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First Ever Public Tasting of Lab-Grown Cultured Beef Burger

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the tastes-like-chicken dept.

Science 303

vikingpower writes "Today, at 14:00 Western European Time (9:00 am Eastern), Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University (the Netherlands) will present a world first: he will cook and serve a burger made from Cultured Beef in front of an invited audience in London. The event will include a brief explanation of the science behind the burger. You can watch the event live, online. The project's fact sheet is to be found here (pdf)." The BBC is reporting that Sergey Brin is the mystery backer behind the project.

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303 comments

Solving Canibalism (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44475977)

This way they can produce human meat for canibals... and curious people asking if we taste like chicken to them.

Re:Solving Canibalism (2)

somersault (912633) | about 8 months ago | (#44476175)

Human meat is much closer to pork.

You would think. . . (0)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 8 months ago | (#44476007)

. . . .trying to roll-out a hamburger, you'd do it somewhere in the States, with a strong biotech presence. One generally doesn't associate "London" with "Hamburger": "Fish and Chips" or "Vindaloo" come more to mind. . .

Re:You would think. . . (3, Funny)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 8 months ago | (#44476039)

If he did it in America, someone would sue him for going against Gods will.

Re:You would think. . . (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476071)

You know, as an American, I resent that remark. We do not sue for going against God's will.

We burn you at the steak.

Yes. I went there.

Re:You would think. . . (1, Funny)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 8 months ago | (#44476135)

Ha ha ha. American's hate change and love God. Pretty insightful and funny about how backwards we all are.

I remember the Slashdot thread on Thatcher's death. Seems like a number of british are still bitching about fake ice cream.

Re:You would think. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476257)

There is fake ice cream? What's the point of that?

Re:You would think. . . (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 8 months ago | (#44476359)

The point of that is for people who can't tolerate dairy products. I suppose vegans as well, but I think it's mainly for those that can't tolerate dairy.

And that's a much larger group than a lot of people realize, I didn't realize that I had trouble with dairy, until I moved to a part of the world where dairy is hard to get, and I felt physically better than I had in years.

Re:You would think. . . (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#44476591)

Indeed, if I remember correctly there's actually only a few human populations that evolved to drink cow's milk. As it happened some became dominant cultures and spread their genes around a fair bit, but if you didn't happen to inherit one of the genes that let you digest it effectively it's not actually that suitable a foodstuff for us.

Re:You would think. . . (-1)

hedwards (940851) | about 8 months ago | (#44476343)

In this case what he's trying to get people to eat is pretty fucking disgusting. What's more, it serves no purpose. Whether real animal or lab generated sludge, meat shouldn't make more than about a third of ones diet either way, and ultimately, there's no point to this invention. We can raise an adequate number of animals for food. Especially now that China's population seems to be leveling off.

OTOH, this is an invention to placate vegetarians and quite frankly, few of them are going to go back to eating meat, just because they can eat meat that doesn't come from animals.

Re:You would think. . . (2)

phriot (2736421) | about 8 months ago | (#44476541)

Raising animals for meat is resource intensive. I would assume that the hope is to scale this process so that lab-grown meat is much less so. Then ranching land can be reclaimed, water diverted to other endeavors (drinking), etc.

Re:You would think. . . (5, Informative)

Politburo (640618) | about 8 months ago | (#44476549)

The amount of waste generated by livestock is astounding, not to mention the inputs needed. If inventions such as this can reduce either of those (ideally both), even by just a few percent, there is most certainly a 'point'. There are many non-vegetarians interested in more sustainable production methods.

Re:You would think. . . (5, Insightful)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 8 months ago | (#44476611)

China's populations is levelling off but its standard of living is going up. Not every one lives in a house with electricity and plumbing but most people would like to. When larger fractions of their population start living the western life you can bet they wont want to farm their own foods. We are no where near feeding the world adequately, if this can be done cheap and efficiently than its a big step in the right direction.

Re:You would think. . . (2, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#44476645)

How exactly is laboratory grown meat more disgusting than a factory-farmed alternative? If it tastes similar enough* and the price can be made competitive I predict a lot of high-yield subspecies will go nearly extinct.

*within acceptable tolerances - factory farmed meat is a poor substitute for free-range meat, but is so much cheaper that most people will choose it anyway. Same with most high-yield fruits and vegetables that have been bred (or genetically modified) to have huge yields with little or no regard for flavor.

Re:You would think. . . (3, Interesting)

superflippy (442879) | about 8 months ago | (#44476091)

I made the mistake of eating a hamburger in London in 2001. I was on a long business trip and just wanted something quick to eat, so I ducked into a McDonalds.

Little did I know that, thanks to the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease, this simple act would make me ineligible to become a blood donor for years to come.

Re:You would think. . . (0)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 8 months ago | (#44476379)

And you touched on some of the brilliance inherent in this work and demonstration's location.

1. Pick a country with a well conditioned fear of CJD

2. Pick a region (EU) with an unreasoned fear of GM food

3. Provide a solution to 1. and temptation to overcome 2. with a vat grown burger... perhaps compensating with organic ketchup.

4. ???

5. Profit!

Re:You would think. . . (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476393)

> hamburger ... McDonalds

So... When did you eat the hamburger?

"witch"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476027)

Mystic eye of toad, jizz of newt, or samzenpus failing to do his job?

If we can witch the event (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476041)

will we be burned at the steak?

Zealouts and Luddites (2, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#44476055)

This will divide the extremists. The anti-GM Luddites will go crazy because this is arguably the most anti-organic food on the planet. The vegetarians will celebrate because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals. The vegans will note that animal byproducts are still required for this process to exist at all and still turn their noses up at it.

Will brains explode with delight with the idea that humans can have their meat without killing cows and all of their related carbon emissions? Will brains explode because the lab grown meat is so expensive that only the very rich can afford it? What will the conscious do with the idea that people get to have meat at all? Will the meat connoisseur snub this lab grown meat versus a nice hamburger from cow #156? Will the greens go nuts because a carbon based food source is being replaced with a lab equivalent that will inevitably be owned by the giant food corps?

So many heads to explode, so little popcorn.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 8 months ago | (#44476081)

The price will go down eventually. Personally I look forward to meat without suffering for farm animals. Suffering for the animals is a by product of seeking to control costs, this will allow that without a nervous system that can feel suffering.

No exploding, just excited to see progress.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (5, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 8 months ago | (#44476321)

Reports are, it tasted lousy, due to nearly zero fat content. Additionally, "real" beef has flavor overtones resultant from the feed the animal was raised on. Thus, corn-fed beef tastes different from grass-fed beef, even if both cows came from the same cows.

I don't expect vat-raised hamburger, much less steak, being commercially available anytime soon. . . . . simply because if it doesn't TASTE good and have the "mouth feel" of genuine beef, you're not going to get enough buyers to make it a commercial success. . .

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 8 months ago | (#44476499)

simply because if it doesn't TASTE good and have the "mouth feel" of genuine beef, you're not going to get enough buyers to make it a commercial success. . .

Just put a lot of sugar and a big red M on it. It will be a success overnight. I wouldn't mention its origin, though.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#44476707)

Really, he didn't include fat in his project? Has he never eaten meat?

As for your argument, the same can be said of factory-farmed meat versus free range, yet the factory farmed meat has enough of a price advantage that most people choose it most of the time, ethics be damned. If lab grown meat can cross the same threshold I expect similar success. As for the flavor overtones, I'm sure the proper additives can be found for the nutrient bath.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476395)

What about my suffering? My ears are bleeding from listening to people complain about how animals have feeling and blah blah blah. This lab grown stuff will only make people talk about it more. Oh, the horror!

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476089)

Not really, all this GM corn is just out there waiting to be eaten.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476109)

We will make meat so cheap, that only the rich will eat vegetables.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 8 months ago | (#44476449)

That has already happened. Check out the prices in the produce section and compare them to the minimum wage some time. Then for a real laugh check out the prices at your local farmers' market. Poor people can't afford fresh produce anymore.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#44476157)

I don't know how the GM luddites come into play here, as there is no GM at work. It's just cells multiplying, and no single gene gets modified in the process.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#44476187)

GM food is food that has been genetically modified from it's previous natural state directly by man instead of through crossbreeding - which is directly by man. Because the lab is involved the Luddites go nuts as this isn't 'natural'. The lab grown hamburger similarly also isn't natural and instead requires man's intervention.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#44476559)

There is a small but important difference between crossbreeding and GM. In general, crossbreeding does not affects the genes, just the allels (the actual expression of a gene). Crossbreeding shuffles allel combinations, and you then can select from the filial generation the ones most close to your breeding goal and continue. But you introduce no new genes into the living. Even crossbreeding between species does not affect genes too much, as two releated species have more than 99% of all genes in common (e.g. the chimpanzee and the human have 99,7% of all genes in common).

GM introduces genes which come from completely different strains of life. Mainly, one introduces genes from bacteria into plants or animals or vice versa. The most common technique to achieve this are gene vectors. A retro virus acts as a DNA shuttle. It gets the bits of DNA which should be introduced into the host, and then the host's cells are infected with this retro virus. It unloads its DNA freight into the genome of the host by introducing all its own viral genome and the DNA bits into the host's DNA. Then it starts to replicate using the normal DNA replication mechanism of its host, which then produces identic copies of the retro virus including the additional DNA. The normal immune answer of the host kills off the virus, but hopefully the bits of DNA it introduced into the host cell's DNA stay there and get replicated when the cell multiplies, producing the same protein(es) it did in its original organism.

One could thus compare crossbreeding roughly as editing config files and fiddling around with parameters, and GM with actually patching the binaries.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476565)

Wow, what bullshit and what's more you know it's bullshit. When you can "naturally select" to cross breed a scorpion with corn you come back and show us, to pretend that modern GM practices are the same as selection and hybridization practiced by farmers for millennia is not just disingenuous it is outright lying. Also to pretend that mixing animal and insect genes with plant genes will definitely not produce unknown consequences is pretty illogical. We are in a whole new world here with breeding, how must those who wish to exercise caution be joining those textile artisans of yester-year smashing the frames and looms. It's not like we are just exercising proper scientific caution when dealing with something that could cause disruption in our health or food supply as well as drastically alter the food chain with unknown results. You are not defending science here, you are defending corporate power to dictate to the people what our collective food sources will encompass. You also are railing against choice, we don't want GM outlawed, we want it better understood and labelled so the people can make an informed choice whether to trust the big companies that have shown that they don't care about us at all or protect ouselves from corporate overreach.

But hey, you go ahead and vilify all of us, propaganda is a type of science after all.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#44476233)

You are assuming that Luddites will make rational arguments. It's a test tube T-bone, so it's pretty easy to make it scary.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476183)

The goal here is a less expensive meat, both environmentally and economically.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476203)

The only zealot post in this thread until now appears to be from you :)

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476221)

The vegetarians will celebrate because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals.

There must be some vegetarians somewhere that will, but I imagine the vast majority just won't care. Most who haven't eaten meat for a while just no longer care for it.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476457)

I don't believe that for an instant. My hobby, cook up bacon when vegetarians are around and watch them look at it longingly and give me dirty looks at the same time.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476283)

The vegetarians will celebrate because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals.

I doubt it. People who become vegetarians do not do so because they're so concerned about animals because they have no problem with diary products. Those who are concerned go all the way and become vegans. However, vegetarians are motivated by other reasons - such as a healthier diet that makes it practically impossible to get fat even if you eat a lot. A friend of mine who became a vegetarian in high school said he simply began to consider meat disgusting to eat. Sort of the same feeling as for us Western meat eaters that might consider snake or dog too disgusting to eat even though the Chinese happily eat it.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476479)

I doubt it. People who become vegetarians do not do so because they're so concerned about animals because they have no problem with diary products.

Wrong. Some people do. Even if they consume dairy products, that doesn't mean that they don't care about the suffering of animals; it could just mean they want to mitigate the harm done to animals or believe that dairy products can be obtained in a suffering-free way.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476487)

Hmmm, as a long time vegetarian, I've cut out most dairy and frequently eat vegan, but in truth the reason I don't go full vegan is that I don't have the time. Being a vegan in our society is supremely expensive or supremely time consuming and people can be irrationally angry at you for not eating meat (What do you mean you want a salad without the bacon bits? What're you some sort of cult member?). So, I'd love to be able to go vegan and live a somewhat comfortable life, it's just not available unless I want to travel hours for food, grow everything myself, or eat an unhealthy diet. If I lived in a city it would be far easier I think.

Also it's extremely easy to get fat as a vegetarian. I got to almost 300lbs before a serious reversal where i go serious about diet and exercise. I've lost over 60lbs now, but it's definitely possible.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (2)

Bigby (659157) | about 8 months ago | (#44476329)

What is worse for the environment? A cow that farts and breathes out CO2 but poops good fertilizer. The electricity required to run a lab that produces the same amount of meat, milk, leather, and fertilizer produced by that cow.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0, Flamebait)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#44476337)

The anti-GM Luddites will go crazy because this is arguably the most anti-organic food on the planet.

You idiot. You don't have a fucking clue what anti-GM groups are about, do you? Morons like you always jump in and polarize the debate early on, making any kind of rational discussion impossible.

I'm anti-GM crops/animals but have no problem with this, since it has has nothing to do with any of the issues that concern me.

The vegetarians will celebrate because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals.

You idiot. You don't have a fucking clue about what most vegetarians are about, do you?

Most people who don't eat meat do so because they don't like the taste, the texture, or for (often misguided) health reasons. I'm not a vegetarian but I don't eat whole tomatoes either because I find them icky.

Sorry if I sound frustrated but someone like you always poisons every debate with a straw man argument and it's pissing me off.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 8 months ago | (#44476545)

I'm not the guy you're responding to, but I think your hostility is unwarranted. Frankly, you come off much worse than the guy you're responding to. For one thing, disagreeing with someone is no reason to call someone an idiot.

That aside, anti-GM groups and vegetarians have a wide variety of reasons for their beliefs and actions. I know anti-GM people who have good, well thought out reasons, but I also know some who are just anti-science. I know vegetarians who don't eat meat because they're concerned about animal welfare, economic inequality, environmental issues, health issues, or some combination of those. I also know some who just don't like the taste. I also know some for whom it's a fashion statement.

Don't try to paint over everything with the same brush. There will be some people who are afraid of this meat simply because it was "grown in a lab" which makes it comparable to Frankenstein's monster somehow. Frankly, I'm a bit concerned about the meat because I haven't read enough about what they're actually doing to know that they're not doing something strange, dangerous, or unethical. At this point, it's just my own ignorance, but I'm not going to promote the whole thing and tell people it's fine when I don't actually know what they're doing.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476595)

"Morons like you always jump in and polarize the debate early on, making any kind of rational discussion impossible."

This is by design, not by accident. Cui bono?

Anti-GM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476371)

The anti-GM Luddites will go crazy because this is arguably the most anti-organic food on the planet.

I just have a problem with food being controlled by IP law.

I have a problem with farmers being sued by Monsanto because they are using their own seed, but are buried by legal costs because said multi-national is scared that their precious IP is being used without them collecting their pound of flesh.

I also do not believe the GM food industry's claim of safety. Because it has been shown time and time again that Big Corp will say and do anything to protect their profits.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about 8 months ago | (#44476391)

A lot of GM detractors don't like it for legal reasons. As long as Monsanto and the rest stick with their current business practices I am one of them. They don't sell their seeds, they license them. You are not allowed to keep a part of this year's crops to use in the next year. Not that that would do any good with F1 hybrids, but still. Also due to their patents you may get sued due to cross-pollination OR if you switch crops and yet a bit of last year's crop still grows on your fields. Which does happen. And you never know what kind of indigenous plants will be threatened by those GM monster things. But this also applies to conventional growing.

This process of generating meat in a lab OTOH does not release anything into the wild and could potentially solve a big problem. Until corporate greed kicks in, that is. I am aware that it will possibly take decades to make the process viable. This is only one of the first steps. I wonder in what way a bunch of lawyers will ruin it for the rest of us.
The luddite health-scare is just narrow-sighted sensationalism while ignoring the true issue.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 8 months ago | (#44476399)

We're not Luddites. I studied extensively in the natural sciences, including coursework in genetics, when I was in college. Before that I spent a substantial amount of time cleaning up the mess that exotic species made when introduced.

To suggest that there's anything extreme about being anti-GM is to completely misunderstand the risks that the incompetent research is subjecting us to. Even a normal exotic in the wrong environment can be costly to clean up after. Scot's broom, for example, has to be pulled yearly for 80+ years to be removed from the area and if you miss a single year when it goes to seed, you have to continue for 80+ years from that point.

And that's a species that doesn't have any man made immunities or special powers.

What's more, in this case, we don't have trouble growing enough meat for people to have a healthy amount of it, we're going to have problems providing people with enough meat to make them sick on the stuff.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 8 months ago | (#44476417)

This will divide the extremists. The anti-GM Luddites will go crazy because this is arguably the most anti-organic food on the planet. The vegetarians will celebrate because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals. The vegans will note that animal byproducts are still required for this process to exist at all and still turn their noses up at it.

Will brains explode with delight with the idea that humans can have their meat without killing cows and all of their related carbon emissions? Will brains explode because the lab grown meat is so expensive that only the very rich can afford it? What will the conscious do with the idea that people get to have meat at all? Will the meat connoisseur snub this lab grown meat versus a nice hamburger from cow #156? Will the greens go nuts because a carbon based food source is being replaced with a lab equivalent that will inevitably be owned by the giant food corps?

So many heads to explode, so little popcorn.

I haven't seen any information that says there is less greenhouse gas produced making this "meat." That aside, I agree that the food fight will be amusing. Not sure I'd want a Laburger just yet.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476447)

Hey, get your propaganda on, "anti-GM Luddites". Nice statement if you are against science, as most of you GM supporters seem to be, screw science, all hail the corporation.

Most of us "anti-GM Luddites" simply want more study and better understanding before we adulterate our food supply with a new and poorly understood practice that is almost impossible to retract once it is "out there". Funny how caution and the desire for better understanding instead of cheer leading for large companies bottom line makes us Luddites.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 months ago | (#44476547)

Strawmen galore, get your whacking sticks here, $5 per hit! ;)

Seriously though, anti-GM folks have no "beef" here - Perfectly normal, unmodified meat, grown in a vat instead of a cow.
Vegetarians don't all snub meat on moral grounds.
The price should eventually come down to far less than growing meat on an unpredictable animal wandering around eating grass.
Most environmentalists recognize meat production as a huge resource drain, and should support vat-meat.

So that really leaves the vegans and the the meat connoisseurs. Dead-on, with them, but that seems okay to me.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#44476569)

because they get to eat 'meat' once more without killing animals.

Hahaa... I don't think you know very many vegetarians.

They become so accustomed to replacing the "meat" proteins with beans and grains (quinoa) that eating meat becomes a troubling concept, grown ethically/sustainably or not. The "PETA" vegetarians will find something wrong with whatever you try and serve them so let's not even go there.

Re:Zealouts and Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476687)

AFTER learning what exactly the 'pseudo-meat' tastes like, and what method and materials they're using to create it, I'll be just as curious as anyone else to give it a try.

If it tastes comparable to regular meat, it's worth considering as part my food staple. However, I like regular beef just fine, so this just becomes another option at the market... eventually. Although probably not high on the priority scale in the meat department.

I'm not necessarily anti-GM, however GM food has its place in present day, and we as a society are going about it all wrong.

Ethical & Environmental (4, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | about 8 months ago | (#44476057)

I think lab-grown meat is the future. For quite a lot of people, meat is just too tasty to be given up completely. At the same time, it is an environmental disaster, with the United Nations estimating that animal farming has a greater effect on climate change than ALL of the worlds transportation (that is, cars, trucks, trains, ships and airplanes) combined. Some even say it's responsible for 51% of greenhouse gases emissions [independent.co.uk]. Additionally, factory farming causes billions of animals to suffer [vimeo.com], which is highly unethical. Lab-grown meat avoids both problems.

Until we can buy lab-grown meat, we should still go Veg, but once lab-grown meat is available, the abolishment of the mass factory farming is much more realistic.

Re:Ethical & Environmental (2)

Xest (935314) | about 8 months ago | (#44476093)

I was amused to see the BBC comment at the end of the article that because Chinese and Brazilian meat production seemed to have plateaued that this was a solution in search of a problem.

It's as if they're entirely unaware that even if they have plateaued there are still major benefits to producing meats with decreased healthcare concerns (we can avoid things like CJD and TB in lab meat), decreased emissions, decreased destruction habitat for meat production.

This is an important thing even if the human race stopped growing today, even if it reversed somewhat.

Re:Ethical & Environmental (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#44476117)

Awesome. You can embrace the new kind of "meat" and feel good while chomping on lab grown white strips of gristle grown from the leftovers of my steak dinner.

Re:Ethical & Environmental (1)

nbritton (823086) | about 8 months ago | (#44476313)

The only thing that is a disaster is having 7.1 billion human mouths to feed. Earth has a finite maximum capacity load, and it sounds like we have reached it. We apparently have around 24 million square miles of habitable land, if you divide that out per person it comes to 18 sq. ft per person. 18...

now get off my lawn!

Re:Ethical & Environmental (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476505)

You forget we have nearly infinite amounts of habitable land above and below the surface and the entire resources of the solar system. We're not running out of anything, anytime soon. Except Helium, and we'll get plenty of that when the sun goes red giant.

Re:Ethical & Environmental (1)

tburkhol (121842) | about 8 months ago | (#44476685)

We apparently have around 24 million square miles of habitable land, if you divide that out per person it comes to 18 sq. ft per person.

Someone forgot to square his unit conversion. 24M square miles is nearly 7x10^14 square feet. That seems to give closer 100,000 square feet per person, or a bit more than 2 acres.

Witch ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476067)

But who witches the witchers ?

Tasteless (4, Informative)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | about 8 months ago | (#44476083)

A programme about this was on BBC Radio 4 a couple of years back. IIRC both the scientist and the presenter tried a little bit of "burger" grown in a lab and it was tasteless. Not horrible - just.... nothing much. Also the texture wasn't quite right.

I think the scientist said that meat (muscle) derives a lot of its taste from the surrounding fat when it's cooked - and, of course, this had no fat.

The next stage on was to make it taste nice - perhaps in the past two years they've got somewhere with it.

Re:Tasteless (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44476107)

They'll probably add some lab-grown garlic salt.

Re:Tasteless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476161)

Fat is crucial to meat flavor. They're not adding it, so the meat substitute is dull. Unless it comes to market extraordinarily cheap (which it won't, meat replacement products are dearer than choice cuts), it won't be a success. Just another niche product for the wealthy that will be "10 years away" joining the queue with cancer cures and hydrogen fueled consumer cars.

Re:Tasteless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476587)

You may have missed a joke, sir.

Re:Tasteless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476121)

Sounds ready for the Burger chains right now

Re:Tasteless (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#44476137)

That stands to reason. The taste of meat comes from the food the animal eats over its lifetime. Beef cultured in a lab would have in it none of that which makes beef taste like beef.

Re:Tasteless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476289)

If you want your chickens to taste really chickeny, feed them on chicken.

Re:Tasteless (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#44476331)

You need the fat -- go buy some steak tartar, which is basically hamburger without a fleck of fat in it, and make a burger without any cheese. It's completely disgusting.

They're gonna need to have lab-grown beef fat to mix in with it.

Predicted Results (4, Funny)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 8 months ago | (#44476165)

Predicted results, in order of severity (best results first)

1) "But when are you starting to serve the lab-grown meat?"
2) "Tasty!"
3) "Not bad"
4) "Tastes like chicken"
5) Vomiting
6) Addictive; taster cannot stop eating... literally
7) Turns taster into cow
8) Turns taster into cannibalistic mutant psychotics
9) Triggers the Rapture
10) "Tastes like McDonalds"

Already been done (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 8 months ago | (#44476217)

Tastes like despair.

Re:Already been done (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#44476383)

Well done. I came here to say that.

Re:Already been done (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 8 months ago | (#44476555)

What a seriously underrated show. And one that's gone unnoticed by most of the nerd crowd for being so mainstream in its airtime/channel.

Re:Already been done (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#44476697)

It must have been terribly promoted. I never even heard of it until a physicist friend hooked me up with it online.

Casein (0)

scorp1us (235526) | about 8 months ago | (#44476177)

The main protein in milk and meat is casein [wikipedia.org]. However casein has been linked to adverse health effects. So just as when people say "scientists invented new way to grow mice? Just what we need, more mice!" I have to comment that casein isn't the protein we should be culturing for. From a health perspective a bean burger is much better for you, safer (ground chuck is the riskiest meat from a contamination perspective) and is in my experience just as yummy or more-so if you don't like that rubbery meat texture.

Before you get all on me for seeming like a vegan, I still eat about 8oz of beef a week. I'm transitioning off of risky and unhealthy foods, but I don't think I'll ever be able to give up meat entirely, That said, the american diet is still emphasizing the wrong foods by orders of magnitudes.

Re:Casein (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#44476307)

I'm not seeing any evidence linked that casein is in meat, just milk, or that it has any conclusive negative health effects. Even if it does exist in significant quantities in beef cultured cells, it probably wouldn't be present in any non-mammalian meat source.

Re:Casein (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476325)

Someone who uses the word "yummy" to describe anything has other things to worry about...

Enjoy your bean burgers. More meat for me.

Re:Casein (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#44476425)

It's all about preferences. I think a grilled portobello can be delicious, but when I get a burger craving, I want ground beef (or some combination thereof). That "rubbery" texture that you describe is exactly what I am looking for. The bean-based stuff I've tried seems mushy to me, or has that funky texture that makes tofu so off-putting to many.

This is how (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476265)

The zombie apocalypse begins...

why go burger? why not sausage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476323)

honestly, I think you could make sausages, or sausage-like meat products (kebabs, meatloaf, dim sims, etc) that would be barely distinguishable from the "real" thing, right now - and that's not even mentioning Soylent Green...

Re:why go burger? why not sausage? (1)

lxs (131946) | about 8 months ago | (#44476607)

Edward G. Robinson waxing lyrical over Real Food is the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Soylent Green in this context. I doubt that vat-grown beef will taste anything like beef from free range cattle. Hydroponic tomatoes taste nothing like those grown in soil and in that case you have the entire organism producing the product, not just some cells in glucose water.

But if it's cheap and tastes like nothing, it will be perfect for fast food production. Slop some liquid smoke on it and can you feed millions of overweight underemployed slobs.

9:00 am Eastern (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 8 months ago | (#44476435)

9:00 am Eastern what? Eastern Europe doesn't have that much difference with Western Europe.

Re:9:00 am Eastern (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 8 months ago | (#44476667)

9:00 am Eastern what? Eastern Europe doesn't have that much difference with Western Europe.

The other timezone is probably wrong too. 14:00 Dutch time (that's written on the Dutch website) is 13:00 London time, currently Western European Summer Time, and 12:00 UTC (which is Western European Time, i.e. London in the winter).

Editors/submitters: when giving timezones, give UTC, and (if you wish) time local to the event.

Is it kosher?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44476593)

Are lab produced "meats" subject to Kosher laws?!? If not, the most important next project is lab bacon...

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