Tech Talk: Hold the mayo, here comes the iBurger

Published: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.

I should start by saying I have no idea what I would do with a gazillion dollars if I had it. This is fairly high ground for a coupon cutter like me. Still, I am not sure that I would do what tech kingpins Sergey Brin and Bill Gates are doing by investing in synthetic hamburger meat.

Perhaps an email got stuck in my spam filter because I thought the trend was eating more natural foods. Not test-tube burgers.

Still, if these guys are cool enough to invent Google and Windows, perhaps a mere mortal like me should pay attention. Heaven knows I cannot pay the reported $325,000 that Brin dropped recently for a burger made from “thin strips of meat grown in a nutrient vat laced with bovine fetus stem cells.” Does that come with fries? My pallet is a little more situated for the $1 McDouble, but I digress.

Now, I assure you I have seen virtually all the Netflix food documentaries that leave you craving for an organic carrot at the end. I am appalled at the conditions these animals are kept in, and I always choose free-range whenever possible. I agree with Gates' reasoning that raising livestock is environmentally damaging because the cows expel an abundance of damaging methane gas. It's a serious issue, and it also makes me giggle all at the same time.

So why are the movers and shakers of the tech world branching out from ones and zeros and into food laboratories? As Brin explains in a video, “Sometimes a new technology comes along and it has the capability to transform how we view the world.” Translate that into “I saw the same disturbing videos you did about the condition of the food we are eating, and I actually have the ‘cheddar' to transform something like a cheeseburger.”

Likewise, Gates has pledged to spend the majority of his mountain of cash to make this world a better place. Amen. His work in Third World countries has been well documented, so it seems completely in line with his mission to invest in synthetic food sources. It's just too bad he cannot step back into his old gig with Microsoft and produce a decent version of Windows.

So bring it on. I like burgers. Big burgers, little burgers, grilled burgers, fried burgers, cow burgers, bison burgers, veggie burgers, and the odds are I have unknowingly eaten and liked one of those pink-slime burgers. I'm willing to add test-tube burger to that list.

There is just one little request. We need to “beef up” the cool factor on all this. When I think “burger” I think of a slab of meat absorbing searing flames and oozing that oh-so-good juice. When I close my eyes and picture myself biting into a stem-cell burger, well, it's just not the same. Now, an iBurger would be cool. Let's evolve this thing.

Perhaps Brin, who is always seen wearing Google's augmented-reality Google Glass, could include a pair of these glasses in some sort of combo pack. At the price these things are going for I am sure they could be included. Then we could trick our brains with images of a Whopper or Big Mac while we are eating the iBurger. You can even flash some images of happy cows in fields of grass. Everybody likes happy cows.

Maybe Bill Gates would donate a couple thousand dollars from the sale of each burger to go toward the good work he and Melinda Gates are already doing. I am game for that. Buy an iBurger and help build a school in Tanzania.

In the end, I just have one last thought floating in my mind. If we spare all these cows from becoming the bounty of our buns, how much more of this harmful and flatulent methane gas is going to be circulating in our atmosphere?

Now that is cause for serious concern.

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