Tag: Manufactured Animals

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Manufactured Animals

Delivery Drones Are Coming

Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos certainly thinks so. In a 60 Minutes interview, he announced that Amazon wants to use octocopters to deliver your order within a half hour at any location you choose.

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Image via breakingcopy.com
Biomimicmarketing

How Much is a Polar Bear Worth?

About $420,000, if you ask Canada. According to a report commissioned by the Canadian government, its citizens would be willing to pay $6.3 billion dollars per year to ensure that the white creatures continue to wander their vast arctic home. That’s about $500 per household, and with around 15,000 polar bears in Canada today, it equates to about $420,000 per bear. Look at the numbers a little closer, though, and you may notice that the direct benefits associated with the bears (mostly tourism and hunting) add up to a statistically insignificant $9 million per year, meaning that nearly all of the value of polar bears (at least to Canada) is qualitative, or something along the lines of “we just like them.” But why?

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give birth to an endangered species
Anthropocene

Hate Babies? Why Not Give Birth to an Endangered Species?

The world is polluted, overcrowded, and in economic trouble. Why bring a baby into this mess? If your mothering instinct is still too strong to resist the lure of pregnancy, artist Ai Hase-Gawa has a solution: give birth to an endangered species. Rather than creating another human in a world that already has 7 billion of them, Hase-Gawa suggests that aspiring mothers get pregnant with a shark, salmon, bluefin tuna or a conveniently baby-sized Maui’s dolphin. Would you be less likely to crave a plate of sushi if it were made with your own offspring?

Artificial Womb
Biomimicry

The Birth of the Artificial Womb

Scientists at Juntendo University in Tokyo have developed a practice called EUFI, extrauterine fetal incubation. In EUFI, the researchers take goat fetuses, thread catheters through the large vessels in the umbilical cord and supply the fetuses with oxygenated blood while suspending them in incubators that contain artificial amniotic fluid heated to body temperature.

It may seem that Aldous Huxley’s words from Brave New World have come to life: “One by one the eggs were transferred from their test-tubes to the larger containers; deftly the peritoneal lining was slit, the morula dropped into place, the saline solution poured . . . and already the bottle had passed on through an opening in the wall, slowly on into the Social Predestination Room”.

Find more on Before It’s News.

Manufactured Animals

Wild Ones

Typically when we look at nature we exclude ourselves. Finally there is a book looking at people looking at animals (in America).

cockroach farming
Back to the Tribe

Cockroach Farms Do Big Business for Food and Pharmaceuticals

The secret ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine? Ground-up cockroach. Many farmers in China are turning to one of the world’s most reviled bugs to make big bucks. They’re cheap to feed (they live on rotting vegetables), easy to kill (dunk them in boiling water) and easy to store (dry them in the sun). Farmers are making a healthy profit selling the roaches to researchers studying whether the pulverized insects can be used to cure baldness, AIDS and cancer. They also wind up as fish food and even, sometimes, as deep-fried snacks for humans.

Read more about roach ranching at the LA Times.

overabundance of lobsters global warming overfishing
Anthropocene

Why Are Lobsters Thriving in Maine?

Just when the oceans seem to be emptying of everything except jellyfish and microbial goo, a surprising finding has emerged from the Gulf of Maine: over the last decade, lobster stocks have been booming. This formerly white-tablecloth food is now so abundant that even local convenience stores are installing lobster tanks. While the health of lobster stocks is in part due to the famously successful Maine lobster management plan, there’s other factors at work that might dampen your enthusiasm for these big red crustaceans.

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vegetable lamb of tartary
Food Technology

The Sci-Fi Prehistory of “Victimless” Meat

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!

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