August 31, 2018

White noise evokes White Christmas if you think about it

Filed under: Music,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:12 pm

Harald Merckelbach and Vincent van de Ven of Maastricht University published a study back in 2001 entitled ‘Another White Christmas: fantasy proneness and reports of ‘hallucinatory experiences’ in undergraduate students’ in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, which, for whatever reason, has been brought to Improbable Research’s attention this week.

Forty-four undergraduate students were asked to listen to white noise and instructed to press a button when they believed hearing a recording of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas without this record actually being presented. Fourteen participants (32%) pressed the button at least once…. hallucinatory reports obtained during the White Christmas test [might] reflect a non-specific preference for odd items rather than schizophrenia-like, internal experiences.

In my neck of the woods, we used to sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, and all the cars stuck in the snow.” And in case you’ve never heard this great Christmas classic, here it is.


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January 27, 2016

‘Lab grown meat to hit shops in five years’

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:03 am

Newly founded Dutch company Mosa Meat wants to see lab grown meat in supermarkets in five years’ time. One of the owners of the company, Dutch researcher Mark Post of Maastricht University, was behind the growing of pieces of muscle in a lab, claiming that synthetic meat could reduce the environmental footprint of meat by up to 60%. The original lab meat cost 290,000 euro to produce.

Together with Dutch food expert Peter Verstraate Mosa Meat plans to sell lab meat for 10 to 20 euro a kilo, a price that would go down if this ever become a reality and a consumer habit. A select group of people tasted the lab meat in London in 2013 and you can watch a short video on how that went. English chef Richard McGowan prepared burgers, and not Heston Blumenthal as initially suggested. The critics were positive about the taste of lab meat.

“I think most people just don’t realise that the current meat production is at its maximum and is not going to supply sufficient meat for the growing demand in the next 40 years, so we need to come up with an alternative,” Post explains.

There’s already a cookbook for lab meat on standby.


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July 30, 2013

Fake meat so close to the grill you can taste it

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:02 am

The lab-produced meat we told you about earlier this year that made headlines in 2012 is now finally ready to be grilled. Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University is behind this project, which was first reported to cost about 250,000 euro, but has now been beefed up to 290,000.

A selected few will get to taste the test-tube meat made up of 3,000 layers at an event to be held in West London. Originally there was talk of letting English chef Heston Blumenthal, owner of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck cook it up, which could still be the case.

The entire point of making fake meat is of course to feed more people by slaughtering less animals. Boffins believe that the stem cells from one cow can produce a million times more meat that just killing it and grilling it. Then again, you need to kill some more cows to get the stem cells, but that’s par for the course.

Getting the planet to change their eating habits while incessantly pushing junk food made of barely fit for human consumption pink slime is an epic fail. Using guilt, shame or other negative emotions to reach a positive outcome is the recipe for epic fails, and if I hear another bunch of moralistic ecological crazies come up with eating worms and insects outside of the context of peoples in the world who traditionally do such things, I might think violent thoughts. Therefore, it seems logical but not ideal to make fake meat to mirror what so many people eat in this day and age and that’s unfortunately meat-related junk food.


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