"I miss dumplings: my initial foray into soylent only"

Article on the Weal:


I like that you go out there and scrape all of the Soylent articles off the net for us (presumably have a Google alert set?), but it sometimes gets old when you can tell that the article is going to be incredibly slanted before you even get into it. For instance with this post it took me until the fourth word to figure out what their conclusion was going to be:

Article on the Weal

So, yeah. I went ahead and checked just to make sure I was right, let me deliver the highlights so fewer people need to click on it if they don’t want to:

In Psychology Today, an article written by Dr. Jean Kim, titled Soylent Bad: America’s Toxic Relationship With Food asks the most obvious question: “Why voluntarily give up the gift of flavor, the gift of food, the sensory appreciation of life, for a couple extra hours to finish spreadsheets?”

The prospect of giving up food was a challenge, and I found myself frantically going out of my way to restaurants (as many times as I could) and ordering a bevy of dishes, savouring each one: bite-by-bite, piece-by-piece.

Oddly enough, even the worst dish proved to be the most delicious thing.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t cry a little on the inside when I saw the plain, white box containing my only source of food—a brownish, sandy mixture that smelled fairly neutral and unbecoming.

I don’t like the taste of pancake batter— sweet things for breakfast don’t have an appeal for me. I like savoury, often spicy foods. Drinking my first batch (improperly made, mind you), I found myself swigging the mixture, trying my best to not have the liquid rest on my tongue, as I would cringe every time it did.

So someone who doesn’t want to drink Soylent and has already made up their mind headed into the experiment, knowing full well that he won’t enjoy the taste (and making no effort to flavor it himself), embarks on a “Soylent experiment” and doesn’t have must positive to say about Soylent. This is just the first of a two part series, wait until next time for his exciting reveal that he doesn’t like it!


Later he seems pretty positive and says that he craves it.
Am I reading the same thing?
"I carried a litre of Soylent around school, drinking half-a-cup (enjoyably) throughout most of the morning till early evening. I noticed that I had increased energy…the past two days I’ve been craving pan-fried pork dumplings with red rice vinegar and steamed bok choy—for now, however, I’ll stick with the Soylent."
Seems like a pretty good review for the most part.
I too don’t understand why people think they can only eat Soylent.
Perhaps all the Soylent only challenges are still burned into first-timer’s minds

Seriously, why does every critic of Soylent think going “100% Soylent” means never having real food again? I have a cheeseburger with fries pretty much every Wednesday, and whenever the work cafeteria has something good I get that… secure in the knowledge that my Soylent bottle will keep just fine, unlike leftovers or salads I’d be packing for lunch otherwise.


It really makes me appreciate “real” food too. And if I switch back to 100% “real” food for 2 or 3 days, I enjoy Soylent quite a lot when I switch back.

I feel like I get the best of both worlds, and I didn’t even have to get assimilated by the Borg.


You are really missing out. Great healthcare options.


Yeah but I’m a young, red-blooded man, what do the Borg really have to offer in terms of okay sold, let’s go, assimilate me.


There’s two good reasons right there.

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Lather, rinse, repeat.

Nothing new here. Just cheap click-bait.


Not sure what irks me more… The assumption that we go 100% and give up normal food, or the assumption that all those saved hours are spent working…


Absolutely. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in two and a half months on Soylent, but I think that’s mostly because Soylent makes it a lot more convenient for me to fit exercise in around my job — that’s been the main lifestyle difference I’ve experienced.

I think the exercise improves my mood and energy levels, so I’m generally happier and less stressed.


I thought it was a decent review, as these things go. It started out negative, but ended up positive. I do wonder why the reviewer was getting hangry so often – maybe he was forgetting to eat?

The review also says “although many have said Soylent’s latest powder formula, 1.5, has the worst taste of them all” – is that true? I know I’ve seen a few people say they like 1.5 the least, but I thought most people liked it as much as, or more, than previous versions.

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We’ve discussed these sorts of 100% Soylent trials here before. I’ve always hated them for distorting what Soylent is all about. It’s like saying you should get rid of your computer because your cell phone can perform many of the same functions.


Well, with the difference being that you might actually be able to swap out your PC for a cell phone some day.

Just like a gourmand will never stop eating traditional food, there will always be people who do serious work or play on PCs.


Yeah, but the average person is far more likely to decide a phone or tablet with a docking station is enough than to give up food for 100% Soylent.

EDIT: And really, eventually there will be enough power in small enough of a form factor that the PC as we know it will die out.

I doubt it, with all that power in a small form factor, there will be even greater power in a larger stationary platform, the VR rush is about upon us and we will see even more demands being made of our desktop hardware as we no longer have the luxury of projecting a simple 60~90 FOV anymore, for example.


I think loads of people already have.

Yeah I don’t want to get into PCs vs smartphones, but if you say eventually a smartphone will be enough for everybody, I could just as easily say that eventually Soylent will be enough for everybody (of course, I don’t believe either statement!). Either one is imaginatively possible, especially in the far future, but we can list dozens of reasons why it can’t happen in the foreseeable future. I’d say the biggest difference is that for PCs, you have to understand quite a lot about computer hardware and specifically how it’s manufactured and operates in order to see why.

tl;dr: smartphones are under additional constraints.

Thermal and power envelopes spring to mind, as @NanoTechnic said. The most trivial example is probably graphics hardware, since it is embarrassingly parallel. If a chip you can fit and cool in a smartphone can do X, a giant graphics card in a computer will easily do X times ten (and that’s a conservative estimate since I don’t want to exaggerate; it’s probably a much bigger difference in reality). Compare a modern 14 nm smartphone GPU to a 28 nm (older, larger process) desktop GPU. The process technology is a couple generations ahead in the smartphone, but it needs to fit in a tiny phone and can’t dissipate more heat than can be passively cooled.


And what happens when X is so high that it covers everything anyone would want to do with it? Already a big problem with graphics is the cost of generating the skins, and look how many games are going for a “retro” look these days. Not to mention that while PC’s can be more powerful there are good 3d engines on phones already.

Essentially the PC will be relegated to creators: programmers, graphics designers and people of that ilk. Even then there’s a decent chance the development will be moved to virtual PC’s and thin clients rather than actual desktop computers.

Look, I just bought a Surface Pro 3 earlier this year, and it is actually just a little more powerful than the PC I built 3 or 4 years ago. It also serves all my needs for programming so the only thing I might need the PC for is gaming… but I’ve got a PS4 for that.

So yeah, a phone or tablet form factor might be limited to X/10… but if X is all anyone’s going to use anyway…