Millennials

Soylent Cuisine

The trendy new food substitute is made by people and for people-not of people.

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Remember when the planet's young people-or at least its youth-oriented jingle writers-almost convinced us that a bottle of Coca-Cola could play a pivotal role in achieving global harmony? While the "real thing" may have been a balm against the stings of Vietnam and other afflictions of the era, today's youthful idealists understand it will take a lot more than proprietary sugar-water and some attractive teenagers singing on a hilltop to combat melting polar ice caps, rising income inequality, and everything else that ails us. We need a genuine miracle elixir, not just a pause that refreshes.

Enter Soylent, the gulp that sustains. Its primary components are a powder made from maltodextrin, rice protein, oat flour, and more vitamins and minerals than mid-century food scientists ever managed to pack into a loaf of Wonder Bread, plus a liquid blend of canola oil and fish oil. Mix the powder with the oil, add water, and that's it. Soylent is almost as easy to prepare as a glass of Coca-Cola, and yet it is designed to function as a "staple meal" that offers "maximum nutrition with minimal effort."

Soylent, in other words, is simultaneously an antidote to both Monster Thickburgers and locavorist gospel. Similar products, such as Ensure and Slim-Fast, have been on the market for years, but they're filled with objectionable Big Food ingredients like sugar and sucralose and targeted at geriatrics, dieters, and other specialty audiences. Soylent pairs optimized molybdenum uptake with a message of low-impact environmental sustainability. ("I almost forgot to mention, when everything going in to your body is diffused into the bloodstream, you don't poop," advises Soylent creator Rob Rhinehart in a blog post. "I only have to remove a few grams of fiber from my system per week.") And yet while processed food prohibitionists like Michael "Mostly Plants" Pollan demonize convenience, affordability, and technology, Soylent supersizes these attributes in ways that might even scare Ronald McDonald fiberless.

Weaned on Go-Gurt and home-butchered urban chickens, millennials came of age amidst the ever-present specters of the "obesity epidemic" and climate change. They're inundated with food choices, and yet constantly reminded that the food choices they make have political, economic, nutritional, environmental, aesthetic, ethical, and social consequences. Is that hamburger destroying wetlands somewhere? Oppressing migrant labor? Is it interesting enough to post on Instagram?

Reason

"What if you never had to worry about food again?" Soylent's website asks. For an idealistic, overachieving, and incredibly harried generation, a bland, nutritionally complete slurry that promises effortless waste-free consumption at a manageable price point just may be the ultimate comfort food. Soylent only costs around $3 per meal. It can be purchased in bulk online and prepared in seconds. You don't have to idle in drive-through lines to sustain yourself, and you sure don't have to source and chop organic carrots. Soylent renders microwave ovens, refrigerators, stoves, forks, knives, plates, dishwashers, and apparently even toilet paper as unnecessary as turntables and bookshelves. Say goodbye to shopping, prepping, clean-up, even chewing. A cup is your kitchen. Molars are little more than decorative heritage utensils from a bygone era.

Rob Rhinehart conceived of Soylent while living in San Francisco, a realm where gastronomical Luddites grow as thick as Iowa corn. But Rhinehart was a member of the city's other major cash crop-he's a 25-year-old techie. A crowdfunding campaign that raised over $1.5 million underwrote Soylent's initial development. Four venture capital firms, including Andreesen Horo­witz, have provided an additional $1.5 million in seed capital. To date, demand for the product has exceeded expectations. New customers, according to Soylent's website, should currently expect to wait 10-12 weeks to receive their first shipment. If you're really hungry, in other words, you may be able to get a table at the hottest restaurant in your city more easily than you can get your hands on some Soylent. Or if you really can't wait, look to eBay, where Soylent speculators are flipping their supplies to the highest bidder. In June, a one-month supply with a retail price of $300 fetched $555.

So much for convenience and affordability, at least in the near term. In the long term, however, Soylent takes its utopianism past TV jingles, past farmers markets, even past solar-powered tractors. Because of its origins in the high-tech start-up world, Soylent has been characterized as a gimmicky product primarily designed to serve a narrow and privileged niche. And it does work wonderfully on this level. If you're an ambitious tech entrepreneur who wants to signal to peers and potential funders that you're way too busy disrupting tomorrow to break for lunch in the Google food court, a Soylent shake gives you almost robot-like efficiency-in mere seconds, you can recharge and lubricate your moving parts with 600 meticulously tuned calories. If you're a globe-trotting gourmand who wants everyone to know that you've consumed so many caramelized milk and monkfish liver cronuts that you're over flavor and texture, Soylent makes for impressive statement sludge.

Still, Soylent functions much differently than traditional status brands, and even differently from premium commodities like Coca-Cola. Indeed, while the latter keeps the formula that supposedly gives it a proprietary advantage in a vault in Atlanta, Rhinehart nods to the values and conventions of the open-source movement, sharing information about his ingredient mix, encouraging others to conduct their own experiments and offer feedback, etc. Now, even after Soylent has started to offer its product commercially, it continues to promote the concept of DIY Soylent on its website. While Rhinehart and his backers undoubtedly hope you'll buy a lot of Soylent, they also seem to be perfectly OK with the idea that you might make it yourself, or buy a similar product from a competitor, or occasionally turn to chicken, potatoes, and other forms of legacy sustenance.

In the foodie universe, no tomato is considered truly viable unless it is spawned by a desirable heirloom seed and harvested by a certifiably small-scale farmer. While locavorism rejects the industrialization and commercialization of food, it is itself an intensely commercial endeavor, characterized by emphatic branding, extreme exclusivity, status, and tastefulness. If food is too cheap, too easy to purchase and consume, then it is part of the problem. "To eat well takes a little bit more time and effort and money," Pollan told The Wall Street Journal in 2010.

Food can't be good food, locavorism implies, unless it is scarce. Rhinehart, in contrast, couples a locavore-like interest in sustainability with an old-fashioned faith in technological innovation and the positive attributes of abundance. The resources it takes to produce the main ingredients in Soylent-maltodextrin and rice protein-are minimal compared to the resources required to produce meat and dairy products. And Soylent may ultimately become far more efficient to produce than it is now. According to The New Yorker, Soylent is currently testing ways to obtain the omega-3 oil it uses from algae instead of fish. And Rhinehart is already speculating about designing an algae-based "superorganism" that "pumps out Soylent all day." If he succeeds at this, add farms and factories to the list of things that Soylent makes superfluous.

While Soylent takes its name from a dystopian science fiction movie where the food supply has grown so limited that a giant corporation manufactures its product line out of the most plentiful resource left-people-the 21st century's Soylent is a more optimistic endeavor. In the Soylent future, traditional food production may no longer be viable at large scale. And many of the ancillary benefits of food-food as a sensory pleasure, food as a way to create community and enact ritual, food as a form of entertainment and emotional distraction-may contract or disappear altogether. But calories, nutrients, and thus health will all persist. And not just for the tiny overclass that can afford to get organic dapple dandy pluots from Frog Hollow Farm delivered to their door via Goodeggs.com. By mixing nutrition, sustainability, affordability, and convenience in perfect harmony, Soylent dares to imagine a world where bountiful beige beverages flow as copiously as Coca-Cola at a Texas picnic. We can get there, Soylent suggests, as long as our appetite for technology and innovation remains as strong as our appetite for foraged wood sorrel pesto.

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  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the world moving toward food sufficiency? My understanding is that what is driving overfarming is mostly anti-GM agitation, and the idiocy of trying to turn food crops into gasoline. Certainly there are places that are starving, but it seems to me that in most of those cases the real solution is to shoot all the Marxist and/or Islamic nuts in the area, since the conditions that make it impossible for those areas to produce enough wealth to feed themselves are almost always the work of one or more band of violent twits.

    I fear that this sounds like just one more attempt by a group of badly educated and functionally innumerate idiots to wrap themselves in needless sanctimony.

    1. “idiocy of trying to turn food crops into gasoline”

      Brazil has made quite remarkable use of sugar cane in this regards.

      1. It would be better if they made something like Baccardi 151. Dual-use fuel.

      2. Soylent Unleaded is people!!!

    2. “Correct me if I’m wrong,”

      In fact the number of undernourished in the world today is higher than at any other point in human history. There’s close to a billion. In recent years India has seen the greatest growth in undernourishment, particularly among children. India is neither Marxist or Islamist, their policies are neo-liberal, stressing de-regulation and the shrinking of the public sector.

      1. Way to mislead, but you’re good at that. Hunger has been falling over the last two decades and global food production per capita is at all time highs. From the linked summary:

        The global number of hungry people declined by 132 million between 1990-92 and 2010-12, or from 18.6 percent to 12.5 percent of the world’s population, and from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent in developing countries…

        The vast majority of starvation is due to “enlightened” policies from the Left.

        Oh, and India is just one baby step out of being a command economy. They still have many of the trappings and inefficiencies that come along for the ride. Don’t kid yourself that they are anywhere near being free market.

        1. This is from the link, it’s the first sentence:

          “Nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012, according to the new UN hunger report released today.”

          They also say that since 2008 the trend of decreasing hunger has stopped.

          I never meant to imply that food production wasn’t at an all time high.

          Compare India and China. you might want to reconsider your linking hunger lack of free markets, whatever they are.

          1. Compare India and China

            Yes, because statistics published by the Chinese government are beyond reproach in their accuracy and commitment to truth.

            1. You think the numbers of undernourished are even greater? You may be right.

              1. I do. But if you think the present level of Chinese undernourished is greater than before Deng’s reforms, you’re a fool.

                1. China stopped tinkering with Great Leap Forward like experiments in the early 60’s. Lushan conference, I believe, is where the turnaround occurred if you care to look it up. Since then food, under nutrition etc hasn’t been seen as a problem in China. You can probably credit this to Deng and others, but it occurred much earlier than when Deng came to power.

                  1. Do you only read the part of history books that you like? What was the outcome of the Lushan Conference? Peng Dehuai declared an enemy of the state and the Cultural Revolution of ’66 to ’76.

                    Just shut the fuck up. It’s clear you have no fucking clue of about what you speak.

                    1. “What was the outcome of the Lushan Conference?”

                      THE outcome? The Cultural Revolution was AN outcome of the conference, the settling of the food issue was AN other. I never meant to imply ANything else.

      2. In fact the number of undernourished in the world today is higher than at any other point in human history.

        [citation required]

        1. The statistics used to drive “Food Crisis” rhetoric have changed since the 1990s.

          In the 90s, it was about people starving.

          Now, its about “undernourished”, in which people who aren’t getting perfect nutrient consumption and calorie counts on a daily basis are the New Oppressed.

          Nevermind the anti-GMO people.

          1. “In the 90s, it was about people starving.

            Now, its about “undernourished”

            It’s called progress.

            1. Goalposts. Moving.

      3. “In fact the number of undernourished in the world today is higher than at any other point in human history”

        But it isn’t… no matter *how* you try and count it.

        And FWIW, the trend line (according to FAO) is entirely ‘due to socio-economic progress ‘ in developing nations.

        In ‘non-socialist English’, that means “capitalism”

        Given the very first thing out of your mouth is false – why should the rest be given any credit?

        1. Those figures after 2008 are projections if i read the rather small graph you linked to correctly. How much stock are you willing to put in such projections, doubtless based on computer modelling, when the FAO said the trend had stopped with the economic crisis.

          I don’t ask you to credit anything I write. Just read it.

          1. The numbers before 2008 are not “projections”

            Your statement was entirely false.

            “In fact the number of undernourished in the world today is LOWER than at any other point in measured human history”

            1. “I don’t ask you to credit anything I write. Just read it.”

              English.

              I read what you say. You say incorrect things. Then you try and deflect and make different claims.

              Everything that comes out of your piehole is either factually incorrect, or a rhetorical evasion. The only conclusion anyone can draw is that you are a douchebag.

              QED.

              1. You don’t appreciate rhetoric, fine. But don’t lose sight of the fact that the numbers of those going without sufficient food are astonishingly high considering that enough food for everyone is produced. Do you also blame muslims and leftists for this?

                1. “the numbers of those going without sufficient food are astonishingly high “

                  …and steadily declining.

                  Because of improvements in technology, and increasingly liberalized economic regimes in developing nations.

                  i.e. more capitalism=less starving.

                  You seem to want to believe otherwise, despite the facts.

                  1. “Because of improvements in technology, and increasingly liberalized economic regimes in developing nations.”

                    That increases food production. It is not enough to fill stomaches. Look at the example of India today, home to the largest number of the world’s undernourished. The obligations of being a signatory to world trade agreements prevents them from taking measures to address hunger. Capitalism binds us to the dictates of far-off bureaucrats just as much as any globalizing ideology, to be sure.

                    1. If you had a better idea, you wouldn’t need to lie about the status quo in effort to make it look worse than it is.

                    2. “If you had a better idea”

                      How about making the deliberations of the WTO, to name but one of many similar bodies, public? Or do you prefer its current secrecy and anonymity?

                    3. yeah, I’m still wondering why you think you can say things as blatantly false as

                      “the number of undernourished in the world today is higher than at any other point in human history”

                      [and then, when corrected – and informed that in fact, malnourishment has been declining steadily throughout the 20th century and into the 21st – try and pretend that ‘well, none of that matters’…]

                      …and expect anyone to take anything you say seriously?

                      if you think some minor tweaks to WTO trade negotiations are something so significant, then i’m surprised you didn’t actually *start with that as your point*

                      … rather than make bullshit claims that are easily debunked.

                      people tend to refer to this behavior as “grasping at straws”

                    4. “[and then, when corrected – and informed that in fact, malnourishment has been declining steadily throughout the 20th century and into the 21st – try and pretend that ‘well, none of that matters’…]”

                      It’s called hyperbole, as you mentioned, it’s a rhetorical device. I’m not the inventor of hyperbole, nor am I the first to employ it at this board. Put it past you and deal with substance and not the style.

                      I don’t care if you take anything I write seriously, I rarely intend to propose anything seriously in any case. I’m probably a little less serious than the person who proposed killing muslims and leftists as a means to alleviate world hunger.

                    5. Lol, hyperbole. It’s called lying, assface.

      4. Stunted people eat less. Win/win.

    3. I prefer the people-based product.

  2. People who like the idea but not the execution of Soylent should check out MealSquares, which is made from whole foods instead of vitamin powders. We don’t understand nutrition well enough yet to rely entirely on ingredients formulated in labs.

    1. OR! just eat roadkill. Like MealSquares and Soylent, but with more Cruchy-Chewey parts!

    2. We don’t understand nutrition well enough yet to rely entirely on ingredients formulated in labs.

      I came here to say this. I remember an account of an experiment decades ago, in which they extracted every known nutrient from rat food, and fed them that (i.e. not any of the “leftover” substances not thought to be important). The rats sickened and died.

      1. PapayaSF, it’s true that we don’t know everything about healthy diets, but consider what a lot of people normally live off of. There is no way the normal college diet is good for people and has all the nutrients they need. Can soylent really be that much worse? Especially if only used as a substitute for inconvenient meals (that meal you have to cook or you won’t be able to sleep, for example).

        From what I’ve researched, some people have been living off of just this stuff for 11 months with no ill side effects, and the people I’m referring to are getting regular blood work and check ups from doctors to make sure they are okay.

        1. I’m not saying that people can’t and don’t live off worse, but I am skeptical about using this as some sort of complete replacement for real food.

          But if it does prove out, and it’s cheaper than “real” food, how about we supply it instead of food stamps and federally-subsidized school meals? Oh, how I’d love to see that debate! Then it’ll need a new name, like “Prolefood” or something.

          1. Then it’ll need a new name, like “Prolefood” or something.

            I like calling it gruel, but some would call that cruel.

            1. “It’s not gruel, it’s Krusty brand imitation gruel!”

          2. “Hot dog, groat cakes again! Heavy on the 30 weight, Mom.”

            1. +1 Firesign Theatre reference.

  3. d some attractive teenagers singing on a hilltop to combat melting polar ice caps, rising income inequality, and everything else that ails us. We need a genuine miracle elixir, not just a pause that refreshes.

    neither of those things ail us. One ice cap is growing and income inequality is, in and of itself, not an ailment.

    1. Just put the coke back in Coke. Everyone will be happy until Coca-Cola can’t keep up with demand.

  4. ..is people?

    1. Only the one in the green packaging.

  5. I get sick as hell every time I have anything with soy in it–I’m glad to see that soylent doesn’t appear to contain any soy.

    Does it taste like shit?

    1. You saw the ingredients, right?

      You can’t have soy sauce? Brutal. I guess liquid Maggi would be the next closest thing.

      1. IIRC many people who can’t have soy are OK with soy sauce, because it’s fermented.

        1. Makes sense. Fermenting breaks down a lot of compounds, including phytoestrogens.

          1. I believe it’s the hexane.

            http://www.cornucopia.org/2010/11/hexane-soy/

            I could be wrong.

            They do some really nasty industrial processes to make that stuff edible.

      2. Yeah, I can’t have any kind of soy, and it is brutal.

        I make everything myself now. Anything with soybean oil in it sets me off, and the fucking government has basically pressured every restaurant out there into using soybean oil for everything.

        Go to the grocery, sometime, and try and find some bread that doesn’t contain any soy. You may find some sourdough.

        They say soy lechtin isn’t supposed to set people off, and soybean oil isn’t supposed to either. Something about the ungodly process they use to process the run off from soy meal (which they use for animal feed) to make usable for food is supposed to kill off all the allergens, too. I get the same reaction from eating a bagel with soybean oil as I get from eating a handful of peanuts.

        Anything over 1,000 ml and I get a temp over 101, shakes and shivers so bad it feels like I’m having a seizure, etc.

        Anything under 1,000 ml and I still get…without being too graphic, it always involves internal bleeding–which usually stops in a few weeks!

        I gotta make everything for myself now. I even make my own pizza dough. People think I’m being picky or something when I go over to their house. Their wife made something nice, and they’re like, “Well, I don’t think this or this or this has any soy in it!”.

        What are the chances she really looked at all those ingredients? One in three?

        They just have no idea. They think the worst that’s gonna happen is I’ll get a rash or something.

        Fuckin’ A!

        1. Internal bleeding. Wow. Very dangerous.

          1. Take Vitamin K. Bonus: Also helps your bones.

            1. It helps a lot if I don’t eat any soy poison, too.

      3. Coconut aminos is a good sub for soy sauce…

    2. It better taste like shit. Because if it’s yummy people will want to ban it. We already have a wonderful food supply. It’s called pork, beef, and Chicken.

      1. Yeah, but packing pigs, cows, or chickens into the backcountry is a pain in the ass. I already have enough trouble packing in all that water.

  6. 1) So the impression that I get here is that at some point someone was watching the galley scene from The Matrix and thought “That is AWESOME!!”

    2) At least Amanda Marcotte will be pleased by this foodless new world.

    3) antidote to both Monster Thickburgers You can have my burger when you pry it from my cold, dead, greasy hands.

  7. Me, again. How is this not just a trebly way to mortify the flesh? “Oh, I’m so PIOUS! I eat Soylent instead of meat!”

    *spit*

    If you seriously buy into the tired “We’re overpopulating the world, everything is running out, disaster is just around the corner” claptrap that the intellectuals have been peddling ever since Malthus (1798), please, do the world a favor.

    Drop dead.

    1. Malthus was observing that there is a relationship between population size and the amount of resources available. But I understand your dismissive attitude because it is such a simple concept that people take it for granted. If resources (supply)or population (demand) decline relative to the other you create a condition of increased ecological stress. It’s not that hard. It’s really a very simple socio-economic principle, much as evolution of species is a response to stress, adaptation, survival.
      In fact, Darwin and Wallace both relied on the ideas of Malthus in the development of their theories.
      If “food” is the only thing of value – no we don’t have a problem of population increase versus food. But it’s a shitload more complicated than that. People fight over food resources because they want food. They will also fight over anything else they want that they don’t have “enough” of – and to the extent that people need more productive employment to acquire what they want – the opportunities for acquisition of pussy or power or toys for example – it creates stress.
      If every frikiing person on the planet had their food needs transported to them three times a day, they’d still fight over the other stuff because there either isn’t enough stuff or there’s too many people.
      But, fuck it, Let’s just dismiss population size as a variable in any consideration of socio-economic policy. . . or something.

      1. It is incredibly simple in the same way any physics/mechanics problem is if you ignore nearly every variable. Pretending that human populations can be modelled by wild animal populations is simplistic, but its conclusion appeals to those who imply that humans are an affront to mother Gaia.

        I mean, if squirrels could develop the Haber process and grow their own food, they wouldn’t have to eat comments.

        I still don’t get why they would name it “Soylent,” though. That seems…odd.

        1. It’s tongue-in-cheek, son.

        2. Millennials wouldn’t be caught dead watching a film with Chuck Heston, he’s that evil gun guy. They have no idea what Soylent Green is.

        3. wow, jerk as a handle, that’s a new one

      2. “In fact, Darwin and Wallace both relied on the ideas of Malthus in the development of their theories.”

        My understanding is that Darwin was reading both Malthus and Adam Smith on the Beagle. He was trying to reconcile the two, was walking around on the Galapagos, saw that the red-footed sea birds and blue-footed sea birds of the same variety had started nesting nesting away from each other–as they specialized–and it all became clear…

        Adam Smith specialization trumps Malthus resource depletion in the evolutionary process–and in economics, too.

        The study of evolution is in some aspects the story of how Adam Smith’s observations completely trounce Malthus’ observations–over and over again. It’s almost humorous, the way Malthus’ disciples become so entranced with coming to understand an obstacle that they can’t look up and see people and things overcoming that obstacle all around them.

        It’s even funnier when they claim we need some sort of higher intelligence to organize humanity around that obstacle–as if Darwin never made his observations about where the species came from and how they differentiated.

        1. “. . . see people and things overcoming that obstacle all around them.”

          I wasn’t disputing that. I am no more a “disciple” of Malthus than anyone else. But I await a rational refutation of the general principle that variations in population or resources create stresses (ones that often leads to intelligent solutions but not always). Maybe you weren’t saying that.

          1. What are we supposed to conclude from the observation that increases in population or decreases in available resources create stresses?

            1. That populations adapt or die?
              If social planners (through some invisible hand, or through imposition of some policy) do not come up with a technological way to re-balance the equation, then a portion of the population could die off.
              I’d argue that we are not invulnerable to population loss from bad shit, but it seems people generally dismiss this as “malthusian foolishness.” That’s my observation.

              1. Most libertarians are dismissive of Malthusians 1) because their observations are typically used to argue for economic and/or social control 2) because in retrospect, they’re so often (if not always) shown to be wrong on their predictions.

                Why would we fall for the same logic used to make the same kinds of predictions to support the same kinds of policies–when they’ve been so wrong for all the same reasons so many times in the past. Have Malthusians ever correctly predicted anything?!

                Meanwhile, there’s the gloominess of it all…

                Did you know that CO2 emissions in the U.S. dropped by 12% between 2005 and 2012? Believe it or not, emissions dropped even as the economy grew!

                Isn’t that great?

                Malthusian types I know? Find that alternative alarming or depressing. Now we’ll never solve our problems! What we need is a really big tragedy to wake people up–before it’s too late?

      3. Absolutely none of Greg’s theories bear any resemblance to what happens in real life. Hence, they are crappy theories.

        What is a resource changes all the time. People are rational actors who create their own resources.

        1. If “real life” doesn’t apply to the rest of life on the planet. But even at that, starvation and mass murder from competition over resource doesn’t bear any resemblance to what happens in real life. Good for you, you must live in Utopia.

      4. The problem with Malthus as I see it is that people are not just demand, they are also supply. In fact many, maybe most people create more than they consume. If Malthus was right than a population of 1 would have great wealth but we know they would almost certainly be primitive and poor without the inventions, work, and ideas of others. I don’t see any reason to think more people will create more wealth just as it has done on average throughout history.

  8. I only eat Koch?-Brand soylent, thank you. Now with 22% Moar Orphan Bone Marrow!

    1. Fibre PLUS

      From the sinewy ones.

  9. bat melting polar ice caps, rising income inequality, and everything else that ails us.

    It’s hard for me to move on past this part, when I’m not 100% in agreement that these things ail us in the first place.

    1. Why would you go and ignite the Tony beacon like that?

  10. Okay, so has a study been done on this stuff to see how it effects people long term? I could care less about sustainability or not eating animals, but the cheapness, convenience, and ease of calorie counting appeals to me.

  11. this is fun =

    “Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), published a report on Friday announcing that: “A relevant organ of the DPRK put in custody American Matthew Todd Miller, 24, on April 10 for his rash behavior in the course of going through formalities for entry into the DPRK to tour it.”

    The report went on to say that Mr. Miller had arrived in North Korea on a tourist visa but upon entering the country tore up the visa and exclaimed that he had come “to the DPRK after choosing it as a shelter.” KCNA had said that North Korea had detained Mr. Miller because his alleged asylum request was a “a gross violation of its legal order.”

    dwelling for a moment on what motivates characters…

    …if you think he was serious, and wanted to ‘defect’ to north korea, you have one kind of moron…

    ..or if you think (*as other stories allude) that he was under the misguided notion that he would ‘research’ North Korean prison camps somehow, and later be liberated… well then you have a different kind of moron…

    Contrasting him to another character current incarcerated in the Magic Kingdom – the dude who purposely smuggled in a bible: possession of which can mean a death sentence in the DPRK…

    who is crazier?
    Bible-guy at least *believes* ‘Jesus Saves’.

    sadly, Matthew Todd Miller has not been able to Facebook-post about his ordeal, depriving it of Spirit-Nourishing value for many.

    1. Bible-guy knew there were risks but decided in his subjective opinion the rewards were worth it. Miller was ignorant of the risks. Bible-guy is therefore smarter.

    2. Miller is a full bore idiot. I’d really like to know how he got that way, just for edutainment.

    3. I appreciate risk-takers, adventurers, crusaders, holy fools, dissidents, deviants and true believers. They make the world a more interesting place, even though I don’t and couldn’t agree with them.

      1. I agree about those in your list who do things for their own sake. I vehemently disagree about those on your list who want to meddle in other people’s lives.

        1. Heaven forbid the idea of anyone meddling with the smooth operation of North Korean customs and immigration procedures.

          1. Heaven forbid you ever blame the circus performer for sticking his head in a lion’s mouth.

            1. To most, courage is a virtue. I urge you to meditate on this. Both you and Soylent may be lacking in moral fibre.

              1. Go play in traffic. At night.

                1. I urge a little more meditation. You have still not come around to my superior way of thinking, but are regressing to childish taunts instead.

      2. “mtrueman|9.14.14 @ 2:43PM|#

        …They make the world a more interesting place”

        You’re make a great Prison Camp guard.

        1. Thanks. A great Prison Camp guard can make the difference between life and death. Have you read The Gate, about and by the French scholar who ran afoul of the Red Khmer in Cambodia? Excellent book.

          1. So interesting.

            1. A relatively late addition to the canon of Cambodian trauma autobiographies, but it made it big in the West, making the NYT lists etc.

    4. On the upside, with a sentence of “6 Years Hard Labor“…

      …it appears *this* Millenial will at least have no complaints for ‘lack of work’! Think of it as an extended internship.

    5. Think of it from North Korea’s viewpoint. It’s not like they have a lot of practice granting asylum.

      1. lol

        “When in doubt: Gulag!”

  12. No fiber? Watch colon cancer go through the roof! I guess the low, low price will go to an extra helping of yearly colonoscopies!

    1. Ding Ding Ding. We have a winnah!

    2. Well, I am not a doctor, but isn’t the protective effect of fiber due to the fact that it helps move everything else through the colon? If there’s simply nothing passing through the colon, is fiber needed?

  13. I am someone who has been on this latest diet craze for a couple of years – substituting juice or a nutrition shake/mix for food. Sometimes just one meal but more often than not all the day’s total meals.

    My conclusion: humans are not meant to only drink their nutrition. The longest I have been able to stay on one of these nutrition diets is 2 weeks. That is with tasty organic super-juices and chocolate flavored shakes. I can’t imagine the intense cravings to go back on regular food when one is only drinking this Soylent which might not taste good at all?

    Most people will not be able to sustain this type of diet even if they get all their daily nutrition met.

    Doing this Soylent according to the makers’ vision is pretty much committing yourself into food drudgery. Believe me, when one is on one of these diets they miss out on the little joys associated with eating a variety of good tasting food. One becomes blah. It gets to the point where all you do is concentrate on what nutritionally-crappy juice you will drink instead of other things in life. This is opposite what the motivational ad by the makers imply.

    I do not believe most people with good intentions will be able to maintain this. Only a few hard-core ones will. Very few. While the makers will be raking in lots of money the capitalist way!

    1. My conclusion: humans are not meant to only drink their nutrition. The longest I have been able to stay on one of these nutrition diets is 2 weeks.

      Is that 2 weeks of nothing but nutritional shakes, or is that 2 weeks with just substituting one or two meals? Because I’ve been substituting 1-2 meals a day with a nutritional shake for several years now, and I’ve yet to grow tired of it.

      Doing this Soylent according to the makers’ vision is pretty much committing yourself into food drudgery. Believe me, when one is on one of these diets they miss out on the little joys associated with eating a variety of good tasting food. One becomes blah. It gets to the point where all you do is concentrate on what nutritionally-crappy juice you will drink instead of other things in life. This is opposite what the motivational ad by the makers imply.

      I do not believe most people with good intentions will be able to maintain this. Only a few hard-core ones will. Very few.

      Not everyone enjoys food. Some people, for whatever reason, genuinely do not like having to eat. There aren’t a hell of a lot of them, but they exist, and I don’t see any reason to call their intentions into question. You seem to be projecting, believing since that YOU can’t see any reason to not like eating food, that must mean NOBODY can not like eating food, and anyone claiming such must be shady. There is no reason to believe this to be true for most such cases.

      1. True, I speak from my experience. I also take into account most people around me who also do this.

        What I see is a trend.

        If you can keep it up and enjoy it, I believe you are in the minority. Which is ok, but both of us are entitled to our opinions.

      2. Also,

        I did not say NOBODY can not like eating food. Please read my comment more carefully.

        I am sure a FEW people do not like food. They are quite rare as I do not observe them online or in person much.

        My point is Soylent will probably be just like all the other liquid/shake diets….a few die-harders will stick to it and the rest will lose interest for some of the reasons I stated.

        I think you might be projecting.

    2. Doing this Soylent according to the makers’ vision is pretty much committing yourself into food drudgery.

      I disagree. I’ve been following Soylent for a while now and the always point out that you can eat solid food anytime you wish. It’s just that Soylent is a convenient and nutritious option for those who just don’t want to cook or shop for food.

      And while the early versions of Soylent were said to taste a little bit like semen, the current version has been altered to taste like a vanilla milkshake.

      1. Thanks. Now you caused me to have an aversion to vanilla milkshakes.

      2. I wonder if you could add a little flavoring – orange extract or coffee – to the Soylents if it would make them less effective.

      3. HM,

        I seen the promotional video for Soylent and the tone is not suggesting eating solid food when ever one wishes. They are promoting a life-change and trying to convey the benefits of it.

        I agree that Soylent and all other diet/nutrition shakes/mixes are very convenient. But my experience and that of most around me shows that this diet or lifestyle will not stick – only the die-harders will do it.

  14. more vitamins and minerals than mid-century food scientists ever managed to pack into a loaf of Wonder Bread,

    You mean it “helps build strong bodies moar than 12 ways?”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Bread

    Trivia: ‘It was first sold in 1921 in the United States, and it later became one of the first to be sold pre-sliced, being marketed like this nationwide in 1930. This led to the popular phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, upholding a paragon of culinary innovation.’

    Suck on that, Soylent.

  15. This substance strikes me as an ideal base for 3D printing. Though I must add that I know little of this food, I’m suspicious that the Soylent food mentioned in the article isn’t some kind of joke, and my knowledge of 3D printing is minimal.

    Will Soylent go 3D?

  16. Note that there’s no mention anywhere I could find about shelf-life.

    I bet Mr Rhinehart would be distraught if the TEOTW folks got interested.

    1. The shelf-life is officially 1 year, but under the right conditions it could be much longer.

      I bet Mr Rhinehart would be distraught if the TEOTW folks got interested.

      Really? I have a few packets in my BOB. They company happily takes my money.

  17. So, why didnt I ever think of that?

    http://www.Crypt-Tools.tk

    1. Because you’re a non-sentient bot?

  18. They need to switch to hemp oil, then it would be the perfect food.

  19. Who cares? It’s just another product. If people like it, it will stay around, otherwise it will disappear. Personally, I think it sounds pretty disgusting, and if I want a low-sugar protein drink or snack, there are plenty of cheap, widely available alternatives out there already.

  20. If Millenials are the “Soylent Generation”, I say screw Millenials.

    Food isn’t just a means of nutrient consumption. And it sure as hell isn’t supposed to be a status marker. I don’t eat a nice, big, thick, juicy, steak or a rich crawfish etoufee because of their protein content or because I’m hyper-excited about what eating either says about me. I’m eating them because they taste really, really good. Because eating them makes me say afterward, “Wow! I really enjoyed the experience of eating that!”.

    People, me included, can’t be reduced to “means of production”. And a food fad that’s based on my reducing myself to just that, consuming just enough of what amounts to gruel to ensure my ability to continue as such without any concern for my own happiness or pleasure in the name of social status is idiocy and potentially dangerous.

  21. I’m not sure why you feel the need to intertwine this review of Soylent with criticism of locavore trends, etc. Not sure what they have to do with each other, or why Soylent isn’t part of that culture rather than opposed to it. Strike that, I’m 100% sure: you just can’t help but snipe at liberals and their cultural habits, no matter what the topic. So, I guess real ‘Mericans eat their food either a) industrialized and processed or b) in the form of Soylent?

    BTW, how does it taste? Forgot to actually review the product because you were too busy belching cultural animosity at trends whose worst sins are that they are trendy?

  22. RUTF means ‘ready to use theraputic food’ and is an emergency food source. The most common recipe is peanuts, vegetable oil, powdered milk, and vitamin powder mixed really well. A couple cups a day and you won’t starve. Very important in some parts of the part sometimes. To read that some hipster douche is feeding himself that way because of whatever is … I don’t know… what?

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