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The Urban Farmer's Ball - IKEA Space10 Lab
The Urban Farmer's Ball - IKEA Space10 Lab

The IKEA Meatballs of the Future

The Urban Farmer's Ball - IKEA Space10 Lab
The Urban Farmer's Ball - IKEA Space10 Lab

When people think of IKEA they think of two things: affordable build-it-yourself furniture and meatballs. Using their iconic food offering as a base, IKEA's Space10 Research Lab has created a series of "Tomorrow's Meatballs" to illustrate what the future of food could look like 20 years from now.

The Space10 team explains on its blog that the purpose of the meatball project is to show the impact of the world's eating habits on the cuisine of the future. The resulting menu of six non-meat balls focuses on "alternative ingredients, technological innovations, and uncharted gastronomic territories" to offset what they call an "unsustainable appetite for meat." Space10 notes the many negative effects of that appetite (destruction of forests, soil erosion, disappearing fresh water supplies, etc.), citing a UN report which estimates that food demand on Earth will increase 70 percent by the year 2050.

"We used the meatball's shape and size as a canvas for future foods scenarios, because we wanted to visualize complicated research in a simple, fun, and familiar way," Kaave Pour of Space10 explains. Creations like the Farmer's Ball, the Lean Green Algae Ball, the Crispy Bug Ball, and the 3D-Printed Ball incorporate non-traditional ingredients, including insects, beet leaves, grains, nuts, powdered foods, and lab-grown artificial meat as alternatives that are readily available—and better for the environment.

The Crispy Bug Ball

The Nutty Ball

The Artificial Meatball

The 3D Printed Ball

The Mighty Powder Ball

The Lean Green Algae Ball

The Wonderful Waste Ball

All images: IKEA Space10

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Bone Broth 101
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Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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