Neil Harbisson is one of the first cyborgs officially recognized by a government. Now, he’s helping other humans enhance and redesign their bodies through the “Transpecies Society” association he recently cofounded. Read more…
Exactly one week after Bay Area food tech tech startup Memphis Meats unveiled the world’s first lab-grown chicken finger, we as a society have become a single step closer to a reality in which producers of “clean meat” are able to compete on equal footing with the behemoths of modern industrial meat.
Just yesterday, Impossible Foods, the Redwood City, California startup, announced that it had almost finished construction on a huge factory in Oakland, California that will be able to produce one million pounds of veggie burgers per month. The company’s Impossible Burger—known as the “veggie burger that bleeds”—will be mass produced there; commercial production is planned to begin early this summer.
Founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, Patrick Brown, who was formerly a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, has big plans for his meatless burgers: “We’ll probably be within an hour’s drive of most of the US population by the end of the year,” he said. “We’re dead serious about our mission. That means any food product that currently is produced using animals, we intend to create a product that can compete.” He says he founded the company back in 2011 because he had concerns about the impact of meat production on the environment.
The Impossible Burger has received high marks for its taste; many have said it comes close to providing the experience of biting into a meaty burger. Initial tastings were held at high-end restaurants in New York and California, including David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi and Traci Des Jardins’ Jardiniere. The company says its burgers’ real-meat flavor comes from something known as “heme,” which is made by genetically modifying yeast cells. Heme is said to provide the bloody appearance of real meat, as well as a metallic taste, that lentils, tofu, or beets—the basis of other veggie burgers—just can’t mimic. The other ingredients in the Impossible Burger are wheat and potato protein and chips made from coconut oil.
The company has finally responded to the single largest source of skepticism looming over the panoply of meat-alternative companies that have popped up in recent years: scaling production to meaningfully compete with traditional meat processors.
A spokesperson for Impossible Foods provided the following statement to MUNCHIES: “Impossible Foods is in the process of building out a 67,000 square foot facility in Oakland to service an expected 1,000 restaurants by the end of the year. The company plans to be in locations across the country as quickly as possible, ranging from Michelin starred restaurants like Public in New York to better burger chains and stand alone eateries such as Oakland’s KronnerBurger.”
According to startup database Crunchbase, Impossible Foods has so far raised a total of $182 million in equity funding for a total of 8 investors, including Bill Gates and Silicon Valley venture capital firms like Khosla Ventures and Google Ventures. The new facility will allow Impossible Foods to increase production more than 250 times.
One day in the near future, you might even be able to take a tour of the facility where the world’s first “veggie burgers that bleed” are made. “One of the things we’d like to be—and the bar is very low—is the most transparent, tour-friendly meat-production facility on Earth,” Brown said this week at the factory’s opening ceremony.
Definitely sounds a lot better than touring a meat processing plant, in our humble opinion.
The Mars Colonization and Tourism Assoc. a.k.a. SpaceX released a set of retro travel posters depicting future travelers at three of the more prominent Martian landmarks.
Some great examples of retro-futurist “envisionings”
The site: http://ru-2061.livejournal.com/ is devoted to a drawing contest where artists imagine a planet Mars colonized by a thriving Soviet space program in the year 2061.
Not all of the work is good, but some is very good. The second round of the contest, “The Stone Belt” seems to have attracted more talent than the first.
The page is in Russian, but Chrome translates it pretty well.
Russian art is always fascinating to me because the default color palette is just a little different from the American one. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but if you look at, say images taken by Russian satellites:
the blues are shifted a bit toward green and the reds shifted a bit toward orange, in comparisons to the NASA photos which are usually “color-corrected” so that the blues, reds, and greens are fully saturated.
NASA has a server called arc.nasa.gov (password-protected) with a subdomain at settlement.arc.nasa.gov which contains a number of odd things, including an archive of artists’ renderings of proposed earthling settlements in space. The proposals are basically for big round greenhouses, rotating to simulate gravity via centrifugal force – not so different than what has been proposed in a lot of science fiction in movies and on TV.
Somehow I’m comforted that there are people making plans for this kind of thing, even though it’s discouraging to see how so much of the optimism of the 60s and 70s (regarding space travel as well as almost everything else) never went anywhere.
This is one of those things that sounds more like a discarded Dharma Initiative plot line from Lost than reality, yet it’s real. The Burlington (VT) Free Press recently profiled the Teresem Movement Foundation, based in Bristol, VT, which calls itself a “a transreligion for technological times”.
They are working on promoting “exponential life” – essentially getting to the point where we can download our consciousnesses into robotic bodies. The idea has been explored recently in shows such as Dollhouse and Caprica and does seem to be the ultimate target of a lot of scientific research.
The NYTimes profiled one of the automatons, Bina48, which, along with tripping the “uncanny valley” alarm, is a good demonstration of how AI hasn’t changed much since the days of the Alice chatbot
Heady stuff. Cool and unnerving.