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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: Brugle on July 29, 2009, 03:45:34 pm

Title: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Brugle on July 29, 2009, 03:45:34 pm
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I'm enjoying EFT immensely, and will comment when I have something relevant to say.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on July 29, 2009, 05:31:38 pm
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)
I don't remember the story, but it is a fact that legumes do produce a form of hemoglobin! See third to last paragraph or search "hemoglobin":

   http://people.ku.edu/~jbrown/engineering.html

I'm enjoying EFT immensely, and will comment when I have something relevant to say.

We think that the fact that you enjoy EFT is highly relevant.   ;)

Speaking of which, comics live on the support of their readership. If you like what you are reading, please take a few seconds to vote for EFT in the Top 100 Web Comics survey. Just click on the small box next to the top panels of the strip. There are thousands of comics listed on Top 100. EFT is currently in 81st place! Please help keep EFT in double digits. Thanks.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: deadasdisco on July 30, 2009, 04:51:49 pm
Hey, if WE can grow an ear on a mouse, then the guy that cracked quantum entanglement can make meat in a gourd....

Which brings me to a couple of questions, one plot-related, one frivolous...

1. So... is this steak that vegans can eat?  And if so, will it make them easier to deal with (aaaaaand ducking... now) [I kid 'cause I love, guys...  ;) ]

2. Is this guy for real about 'giving them away'?  Seriously?  Or is he up to something?  A plot to move in on Earth when the Dub has fallen, maybe?  I mean, if he's for real, then more power to him, and by the unwritten rules of EFT, he HAS been given 'Good Guy' level exposition.  Bad guys do NOT get this kind of info-dump.  Still, I'm personally always suspicious of anything that seems TOO good to be true.  After all, if there's something me and and the hard-charging anarchist/libertarian types on this board agree on, its TANSTAAFL... there's always a price... 

BTW, guys, good job, seeing if the Big Kahuna's really on the up-and-up is just as suspensful to me as whether or not the Iceman gets him... maybe more so, sinse there's no nanotech shield on human intentions...
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on July 30, 2009, 06:09:58 pm
1. So... is this steak that vegans can eat?  And if so, will it make them easier to deal with (aaaaaand ducking... now) [I kid 'cause I love, guys...  ;) ]

Well, ethical vegans should have no problem since no animals were harmed in the making of this food. But vegans may eschew it for health reasons. In any case, this will make most vegans not one whit easier to put up with. Being holier than thou is part of their personality

2. Is this guy for real about 'giving them away'?  Seriously?  Or is he up to something?  A plot to move in on Earth when the Dub has fallen, maybe?  I mean, if he's for real, then more power to him, and by the unwritten rules of EFT, he HAS been given 'Good Guy' level exposition.  Bad guys do NOT get this kind of info-dump.  Still, I'm personally always suspicious of anything that seems TOO good to be true.  After all, if there's something me and and the hard-charging anarchist/libertarian types on this board agree on, its TANSTAAFL... there's always a price... 

BTW, guys, good job, seeing if the Big Kahuna's really on the up-and-up is just as suspensful to me as whether or not the Iceman gets him... maybe more so, sinse there's no nanotech shield on human intentions...

Let's keep the suspense going a bit long than, shall we?
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: terry_freeman on July 31, 2009, 12:26:27 am
After a certain level, people do things just for the heck of it. Many a hospital or university has been founded by people who simply could afford to do so. What would be gained by giving away steak-fruit gourds and instantaneous travel? I'm guessing that the desired end result would be the collapse of the world government.  A person who has acquired the status of "insanely rich" might not worry a great deal about profit per se -- but he might want to seriously damage the one entity with the resources and motivation to threaten his security.

As for steak-fruit being acceptable to vegans, that would depend on how fine a line they draw. There's a fair market for ersatz "chicken" and "beef" which are actually derived from soy beans. Many of the usual arguments - requiring so many acres to obtain so many pounds of beef, or the harm done to animals - would not apply. There remain two vegan arguments, however, which might. Those who believe that meat is unhealthy would believe the same of steak fruit. There would also be those who would object to the "unnatural" union of plant and vegetable genetic materials.  As for me, I love animals ... on a plate, right next to the potatoes and vegetables. If a tasty steak-fruit were developed, I'd happily indulge. i notice that nobody has ever tried to make steak taste like soy beans.





Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Sean Roach on July 31, 2009, 01:05:38 am
Possibilities...
Basic meat will be scattered in little packets where anyone can find them...but the choice cuts single generation seeds will sell for 9.95.
Hyperspace travel will be released to the general population, so anyone can make the engines...but there is a ready fleet ready to go the day the information is released to the public.  Perhaps even some for sale.

Of course, it could be argued that he simply wants to make a mark on the world, wants to make that mark by making the world a better place to live, and can afford to do so by giving away groundbreaking, and stasis shattering, technologies.

It could also be argued he's operating within the framework of a gift economy.  Give something to others in order to win acclaim.

P.S.  An alternate possibility.  If the governments can't hold the people, and the people leave, that will put a lot more people in the belt, and presumably relying on wireless forms of communication as their primary link with their associates.  Freeing people to run away creates a bigger market for the existing tanglenet.  Freeing people to produce meat on a small acreage, incidentally, especially if that acreage can be hydroponic, would also allow people to "raise meat" on smallish ships.  Again, freeing them from needing to stay at home.  Both the new technologies, but especially the hyperspace one, increase the market share Tanglenet has for communication.

Sorry for any oddities of language.  It's after midnight, and I'm typing stream of thought.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on July 31, 2009, 10:47:02 am
After a certain level, people do things just for the heck of it. Many a hospital or university has been founded by people who simply could afford to do so. What would be gained by giving away steak-fruit gourds and instantaneous travel? I'm guessing that the desired end result would be the collapse of the world government.  A person who has acquired the status of "insanely rich" might not worry a great deal about profit per se -- but he might want to seriously damage the one entity with the resources and motivation to threaten his security.

Bingo! Tobi is way past having to make a profit on this or that project. He can afford to indulge his ability to change the world. Wouldn't we all do the same, if we were rich enough?

...If a tasty steak-fruit were developed, I'd happily indulge. i notice that nobody has ever tried to make steak taste like soy beans.

 :D
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on July 31, 2009, 11:05:30 am
Possibilities...
Basic meat will be scattered in little packets where anyone can find them...but the choice cuts single generation seeds will sell for 9.95.
Hyperspace travel will be released to the general population, so anyone can make the engines...but there is a ready fleet ready to go the day the information is released to the public.  Perhaps even some for sale.

Excellent pickup. Sean has, of course, restated the "open source" concept as it applies to this scenario. You give away the basic product then charge for the premium, value-added version. For the record, though, that is not what Tobi is doing. He might have done it earlier, when he wasn't so rich, but that was not the case.

Of course, it could be argued that he simply wants to make a mark on the world, wants to make that mark by making the world a better place to live, and can afford to do so by giving away groundbreaking, and stasis shattering, technologies.

Yup.

It could also be argued he's operating within the framework of a gift economy.  Give something to others in order to win acclaim.

At the end of the day, Tobi may be a humanitarian, but he is still a geek looking for street cred. Change the world? Now that is street cred.
 
P.S.  An alternate possibility.  If the governments can't hold the people, and the people leave, that will put a lot more people in the belt, and presumably relying on wireless forms of communication as their primary link with their associates.  Freeing people to run away creates a bigger market for the existing tanglenet.  Freeing people to produce meat on a small acreage, incidentally, especially if that acreage can be hydroponic, would also allow people to "raise meat" on smallish ships.  Again, freeing them from needing to stay at home.  Both the new technologies, but especially the hyperspace one, increase the market share Tanglenet has for communication.

That too. Excellent overview of the possible motivations for Tobi to give his new technologies away for free.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Azure Priest on August 01, 2009, 10:16:52 am
I'm not entirely certain having plants generating meat products is a good thing. Genetic engineering gave us "killer," Africanized, honey bees as an example. Further there is precedent for plants having animal proteins. In the books, Relic and Reliquary, a tropical plant in the Brazil rain forest had a symbiotic fungus that produced proteins very chemically similar to the hormones produced by the hypothalmus. People who ate that plant would change at the genetic level and become dependent on the chemicals to live. An amazon tribe used this to their advantage, capture a member of an "enemy" tribe, feed him the leaf in tea, then release him back to his people.  Those books are fiction; however, genetic engineering more often than not, is people toying with things they don't fully understand, hoping to do one thing and getting something else instead.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: pendothrax on August 01, 2009, 11:25:51 am
I think the United World would not be caring if the majority of their citizens, the welfare rolls, were to leave.  The actual workers, or middle class leaving would destroy thier tax base completely as the setting has been described. And the control of internet "pirates" is well underway.  Between the so called intellectual property treaties, and the recent show trila of the Pirate Bay founders, a way is being found to reign in truly independent voices whenever those in authority feel the urge. I look at the extra legal pressures put on craigslist by the ?South Carolina? state attorney general as the fore runner of the boot in your face that is the "middle ground' in internet content regulation.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on August 01, 2009, 09:08:35 pm
I'm not entirely certain having plants generating meat products is a good thing. Genetic engineering gave us "killer," Africanized, honey bees as an example.

Not so. Africanized hybrid bees created themselves. African queens accidentally escaped captivity in Brazil and mated with local drones all on their own. see:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africanized_bee

... genetic engineering more often than not, is people toying with things they don't fully understand, hoping to do one thing and getting something else instead.

I don't know of any evidence that would support your supposition. Genetic engineering has definitely been practiced by humans since the invention of agriculture. My guess is that it goes back 100,000 to 200,000 years in the domestication of the wolf into dogs. And in some sense all human progress has involved taking risks and "people toying with things they don't fully understand." That's how they get to fully understand things.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: terry_freeman on August 01, 2009, 10:58:29 pm
The more energetic and productive people tend to be first to exploit the advantages of disruptive technologies, and to leave the kleptocrats to their own devices. Folks on welfare rolls might prefer to let other people provide food "for free" - making food easier to produce might merely increase their demands. If food production were made insanely easy, and transportation cheap and ubiquitous, the productive would flee, leaving behind parasites and those who feel duty-bound to support the parasites. It is a paradox that a relatively free and productive economy can support a huge overburden of parasites, at least until their demands outpace the productive capacity.

By the way, I disagree with some of what George Soros is trying to accomplish, but he is an example of a person who has enough wealth to alter the course of politics; it is said that his contributions to Eastern Europe exceed the total "foreign aid" from the US. If he were libertarian, that would be awesome.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Mabuse on August 02, 2009, 02:36:59 am
A little OT but for your edification Sandy; Information Mechanics was published in 1967 not 77.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on August 02, 2009, 08:47:29 am
A little OT but for your edification Sandy; Information Mechanics was published in 1967 not 77.

Are you sure you are talking about the Information Mechanics written by Frederick Kantor? Amazon and others list the publication date as 1977. See:

http://www.amazon.com/Information-Mechanics-Frederick-William-Kantor/dp/0471029688/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3FGEWRKFL6UOT&colid=3H07XO4YJR3AY
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: wdg3rd on August 02, 2009, 09:30:37 am
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I'm enjoying EFT immensely, and will comment when I have something relevant to say.

That story I don't recall, but there were the chloro-cattle in F. Paul Wilson's An Enemy of the State (not vegan acceptable, as they were motile) and of course my own preference is carniculture, raising animal muscle tissue in vats, common in the works of H. Beam Piper.  That latter is established technology that has never left the laboratories.

And Sandy, I'm assuming that you've read Gilpin's Space by Reginald Bretnor and The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell, which involve public dissemination of low-cost interstellar transportation technologies and some of the after-effects.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on August 02, 2009, 10:31:03 am
And Sandy, I'm assuming that you've read Gilpin's Space by Reginald Bretnor and The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell, which involve public dissemination of low-cost interstellar transportation technologies and some of the after-effects.

I've never heard of Gilpin's Space, but I read The Great Explosion many years ago. It probably influenced me, but then, everything has.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Azure Priest on August 03, 2009, 01:14:07 am
You missed the point. Africanized honey bees were created because, as the scientists themselves claim, they brought the African bees to cross breed with European bees because African bees are more prolific and European produce more honey per bee ergo, more overall honey production. The result, unfortunately, is the reverse as can be seen by the "escaping" hybrid which then converts local honeybees to AHB because only the queen carries genetic material from generation to generation and the AHB queens mature more quickly than the local queens and prevent the slower queens from reaching maturity. Bee experts to this day are still confused as to AHB's behavior as it fits no established bee patterns, they all agree though that they're far more agressive in "defending their home territory" than "normal" bees.

Here are some KNOWN side affect of ACTIVE genetic engineering in the lab (Not cross-breeding or "husbandry" but actually altering DNA at the cellular level).

1.) Advanced aging. "Dolly" quickly reached old age and died, as well as numerous experimental rats and mice.

2.) Tumors.

3.) Deformities and anomalies as well as features not known from either donor or host species.

4.) Disease "mutations."

5.) Bizzarre abberant behavior also not known from any of the species involved.

The list goes on.  If such "food" was introduced into the market, I'd at least like that info on the label.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Mabuse on August 03, 2009, 05:37:34 am
A little OT but for your edification Sandy; Information Mechanics was published in 1967 not 77.

Are you sure you are talking about the Information Mechanics written by Frederick Kantor? Amazon and others list the publication date as 1977. See:

http://www.amazon.com/Information-Mechanics-Frederick-William-Kantor/dp/0471029688/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3FGEWRKFL6UOT&colid=3H07XO4YJR3AY

Well either that's a reprint or my source of information is unreliable; probably the latter. Oh and BTW; if anybody's interested in other stories of Information Mechanics applied to transport I heartily recommend Moving Mars by Greg Bear.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on August 03, 2009, 12:06:43 pm
You missed the point. Africanized honey bees were created because, as the scientists themselves claim, they brought the African bees to cross breed with European bees because African bees are more prolific and European produce more honey per bee ergo, more overall honey production. The result, unfortunately, is the reverse as can be seen by the "escaping" hybrid which then converts local honeybees to AHB because only the queen carries genetic material from generation to generation and the AHB queens mature more quickly than the local queens and prevent the slower queens from reaching maturity. Bee experts to this day are still confused as to AHB's behavior as it fits no established bee patterns, they all agree though that they're far more agressive in "defending their home territory" than "normal" bees.

Assuming, arguendo, the queen bees escaping is some fault of genetic engineering, the result isn't that much worse than swarming "normal" bees, Hollywood scary films to the contrary, notwithstanding. There is some risk in all new human endeavor. On the other hand, it only takes a few jackpots to more than make up for the oopsies. Disease resistant Brahma-cow hybrids are helping produce more meat in the tropics, the "beefalo" produces lower fat, environmentally-friendly meat. Have you ever seen the original Indian corn? Compare that to modern hybridized corn for quality and volume. But all pales in comparison to the Green Revolution that has saved a billion lives. Sorry, but I like the odds with regard to genetic investigation. 

Here are some KNOWN side affect of ACTIVE genetic engineering in the lab (Not cross-breeding or "husbandry" but actually altering DNA at the cellular level).

1.) Advanced aging. "Dolly" quickly reached old age and died, as well as numerous experimental rats and mice.

Not so. Dolly died of a common sheep lung cancer. Though there was some conjecture that she was born with shortened telomeres, but that has not been shown upon further examination of her genes. Even if true, current research shows that telomerase can be used to re-lengthen telomeres. And finally, Dolly was the first attempt. That is why we do research. We find out what works or we find out how to fix what doesn't work. It is an iterative process of successive approximations.

2.) Tumors.

3.) Deformities and anomalies as well as features not known from either donor or host species.

4.) Disease "mutations."

5.) Bizzarre abberant behavior also not known from any of the species involved.

The list goes on.  If such "food" was introduced into the market, I'd at least like that info on the label.

Okay, so let's put "genetically modified" on the label. I'll eat it, you won't, problem solved.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Rocketman on August 04, 2009, 09:38:03 pm
Sandy:  Here's a question for you.  I've seen on television shows people who have tatooing that makes them look like a cat for example.  My knowledge of Genetics is weak at best.  Do you think that sometime in the near future that some people will undergo genetic manipulation to give them cat or some other animal DNA and if so how successful do you think that the manipulation will be?
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on August 04, 2009, 11:26:25 pm
Sandy:  Here's a question for you.  I've seen on television shows people who have tatooing that makes them look like a cat for example.  My knowledge of Genetics is weak at best.  Do you think that sometime in the near future that some people will undergo genetic manipulation to give them cat or some other animal DNA and if so how successful do you think that the manipulation will be?

From what I understand (which is limited), the answer is, yes, they could. However, with extreme body manipulation available via nanotechnology, I don't see any purpose in going the DNA route. If you wants cat's eyes, fur and spicules on your penis, nanotech will make it possible, quickly and easily.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: quadibloc on August 05, 2009, 12:30:26 am
There is some risk in all new human endeavor. On the other hand, it only takes a few jackpots to more than make up for the oopsies.

Generally speaking, that has indeed been true throughout human history. Progress has so often been tragically delayed because of people who wanted to retain political power, either by keeping people in ignorance, or preventing any economic changes that might threaten stability, and so on.

But human power has been steadily increasing as technology has advanced. Thus, the discovery of atomic power made it possible for war to be more destructive than ever. With the "ozone hole", we had our first indication that pollution was becoming something global, rather than local.

Conditions change. That technology could soon be at a level where an "oopsie" might mean a microorganism that turns every human being on the planet into jelly is not inherently impossible. Of course, the trouble is, even if that is true, government breathing down the necks of private industry will do nothing about the more serious threat... the weapons labs of North Korea and the like.

But because technology does bring about profound changes in conditions, I'm mistrustful of putting ideology over pragmatism, since what was reasonable in one situation may not be properly fitted or adapted to a new situation.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: Rocketman on August 05, 2009, 07:54:53 am
Quadibloc got part of my reasoning.  If say a member of an US infantry platoon had the ability to see in the dark like a cat and another had the ability to sniff out the explosives in booby traps or hear the enemy as they lie in ambush that would be a huge advantage and I could readily see the military funding the technology.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: quadibloc on August 06, 2009, 09:23:24 am
Are you sure you are talking about the Information Mechanics written by Frederick Kantor? Amazon and others list the publication date as 1977.

You're probably quite correct, but in doing a Google search on this, I found one quote where a famous science-fiction author gave the 1967 date for that book; so, when a credible source makes a mistake, it often propagates.
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: J Thomas on September 03, 2009, 11:00:35 am
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I remember that story! A fleeing dictator and his men had found a lone scientist who was working away in the jungle. He told them he was producing tomatoes that were full of meat, but really he was injecting the tomatoes with snake blood. They let him live because it was so hard for them to hunt game there, and after it was too late he revealed his real research -- he had found a way to make plant-animal hybrids that resulted in all the bad guys taking root.

I've forgotten what he called his special tomatoes. Beefalos? Beefsteak tomatoes? Tomeatos? Nothing sounds quite right but I remember laughing with my friends about the name.

I wondered whether the author might have had that story in mind when the inventor gave away tomatoes....
Title: Re: Steak-fruit gourd
Post by: SandySandfort on September 03, 2009, 06:40:45 pm
Flash-back to a short story I read over 40 years ago, but I forgot its name and author.  Deep in the amazon jungle, a crazy scientist said he had a process for changing chlorophyll into hemoglobin, making meat out of plant food.  But that's not exactly the way it worked. ;)

I remember that story! A fleeing dictator and his men had found a lone scientist who was working away in the jungle. He told them he was producing tomatoes that were full of meat, but really he was injecting the tomatoes with snake blood. They let him live because it was so hard for them to hunt game there, and after it was too late he revealed his real research -- he had found a way to make plant-animal hybrids that resulted in all the bad guys taking root.

I've forgotten what he called his special tomatoes. Beefalos? Beefsteak tomatoes? Tomeatos? Nothing sounds quite right but I remember laughing with my friends about the name.

I wondered whether the author might have had that story in mind when the inventor gave away tomatoes....

Nope, just coincidence. I'm pretty sure I never read that story.