Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Flesh Cube

Tasty meat treats kids love to eat
  (+5, -10)(+5, -10)
(+5, -10)
  [vote for,

Take some in-vitro meat and package it into a fleshy cube about 3 cm on a side. Shrinkwrap it in plastic packaging once it comes off the production line in a vacuum chambre, making sure to give it plenty of blood and juices. Sell this concoction in vending machines for fifty cents a package.

Having assumed it is grown in a culture vat, it can be eaten completely raw, in its packaged form, without any fear of parasites or bacteria. At last we can have sashimi and beef tartare without fear of contracting some horrid disease, available to the masses in a simple, easy-to-open plastic package in appealing primary colours.

qt75rx1, Mar 17 2008

In Vitro Meat http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/In_vitro_meat
Meat grown in a culture vat! Vegetarian-friendly as no animals were harmed in the making [qt75rx1, Mar 17 2008]

Vat Grown Food Vat_20Grown_20Food
[phoenix, Mar 17 2008]

Stem Cell Steak Stem_20Cell_20Steak
[phoenix, Mar 17 2008]

cattleless meat cattleless_20meat
[phoenix, Mar 17 2008]


       sorry I like my meat fresh off the vine.
dentworth, Mar 17 2008

wagster, Mar 17 2008

       No thanks.
skinflaps, Mar 17 2008

       Accept for the packaging part, I think this was baked in Ray Kurzweil's book, "The Singularity is Near."   

       This does address 2 of the 3 main reasons to be a vegetarian: animal rights and environmental(deforestation and pollution caused by cattle).   

       I suppose you could also make this robo-beef healthier as well, but at what point is it no longer meat?
bneal27, Mar 17 2008

       If this had been around in Renaissance Venice, it could have solved a lot of problems and ruined a perfectly good play.   

       It doesn't solve the trophic level problem though. Also, muscle meat grown in such conditions might have weird combinations of fatty acids in it, i.e. it might be unusually low in omega-three and omega-six, because of the lack of physical activity to which the muscle is subjected, so although there might be an advantage in the lack of antibiotics and hormones, there would probably be other problems. It would also not be entirely cruelty-free.
nineteenthly, Mar 17 2008

       Reminds me of a Oxo cube.
skinflaps, Mar 17 2008

       It's an esquired taste, for the refined pallet   

       From the refined pullet?   

       Preheated in science fiction for decades.
normzone, Mar 17 2008

       Ah, true, but the sci-fi writers never thought of selling it in prepackaged vacuum-sealed plastic wrappers and marketing it as a healthy snack for children! Like a hunk of sashimi, to acquaint them to the taste of raw flesh!
qt75rx1, Mar 17 2008

       Oh no it's Soylent Green time again !
xenzag, Mar 17 2008

       //it bypasses the normal waste- management and antibiotics procedures of intensive farming, creating less waste and pollution.//   

       Did you stop to read anything about in vitro culture before posting this? The resources (including, normally, antibiotics) needed to produce this way are far greater than those needed when using a cow.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 17 2008

       Only the Wikipedia article. It seemed to imply that, if the necessary infrastructure were in place, it might lower costs to a level comparable or less than that of ordinary factory farming. Perhaps I need to do more research?   

       But the vat-grown aspect is only for hygienic reasons. I should've emphasized that in the text. I more intended the idea to be the concept of a prepackaged cube of flesh that's safe to eat raw.
qt75rx1, Mar 18 2008

       Exactly this was in the book Android's Dream. The stuff had a nifty trade name too, which I cannot recall at the moment. It had pig and cow genes and was ok for vegetarians.
bungston, Mar 18 2008

       //Preheated in science fiction for decades.//   

       Which, to me, makes this not a new idea. It's pretty damn obvious.   

       The rawness is new, maybe, but that is pretty much a flavor kind of thing. Plus there was some story where the women had a fattest-husband contest, with the winning man getting to choose how he was prepared--some joker finally chose "raw".   

       Isaac Asimov did a story where all food was artificial, and the chef in a contest slipped in some real garlic, causing the senior judge to hurl once he realized he'd eaten something from the dirt.   

       All of which is to say, "It's been thought of, Shirley."
baconbrain, Mar 18 2008

       //This does address 2 of the 3 main reasons to be a vegetarian: animal rights and environmental(deforestation and pollution caused by cattle)./   

       Whats the third?
sprogga, Mar 18 2008

       The third reason? Superbia.
Canuck, Mar 18 2008

       Third is your health. Animal protein will keep you alive long enough to reproduce, but for the long haul, it's no good. "The China Study" by Colin Campbell is my favorite book on nutrition. It's based on sound science and not a bunch of hippy crap.
bneal27, Mar 18 2008

       Reasons to be vegetarian (part three):   

       One: Trophic levels. Less efficient to grow plants, then feed them to livestock, then eat the livestock, than just eat the plants. Arguments against: other animal products than meat are more efficiently produced than plant food is; plants otherwise inedible to humans are edible to some other species which can be eaten, so it makes it possible to farm in places which would otherwise be impossible; it's easier to hunt wild animals humanely than to forage plants sustainably. However, this has always been my main reason for being veggie.   

       Two: Directly ethical, to do with not inflicting suffering and refraining from killing. Still OK to eat roadkill and animals which have died from natural causes if those causes aren't hazardous to humans. Arguments against: The human body kills countless millions of organisms all the time, and in the usual course of events animals kill and eat other animals all the time. Killing wild animals painlessly undermines this considerably as well, if it's outside the breeding season. However, this isn't practical in an urban environment in an industrial society, and urban environments are potentially more sustainable than rural ones.   

       Three: Health. Self-evident, but arguments against are miainly to do with eicosanoid synthesis from animal sources, which again mainly justifies the consumption of meat, particularly organ meat, from wild animals. I couldn't bring myself to do that though.   

       Concerning those issues as applied to this:   

       One: No, trophic level problem still there. Since this is my main reason for being veggie, it doesn't appeal to me.   

       Two: To an extent, but currently substances from living animals with previously active central nervous systems would be required to make this possible, so there would still be some exploitation involved. On the other hand, if it were actually human flesh and provided with human serum, hormones and so forth, this problem would go away but the added problem of a risk of a central nervous system disease would arise unless there were no nerves in the muscles - as in Kuru or CJD.   

       Three: There will probably be large proportions of nasty fatty acids in this meat. It gets no exercise and isn't from the part of the animal which is higher in the good fats. Also, if it didn't have any nerve tissue in it, the good fats from that would also be missing.   

       I think that makes me neutral.
nineteenthly, Mar 18 2008

       I feel enlightened.
sprogga, Mar 20 2008

       I'm a veggie too, but I don't think eating meat is wrong.   

       We all draw the line somewhere. Even if you do eat cows, chickens, and pigs, you probably don't eat dogs, cats, hamsters, humans and hundreds of other clearly edible and probably delicious meat sources.   

       If you do think killing animals is wrong, I highly respect that. I also assume you never ride in any motorized vehicle.
bneal27, Mar 20 2008

       [rcarty], good ones. It's also more difficult to give yourself food poisoning.   

       [bneal27], i live in a city with a large Jain population, and many of them do avoid travelling in motorised vehicles for this precise reason, and in fact any wheeled vehicle at all. I also tend to avoid them, but for other reasons. We all want hovercraft here anyway, don't we?
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2008

       If *hovercraft* includes the flying cars I was promised in the Sixties, count me in.   

       And where are all those domestic robots they assured us would be common in every household? Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and slap somebody silly.
Canuck, Mar 20 2008

       Tell me about it. Then again, presumably we'd all be pill-arians if that'd happened, or maybe eating meat grown in vats.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2008

       -- or delicious raw Flesh Cubes, available from your nearest corner store in an attractive easy-to-open disposable plastic baggie! Also, try our yummy Offal Buckets. Kids love 'em!
qt75rx1, Mar 20 2008

       Here are some reasons to remain carnivorous:   

       Easier meal preparation and clean up - cleaning the bacon pan with bread is wonderful.
It saves money. Truffles are getting so dear.
It's the next best thing to cannabalism.
Animal agriculture monocultures breed superbugs - continuous improvement!
More efficient on the cellular level in terms of building flavour from plant stuff.
The current level of meat consumption is closer to that of ancient human cultures than is a diet based on carbohydrate-rich cereal crops.
Human population increase is going to demand greater efficiency in food production, making meat a status symbol/
It's good for your mental health to be adaptive and not possess maladaptive attitides.
It's a better strategy for the happiness of the species to feed lower trophic levels to higher ones to make steak.
Developing an ethic surrounding food consumption leads to better overall nutrition than not having a well developed ethic.
You wont appear to be coward who is avoiding the realities of life and death. etc.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 20 2008

       I don't think there's any doubt that meat was eaten almost universally in the Old Stone Age, and therefore can be seen as "natural". This is supported by analysing the isotopes in human bones from that time and the marks on their teeth. It really annoys me when people claim this isn't so. It just is. I may be veggie, but that's no reason for trying to deny the facts.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2008

       Thank you, [nineteenthly]. There's also mounting evidence that cutting out most carbohydrates (cereals, potatoes, sugar; to which we've only had unlimited access since the advent of agriculture) has many of the same benefits as caloric restriction, in terms of reducing fat deposition and maintaining good insulin function.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 20 2008

       Yes, the likes of cereal and potato are probably not at all good from that perspective. Incidentally, i've often wondered if the sweet taste stimulates insulin release.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2008

       Good question. It would make sense, evolutionarily.   

       Basically, the problems come when you're flooding the body with two excesses of nutrient - fats and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates take priority, and the fats get stockpiled. High-fat diets are normal for humans, but the addition of significant amounts of carbohydrate is very recent.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 20 2008

       Interesting, i must suggest that to clients and see if it works.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2008

       I've been working on the theory that, in the absence of carbohydrates, the LD50 for fried food is in excess of 500g/kg. So far so good.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 20 2008

       If God din't intend for us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.   

       Seriously though, Our body was niether designed/evolved to be strictly carnivorous nor strictly herbivore. We are capable of eating both so it would only be reasonable that the healthiest diet would be one that consited of both. Fighting nature is to swim against the stream.
MikeD, Mar 21 2008

       That's not quite how i see it. I can see there are issues with fatty acids and B12, and in certain climates probably also vitamin D, but on the whole i think being omnivorous actually suggests that there's a lot of flexibility in what constitutes a balanced diet. A cat can't be herbivorous and a rabbit can't be carnivorous (i assume), but a rat, a pig or a grizzly bear, like a human, can thrive on various things. Aside from sunshine, there are a few plant sources of vitamin D, and appropriate fats can be gotten from, for example, borage or sesame seeds, though with the former there's an issue with the alkaloids.   

       I think what it amounts to is that humans rely a lot more on their software, i.e. their culture, than most other species do, so just as they can be poor or good parents, or be good or bad at building shelters or making clothes, they can have good or bad diets. Other species are more hard-wired, so they just do what they do.
nineteenthly, Mar 21 2008

       Evolutionarily speaking, eating meat is clearly advantageous for our species. It allows the individual to stay alive long enough to reproduce but not so long that you become a liability. Cholesterol – our own silent predator.
bneal27, Mar 21 2008

       Wow! I am surprised that a viable, intelligent discussion has actually emerged from my little post here! Go Halfbakers!   

       Re: my stance on nutrition -- I believe that by simple selection, most "traditional cultural" diets may have evolved to best suit our dietary needs. The best solution should be to eat the kinds of dishes that arose before heavy 20th century industrialization.
qt75rx1, Mar 21 2008

       No, if you want to reason that way, you need to go back to pre-agricultural times.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 21 2008

       Permaculturalists would agree with that. They reckon things really started going wrong with the Neolithic revolution. That strikes me as a little conservative.
nineteenthly, Mar 21 2008

       It's not a question of right or wrong. However, if you reckon it takes 100 generations for evolution to adapt us to dietary changes, then we ought to aim for a diet something like 1000-2000 years old. Perhaps this isn't pre-agriculture, but it's pretty much pre-potato.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 21 2008

       I've heard some good things said about the "Palaeolithic-style diet"...   

       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Paleolithic-style_diet
qt75rx1, Mar 21 2008

       Another thing about humans is that the menopause suggests they're supposed to become grandparents, i.e. elders, rather than simply rear children until they keel over, which means it isn't just a question of surviving to reproductive age, as it would be in many other mammals, so a diet has to be survivable for longer than just two or three decades. Then again, a lot of them died. Come to think of it, that's actually an argument for a matriarchy in Palaeolithic times.   

       Interesting what you say about potatoes. People in South or Central America might have eaten them for longer than the rest of us, so i wonder if that makes a difference to them. I have had really, and i mean really, sceptical people, from an academic hard science background, come round to the idea that eliminating Solanaceae from the diet improves arthritis. Some say it's the most effective single thing they've done for it.   

       Concerning the Palaeolithic diet, i think there's a lot of value in it, but i have seen people claim you can be veggie on it, which makes me doubtful of some of the claims.
nineteenthly, Mar 21 2008

       Yes, the Palaeoaeolithic diet seems reasonable - just cut out most carbohydrates and you're there. It's a reasonable proposal.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 21 2008

       Bring back geophagy!
daseva, Mar 21 2008

       Yeah, I miss him too.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 21 2008

       I don't see the correlation between menopause and the NEED for elders. I think you're giving Mother Nature too much credit. There were probably more reasons to kill off the elders than to keep them around.   

       Besides, if Mother Nature is so smart, why aren't there any animals with wheels instead of feet?
bneal27, Mar 22 2008

       Maybe something to do with the difficulty inherent in driving up trees?
david_scothern, Mar 22 2008

       //if Mother Nature is so smart, why aren't there any animals with wheels instead of feet?//   

       Ask a wheelchair user.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2008

       You know what I mean. Wheels didn't evolve. They were invented.
bneal27, Mar 22 2008

       The paleo diet sounds reasonable. However, there are many reasonable objections to it. [see Wikipedia link]   

       The most interesting thing to me is that both the paleo and vegan diets shun dairy and processed foods. Maybe there is a needle of actual truth in this haystack?
bneal27, Mar 22 2008

       //You know what I mean. Wheels didn't evolve. They were invented.//   

       Yes. The reason they didn't evolve is that they are not a very good way to get around. They are only an option in a highly artificial environment with flat surfaces and ramps.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2008

       Actually, a sort of biological 'wheel' has arisen in places of largely flat terrain. In relatively flat areas the wheel is a far more energetically efficient shape than legs.   

       Examples: tumbleweeds and dung beetle balls.
qt75rx1, Mar 22 2008

       Wheels also need to be completely disconnected from an organism to work. Philip Pullman addresses this in his 'Dark Materials' series. It would work if the entire organism were a wheel, or there were separate individuals which were wheels, joined to another organism, but they wouldn't be terribly marvellous on an ordinary solid surface. There are aerial examples in sycamore seeds, but there the entire solid organism is rotating.
nineteenthly, Mar 22 2008

       Max] I’ve never seen an ATV with feet except in Star Wars.   

       [qt] I think you're reaching a bit. The tumbleweed is roundish but it doesn’t roll like a wheel. It tumbles. The dung beetle ball is a better example but I give credit on that one to the dung beetle. Trust me, that's not as easy as it looks.
bneal27, Mar 23 2008

       Okay you all win. I admit - wheels are just a fad, but I still contend Mother Nature is loopy. There are just too many freak shows to explain.
bneal27, Mar 23 2008

       ewww!!! Nasty sounding but maybe a way to help solve future hunger problems (due to lack of room).(reminds me of microorganism food in the book Gateway)
XValentine, Mar 23 2008

       //Max] I’ve never seen an ATV with feet except in Star Wars. //   

       Strange, I've never seen an ATV that can climb trees or drive over vertical obstacles greater than its wheel diameter.   

       Seriously, spend a day in a wheelchair in the countryside and tell me you think it's a good idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2008

       Wheels probably wouldn't work on most terrain, but there are a couple of possibilities. They might be OK on salt flats, large areas of flat rock as might be found in deserts, on recently frozen lava and on ice plains well below freezing point. They could also be cog-like or have rows of legs like millipedes. In fluid media such as water, body fluid or air, they could also work as propellers.   

       I've also just thought that an animal could fashion mud, clay or other substances into a wheel which it could then grip for locomotion.   

       Hovering is another matter. Flatworms do that, for a start, and in a sense so do gastropods.
nineteenthly, Mar 23 2008

       The problem is that an animal may live for 99% of the time on a flat terrain (in rare cases), but there'll be that 1% of the time when it needs to burrow, climb, jump or swim. Being dead 1% of the time is not an option.   

       Legs are wheels anyway. A pair of legs are just two segments of a wheel which recycle, to avoid the need for a complete wheel. Walking at the natural pendulum frequency of straight legs is incredibly efficient.   

       There's another problem with wheels which is seldom appreciated: linear motion systems (muscles) are not easily able to drive them, without additional rotary couplings.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2008

       I, for one, would eat anything not illegal except parts of once-self-aware beings, and the only reason for that is the possibility that they were murdered to be eaten. I would, for instance, eat a non-diseased body part that was chopped off by mistake; a haunch of dog; or a kentucky fried cat.
Voice, Mar 24 2008

       You are a very openminded person, Voice, and I congratulate you on that.   

       [Max] -- Certain prokaryotes have flagella, which rotate in a wheel-like fashion, being turned by ionic advection across a little protein pump, if I recall correctly. Had evolution chosen them to be our ancestors and not eukaryotic microbes, perhaps things would have been rather different.   

       For example, it might be possible to grow a bony or cartilaginous structure resembling a propeller, and have it turned by passing fluid -- perhaps blood or lymph -- across it.   

       I do agree with you, though, that the leg is a pretty efficient locomotor system. You'd need a very unusual planetary terrain for wheels to have a distinct energy advantage over legs -- say a planetary landscape made mostly of sheets of volcanic glass, or ice? Or, more likely, in a fluid medium of some kind as was mentioned earlier.
qt75rx1, Mar 24 2008

       Yes, prokaryotic flagellae are driven by rotary pumps. And ATPases (including those in eukaryotes) are basically the same - molecular rotary motors. However, it's hard to see how you'd scale this up beyond the molecular level.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 24 2008

       We do actually seem to be descended from eucaryotic flagellates, if not procaryotic ones. However, just because individual cells had rotary parts, it wouldn't follow that multicellular relatives would then have actual rotary organs. After all, we have leucocytes but that doesn't make us amorphous blobs which eat by engulfing things.
nineteenthly, Mar 24 2008

       //that doesn't make us amorphous blobs which eat by engulfing things.// You don't have Burger King where you live?   

       Actually, eukaryotic flagellae don't rotate like prokaryotic ones; they beat back and forth, or to and fro (depending on the species).
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 24 2008

       Got it. Wheels would not always be great in the woods. But how about retractable wheels, like my kid has on her skates? Now THAT would be sweet.
bneal27, Mar 25 2008

       Does anyone else find it ironic that we started off talking about square things and are now discussing round things?
nineteenthly, Mar 25 2008

       Such is the way conversations meander and flow.
qt75rx1, Mar 25 2008

       Well, you could say we're now talking balls. Maybe i was already doing that.
nineteenthly, Mar 25 2008


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