Tag: Food Technology

gut microbiome
Anthropocene

Our Tribal Gut Bacteria Are Disappearing (And Why We’re Getting Fat)

It’s an old axe that you are what you eat, but a growing body of evidence suggests that, in terms of our gut bacteria, it’s really true. Recent research shows that the standard ‘Western’ diet high in animal fat, sugars, and refined carbohydrates fundamentally alters the bacterial ecosystem in our intestines. The bacteria that thrive in the house that McDonald’s built are not only associated with obesity, but may actually excrete waste compounds that cause obesity.

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ecological collapse of easter island
Anthropocene

A More Interesting, More Depressing Theory of Easter Island’s Downfall

Easter Island has long been used as a parable for environmental destruction: a once-mighty civilization brought low by its wanton overuse of natural resources. The islanders cut down all their trees for farming and silly stone heads, so the story goes, and reduced the paradise of Rapa Nui to a windswept grassland. However, a new theory about the collapse of Easter Island challenges this traditional assumption. It takes the blame away from humans and puts it on rats.

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Jean-Marc Cote illustration 1899 uncirculated, kitchen in 2000, published in Isaac Asimov's Futuredays 1986
Food Technology

Bizarre Retro-Futuristic Visions of Meat

Turns out that people have been concerned about the realities of meat consumption for quite a while. This is an illustration produced in 1899 by Jean-Marc Cote. The illustrations were made for a company that went out of  business before they could be circulated, but a set was discovered much later and reproduced in a book with commentary by Isaac Asimov. Cote envisioned the kitchen of the year 2000, where food is produced in a chemistry lab rather than in a traditional kitchen.

Click through to see more retro-futuristic predictions, including a miniature factory farm and fields sprouting with “fat plants” and “meat beets”.

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password screen on iphone
Augmented-Bodies

Swallow a Pill to Turn Your Body into a Living Password

More and more pieces of our daily lives are becoming password-protected. In a 2007 study, Microsoft found the average person to have 6.5 unique passwords, while by 2011, Skrill found this number to be over 10. Meanwhile, human short-term memory is only designed to remember seven unconnected pieces of information, and this number is not going up. In the face of increasingly complex rules for creating impenetrable passwords, some platforms have switched to identification via fingerprints or other intrinsic information. However, even fingerprints can be stolen. So what if your body was the password?

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