Friday High Five: Brewed meat, artistic science, digital journalism and creativity unlocked

Faster pasture

Don’t have a cow, man. Technology Review this week spoke with Andras Forgacs about his plans to ‘brew’ meat in cell-culture vats. Forgacs is the CEO of Brooklyn-based startup Modern Meadow. As he explains in this short interview:

The company was founded to expand the ideas from biomedical tissue engineering: if we can grow skin, can we make leather? If we can grow muscle, can we make meat? We’ve now done so—and are working with chefs and leather artisans to perfect our materials.

Artistic foresight

If you didn’t see that one coming, perhaps you should pay more attention to artists like Slovenian native Maja Smrekar, a ‘bioartist’ collaborating with scientists to produce informed visions of possible human futures.

In a profile on io9, Annalee Newitz explains that the artist’s relationship isn’t a one-way street; through her work, she actively contributes to pioneering research.

Maja Smrekar's 'BioBASE' explored what would happen to native crustaceans in Slovenia's Lake Topla once an invasive species arrived –due to warmer waters caused by a nearby power plant.

Maja Smrekar's 'BioBASE' explored what would happen to native crustaceans in Slovenia's Lake Topla once an invasive species arrived –due to warmer waters caused by a nearby power plant.

Creativity unlocked

Earlier this month, New Yorker archives editor Joshua Rothman put forward a compelling account of our creativity fetish –including the ways in which we currently define and measure this ineffable phenomenon, and how it made the journey from abstract quality to concrete outcome.

How did we come to care so much about creativity? The language surrounding it, of unleashing, unlocking, awakening, developing, flowing, and so on, makes it sound like an organic and primordial part of ourselves which we must set free—something with which it’s natural to be preoccupied. But it wasn’t always so; people didn’t always care so much about, or even think in terms of, creativity.

Skin-deep digital journalism
Jeremy Meeks: Not a professional model on a $30,000 contract.

Jeremy Meeks: Not a professional model on a $30,000 contract.

Writing for Playboy, Luke O'Neil articulates what’s become an increasingly common argument – that digital journalism lacks standards. The internet’s preoccupation with viral content, combined with a lack of negative consequences for poor reporting, means that ‘the real threat we face is a world in which parody, such as found in The Onion and Weekly World News, becomes indistinguishable from reality.’

Oh, and remember Jeremy Meeks – aka ‘sexy mugshot guy’ or ‘hot felon’? Several news outlets reported that he’d snared a US $30,000 modelling contract. Did any of them bother to try and verify that information? No prizes for guessing this one.

Whistles blown

Late this week, landmark amendments to national security legislation were passed by the Australian Senate –and are subsequently expected to pass in the Coalition-dominated House of Representatives. The Guardian summarises the proposed changes and explains some of the ramifications.

Not so long ago, we hosted a Fifth Estate discussion with whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack. In part of the conversation, they discussed their views on potential changes in Australian privacy and security law. You can watch the full video online.

Click to watch the Fifth Estate: The Whistleblowers.

Click to watch the Fifth Estate: The Whistleblowers.

Related posts