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Soylent - I am lost for words, and not in a good way.  RSS feed

 
Nick Simcheck
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Location: Southeast Michigan, USA
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I just stumbled upon something that horrifies me, I am almost speechless. I have so much to say, that I feel like I could never firmly establish my stance, that my words would read more like a rant of mindless drivel fueled by negativity and confusion. I guess that I can manage to say that if you look at it in an all encompassing view, that it stands against my logic and understanding in every desire and value in life. So what has me "sick to my stomach"?



Soylent.


Vice documentary on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8NCigh54jg&list=PLTlJK3kwZIbS4lJeNNx1Z7TUlidgNK_2R



To summarize, it is a powdered concoction which - in theory - contains everything required for a human being to sustain life, with the ultimate goal of solving world hunger.

It costs $65 per person, per week. In this video it is made from 'chemical suppliers' in an old garment factory with mice running around. The interviewer which lived off it for 30 days also had issues with mold and "green stuff".


The creator has said that;
Just because something comes from nature, doesn't mean that it's going to be the best. It's usually the opposite way, things that we design are the most useful things

when discussing organic farming;
it just isn't scalable to meet the demands for 7 billion people

in a stroke of genius he said;
maybe someday we can make these nutrients from water, sun and air... Just like the plants do

and finally;
So I would just like to say, that you know, a lot of people are scared of things in agriculture, and things like additives in food. Honestly I think things like this is completely safe and that food is just going to continue to improve.


My quotes may not be verbatim, but you get the point. As a side note, if I am to be completely honest... even though he has quite a god complex, he also seems devoid of a soul.



None of these things frighten me! What really scares me is that people support it with an almost cult like devotion. Just reading some comments on youtube, anyone who dare say how ludicrous this concoction is becomes weighed down by nonsense, insane logic, and hatred from devotees. Soylent was backed by more than 20,000 people with over $2.1 Million in funding.



I have lost nearly all faith in humanity over some enriched oats and conola oil made into a smoothie.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Robert Ray
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Check out Nutraloaf as prison food.
 
Zach Muller
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Can the body produce solid waste if no solids are consumed?
 
Bill Crim
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Soylent has additional fiber and "bulking" agents.

Personally, I am excited for it. Not because I particularly want to eat it, but just as an interesting way to push the boundaries of nutrition. Getting good information about the health effects of specific food is hard because of the complexity involved. Having a completely controlled nutritional baseline would be an interesting scientific tool.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Zach Muller wrote: Can the body produce solid waste if no solids are consumed?


Babies do while eating just milk. A lot of our waste is dead bacteria from our gut, and bile. If you found a way to stop pooping, you'd be in trouble.
 
Zach Muller
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
Zach Muller wrote: Can the body produce solid waste if no solids are consumed?


Babies do while eating just milk. A lot of our waste is dead bacteria from our gut, and bile. If you found a way to stop pooping, you'd be in trouble.


Good point, I guess it's obvious I am not a parent.

It's kind of funny that he was remarking about how leaves are what animals eat, not what humans should eat....
I will stick with being an animal for now.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I watched it. There's no mention of where ingredients are sourced. I'm pretty sure they come from plants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I make my own very tasty, fresh version of Soylent, with a blender. Fruit, nuts, vegetables and water combine to make a different one every time. I still eat solid foods. You may know this amazing food as a smoothie. Far superior to the powder version. Less likely to cause madness and the ingredients can be produced at home through a magical process called photosynthesis. --- Little concentrated food packs are put in the soil in your yard and they multiply using solar power and rain. Each one has all of the genetic information needed to self replicate without the need for fossil fuels or factories. These foods come in a wide array of packaging and flavors. It's an amazing process that has kept scientists busy studying for centuries. In the future, billions of people may satisfy their nutritional needs in this way. It's the way of the future.
 
wayne stephen
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Well , for this semi-intelligent ape of distant African origins I will be enjoying leaves , fresh tomatos , and grilled chicken this summer . Looking forward to it . Unlike some people .
 
Steve Hoskins
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I smell a class action suit, and possibly the coining of the term "Soylent starvation".
 
Dale Hodgins
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Did anyone else feel a strong desire to give the maker a good slap ? I wonder how many credulous simps he will convert.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benjamin Franklin had a saying related to this sort of thing. --- "A fool and his money are soon parted." If this powder behaves anything like others, "farted" could end his sentence as well.
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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Im starting to develop a vague theory in my head for phenomena like this. It involves some combination of University, specialization in one area of knowledge, worship of peer reviewed journals, childhood deficiency of experiences with nature, the blind compulsion for money, lack of self awareness (THIS is where it all starts), exposure to brainwashing (a.k.a. modern marketing).... Ahhh Im just ranting now. Sorry. Ill stop while Im ahead.

This reinforces my great affection for permaculture people as one of the sanest groups Ive ever had the pleasure to meet!

Now I should probably go post something relentlessly positive to balance out this post, haha.
 
Bryan Jasons
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@Sheldon

I think a good way describe it would be "Academic Authoritarian".

"A few patterns, formulated in language, are substituted for the processes of exploration through metaphorical thinking. In the first stages of learning, the process is expansive and metaphorical. If a question is closed by an answer in the form of a rule that must be followed, subsequent learning can only be analytical and deductive.

Learning of this sort is always a system of closed compartments, though one system might occasionally be exchanged for another, in a “conversion experience.”

The exploratory analogical mind is able to form broad generalizations and to make deductions from those, but the validity of the generalization is always in a process of being tested. Both the deduction and the generalization are constantly open to revision in accordance with the available evidence.

If there were infallible authorities who set down general rules, language and knowledge could be idealized and made mathematically precise. In their absence, intelligence is necessary, but the authorities who would be infallible devise ways to confine and control intelligence, so that, with the mastery of a language, the growth of intelligence usually stops."

"...with the substitution of deductive reasoning for metaphorical-analogical thinking, the natural pleasures of mental exploration and creation are lost, and a new kind of personality and character has come into existence. "

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/authoritarians.shtml
 
Bryan Jasons
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If y'all think semi-synthetic food is awful, it's nothing compared to synthetic organisms :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthia
 
wayne stephen
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Rob Rhineharts philosophy is not congruent with his product . He states he is escaping the agricultural model . Yet the main ingredients are highly processed grain and soy products . Even the mineral products are in some way tied to agriculture . Potassium gluconate : gluconate is made by fermenting glucose . He dares to say that highly processed vegan products are more sustainable than the fresh source . How is this possible ? This young man also seems to believe that nature is not sustainable yet man made synthetics are . He verbalizes a faith that man moving away from nature has always made life better . I beg to differ .

OK : Celebrity Deathmatch - Rob Rhinehart vs. Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan suffers a bruised weltanschauung and a chipped tooth but recovers in the third round. In the fourth round Rhinehart is overcome as Pollan fans the scent of rosemary grilled lamb chops in his face . He drops to his knees as repressed memories of Thanksgiving dinners at Grandmothers house boil to the surface . Pollan uses this window of opportunity to spoon feed Rhinehart a nice pork liver pate with a raspberry tart for dessert. Rhinehart cries like a baby and admits he has been selling calf manna to the unwitting herds .

Victory to Food !
 
nathan luedtke
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I totally agree that the product is problematic. But I find aspects of it extremely compelling and I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

First- think about Soylent as a possible product that can easily be packaged up and sold inexpensively (less than $3/meal) through the existing distribution system (gas stations) in food deserts. Give people an option to cover their basic nutrition when there REALLY are no options except fast food or otherwise unhealthy food. Give people like truckers, etc who on average have unhealthy diets a good option to sustain their health in a convenient way.

Yes it's not perfect but in many cases I see that it can do more good than harm. At least this guy is trying to think outside the box and solve a problem. I don't think he's aiming the product at people like us permies, it's aimed at the MILLIONS of people who get substandard nutrition through the factory food system, and giving them easy access to more complete nutrition. If he can accomplish that goal, it's a net positive. If he can someday source his raw materials through more sustainable methods (a permaculture growers co-op, a la Mark Shepard, maybe?) then he'd be really moving things along- and I've seen him nod in the direction of going more "organic" in the future- one of the benefits of having a "modular formula".



One story from the product development phase of Soylent that I found hilarious was when Rob Rinehart was first self-experimenting with eating only formula, he felt great for a couple of days, then started to get all shaky. He looked up his symptoms and realized he forgot to include iron in the formula! After that he was a lot more careful about ensuring more complete nutritional profile.
-Yes, this story does point to some naivete and hubris. But it does provide an useful lesson and improved the product in the long term (#4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback)
 
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The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
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