Photo: David Parry / PA Wire

Dispatches From Tomorrow: Future Food

on Monday, Aug. 5th

The technological breakthroughs of today that will shape our tomorrows might seem like they all involve wearable computers and super-batteries, but the most significant ones might just involve what goes on our dinner plates.

The big buzz today is around the unveiling, then cooking and eating, of a vat-grown hamburger patty. Researchers from Maastricht University, financially backed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, announced in London today that they had successfully grown muscle tissue in the lab from cow stem cells.

In time this technology could have a major impact, making it possible to feed a skyrocketing population without the need for the massive infrastructure the current meat industry requires.

As for the the burger itself? The patty was reportedly a little bland, due in part to the lack of fat. Apparently growing fat is a little harder for science than growing muscle. (Stupid science with it's fast metabolism.)

Don't expect to see the patties show up at the local Whole Foods anytime soon. The research team warns that it could take decades before the stuff can be made at sufficient scale.

No word from Brin as to whether or not eating vat grown beef is emasculating.

While it make take decades before this cow-alternative makes it to market, there is still hope that we can feed the bulging population of Planet Earth.

University of Minnesota researchers unleashed a study that says that by changing the nature of what we grow, we can feed more people. A lot more people:

The world’s croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

Taken together these two stories are hopeful signs. If we try, even just a little bit, humanity just might make it through the… ah, who am I kidding? We're doomed.

Let's go get a taco. A real one.

"Cultured Beef" via GigaOm

Cropland Source: University of Minnesota via Kurzweil.ai

Photo: David Parry / PA Wire

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