Bloomberg News

Scene Last Night: In Vitro Meat, Vertical Farms, String Beans

February 24, 2012

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Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Veronique Pittman, wife of CC Media Holdings Inc.’s chief executive officer, Robert Pittman, and a trustee at the Green Schools Alliance, recommended the pickled string beans.

Joelle Wyser-Pratte, a managing partner at Ounavarra Capital LLC and a trustee of Educate Girls Globally, scooped up a pig in a blanket.

The offerings at the party last night for the book “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,” were abundant and better than the norm.

The hosts were Wyser-Pratte and her husband, Paul O’Reilly- Hyland, also a managing partner at Ounavarra.

On the first floor of their Sutton Place townhouse, they gathered a cheerful crowd that included Ali Velshi, CNN’s chief business correspondent; Amir Dossal, founder and chairman of the Global Partnerships Forum; Andrea Sullivan, an executive director at Interbrand; and Ann Lee, author of “What the U.S. Can Learn From China.”

Waiters passed miniature grilled-cheese sandwiches, sliders and tuna tartar on crisps. The string beans were found on a table by the fireplace, near candles nestled in rock crystal holders.

Barely taking a nibble were the authors of the book, Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, and Steven Kotler, a journalist. (The foundation, which mounts competitions to address specific problems, awarded a prize last October for a new way of cleaning up oil spills.)

One Grape

“I’m one of those people who couldn’t care less about food,” said Kotler, who finally popped a grape in his mouth.

One had the feeling he’d rather talk about Rancho de Chihuahua, the sanctuary he founded with his wife in New Mexico for special-needs and elderly dogs.

Still he did have some predictions about food.

“We’ll have in vitro meat made with stem cells, which will mean fewer cows harming the environment,” Kotler said. “And vertical farming -- growing food in skyscrapers. A head of lettuce will come from five stories above the restaurant instead of from hundreds of miles away.”

The book describes these and other advances we may see in the next two decades in energy, health care, education and freedom.

“We are all going to live better than ever before,” Diamandis said.

What exactly is the diet of an optimist? Kotler had eaten a protein shake for breakfast; his co-author, Diamandis, a hard- boiled egg.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

--Editors: Jeffrey Burke, Lili Rosboch.

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.


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