Looks like a good day for alternative food news. This one is a little less soylent green but a little more dystopian in nature. Anjan Contractor has recently been awarded a NASA grant to develop a 3d printer capable of printing food.
The basic idea seems to be to build a 3d printer that, instead of using plastics, uses food powders consisting of various nutritional elements to make edible… substances. Carpenter describes "printing” a pizza, mixing powders with water and oil to make the tomato sauce, and cooking the dough of the base as it is laid down.
It’s an interesting idea and given the long life-span of the powders used (30+ years on the shelf) NASA is understandably interested in the possibility of using this technology for long-term space missions, such as any mission to a more distant planetoid in the system than the moon. Carpenter however is even more ambitious than that. Environmentalists and welfare advocates have been warning us for years now that the current problems with world hunger is only going to get worse as our world population grows. Using our current farming techniques, it does seem infeasible that we will be able to feed 12 billion or more people. Carpenter suggests that this technology may help us end world hunger.
I’m not certain I’m looking forward to a world where a good hamburger is replaced with soy-based protein powder assembled in patty shape… and there is nothing to indicate what this will taste like. I can’t help but wonder however if this is possibly the future.
In case anyone really needs to be told, don’t do this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/21/soylent_food_replacement/
The short version, a geek without any medical or nutritional training decided he didn’t want to have to eat or cook anymore, and so would come up with a food replacement that he’s calling “Soylent”, in a rather tasteless homage to the famous movie.
No-one involved in the company appears to have any training in this area, and Rhineheart has supposedly created his recipe by doing some basic review of the research and then just testing the stuff on himself.
These guys have been covered before on the Skeptics Guide (http://www.theskepticsguide.org) and whilst they don’t appear to be deliberate hoaxers (they seem to believe what they claim), they do seem to be dangerously lacking in sense.
They’ve managed to raise more than 100k on kickstarter so far, which just goes to show that there are plenty of people out there with far too much money, but don’t be fooled.
If you really want a liquid meal replacement – They Already Exist!: http://www.optifast.com.au/
An interesting story coming out of the Register and from Kotaku this week, apparently a new Tamogatchi game, which is Nintendo’s answer to the Sims, allowed gay relationships, marriage and children – at least, gay relationships between men in anycase.
Despite making a lot of noise, most of it positive, this “feature’ has been removed in an update patch as a bug, stating (depending on your translation) that it removes “Human relations that have become strange/funny”. Nintendo have stated categorically that this was a bug, and never and intended feature.
This will no doubt be disappointing for anyone who bought the game with this in mind, and i’m sure there will be some. It’s disappointing in general to see a company as influential as Nintendo taking this sort of stance – particularly given that very mainstream games such as The Sims, Mass Effect, Dragons Age and Fable have all featured gay relationship options in their various romance segments.