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posted by janrinok on Friday December 06 2019, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-i-have-ketchup-with-that dept.

"A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer."
--Dr Mark Post

The world's largest food concern, Unilever, has opened a new research lab at the world's most prestigious agricultural university, the University of Wageningen (the Netherlands). Unilever will locate all elements of its foods R&D there. A spokeswoman on Dutch radio stressed plant-based meat alternatives as an important research subject.

Wageningen University has strong credentials in that respect, with the development of shear cell technology.

Shear cell technology strings plant proteins together in tightly controlled fibers, resulting in a meat substitute where texture (fibrousness, bite, mouthfeel) can easily be controlled, and changed at will. This, combined with 3D food printing, offers the possibility of creating multiple meat (substitute) variations in future.

Unilever's food campus is open to startups, innovators and partners. One of the first to have build its own lab on the same grounds is Symrise, an industrial flavours and scents group.

About half of Dutch people call themselves 'flexitarians'. This means that they don't eat meat with their main meal at least three times a week. The proportion of vegetarians is stable, at just under five percent of the Dutch population.

Wageningen researchers believe, however, that feeding 9 billion people with animal meat will not be sustainable for the planet.


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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:54AM (4 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:54AM (#929303) Journal

    Many of the sociological problems with arcologies are solvable as long as they are a minority of total habitation, and they have an ejection mechanism. People who don't or can't fit in will leave. It won't be a freedom-loving frontier, more like a condo with the HOA turned up to 12, but some people would like that.

    If they start getting built I would also expect deliberate differentiation à la The Diamond Age. Some will be almost hippie free-love communes, some more strait-jacketed than imperial China. Others might be neo-Victorian, or artist colonies. Pick the society you like and move there (if they will have you).

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  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:06PM (3 children)

    by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:06PM (#929436) Journal

    They could be hippie "free-love" communes, if such really ever existed, but they would still need tight controls over actions...artificial structures are too fragile. Sex is, or at least appears to be, irrelevant to that, and perhaps loose controls over sex could allow tight controls over reproduction to be tolerable.

    That you're talking about an "ejection" feasibility in a really hostile environment is equivalent to talking about making them walk the plank, i.e. killing them. And not necessarily slowly. If oxygen or a survivable temperature is hard to come by, then ejecting them is just killing them without admitting it.

    P.S.: The groups I ever met that really seriously believed in "free love" didn't practice it. They just allowed informal polygamy or polyandry, which is a very different idea. I only met one person from Kerista, a group that actually practiced "free love", though they apparently thought of it more as a plural marriage that encompassed everyone. It kept going for decades, but was so minor that I only met one member (so my idea of their beliefs may be a bit skewed). So my expectation is that actual "free love" societies would be unsuccessful. But this might not be true in an artificial habitat without intrusive neighbors.

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    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:14PM (2 children)

      by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:14PM (#929499) Journal

      Don't get hung up on the hippie free love bit. It was just an example at the other extreme from a regimented society.
      I used ejection because I meant removal from the group, which is a bit more than a simple eviction for not paying the rent. And we were discussing this in the context of Oath of Fealty, which was about an arcology near LA. This isn't a space ship, where did you get a really hostile oxygen-free environment from?

      --
      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:08PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:08PM (#929513) Journal

        Oath of Fealty was the local context, but the larger context was habitats in extremely harsh environmental circumstances. Oath of Fealty was just an example of a fiction which detailed many of the problems inherent in ANY large ecology.

        FWIW, I expect they'll be too expensive to justify except in extreme conditions. For reasons which are implicit in the story. But the social system depicted in the story would not function in such conditions...so my reiteration that part of what we need is much better sociology. Yes, it's got difficult feedback cycles in it, many of them instigated because those making decisions will tend to make decisions that favor themselves in the relatively short term even at the cost of social stability.

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        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:31PM

          by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:31PM (#929523) Journal

          At one point I lived for a few years in a smallish (but nice) apartment that was on top of a shopping centre. There were about 40 apartments, and even though there was no direct access to the shops it was very convenient (you had to go out on the street and back in a different keyed entry to the apartments). It was very different to living in a house in the suburbs, and I can see the appeal for living in an arcology. It's not for me long term, but there were aspects of it I liked.

          You're right about the sociology, and the attitudes of the inhabitants being critical. A community with a guarded wall might be a sanctuary or a prison. It depends on the people, the guards, and the direction of the guarding. That was even in the book - the bit about the drunk businessman holding it together until he could get past the city cops who would arrest him, and into the arcology where the cops would help him get home.

          --
          If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.