Holes that fill a market gap, or what the iPad has to do with taking down Monsanto.
We all know the story — fast food is awful for us, dreadful for the environment, and one of modernity’s most gruesome addictions. Yet in a culture of constantly shrinking time budgets and an ever-increasing marketability of convenience, it’s increasingly difficult to reconcile our moral and nutritional ideals with our fast-paced workaholism. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, at least not if it’s up to 4food — an innovative restaurant concept aiming to de-junk fast food for the digital age.
Founded by British serial entrepreneur and ex-music-exec Adam Kidron, former CEO of Urban Box Office, and rock musician Michael Shuman, 4food is equal parts good food and digital age fixtures. Not only are orders placed through iPad-based “Dynamic Menu Boards” or pre-ordered online, but they’re also fully customizable to your lifestyle and nutrition goals. The entire operation is designed with sustainability and ethical conduct at its core — from the local, organic, Monsanto-unaffiliated ingredients to the fairtrade worker compensation to the in-store recycling and composting programs.
We bring fast food that’s fresh, delicious, and nutritious to all ages, lifestyles, incomes, and ethnicities. No fads, fillers, or anything artificial. We’re revolutionizing counter culture, in real-time.”
The restaurant’s signature product is the W(hole)burger™ — a donut-shaped beef, lamb, pork, turkey, veggie, salmon or egg patty, paired with one of 25 ethnically and nutritionally diverse Veggiescoop centers, each with unique nutritional attributes. The “holes” from the patties are made into skewers for a perfect bunless, low-carb, shareable meal.
4food’s manifesto is a fantastic epitome of what every eatery should aspire to do and be:
De-junked fast food is made of quality, natural ingredients and customizable to your taste and nutrition goals.
Our foods don’t contain any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils.
No artificial sweeteners. No preservatives. No artificial flavor enhancers.
None of our food is fried.
If it’s soy, it’s not Monsanto* — wherever possible we purchase whole ingredients that have neither been genetically engineered nor modified.
Our chefs use simple and straightforward cooking techniques to prepare and cook your food to order.
Our cows, pigs, and sheep are humanely raised while grazing and eating vegetarian diets.
Our poultry and fish are fed heritage foods with no artificial growth hormones or antibiotics.
You know (because we tell you) where all of our ingredients come from.
We provide personalized nutrition facts, advice, and menu recommendations every day in—store, at www.4food.com, and printed on every receipt.
We charge reasonable prices, when the rights of farm workers to earn a living wage, the integrity of our food preparation, and the quality of our ingredients are taken into account.
Your purchases provide real world job training to individuals transitioning back into the work force—to earn more than minimum wage.
We compost in-store and recycle. We employ sunscreen systems, LED lighting, and purchase renewable energy credits from alternative energy generators. We’re committed to increasing our use of sustainable power as we grow.
We incentivize you to market your custom W(hole)burgers™ online, so that we don’t have to. The money we save on marketing enables us to purchase better quality ingredients and keep our prices down.
4food is part Apple store, part European coffeehouse, part Michael Pollan‘s wet dream. The first restaurant opens its doors at 40th & Madison in New York on September 7.
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Displays for disasters, or what sensors have to do with survival.
In just a few short months this year, the world has seen more disasters than its fair share — devastating earthquakes, floods and a destructive oil spill, each requiring different strategies of emergency management. And this month, Organizing Armageddon, the excellent Wired article by Vince Beiser about lessons learned from the Haiti earthquake, exposed the many and worrisome shortcomings of disaster relief efforts. From infrastructure to technology to tactical coordination, today’s emergency management is in dire need of an upgrade.
Luckily, Precision Information, a division of Homeland Security’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is developing ambitious new first-response cooperation environments that focus not on a single piece of technology but, rather, on a suite of interconnected tools that offer targeted access to information and sophisticated decision-making aid for emergency response.
From predictive modeling to automated recommendations to augmented reality, this concept video is designed to serve as a blueprint for research in the next decade, exploring some of the possibilities in addressing key research challenges.
For a closer look at the many emergining technologies and concepts alluded to in the video — including ubiquitous displays, crowdsourcing, pervasive sensor networks and adaptive user interfaces — be sure to see the annotated version.
Suspended animation, augmented reality, and what sheep’s knuckles have to do with the future of cultural problem-solving.
We’ve been busy live-tweeting from TED 2010, so yesterday’s highlights come mostly in photos and quotes — see Twitter for play-by-play updates.
SESSION 1: REASON
Be skeptical. Ask questions. Get proof. Don’t take anything for granted. But when you get proof, accept it. We have a hard time doing that. ~ Michael Specter
Science tells us what we can value, but it never tells us what we ought to value. ~ Sam Harris
AIDS researcher Elizabeth Pisani shows the remarkable and life-saving effects of HIV treatment, but says that, contrary to popular belief, treatment is not all the prevention we need. In fact, it leads the infected to take their guards down, so they become less careful, which can be dangerous.
Christakis calls obesity a 'multicentric epidemic,' reduced not to the behavior of individuals but to that of the 'human superorganism.'
SESSION 5: PROVOCATION
Ex-CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson shares Global Zero, her advocacy for eliminating nuclear weapons.
One thing our country needs is better political debates. We need to rediscover the lost art of political argument. ~ Michael Sandel
If we weren't afraid our servers might go down tomorrow, we'd dare say 4chan founder Christopher 'moot' Poole was endearing, but left us underwhelmed and missing a connect-the-dots idea. Hypothetically speaking.
Kevin Bales reveals some shocking facts about modern-day slavery: Today, there are 27,000 people in real, physical slavery. He points to four main causes: Overpopulation, extreme poverty, vulnerability of disadvantaged groups, and corruption.
'What enables slavery is the absence of the rule of law. It lets people use violence with impunity.' ~ Kevin Bales
Kevin advocates “freedom dividend” — letting people out of slavery and letting them work for themselves, which causes local communities to flourish. He says the total cost of enduring freedom for those 27,000 contemporary slaves is $10.8 billion, which is how much the US spent shopping this past holiday season.
A TED first: Mark Jacobson and Stewart Brand (whose compelling new book, Whole Earth Discipline, we reviewed recently) entered a good old fashioned debate on the merits of nuclear power.
Brand for, Jacobson against
If all of the electricity in your lifetime came from nuclear, waste would fit in a Coke can. ~ Stewart Brand
Each got 6 minutes to defend his stance, followed by an audience grill and refuting arguments.
To power the entire world with wind you will need only about 1% of US land area. ~ Mark Jacobson
Despite his charisma, Brand 'lost' in the end -- the audience skew moved from 75/25 in favor of nukes in the beginning of the debate to 65/35 by the end.
SESSION 6: INVENTION
The Extraordinary Legion of Dancers, LXD, were extraordinary indeed.
LXD received the most enthusiastic standing ovation at TED 2010 yet.
Though without the impact of a live performance, you can see for yourself:
When I dance, I want people to question the reality of what they’re seeing. ~ Madd Chadd
Game designer Jane McGonigal delivered some staggering statistics on gaming: Since World of Warcraft launched, we’ve spent 5.33 million years solving it; to put this in time perspective, 5.33 million years ago, the first humans stood up.
In the game world, we become the best version of ourselves. ~Jane McGonigal
Today’s kids, McGonigal pointed out, spend some 10,000 hours gaming by the time they turn 21. At the same time, the average child with perfect attendance spends 10,800 hours in school by graduation — so there’s a parallel “education” going on. She advocates for using social games as something bigger than escapism from reality — a cultural advancement tool putting gamers’ problem-solving talents to work. She demoes World Without Oil, a collaborative social game made in 2007.
Ancient dice made out of sheep's knuckles, invented in Libya, are world's first recorded gaming device.
McGonigal premieres Urgent Evoke, a game developed in partnership with the World Bank. If you complete it, you get certified by the World Bank as “social innovator”.
Music icon David Byrne, a cultural hero of ours.
Byrne says people in 19th-century opera houses used to yell at each other just like they did at CBGB's in the 70's.
Photosynth mastermind Blaise Aguera y Arcas demoes some remarkable Augmented Reality technologies using Microsoft's Bing
Inventor Gary Lauder says energy efficiency is about more than just vehicles: It's also about the road. He points out that converting a traffic light into a roundabout -- something well-adopted in Europe, but tragically scarce here in the US -- reduces accidents by 40%. He proposes a new hybrid sign that blends a Stop sign and a Yield one.
In the developing world, 10-50% of vaccines spoil before delivery. Kids die. ~Nathan Myhrvold
Polymath Nathan Myhrvold delivers some known but still chilling statistics about malaria — it sickens 250 million people a year; every 43 seconds a child in Africa dies — and demonstrates a radical new way of fighting the disease: By laser-blasting infected mosquitoes.
Myhrvold orchestrates an incredible on-stage demonstration, wherein a mosquito is shot by a laser beam in a glass tank.
We've stitched together the slow-motion sequence of the mosquito blast. Click the image to look closer.
SESSION 7: BREAKTHROUGH
Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird, amazing as usual.
Stephen Wolfram, creator of revolutionary semantic search engine Wolfram|Alpha, argues raw computation combined with built-in knowledge changes the economics of the web and democratizes programming. He talks about the principle of computational equivalence — the idea that even incredibly simple systems can do complex computation.
Wolfram says you don't have to go very far in the computational universe to start finding candidate universes for our own.
For the first time, Microsoft Labs’ revolutionary Pivot software is availble for the world to tinker with.
MacArthur genius fellow Mark Roth admits he didn’t know what TED was until Chris invited him to talk, but we quickly forgive him after hearing his incredible — literally — and surprisingly grounded sci-fiish work in “suspended animation,” a slowing life process and makes a living being appear dead without harming, then reanimates it. In layman’s terms, resurrection.
The amazing TED Fellows are a mind-blowingly multi-talented group, working in anything from crowdsourced citizen journalism to e-waste management to humanitarian documentary film-making.
For live coverage of today’s and and tomorrow’s TED talks, follow us on Twitter. And keep an eye on the TED website as the first of this year’s talks begin being uploaded.
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