I was thinking that it might be cool if you were to include the option to be able to increment the playcount if you’ve shtaggled a track… I have been just forwarding through my favorite (and new) tracks with Shtaggle. I have always hated that iTunes doesn’t increment playcount unless you listen to the entire track.
I think it’s safe to say I’ll never be convinced of the need for fake/grown meat (it’d take something big, at least), and it’s not necessarily because of the ‘eww!’ factor, or even the ethics of manipulating and growing life in a dish for the sole purpose of feeding us (does this meat have rights? is it animal? is it alive?!). Please do let me know if something comes along which seems to fit the bill!
My problem then, is the with the reasons for even pursuing this approach; firstly it is because someone somewhere will not only make shedloads of money by patenting & licensing this, but they will also conceivably own large parts of everyone’s food supply - biotech companies own the seeds, the water supply, the chemicals needed to cajole the seeds into a crop… and now the meat production (and probably the chemicals needed to cajole *this* into life).
Secondly, I think that in order to ensure our survival (species, not individual), we will have to move away from free market economics to something more managed - the markets do not intelligently nor sensibly manage our resources, but instead encourage over-consumption; rather than each person (or company?) getting what they need, they get everything they want at someone else’s expense (given the money). The ’solution’ of grown meat, like GM crops, is heavily based on market economics allocating resources - the idea would likely not have surfaced, and would probably not be viable, without it.
As an aside, I sincerely hope we move away from market economics - if the subsidies we pay farmers to over-produce were stopped, the price of meat paid by consumers would rise, making grown meat all the more viable. (FTR I suspect we’ll stick with the markets, but create fudges like the carbon allowances here in the EU to add an element of management)]]>
I hope you are right about the future; I strongly believe that right now we need to combat emissions and deforestation - two issues that are pressured by meat production hugely (for grazing, growing feedstock (soy!) and by the farts).
Personally I couldnt give a toss if there was *NO* meat at all. I care a huge amount about the extent to which our rainforests have depleted in our lifetimes, and the rate of warming (which I think *can* be mitigated). I know this isnt the right solution but it may be a means to optimise emissions vs acceptance.]]>
The production and distribution of ‘meat-free meat’ will have a significant hurdle, and one which I doubt it will be able to overcome anytime soon. The main problem as I see it is one of identity - near all prepared snacks which do not contain meat (with the exception of some items such as cheese pasties, etc) are called ‘vegetarian’. In short, to buy and consume a meat-free product is to align oneself with vegetarianism, and thus all the green and left-wing politics it is associated with.
The right-wing media have succesfully turned meat-eating into an identity (as they have with driving, with the idea of being a ‘motorist’). This identity is seen as threatened by vegetarianism - as is evidenced by the number of anti-vegetarian statements (such a Jeremy Clarkson’s chiche ‘for every vegetarian I will eat twice as much meat’, etc). ‘Meat-free meat’ will inevitably be given the label ‘vegetarian’ and so will inevitably be shunned by those who do not with to associate themselves with environmentalist politics.
To eat meat is no longer seen as a luxury, but a right. Of course the number of vegetarians in Britain is increasing, but there will be significant sections of the market which will shun the product due to its socio-political associations.
Regarding countries with high vegetarian populations (such as India, which if I remember correctly is around 75%) there would also be a problem with distributing ‘meat-free meat’ - a society which is culturally vegetarian will not feel the need to eat “fake meat”, as there is nothing which needs replacing in the first place.
Basically, there are significant cultural, social and political hurdles for ‘meat-free meat’ which will take a great deal of time to overcome. The Daily Mail ain’t gonna love it!]]>
The only reason people *can* eat as much meat as they currently do, is because everyone (inc. me as a veggie) pays for it to be over produced via taxes/subsidy, then *buys* the product again on this flooded market (and hence cheaply).
If we remove this artificial boost to demand for meat, as will happen as/when the Lisbon treaty or its successors get ratified within the EU, people will have no choice but to buy less (questions of equity - poor people not being able to afford this - are a question for capitalism and/or corporatism as we know it). Their greed may mean that they buy as much meat as they can afford, but it’ll be less nonetheless. Many may even switch to eating less/no meat - those wonderful market mechanisms at work
re: “we have to stop being so greedy”…. gets peoples’ backs up….
This is because we’ve been trained to believe we deserve everything we want - freedom is the right to purchase what we want - by those who wish to sell it to us. I’d rather we change this before fucking with the world to make it fit this warped worldview.
Re: the ‘YUK’ factor: that is why I think it is important to be thinking of this question NOW. You *cannot* tell me that chicken from shit-chicken shops at 2am taste anything like a slow-grown, free range, eat-what-it-likes chicken… You *cannot* tall me that processed meat (of *any* form) has a “spark of life”… I am CERTAIN that if you saw what went into many cheap meat products, compared to a hunk of grown flesh, you’d pick the grown stuff.
Re: the masses (also @Darren): Yes of course we have enough to go round. I think you are missing the point, and a core function of ‘what it is to be human’ that we have not yet evolved out: sheer greed. The reason why we have it is that it was at some point, and probably still is an evolutionary advantage. There is no way that you can convince everyone to not be greedy - it would be like trying to convince everyone that they dont need vision any more. This is a big problem I have with the green movement - failure to see that WE may consider others but there are an equal (and perhaps greater, given the state of the world) number of people who _could not give a toss_. That is important; it means we have to work within the bounds of the ‘hardest’ choice. It would be fine if we could all hold hands and choose life, but thats not real, and not possible; for very basic biological and evolutionary reasons. Please read “The tragedy of the commons” by Garrett Hardin just incase I have completely mis-interpreted what he says. Perhaps I am too cynical but I really believe that people are not ready to be all-embracing, sharing and caring - even if we were to reach that point, at the first sign of disruption to society those with the ‘greedy’ biology will gather their shit and run, or prey on others to survive. I’m getting off the point, but I hope this demonstrates to some degree that greed is an impossible characteristic to eradicate or reason with.
Re: “SYNTHETIC MEAT GIVES YOU CANCER”:
“Mad cow burgers ‘killed my son’” — your point? There is controversy everywhere. I think greed will win over fear in this point too - I think many people still ate british beef because they wanted to when the BSE scare was on… I think we underestimate greed as a driving force, both positive and negative.
Algae is a shorter step than a cow because of byproducts, by shorter I probably mean “more efficient” — ok, its probably the same ‘number of steps’ but your output ratio is higher.
There will always be a need for farm animals, I’m not saying it would/should/could be possible to do away with them; quite the opposite, simply reduce their numbers. We will always ‘need’ them - if not for Dairy, then for the ‘expensive meat’ that the market would provide should it not be subsidised - synthetic meat would be cheap stuff for the masses and those who can afford a nice bit of Cow can still have it. Farmers win cos they can charge more, population wins cos it gets what it wants (i hesitate to say needs), planet wins cos of reduced waste and carefully balanced grazing.
Re: biodiversity- yes, totally, but you said yourself yesterday that we overgraze - i must repeat that I am in no way against having animals for meat, and believe we do NEED them, but just a reduction thereof… grazing land will still exist, we may have more forests, we may have more scrub, but these will be managed (balanced) by the grazing of less stock. I really am not trying to suggest removing them completely! I DO understand their importance!
Re: relevance to efficiency: i meant that as you said yesterday - why bother artificially producing it protien in MEAT form when we could eat Quorn or other plant material - my point there is that PEOPLE STILL WANT MEAT, despite the alternatives, for the sake of meat… so it may not be as efficient as eating plant protein but thats ‘not the point’ because we are discussing a solution to the problem of ‘people want meat’ not ‘best way to get protein’.
And yes; again, surpluses exist but greed is not extinguishable… it is important to realise that *our* “let’s do the *right* thing” opinion is not the general consensus - a point which has severely depressed me in the past, but havign accepted that this is how it is, finding solutions that are a compromise is the sensible thing to do - green vs not-green is too polar - we need to meet in the middle and discuss, and saying things like “we have to stop being so greedy” gets peoples backs up and prevents them doing exactly what we would like.]]>
- no harm to animals. Debatable. What happens to all the farm animals when we have no need for them? Will sheep still exist if we don’t rear them? What creatures will maintain the ecological balance we’ve created in every habitat in the UK? Will we have to mow the heaths to ensure they stay heaths rather than progress to woodland?
- less emissions. possibly true at point of production, in that a lump of flesh in a tray doesn’t need to fart, and as you say, any emissions could be relatively easily collected. What about the production of the nutrients you’re feeding the flesh with? All synthetic nutrients are currently oil-derived; presumably you can’t feed this flesh plants, as with cows?
- can feed the masses. This is disingenuous; we can already feed the masses, and then some. We simply don’t distribute food to those who need it, we use market mechanisms instead, leaving massive amounts of food (including meat & dairy) to go to waste.
- reduce land needed. As per my second point: all of the habitats (in the UK at least) have been altered by man for several thousands of years, and the biodiversity that’s found in a good bluebell woodland, or an expanse of heathland is there because of that manipulation - without us using grazing animals, these heaths would not exist in the extent they do.
Obviously, we drastically overstock our pasture land due to the massive subsidies of our govt (and the EU) paying for over production. But, as happened with our woodlands when we needed wood less, lessened need of the land often leads to dereliction and lower biodiversity.
So, possibly a good thing, but I’m sceptical that it’d turn out well
from your cons:
-efficiency. Why did you decide this wasn’t relevant? In terms of feeding a growing and already massive world population, efficiency of production of the nutrients we need to survive is vital. Is there a more efficient method of producing a source of the 9 essential amino acids? Who’s betting that plants, with their many years of experience at producing proteins efficiently ;), will be better at it than us?
As for more cons, I’ve listed enough in reply to your pros, I think
But tbh, I think this is a somewhat market/money-driven hitech response to a problem that does not exist - we have enough food for everyone already, we just don’t allow some people access to our massive surpluses. Also, only in the last 50 years, and thanks to subsidy-encouraged overproduction of meat, have people gotten used to eating meat for every meal. We do not need this much protein every day, regardless of its source; this is simply greed. I don’t think pandering to this greed is the way to make the world more equitable/feed people, or to reduce emissions. Changing this greed is a far better response imo.”]]>
With respect to _synthetic_ meat, then, the question is “where do the nutrients come from?”. If they come from the same land that could otherwise be used to grow food we can eat directly (e.g. barley) then it’s a lose. If it can come from otherwise “waste” land, then it’s a win (but see below). If they’re synthesised from petrochemicals, it’s a lose. If you grow them in vats of algae, then maybe it’s a win. I doubt we’re talking about taking the grass the sheep graze now and using that, of course: for one thing it would be a bitch to harvest (another reason sheep are good: they do a great job of gathering the nutrients in the first place).
I think the other question you haven’t thought of (and it’s going to be the big one, if you ask me), is that people are going to object that it’s not natural, and can’t be “as good for you” as “the real thing”; even if you can show that it’s got the same chemical composition, etc., people are still going to claim that it lacks “the spark of life” or “something undetectable”. I’m finding it hard to place my finger on this, but I have a strong feeling it’s what I expect to be the flavour of the general public’s reaction to this technology.
You might want to explain the term “trophic pathway” a bit more. I’ve not come across it before, and a quick let-me-google-that-for-you didn’t lead to a wikipedia or similarly accessible looking explanation. (Maybe you should write a wiki page? )
Finally, re: “the masses”, while UK/US/rich world “masses” eat too much meat, I suspect that globally “the masses” don’t, but do aspire to eat more, and would be healthier if they did (or at least got the same nutrients some other way). There are good reasons why meat is popular, that have nothing to do with tastiness and cruelty.]]>
totally out of the blue i know, but was just killing time on facebook and found my way here, these are my thoughts on the issue..
Companies ultimately exist to make a proft for the shareholders/owners, and this is not going to change any time soon. any other objectives are secondary (except for a few rare cases) and are usually done either:
- with the ultimate goal of making more money (e.g. having a “green image” to attract a certain kind of customer).
- or to the extent necessary to stop anyone (regulators, protesters etc.) from intervening with their main objectives.
I agree that this isnt really satisfactory though, but if you want a company to do something that isnt financially in it’s best interest (e.g. pay more tax, pay the staff more), you have to change the laws/regulations.
An interesting case is the body shop, it is one of the few examples of a highly succesful company with “environmental issues” as a core concern, but in 2006 it was taken over by L’Oreal which has a history of animal testing. why? because it was in the best interests of the shareholders.
by the way, as a general rule i hate blogs with a passion, i even hate the word blog, so you should be honoured that i commented!!!!
FWIW, you can avoid the need for third-party modules to be installed manually by building your application with py2app instead of Xcode.
py2app will automatically locate all third-party modules imported by your application and include compiled versions in your application bundle, and can even include a stripped down Python interpreter if you want for maximum portability. I build all my Python-based apps (ASDictionary, etc) with it - it’s a great tool.
p.s. If you use setuptools/easy_install to install Python modules on your own system, make sure you use the latest py2app from svn as the older version on PyPI isn’t egg-aware.]]>
I’m not a chemist and don’t know if there could be any negative impact on your health from this but it got me thinking about this post and the one before it. In the steve-world-order would fizzy pop companies be made to pay for the addition of fluoride to our water supply? Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, ties in with the something-for-something ethos.]]>
which is ideal.]]>
As far as Tesco goes you could have them award Clubcard points for bringing bottles back.
BTW Cai, Denmark isn’t in the eurozone - their currency is called the krone.]]>
Ok I like your idea, and I think the milkman could play a part in delivering it to your door. Trialing this in the Mumbles would be ideal.
But I’m gonna (in the best CS style) mash your idea with Dave’s notes and something I saw in France.
Instead of getting a nice clean bottle every time, you take your bottle back to the shop where they have a machine to fill it back up.
This makes a nifty marketing scheme too. You put an empty glass bottle on every bodies door step with a little note inside. The note tells them to bring the bottle to ‘local shop’ and they can redeem one free bottle of tasty tasty juice. using the note as a sort of coupon. hopefully they get hooked on tasty tasty juice and keep coming back for more.]]>