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The Man Who Thinks He Never Has to Eat Again Is Probably Going to Be a Billionaire Soon
Remember Rob Rhinehart? I’m sure you do because it’s hard to forget about a guy existing solely on vitamin puke. A few months ago we wrote about Soylent, an incredibly nutritious “food replacement” smoothie that Rob, a 24-year-old engineer, had been making and consuming as his only food source for almost five weeks. On one hand, it did look a bit like semen—but on the other, Rob claimed that by drinking it every day he’d never have to eat again. Given that starvation is a fairly major problem in the world at the moment and the planet’s population will likely surpass 9 billion by 2050, Rob’s invention seems like an important one.
Since we last talked to him, Rob and Soylent have become famous. His project has been derided as “dangerous,” “ludicrous,” and “a red flag for a potential eating disorder" by nutrition experts. Fortunately for Rob, the supporters of Soylent have been generous: a crowdfunding project for his fancy health goo raisedalmost $800,000 in under 30 days. Now Rob is the CEO of the Soylent Corporation; his hobby has officially turned into a career. His management team might look like the kind of technically-minded nerds who’d want to consume most of their meals in the form of a beige, odorless powder mix, but they’re also the potential forefathers of a famine cure.
With over $1 million in preorders already received for Soylent worldwide, it seems like this stuff is going to stick around. I caught up with Rob to ask how it’s all going for Soylent—which some are already calling “the future of food.”VICE: Hey Rob. So, what happened after our interview?Rob: My inbox exploded. Gmail cut me off after I answered 500 emails in a single day. Achievement unlocked. Since then Soylent has become a company and people are finally rethinking the nature of food. These are exciting times.
How have you dealt with all the media attention?At first it was very difficult. I’ve always been a private person and it was uncomfortable to put myself out there. However, I decided it’s my job now and I had better get good at it. On the internet everyone talks about you like you’re not in the room.
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vicemag:

The Man Who Thinks He Never Has to Eat Again Is Probably Going to Be a Billionaire Soon

Remember Rob Rhinehart? I’m sure you do because it’s hard to forget about a guy existing solely on vitamin puke. A few months ago we wrote about Soylent, an incredibly nutritious “food replacement” smoothie that Rob, a 24-year-old engineer, had been making and consuming as his only food source for almost five weeks. On one hand, it did look a bit like semen—but on the other, Rob claimed that by drinking it every day he’d never have to eat again. Given that starvation is a fairly major problem in the world at the moment and the planet’s population will likely surpass 9 billion by 2050, Rob’s invention seems like an important one.

Since we last talked to him, Rob and Soylent have become famous. His project has been derided as “dangerous,” “ludicrous,” and “a red flag for a potential eating disorder" by nutrition experts. Fortunately for Rob, the supporters of Soylent have been generous: a crowdfunding project for his fancy health goo raisedalmost $800,000 in under 30 days. Now Rob is the CEO of the Soylent Corporation; his hobby has officially turned into a career. His management team might look like the kind of technically-minded nerds who’d want to consume most of their meals in the form of a beige, odorless powder mix, but they’re also the potential forefathers of a famine cure.

With over $1 million in preorders already received for Soylent worldwide, it seems like this stuff is going to stick around. I caught up with Rob to ask how it’s all going for Soylent—which some are already calling “the future of food.”

VICE: Hey Rob. So, what happened after our interview?
Rob: My inbox exploded. Gmail cut me off after I answered 500 emails in a single day. Achievement unlocked. Since then Soylent has become a company and people are finally rethinking the nature of food. These are exciting times.

How have you dealt with all the media attention?
At first it was very difficult. I’ve always been a private person and it was uncomfortable to put myself out there. However, I decided it’s my job now and I had better get good at it. On the internet everyone talks about you like you’re not in the room.

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"The great irony of this tragic spill in Arkansas is that the transport of tar sands oil through pipelines in the US is exempt from payments into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Exxon, like all companies shipping toxic tar sands, doesn’t have to pay into the fund that will cover most of the clean up costs for the pipeline’s inevitable spills."

ThinkProgress

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Here was the “purity” message—which also contained a hefty infusion of “tradition” by invoking Benjamin Franklin: Carbon pollution is fouling our air and our water, and harming our health. We should take steps to maintain the purity of our air and water. As Benjamin Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Which best describes your feelings about this? After reading this conservative argument, 64 percent of respondents agreed that the US should take action on climate change. Within that group, 25 percent said the US “absolutely” should do something, and 39 percent said it “probably” should. And then there was the free marketeer frame: Our free-enterprise economy only works properly when individuals and companies are held accountable for harm that their actions cause to unconsenting people or the country as a whole. Companies that release heat-trapping pollution into the air should be accountable for those costs. Which best describes your feelings about this? After reading this argument, 60 percent of the respondents supported climate action—22 percent saying steps should “absolutely” be taken, and 38 percent saying something “probably” ought to be done.

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It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized. In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region. Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed. Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half to minors. The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile. And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live fire.

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Today, the essential conditions for a peace process remain. Majorities of Israelis and Palestinians continue to support a two-state solution. It remains possible to draw a border that would give the Palestinians the territorial equivalent of the entire West Bank, while allowing Israel to incorporate the vast majority of its settlers. So far, the number of settlers living in communities that would need to be evacuated has not passed the point of irreversibility. Jerusalem is still dividable. Hamas is confined to its Gaza fortress. And Abbas, a Palestinian leader like no other before and perhaps no other to come, remains in office. By the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, however, every one of these circumstances could vanish—and if that happens, the two-state solution will vanish along with them.

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By 2020, the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, according to the International Energy Agency. The U.S. has already overtaken Russia as the world’s leading gas producer. Fuel has become America’s largest export item. Within five years, according to a study by Citigroup, North America could be energy independent. “OPEC will find it challenging to survive another 60 years, let alone another decade,” Edward Morse, Citigroup’s researcher, told CNBC.

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Is it possible that having a child is neither rational nor irrational, but outside the scope of rational decision making altogether? In a surprising development, Belkin may have found an advocate from within the halls of academe: philosopher L.A. Paul. In a controversial new paper forthcoming in the journal Res Philosophica, Paul argues that having a child is an “epistemically-transformative experience,” and therefore one for which rational decision-making procedures, such as maximizing your “expected utility,” simply don’t apply.

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Food production accounts for 80% of the country’s fresh water consumption, but the waste of food means 25% of the fresh water is actually wasted. And wasted food rotting in landfills accounts for 25% of U.S. methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere as long as 15 years and is 20 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Clean source water is critical to breaking this cycle. The EPA has found that every dollar spent to protect source water reduced water treatment costs by an average of $27 dollars. “We must do a better job of keeping farm runoff, sewage and other pollutants from getting into our drinking water in the first place,” said Sharp. “By failing to do so, Congress, the EPA and polluters leave no choice for water utilities but to treat dirty water with chemical disinfectants. Americans are left to drink dangerous residual chemicals generated by the treatment process.”

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“People in the food industry know how much food they waste, and they don’t like it at all,” says Roger Gordon, co-founder of one such new platform, Food Cowboy. He found this out from his brother, Richard, a truck driver who often hauls produce and wanted to do something with the loads of rejected, or “kicked,” fruits and veggies he ends up with about once a week. “When it’s kicked for cosmetic reasons — the eggplant has the wrong barcode, the eggplant’s not straight enough — and he’s told to throw it away, he’s called me,” Gordon says. He’d work the phone and the web to find a food bank near Richard’s route that could accept the unwanted produce, sparing it from being tossed.