter and much lower inputs of land, water, energy and chemicals”.
According to Forgacs, bioengineered victimless leather is a gateway towards the acceptance of bioengineering meat. Could be, yet before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat bioengineered meat, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.
Egyptian authorities detained a stork last week on suspicion of espionage, mistaking its migration tag for spying equipment. In fact the stork was innocent – like a number of other animals falsely accused over the years of undercover work.
Big Data has made it into the bird-watching world. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird app allows scientists and citizens to record sightings to a form a vast, real-time map of bird populations and species across the globe. Far from being a niche product, the app is hugely successful in the birding world: Users logged more than 5.6 million observations in May alone, with the number increasing every month.
Unlike traditional methods of tallying birds, eBird makes sharing and recording sightings with scientists easy. Its instantaneous aspect addressed the day-to-day distribution of creatures that are, by definition, highly mobile. EBird has already proven its scientific mettle: ornithologists now know that the US has two genetically distinct groups of orchard orioles, and that the population of Eastern meadowlarks is in decline, suggesting that meadow ecosystems themselves are in trouble.
Chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, Connecticut, has a cheeky solution to invasive species: he eats them. His menu regularly features lionfish and Asian shore crabs, neither of which are native to the East coast of the US. Lai’s not afraid to get his hands dirty either: watch him go snorkeling for invasive seaweed and turn it into tasty soup here. According to Lai, these seaweeds “are much more nutritious than any farmed animal flora or fauna than you could possibly buy”.
For those who “eat meat, but don’t like in-vitro meat, because it is so unnatural”. Please spend 5 min to watch this video and change your thinking.
Thanks Arnoud, Thanks Ehsan.
You’re looking at the madidi titi, also know as the Goldenpalace.com titi – the first species whose name is also an ad. Discovered in 2004, the honor of naming this new monkey was auctioned off to raise funds for the national park it calls home. Since its christening as Callicebus aureipalatii, however, there’s no evidence that the titi enjoys online gambling any more than it used it.
Image via Nova Taxa.
To explore the connection between biological and digital fabrication, the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab studied the behavior of silkworms and designed the Silk Pavilion, a machine that creates a geodesic structure with the support of 6,500 computer-guided insects. Read more »
Meet the first species named after a website. Discovered in 2004, the honor of naming this new monkey was auctioned off to raise funds for the national park it calls home. The monkey is now know as the Goldenpalace.com Titi. Yet another example of the dominance of the technosphere over the biosphere.
Since its christening as Callicebus aureipalatii, however, there’s no evidence that the titi enjoys online gambling any more than it used it.
Image via Nova Taxa.
After leaving our stomachs growling for two whole years, Professor Mark Post has announced that the world’s first in vitro hamburger is finally here. The burger, grown from 3,000 rice-sized strips of lab-grown muscle tissue, will be cooked and consumed before a London audience this Monday. The 150 gram burger cost a whopping €300,000, making it far and away the most expensive hamburger ever produced. We don’t envy the chef in charge of grilling it.
Japanese artist Aki Inomata is lending a helping hand to homeless hermit crabs. Armed with a 3D printer and a CAT-scan of actual snail shells, Inomata has created a series of surreal, gorgeous shells adorned with famous cityscapes. Though the artist’s pet crab preferred to make its home in a model of the Moroccan city Ait-Ben-Haddou, we (of course) have a soft spot for the version covered in Dutch windmills.
Via The Guardian.
3D printer company MakerBot recently launched a contest inviting designers to create the birdhouse of the future. The winner is The American Craftsman Bungalow by Brent J. Rosenburgh, a detailed 3D-printed birdhouse made in the likeness of a human home. For a ‘birdhouse of the future’, the design seems quite nostalgic. We would certainly love to live there, but would birds consider it the house of their dreams?
A gorgeously uncanny school of discus fish cluster in an aquarium, all of them captive breeds. Though there’s nothing unusual about artificially selecting animals for flamboyant or bizarre traits, it’s still compelling to see such a lovely display of manmade biodiversity. Some of these discus strains are the result of “natural” hybridization between fish from different geographic locations, while others are the result of random mutations and intense inbreeding.
Photo via Practical Fish Keeping.
Manipulations of the mind that were once the terrain of futuristic fantasy are now one step closer to becoming reality. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology successfully implanted a false memory in the brain of a mouse, an idea that is reminiscent of science-fiction movie.
Researchers were able to generate a false memory and study its neural and behavioral interactions with true memories. Read more »
For smartphone bird watchers. Peculiar image of the week. Via Nerdsraging.com.
In this peculiar image, swans float down a flooded street in Worcester, UK. A jarring sight to human observers, the swan’s blithe adoption of a new habitat illustrates the fact that most creatures don’t care about the differences between nature and culture. Via The Times.
This is the first in a series of case studies that examine the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. Why is this important? Promoting the consumption of insect, plant and in-vitro protein is an increasingly vital component of addressing global food and environmental concerns. Despite this, convincing consumers to abandon steaks and chicken nuggets remains a daunting task.
When is a Patagonia toothfish not a Patagonian toothfish? When it’s a Chilean sea bass. In the first principle of food familiarization, semantic tricks are used to place strange food in a context where it feels familiar, alluring, or healthful. In the infamous example of Dissostichus eleginoides, an ugly fish with an ugly name was rebranded as the sexy-sounding Chilean sea bass.