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SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday May 30 2014, @09:14AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the needs-a-spoonful-of-sugar? dept.

Some soylentils have an interest in the Soylent food product, which claims to be complete, scientifically-based nutrition. Now Farhad Manjoo at the New York Times has spent a week and a half living off of it, and found it disappointing:

I just spent more than a week experiencing Soylent, the most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS.

Read the rest at the NYT: The Soylent Revolution Will Not Be Pleasurable.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by EvilJim on Friday May 30 2014, @09:39AM

    by EvilJim (2501) on Friday May 30 2014, @09:39AM (#49078) Journal

    It's not meant to be enjoyable, only simple, quick efficient and effective. users are free to dress it up with whatever additives they like, so to each his own.
    of course I haven't RTFA, just skimmed keywords in the summary, still stuck in the 'other site's ways... :)

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by khchung on Friday May 30 2014, @09:50AM

      by khchung (457) on Friday May 30 2014, @09:50AM (#49080)

      I RTFA and you won't find any more substance in than the summary.

      Duh, a product designed for simplicity and efficiency isn't exciting, say what?

      Mr. Manjoo must be the kind of people that find technical documents boring, science papers lacking in flair, and financial reports in need of some spicing up. Next, he will complain about bottled water being too plain, and printing papers too white.

      For people who still thinks Manjoo is sincere in testing the product, note that he didn't try to mix in different flavorings into his Soylent, nor did he mention taking a break from Soylent and eat with friends when he craved for the dining experience. Both of which a normal Soylent customer would do when getting bored with eating Soylent.

      Duh! When you force yourself to keep doing one thing just so you can write an article to "report" on it, of course it would felt like a chore!

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by romlok on Friday May 30 2014, @10:06AM

        by romlok (1241) on Friday May 30 2014, @10:06AM (#49086)

        Are you sure you RTFA?

        note that he didn't try to mix in different flavorings into his Soylent

        FTFA, emphasis mine:

        Soylent's instructions suggested adding peanut butter, fruit, vanilla extract or other flavorings to the drink. I did, but still, Soylent tasted pretty much the same from day to day - like gritty, thinned-down pancake batter, inoffensive and dull.

        nor did he mention taking a break from Soylent and eat with friends when he craved for the dining experience

        FTFA:

        During the last week and a half, I consumed Soylent for most, but not all, of my meals. There were a couple of days when more than 90 percent of my calories came from the powder.

        • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Friday May 30 2014, @10:32AM

          by EvilJim (2501) on Friday May 30 2014, @10:32AM (#49088) Journal

          yep, those instructions sound terrible, how about some good flavours? bet he didn't actually try fruit, that would likely be decent, even mixed with cement fruit is good.

          • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Saturday May 31 2014, @08:00AM

            by Magic Oddball (3847) on Saturday May 31 2014, @08:00AM (#49492) Journal

            According to the article, fruit was on the 'recommended' list he tried: "peanut butter, fruit, vanilla extract or other flavorings."

            I had to take bland, thick 'liquid' nutrition (which is extremely close in ingredients to Soylent) as a kid, and can attest that flavoring it is extremely difficult at best; it tends to either be untouched by a flavoring, or become nasty, sometimes gag-inducingly so. If you were to mix original gritty Metamucil, oatmeal, Bisquick, and heavy (liquid) whipping cream together, you might get a good approximation of it just for the challenge. You might want to have a quick-acting nausea pill nearby, though... ;-)

            That said, Farhad Manjoo is such an ignorant, smug little twat that I stopped reading the tech section at the last two sites he wrote for. Given they both hired him just when they switched over to printing a lot of trollish clickbait (like that article) and ads disguised as reviews, his presence at the NYT is probably a very bad sign.

        • (Score: 2) by khchung on Friday May 30 2014, @11:21AM

          by khchung (457) on Friday May 30 2014, @11:21AM (#49095)

          Soylent's instructions suggested adding peanut butter, fruit, vanilla extract or other flavorings to the drink. I did, but still, Soylent tasted pretty much the same from day to day - like gritty, thinned-down pancake batter, inoffensive and dull.

          I honestly missed that, even though I can remember reading it when seeing it in your reply. I guess it must be the effect of reading a "but", which cause people to mentally write-off whatever was said before that (something I heard from almost every communication class).

          OTOH, how *could* it still taste "pretty much the same" if he tried to add different flavorings?

          However, the second part. Yes, I did notice he wasn't doing a All-Soylent test, but obviously he had set a quota for himself and forced himself to went through it, even through meals where he wanted something else. "Feel like a chore" was HIS words, how would any normal customer keep eating Soylent when feeling like going through a chore?

          • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Friday May 30 2014, @10:04PM

            by EvilJim (2501) on Friday May 30 2014, @10:04PM (#49328) Journal

            hey, that's interesting about the 'but'...but...

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday May 30 2014, @01:43PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday May 30 2014, @01:43PM (#49142) Homepage Journal

        Agreed. The "most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS" in his very first sentence really gave him away. DOS joyless? Compared to making spreadsheets by hand on paper, or typing with a typewriter? The man is either an idiot or... I don't know, maybe he just thinks his readers are morons, but that was sa really stupid sentence for him to write.

        This would be excellent for taking along on a camping or hiking trip in case of emergency.

        I do, however, take issue with its cost. Making breakfast costs me far less than $3. Hell, I used to get biscuit and gravy and a burrito at McDonalds every morning on my way to work, the cost was $2.16. A dozen frozen burgers or chicken breasts is less than $10 at WalMart.

        Unless you're comparing the price to a Whopper, large fries and coke, or to dining in a nice sit-down restaurant, that's a hell of a lot more money than I now spend on real food.

        It might sound like a bargain in New York City, where I understand everything is stupidly expensive.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday May 30 2014, @03:51PM

          by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 30 2014, @03:51PM (#49189) Journal

          That's what i like about the linux command line... it's a better DOS than DOS (although DR-DOS was a better DOS than MS-DOS).

          And rice cakes with peanut butter and honey is even cheaper for breakfast... mmmm... styrofoam.... (Homer drool)

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Friday May 30 2014, @10:10PM

          by EvilJim (2501) on Friday May 30 2014, @10:10PM (#49330) Journal

          ha, ms-dos joyless? maybe now, but back then, shit I was enthralled, never really got the hang of cp/m (or the version they used on Amstrads) and manually flicking switches or wiring up a programmed board, now that was joyless as it was unlikely to ever work right first time ;) my breakfast is far cheaper than that too, currently I'm doing a discount energy drink or two, 20-40c a day when bought in a pack of 24.

          • (Score: 1) by jmc23 on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:44AM

            by jmc23 (4142) on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:44AM (#49388)

            um, yeah, energy drink sounds real nutrional.

            2 eggs and potatoes, 50c.

            • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Saturday May 31 2014, @07:27AM

              by EvilJim (2501) on Saturday May 31 2014, @07:27AM (#49484) Journal

              don't forget gas or electric cost :) I'm still trying to decide if it's more nutritional than the nothing I was having previously.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by zocalo on Friday May 30 2014, @09:58AM

      by zocalo (302) on Friday May 30 2014, @09:58AM (#49083)
      That has always been my understanding. Sure, you could live off the stuff if you wanted to, and some people probably will - at least for a time, but that's not the real market. It's going to be the military, disaster response teams, and the like that will be the main customers, followed by a long tail of private organizations and individuals that want something they can keep for emergencies or trips away from civilization. It won't matter how bland it tastes if the only alternative is starvation.
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @11:21AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @11:21AM (#49096)

        It's going to be the military, disaster response teams, and the like that will be the main customers

        From the description of how soylent tastes (not just by NYTimes), I'd definitely prefer an MRE instead of soylent for what might be my last meal. Heck I'd take instant ramen instead of soylent.

        • (Score: 2) by nightsky30 on Friday May 30 2014, @11:42AM

          by nightsky30 (1818) on Friday May 30 2014, @11:42AM (#49103)

          They might taste better, and I think anyone would choose something different for their last meal, but you are getting vastly different nutrients in each of these meals. MREs are designed for high caloric intake, and instant ramen is cheap, loaded with sodium chloride, and designed for an early heart attack. Soylent is meant to fill a complete nutritional niche.

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @12:03PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @12:03PM (#49112)

            and instant ramen is cheap, loaded with sodium chloride, and designed for an early heart attack.

            While it may well cause an early heart attack, I strongly doubt that was a design goal.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:45PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:45PM (#49143)

              Whoooosh!

              • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday May 30 2014, @02:14PM

                by tangomargarine (667) on Friday May 30 2014, @02:14PM (#49154)

                Whoosh yourself. That was funny.

                --
                "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by nightsky30 on Friday May 30 2014, @11:35AM

      by nightsky30 (1818) on Friday May 30 2014, @11:35AM (#49101)

      Strawberry jam and vanilla extract FOR THE WIN!!!

      Or maybe PB2 and coa coa powder...

  • (Score: 1) by romlok on Friday May 30 2014, @09:54AM

    by romlok (1241) on Friday May 30 2014, @09:54AM (#49082)

    Jounalist in "single foodstuff offers no variety" shocker!

    They say you can live on Guinness and Whelks, but I imagine you'd become just as bored with that, if it's all you ate.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Horse With Stripes on Friday May 30 2014, @11:15AM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday May 30 2014, @11:15AM (#49094)

      They say you can live on Guinness and Whelks, but I imagine you'd become just as bored with that, if it's all you ate.

      Challenge accepted!

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday May 30 2014, @02:16PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Friday May 30 2014, @02:16PM (#49155)

      Is this a British thing, referring to whelks? I feel like I read Douglas Adams mentioning them a few times. Does anybody in Britain actually eat them (willingly)?

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 1) by Noldir on Friday May 30 2014, @02:51PM

        by Noldir (1216) on Friday May 30 2014, @02:51PM (#49168)

        Dunno about Britain but I ate them often enough as a child when visiting the Belgian coast on holidays

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by geb on Friday May 30 2014, @09:58AM

    by geb (529) on Friday May 30 2014, @09:58AM (#49084)

    Ars has a much better article, calling out all the idiocy and anti-Soylent panic from foodies: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/05/the-psychol ogy-of-soylent-and-the-prison-of-first-world-food- choices/ [arstechnica.com]

    The Ars team did a similar test run last year, eating nothing but Soylent for a week, and came back saying it's not entirely awful. They acknowledge that it's not meant to be used that way though. Just because you can eat nothing but nutrient sludge, doesn't mean you have to.

    Personally I quite like the idea, and will be buying some to try it out if it ever goes on sale in my part of the world.

    • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Saturday May 31 2014, @09:20AM

      by Magic Oddball (3847) on Saturday May 31 2014, @09:20AM (#49508) Journal

      I usually love Ars Tech and enjoyed Lee Hutchinson's trial last summer, but afterward their Soylent articles didn't really fit with the rest of the site. After trying to find a good one to send as an info link to somebody else, I realized that the reason they don't fit in is that they read like paid product placement. The result is that they're as bad as Farhad Manjoo's clusterfuck, just with the opposite slant.

      Lee's rant the other day is a good example. Read straight, it was more disjointed than most amateur blog posts, over-the-top emotional with a side order of aggression, and contained irrational leaps of logic (like the idea that even suggesting a non-disabled fully-employed person could learn even basic cooking means someone has no empathy or experience with mental illness) -- nowhere near "Ars Technica" quality. If Rosa Labs gave Ars/Lee a bullet list of readers' concerns with the paid 'request' to address what they can & convince readers to not keep speaking out otherwise, however, the article's flaws suddenly make sense.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by hellcat on Friday May 30 2014, @11:46AM

    by hellcat (2832) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 30 2014, @11:46AM (#49104) Homepage

    We can argue all we want, and complain about TFA and its author, but he represents the market. take it as valuable inputs into the product development process and work with him, not against him.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by lajos on Friday May 30 2014, @12:24PM

    by lajos (528) on Friday May 30 2014, @12:24PM (#49118)

    How much longer for those votes to be counted so this site can be finally renamed and disassociated from this idiotic powdered food craziness?

    Seriously, how long does it take for a bunch of geeks to cook up a 50 line python/ruby/whatever script to tally up data from a couple hundred emails?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:43PM (#49141)

      This this this this! Begone stupid, poorly chosen site name, please. It's a dumb anchor dragging this site down.

      • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Friday May 30 2014, @03:08PM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Friday May 30 2014, @03:08PM (#49174)

        To the OP, I agree and would have thought this to be a done issue a long time ago. To you, what is a name? My parents gave me a name. It would not have been the one I would want, but it was mine long enough for me to accept it as such. It is not so much the name and the character that effects our view by others. Call me Jim, call me Number 5, call me Wyzltschly; if I act like a jerk then I'll known as such; My name matters little if I act with honor other then I'd be known as (8 of 4) that acted with honor.

        This is not a Johnny Cash song, but a web site that wont (or should not) change based on the name.

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 1) by jmc23 on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:47AM

      by jmc23 (4142) on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:47AM (#49391)

      God, just make the colour selectable.

      Has nobody heard of the effects of colour??

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @12:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @12:29PM (#49119)

    how can we know we're not already consuming human flesh?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @01:16PM (#49134)

      No jewellery in the sludge

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday May 30 2014, @02:23PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Friday May 30 2014, @02:23PM (#49156)

      It doesn't taste like chicken.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:30PM (#49178)

      What scent is that? What makes you think roasted human smells any different from roast pork? The muscles from all of us mammals smell and taste the same, diet and exercise notwithstanding. Why bother eating your fellow animals at all? It simply isn't necessary.

      Take out your primal urges constructively on a loved one and stop with the pointless killing already.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:25PM (#49255)

        But it is TASTY.. why wouldn't you eat your fellow animals?

        I'm sure a tiger or a hyena would enjoy human flesh. Why won't you?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:34PM (#49180)

    The longer I used it, the more Soylent began to feel like a chore. I began to yearn for the mechanics of solid meals -- chewing, swallowing, using my hands and silverware and experiencing a variety of textures and temperatures. I missed crunchy foods, salty foods, noisy foods and hot foods. (Soylent, like revenge, is best served cold.)

    Christ, what a tool...

    Soylent is for people who don't want to have to think about food. This guy reminds me of Hedonismbot from Futurama.

    • (Score: 1) by jmc23 on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:52AM

      by jmc23 (4142) on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:52AM (#49394)

      So troglodytic scientific nerds and religious nutters who think the mental life trumps the physical?

      Those two camps have more in common than they think!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Subsentient on Friday May 30 2014, @05:42PM

    by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 30 2014, @05:42PM (#49219) Homepage Journal

    Yeah it contains fish, that's a deal breaker for me and other veggers who want to eliminate food altogether,

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @06:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @06:18PM (#49230)

      There's no shortage of DIY recipes which are vegetarian or vegan. And the nutrition calculator / recipe interface makes it relatively easy to add the specifics of any new ingredient you might choose to use. Watch the video on the front page:

      diy.soylent.me [soylent.me]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:17PM (#49253)

      You can buy it without the fish + canola oil and add your own. Vegan compatibility was a goal. You can just use canola in its place and get vegan, algal-derived DHA & EPA supplements to round out the profile.

      • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @07:25PM (#49256)

        Uh, what? If vegan compatibility was the goal, why and how is there dead animal in the product?

        • (Score: 1) by jmc23 on Saturday May 31 2014, @02:00AM

          by jmc23 (4142) on Saturday May 31 2014, @02:00AM (#49400)

          The fish oil is in a separate package.

          For the unscientific minded people avoiding all animal fats, elasticity in the oils you use to build up your body is of great importance. Most vegetable oils are 'stiff'. Do your research if you've got some unscientific reason for avoiding eating animals.

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday May 31 2014, @04:29AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Saturday May 31 2014, @04:29AM (#49443) Homepage

            Most vegetable oils are 'stiff'.

            I've never heard it put that way before! Good way to explain it to the layman, heh.

    • (Score: 1) by jmc23 on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:55AM

      by jmc23 (4142) on Saturday May 31 2014, @01:55AM (#49397)

      I wonder if you would feel the same way if you spent more time raising and taking care of plants.

      Life is life.

  • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Friday May 30 2014, @07:28PM

    by Blackmoore (57) on Friday May 30 2014, @07:28PM (#49260) Journal

    This soylent doesn't need thousands on man hours to fix the source code!