Temporary Expert: Carnisseur


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The above patent represents the latest efforts of the Carnisseur Corporation.  We have been the leading force in the in vitro meat industry, and our constant innovations have kept millions sustainably satisfied for years.  Recently, our patent on the Accelerated Growth of meat cultures expired, allowing many to enter the in vitro meat market and begin experimenting.  Some people have taken to hacking our printers and culture cartridges, resulting in unsafe meat combinations being created, and people trying to print more meat than is appropriate from a cartridge, leading to potentially cancerous cells.

As a result, Carnisseur has had to respond with changes to our meat printing system.  The first is our new Culture Lock Connector, a patented digital connector exclusive to the Carnisseur line of printers and cartridges.  The second is in a system of Digital Rights Management software loaded onto the cartridges and printers.  Only Carnisseur-approved cartridges will function on the printer, and any tampering will result in destruction of the cells within the cartridge.  The cartridges will also not print after producing 4lbs of meat to prevent the risk of potentially damaging meats.  When a consumer is finished with their cartridges, they are encouraged to send them back to Carnisseur for reuse, and will receive a discount in the process.


In this project, we wanted to explore the ways the current landscape of regulations and litigious business practices could negatively affect the world of near-future food, often viewed through rose-colored glasses.  In vitro meat is an expensive endeavor, and people will want to profit off of its creation.  A combination of patents for the Carnisseur corporation ensure their competitive domination of the in vitro meat landscape.  Having already dominated the printer market, Carnisseur printers now only print their meat cartridges, thus freezing out any competitors.  Partially under the guise of consumer safety and brand quality, Carnisseur no longer has to worry about advances from large producers like Tyson, Purdue or Applegate.

Carnisseur was made with Jason Sigal and Karam Byun

Social Bieber Analysis

An exploration into the world of Justin Bieber, on Instagram.  Posted media that included the tag #belieber was pulled, parsed and analyzed.  Our attempt at leapfrogging each others data requests was unsuccessful, and shown below.

After that, an Openord hashtag co-occurrence graph displaying the many communities using the #belieber tag, grouped by the other hashtags they use – some were expected, like those tweeting about other teeny bopper bands and Justin Bieber.  Others were not expected, like someone trying to promote their jewelry brand, or the cast of the TV show Teen Wolf, or a group who mainly tweeted about guns and 2nd Amendment rights.

The map shows the locations of the most frequent #belieber posters.  Made with David Tracy.








Maps Finale

Finishing off Maps Lies & Storytelling with two maps – one two color map, and a final.  For my two color:

My first map in d3, required to be two only colors.  This shows all of the airports in the world, with nodes sized according to the elevation the airport exists at.  The larger dots end up showing the topology, with mountain ranges (notably, the Andes) visible.  Mouse hovering highlights the dot with a larger ellipse, as shown below, and you can pan/zoom.  I’d like to refine the aesthetic more, and focus on some better interaction, but it’s ok for a first d3 map.  The map lives here.  Code is below.

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I abandoned my ebola map plan out of frustration with inconsistent data and a lack of inspiration to make a good map.  I turned back to some social data-inspired map making, exploring the community of people talking about chemtrails on instagram.  I used python to access the instagram API, found 270k posts using the tag #chemtrails, then pulled the most recent 3.3k posts.  I filtered those results by those who had listed location data.  Various filtering and parsing left me with some lists and dictionaries that I could then make into a network graph using the networkx library.  Nodes represent user posts, with the node size mapped to the number of posts they had. The edges represent relationships between users using the same hashtags, colored by modularity class.

I highlighted the most prominent users, displaying their name, followers, following and post counts.  Code is at the bottom of the post.


d3 map code:
 chemtrails code:

Live Web Midterm // Interactive Storytelling

For my Live Web midterm, I used the Google maps API, socket.io, nodejs, headtrackrjs, and peerjs to make a new tool for people to share stories and experiences with each other.  Right now, two users log on – one to the “sender” page, and one to the “receiver”.  The sender will input a location in the text box and submit it.  On submittal, the location is geocoded by Google, and the JSON object returned is parsed to get the lat/lon.  That is used to set the streetview panorama.  There is also a headtracker on the sender page, which…tracks the senders head.  Values from the head tracker are mapped to the heading and pitch of streetview, thus creating an effect of looking around within streetview.  There is also live audio streaming between the browser windows.


I see this as a tool to enhance peoples storytelling experience across long distances – instead of just talking about a place, or looking at a picture, they can log on and really look around the location they are talking about while talking about it.   In the future, I think annotations (either temporary drawings, or long-term markers left by people) could add another meaningful layer of interactivity.  There is a short video below, with a code snippet below.  The full code is on github.

midtermDoc from John Farrell on Vimeo.

Temporary Expert Update

Karam, Jason and I have decided to further pursue the topic of in vitro meat.  While it’s painted by many as one of the panaceas for world hunger, we feel it’s a solution often looked at through rose-colored glasses.  This is an extremely complicated, complex entity.  It will take people many years and an enormous financial investment for this to ever potentially be a scalable product for the masses.  Should in vitro meat reach that level, it will be subject to all of the intricacies, restrictions, regulations, and _____ that other consumer products deal with on a regular basis.

There is already a US patent for “…the production of tissue engineered meat for human consumption, wherein muscle and fat cells would be grown in an integrated fashion to create food products such as beef, poultry and fish.”  So there’s a patent on the overall process.  But what about further down the line, when that patent has expired?  Our project is seeking to explore a new patent within the consumer world of in vitro meat.  

In this near future, in vitro meat has achieved market saturation.  Consumer products are regularly sold which allow the printing of various meats at home.  Our company, Carnisseur, is the leader in countertop meat printers, which function by printing from individual cartridges, or “cultures”, which contain the animal cells and serum to print from.  However, companies have begun to sell their own cultures to print from on our machines, which is bad for business.  That’s why we are planning to debut a new digitally-encrypted style of cartridge, with a proprietary connector, to ensure the quality of meats printed on our machines, as well as keep business within the company.   We want consumers to be locked into our ecosystem, which is why we have also talked about protecting the meat itself.  Our printers will have a very specific crosshatch pattern the cells are printed in.  Only the knives our company makes, either by way of a specialized blade, or EMP to breakdown the hatched pattern, will be able to easily cut through the meat.

We want to explore how the nuance of business will stifle true innovation in the world of in vitro meat, and consolidate power and money in the holdings of only the most powerful companies.  Below are some pictures of whiteboard diagrams and brainstorming sessions, where we first came up with the idea of “DRM for in vitro meat”, as well as an early mockup of our proprietary connector.






printer [Converted]-01

Analyzing OccupyCentral



An analysis of twitter activity on the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong.  Nodes are sized by weight, and colored by type [see legend].  The graph features 20052 nodes with 84157 edges, and a community of 891 users.  The average degree is 8.394, and modularity of 0.339.  The main graph shows detail, including how the hashtags of the cause dominate conversation.  The graph would probably tell some more interesting stories were they to be removed from the data.  The smaller version on the left demonstrates the long tail of tweets, primarily mentions to another twitter user.  

Design for Alternative Culinary Futures

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is proud to announce it’s first open design expo.  We are seeking projects which embody the idea of Design for Alternative Culinary Futures.  The world is a dynamic environment, and our food systems will need to be flexible by necessity.  How do you see them changing?  What events of the near future will shape how we feed the world? 



“Drifters” is a project seeking to explore the food futures of the displaced.  Visions of the future of food tend to focus on feeding the general stable populations, and as of late prominently feature bugs.  And rightly so!  The population is growing, and competition for resources in increasing.  Alternatives are necessary.  But what about those on the bottom rung?  Between natural disasters, war, and other oppressions, there are on average 44 million people displaced in the world, all of whom must be fed.  Our current food production methods are unsustainable for even our current population, so what happens when the population continues to increase and resources are even further constrained?

The year is 2064, and the effects of climate change have begun to wreak havoc on the planet, notably the low-lying coastal regions.  Millions in the United States have been forced from their homes due to rising sea levels, and government relief efforts are feeding a significant portion of the population.  However, a combination of resource limits and strict global carbon emission regulations have forced a change in eating habits.  The high production and resource cost of typical livestock has become untenable for both producer and consumer, and the carbon and waste produced by industrialized farming systems of the past fails to meet regulatory standards.    
The country, and much of the world, has been forced to implement alternative measures to feed their populations under duress.  Consumption of bugs has finally gained traction out of necessity, but it is the rise of plankton that has truly allowed for economical and sustainable method of food production.  As the government delivers millions of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), people find traditional recipes like Pot Luck Pie or Baghdad Chili replaced with Krill Burritos and Plankton Fried Rice.  Plankton are vitamin rich and high in protein, while requiring much fewer resources to produce than a standard beef-based meal.  

This project imagines how we begin to feed the millions of people who lack the stability and infrastructure to feed themselves.  On the move, in hostile territory or refugee camps, this is a population easily forgotten about.  But they still need the same nutrition anyone else is fortunate enough to get.  We are attempting to design for the culinary future of the displaced.  


planktonpackaging copy


Plankton Fried Rice MRE.  Consists of 1/2 cup dehydrated brown rice, rice flavoring, dehydrated vegetables, zooplankton topping, nut & bug energy bar, dried fruit, 3 candies, and 1tsp spirulina powder to mix with water.



Spirulina powder, under the usb microscope.  Looks familiar but strangely alien, almost like a landscape.  Very lichen-esque.



Reef phytoplankton under the usb microscope.  Looked completely devoid of any life.  Probably too microscopic.



When you say plankton, most people think of whales, who filter plankton out of the water with baleen.  I made myself some baleen.  It was not as effective for me.



A future in which endless tanks of plankton are grown in place of our industrial farmlands.  Based on current estimates of average farm size in the US and spirulina production per square meter, an average-sized farm could produce 10,000kg of plankton per day under optimal conditions.

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I ordered an MRE online, which missed its delivery date to my house twice, so I never got it.  That was unfortunate as examining and eating the MRE was going to be one of my main experiments, and really guide my design of a new MRE.  I had to make do without it and design my own from scratch.


Dried spirulina adds vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, E, K Iron, and Manganese to any meal.  Provides a large energy boost in smoothies or juices.



Brown rice with bell pepper, topped with spirulina and soy sauce.  The taste is actually pretty nice.  Spirulina has a very distinct flavor, but can easily become a common cooking ingredient with the right recipes.



Scholarly papers:

  • Moore, PG. “Popularizing Marine Natural History in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Britain.” The Society for the History of Natural History 41.1 (2014). Print.
  • Shor, Elizabeth Noble. “Oceanography Is Fun: A Glimpse of the Expeditions.” Scripps Institute of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans 1936 to 1976 (1978): 389-420. Print.
  • Caron, David, and David Hutchins. “The Effects of Changing Climate on Microzooplankton Grazing and Community Structure: Drivers, Predictions and Knowledge Gaps.” Journal of Plankton Research 35.2 (2012). Print.



  • Adam Greer – Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia – Biological oceanography
  • Candice Machikas – Marine Science – University of South Carolina
  • Commenters on reddit.com/r/military