Tag Archives | Food

The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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The Indigestible Fleshy Sculptures of Cao Hui

I’m a big fan of grotesque art and I suspect that many of you Disinfonauts out there in interwebsland are as well.

“When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.” Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

Six of one, half a dozen of the other…

‘visual temperature — sofa no.2′ (image courtesy of lin & lin gallery)

‘visual temperature — sofa no.2′
(image courtesy of lin & lin gallery)

Chinese artist Cao Hui has created a horrifying vision of a world gone meat in fibre and resin that scratches that itch as it were over at DesignBoom.com:

the work of cao hui could be considered indigestible for some viewers.

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The Future Will Be Full of Lab Grown Meat

Here’s another one of those lab-grown meat boosting articles, this time from Gizmodo. I think I’ll stick to tofu.

In 2013, the world’s first lab-grown burger was unveiled to the world. It carried a $330,000 price tag, and apparently, it wasn’t all that tasty. But the scientists behind the idea have been hard at work, and artificial meat that’s both cost-effective and palatable may arrive sooner than we think.


It’s not just cow-free beef burgers on the future menu — several groups around the world are attempting to clone chicken breasts and fish fillets, as well. Why do scientists want to grow meat in vats instead of on animals, and how close are we to actually accomplishing it?

The Big Resource Hog

The arguments for growing so-called ‘cultured’ meat are as wide-ranging as the reasons people decide to become vegetarian or vegan. If you’re not vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably received a mouthful on this subject from a friend or family member before, so I’m going to keep it brief and focus on the argument cultured meat proponents seem to embrace the most: Sustainability.

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Ben & Jerry’s flavors we’d actually like to see


Vermont is a terrible place. In fact, it’s the only state in the Union of which nothing nice at all can be said.*

Moose attacks. Forests teeming with flesh craving, lyme disease infested vulture ticks. More extraterrestrial anal probings per anorectum capita than any place on Earth. Blizzards of bloody ice and frogs. Bed and Breakfasts. Skeleton Witches. Flannel.

To most of us, however, Vermont is only known for three things: Maple syrup (a sticky insect attractant that tastes like bark and is poured from the head of an effigy of a woman molded in glass — no thank you!), Bernie Sanders (“…there’s too many varieties of deodorant. All you need is Victory antiperspirant: Only people guilty of ThoughtCrime sweat!”) and of course, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

An ice cream so foul and perverted that they named a once wholesome fruit flavor after the epitome of all that is noisome, barefoot and dirty, Cherry Garcia.… Read the rest

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Permaculture – Reconnecting with Nature


Phil Watt via Waking Times:

Humanity has lost its connection to nature. We’re so bombarded with artificial imagery and ideals of superficial living that most of us think taking in an occasional sunset or going for a bush-walk is what it means to be united with our Mother Earth. These practices are wonderful, and very grounding, however they are temporary and don’t truly represent the holistic way we most naturally connect to the spirit of our world and the life that it breathes.

As a culture, we have become disconnected from our food. We have forgotten the cycles of natural systems. We are blind to the divine patterns found in nature. We have lost the innate wisdom of knowing our environment like the back of our heart, and knowing our place within it. Instead we have accepted urbanization of our civilization as ‘natural’. In cities we live in a cement jungle, on top of each other but isolated from each other and our natural environment.

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Is It OK To Eat Dogs?

“Is it OK to eat dogs?,” asks Julian Baggini at the Guardian, telling us to “consider that eating man’s best friend is a matter of cultural tastes, not moral worth”:

Whenever western meat-eaters get up in arms over barbarous foreigners eating cute animals, it’s easy to throw around accusations of gross hypocrisy. Easy, because such accusations are often true. But responses to the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, which draws to a close today, merit more careful consideration. The double standards at play here are numerous, complicated, and not always obvious.

Photo: Stougard (CC)

Photo: Stougard (CC)

One so-called hypocrisy is nothing of the sort. If you find yourself disgusted by the thought of dogs being killed, cooked and eaten, but you eat other animals, that does not make you a hypocrite. If you’ve grown up seeing dogs as companion animals and haven’t even seen the reality of livestock slaughter, of course you’re going to find the idea somewhat distressing.

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The Monsanto Protection Act is Back, and Worse Than Ever

Press Release via The Center for Food Safety:

Latest changes to the Pompeo “DARK” Act create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill

WASHINGTON – Center for Food Safety (CFS) today expressed strong opposition to Representative Pompeo’s newly revised genetically engineered (GE) food labeling preemption bill (H.R. 1599), which now has been greatly expanded to not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way. These new provisions would not only prohibit any future state and local laws, but also undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade. The bill would also further weaken already weak federal regulation of GE crops, while at the same time forbidding local communities from opting to protect their citizens, their farmers, and their environments.

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Food Flavors: The Misinformation Industry

Who decides if added food flavors are “natural” or “artificial” and whether or not they are safe to eat? You might think it would be a government regulated body, but you’d be wrong. The food industry self-polices the labeling of added flavors through its own Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association. Putting aside the question of why  you would want to eat food that requires extra flavoring anyway, the Center for Public Integrity investigates what it calls “the misinformation industry”:

Ingredients created by food companies flavor what Americans eat each day — everything from juice drinks and potato chips to ice cream and canned soups. They give Cheetos their addictive cheesy taste and help distinguish Jolly Ranchers from other fruit-flavored candies.

Take your pick

Photo: DaDaAce (CC)

But the organization responsible for the safety of most “natural” and “artificial” flavors that end up in foods and beverages isn’t part of the U.S. government. Rather, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association — a secretive food industry trade group that has no in-house employees, no office of its own and a minuscule budget — serves as the de-facto regulator of the nation’s flavor additives.

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Average American Consumes Over 300 Gallons of California Water Per Week

CA Avocados at the grove

Photo: California Avocados (CC)

Note that it’s the average American who consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week, not the average Californian (whose usage is way higher). This is because this mythical average American is consuming a tremendous amount of food produced in California, everything from almonds to avocados explains the New York Times:

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.

The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week. We made an estimate of the amount of water it takes to grow each portion to give you a sense of your contribution to the California drought.

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