This is not synthetic in the same way that quorn or other 'meat substitues' are trying to approximate beef or other meats from different base ingredients (ever heard of a 'tofurkey' or 'facon'? Eugh - look them up); the point of this exercise was to determine whether or not it was possible to produce something that was authentically beef - genetically identical and made of real cow muscle cells. There are several different laboratories around the world researching along similar lines, the google-funded team is just the furthest ahead at the moment, and there is some really exciting progress being made. Overcoming the difficulty of interspersing muscle cells with fat cells would help to address the difference in taste that was noted with this burger, and there's the possibility of adding 'healthy' fats instead such as omega 3 fatty acids (although I realise that therein lies an entirely different debate).
On the subject of the google glasses, isn't the point that you would wear them all the time? Can you imagine Tim Cook removing his iWatch for interviews in the future? I know you were only saying that it creeped you out, but you can hardly blame Brin for taking advantage of the opportunity to get some public interest - this story will reach many people that don't bother to keep up with tech news, who will never have head of google glass before.
Vegans and those swayed by crazy govt guidelines like the food pyramid, let them eat such franken-foods. The swathing of land to grow monocultures of grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds is doing more to damage land than raising animals that continually fertilise the lands they graze on.
Are you freakin serious?
First, let me say that I respect what you went on to say about the need to be aware of what we feed our children, who are unable to make nutritional choices for themselves. Whilst I think that point has nothing to do with this issue specifically, it is an important thing to remember. The abundance of over-processed foods with poor nutritional value is definitely a problem today but, unfortunately, these types of food are often very cheap and many people don't have the luxury of choice when it comes to how much to spend on their food. Maybe you read this article:
If not, I'd recommend it.
Anyway, back to your ridiculous comment about vegans, 'franken-foods' and the difference in damage to land from vegetarian diets vs. meat.
Vegans would obviously not be able to eat this product, seeing as it is made of cow. Vegetarians could raise an interesting debate, seeing as this in-vitro meat has never been part of a whole animal that was slaughtered to produce the meat, but that's something to be discussed as and when this technology advances to the point where it is realistic to adopt for large-scale production.
Beef production (just beef) "uses about 60 percent of the world’s agricultural land but produces less than 5 percent of the protein and less than 2 percent of the calories that feed the global population."
This report comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists (who have also raised concerns about in-vitro meat - no one-sided arguments here) and outlines some of the problems with the international beef industry. I really recommend that you read the full article and report if you have the time. I've no idea where you got your information from to state that growing grains, beans, nuts and seeds is more damaging to land than raising animals, but I'm pretty sure that you're wrong. This new technique for 'beef' production could drastically reduce the amount of land needed to produce meat for an ever-increasing global market, something that is becoming more and more important as the population and, therefore, demand for food increases. I would have thought that, with your concern for our children, this would be something that you could appreciate.
In general, I think it's important that we all try to keep an open mind about advances like this. We might not like it, but this and similar technologies may become necessary to feed the global population. I know that a much simpler solution would be for everybody to alter their diet to take in more vegetables and alternative sources of protein, but that's probably not very realistic. Who's up for making the switch to eating insects? Now there's an efficient source of protein for you!
Sorry for the long post. I had to create an account to comment on this, but it's something I feel strongly about and I was interested to see it covered on AI.
Edited by weejock - 8/6/13 at 4:04am