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Space Potato Hits the Streets 106

gasmanpopey writes to tell us that sweet potato seeds sent to space as a part of China's Shenzhou VI mission are hitting the streets as a part of special Valentine's day meals. While supporters are trying to claim better flavor and better nutrition there doesn't seem to be anything beyond a pure novelty angle.
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Space Potato Hits the Streets

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  • Moo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chacham ( 981 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:18PM (#17984512) Homepage Journal
    Officials from the space programme, which creates enormous national pride in China, say it has produced a number of mutated fruit and vegetables.

    Could it be that Mr. Potato Head is really just an incredible tuber of a cultivated Chinese plan come to spy on US, and Canada?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gospodin ( 547743 )

      Change subject to: Mao.

      This reminds me of the Lysenkoist agricultural programs adopted during the Great Leap Forward: Space Potato 10x more nutritious than right-deviant potatoes, also enhances fellowship!

  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:19PM (#17984546)
    welcome our mutant space potatoe overlords...
    • Oh, so you know what is on the inside of a DALEK?
    • by Orange Crush ( 934731 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:03PM (#17985214)


      Mr. Quayle, is that you?

      • I know you are cracking a joke, but the whole 'potatoe is not spelled with an e' is a scary example of revisionist history. The scary part is how quickly it took hold, and the entire population accepted a revision to history as fact. Before the whole Quayle incident, teachers, dictionaries and potato farmers (not all of them, but many) spelled potato with an 'e' at the end. It is scary that someone made a spelling mistake by saying that Quayle spelled the word wrong, and it was repeated by a bunch of rep
        • "revisionist"? Just because people other than the vice-president spelled it wrong does not make it right. Moreover I guess because the current president is kind of dyslexic or gives a good impression on beeing, it does not make it not hilarious that someone who leads the country (in case the president dies or is deemed unfit for office) is correcting someone in a spelling bee - and is wrong in doing so. (by the way I'd like to get some proof of farmers with potatoe signs. Maybe a picture or something becau
    • Kent Brockman, or Dan Quayle? You decide. ;-)

  • Wha...? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bwana Geek ( 1033040 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:19PM (#17984552) Journal
    Heh, when I first read the summary, I thought they were saying that the seeds they sent into space were plummeting to Earth and hitting the streets. Then I realized that makes little to no sense and I need a coffee.
    • the question is... are the potatoe seeds large enough to survive re-entry? They're light, but is their density low enough so that they decelerate without burning up?
      • the question is... are the potatoe seeds large enough to survive re-entry? They're light, but is their density low enough so that they decelerate without burning up?

        My guess is it depends how high they started. If they were in orbit, they'd have such a huge speed that they would definitely burn up. If they were dropped from a vehicle that was on the border of what we consider space, I might buy that their speed never gets high enough to burn them up before they decelerate to their terminal velocity at 1

    • Re:Wha...? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Sneakernets ( 1026296 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:21PM (#17984608) Journal
      Cue the Quayle jokes in 3...2...1...
    • I thought they were saying that the seeds they sent into space were plummeting to Earth and hitting the streets. Then I realized that makes little to no sense

      Let me correct that for you: it made no sense :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ... I thought sweet potatoes could fly ...
    • by Romwell ( 873455 )
      Great ! So I'm not the only one ! Please mod parent up for being like me =)
  • by Sneakernets ( 1026296 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:19PM (#17984558) Journal
    Otherwise, I'd think that potatoes were literally hitting the streets. Valentines day or not, carpet potato bombing is not recommended!
    • Well, personally I'd prefer it to the conventional kind. Still lethal, but if you survive it, you can maybe at least make something sensible out of the garbage that's been dropped onto you.
    • by MattPat ( 852615 )

      St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Part 2, starring Spudsy Malone! :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And here I was buying the gf jewelry like a sucker, when I could have been getting her tubers.
  • Moo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chacham ( 981 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:20PM (#17984572) Homepage Journal
    Space Potato Hits the Streets

    In other news, everyone in China ate mashed potatoes for dinner.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    An hour later and I was hungry for starch again.
  • Space potato! I will plant these on my 4 acres that i bought on the moon!
  • "that sweet potato seeds sent to space as a part of China's Shenzhou VI mission are hitting the streets"

    I have never eaten sweet potato seeds, has anyone? Not to nitpick, but is thinking before writing optional now? Or has it always been optional?
  • then I realized: they sent them up in a shuttle and down in a shuttle, and didn't actully release them into space to fall down to the earth on china during valentines day...
  • Twinkies (Score:2, Funny)

    They sent twinkies into space too and they came down with a higher nutrional value as well as better taste
    • by smaddox ( 928261 )
      Wait, wait, wait.. Twinkies with a higher nutritional value? If there's one thing I learned from Family Guy, it's that twinkies are pure nutrition.
      Steve Perry
    • I for one welcome our irradiated mutant Twinkie overlords. All hail Twinkie the Kid! May he balance his merciless crueltry with cruel mercy!
  • radiation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:25PM (#17984662) Homepage
    So, Genetically Modified for taste, color, growth characteristics (immunity of insects instead of having to use pesticides, large yeild, etc) is BAD.

    Randomly irradiated by extraterrestrial radiation: GOOD.

    Actually it's probably a way for the average Chinese to participate in national pride - kinds of like kids in the 60's US drinking Tang and eating those small cubes of freeze dried ice cream.

    • Re:radiation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:51PM (#17985032) Homepage Journal
      Randomly irradiated by extraterrestrial radiation: GOOD.

      It's natural, so it must be good for you.
      • Actually, yes it is. If anything, the potatos are likely to have fewer germs (though I'm not aware of such factors posing a problem when it comes to tubers). Food exposed to radiation isn't dangerous unless it actually contains radioactive materials.

        It's much like the difference between touching something that's scalding hot, and something that once was. Ever been afraid of metal surfaces? They were all once molten hot.
      • Who modded that? it was a joke.
    • Dude I do that kind of stuff not out of patriotism, but because it requires the least amount of movement. Dump orange stuff in water stir=tang, for the ice cream, you don't even have to get out of your chair to go to the freezer. Now THAT is the American way! *play patriotic sounds in the background*
    • Randomly irradiated by extraterrestrial radiation: GOOD.

      It's all fun and games until a Giant Sweet Potato demolishes Tokyo, errrr.... Beijing.
  • I can just imagine cracking a tooth on the ceramic tiles these seeds must use for reentry.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Hot potato!
    • I can just imagine cracking a tooth on the ceramic tiles these seeds must use for reentry.

      Which is why you should try American-brand Space Potatoes, instead. The ceramic tiles do the cracking, not your teeth.
    • "some valentine"


      Here's a helpful hint for this Valentine's Day: Give your significant other potatoes instead of roses.

      Think about roses - they only last about a week, maybe two weeks max if you leave them in water. Their only purpose is to be pretty, so that's like saying "My love for you is fleeting, and based solely on your appearance". Roses twist in the wind, which implies fickleness. Roses also have thorns, and you probably do not want your significant other associating you with "pain" any more
  • Today's subject, class, is avoiding ambiguity. Unless you want to be funny with intentionally ambiguous expressions (especially in the titles), be sure to make them as explicit as possible. Avoid lesser-known slang expressions, which can be misunderstood.

    For example, instead of "hitting the street", use "goes on sale".

    • But "goes on sale" is so bland. "Hitting the street" adds literary color and action and, being a well used expression, shouldn't be ambiguous to many and provides an opportunity to learn something new for others.
      • Yeah seriously, I can't believe people are complaining about "hitting the streets" it's like they actually thought the potatoes are physically punching the street. Maybe there should be separate headlines for non-native speakers.
  • wow (Score:2, Funny)

    by nomadic ( 141991 )
    A chance to use a Futurama quote that I never would think would come up on slashdot...

    "I thought you were some outer space potato man."
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:53PM (#17985054) Homepage Journal
    ...are being overlooked by the naysayers. For those of you in the alternative foods community, it's quickly apparent as to how these space seeds will be superior to the earth bound ones on many levels.

    1. Space is this really mysterious and amazing place that only a very small segment of the population have been to. Because of that, space has naturally mystical properties which are imparted to any object that leaves or comes into the earth's atmosphere.

    2. Cosmic rays. Yeah, we get hit with cosmic rays on a daily basis, but not as much as you would in space. That simple fact alone means that anything that goes into space got more cosmic radiation induced and is therefore more spacey. The main reason we don't have that much of a bombardment of cosmic rays on earth is so that the bears don't get mutated into giant killing machines that go on a rampage throughout our city streets. I'm trying to work on a solution to this though because I'm bored.

    3. Dark matter. You know when you look up at the sky at night and you see all that blackness between the various objects in the sky? That's dark matter. I think. At least that's what someone told me on the bus the other day. So when the seeds go up into space, they wind up going through vast clouds of dark matter which increases their dark matter content. I've heard that this can help aid digestion. So again another plus for space poptatoes!!

    4. Space is a vacuum. While a lot of people are aware of this fact, what they tend to forget is that vacuums suck everything around them up. That means that space has a high concentration of matter in it and all that matter is bound to contain a lot of healthy nutrients in it for space potatoes to grow in. So when the chinese grew their space potatoes in the vacuum of space, they grew ultra-fast. Not only that, but there's also a lot of solar radiation in space which means that stuff grows at like one hundred times the rate in space as it would on good old earth.

    5. The ancients knew of the secrets of space and used their hidden spaceships (the pyramids and the sphinx) to travel into space for high quality food cultivation. This is why people lived longer back then. People used to live to be like 900 years old and stuff. If you want more authoritative information on the subject, go rent the movie Zardoz. It tells you all you need to know about the ancients.

    So I'd say buy these space potato seeds because they will improve your health, make you look better, allow you to "score", increase your intelligence and memory, and turn all fabrics in your house into rich Corinthian leather. There's going to be a run on the seeds anyway as soon as word gets out. At the very least, even if it doesn't work out, you'll be able to sell the seeds for an amazing return as they are guaranteed to become even more valuable than gold bullion.
  • LADA on ISS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mulhollandj ( 807571 )
    The LADA program has grown many things including cabbage, peas, radishes, etc. []
  • by kitsunewarlock ( 971818 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:56PM (#17985110) Journal
    Space Potato Hits Streets
    There were no survivors.
  • They're just growing them from seeds that have already been brought down to Earth gently. If they really wanted to go the cool novelty route, they should have sent the whole potatoes through re-entry with a delicious mashmellowy ablative coating that would cook them on the way down. I'd buy that!
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by bbockholt ( 543469 )
    In communist China potato mashes you!
  • by kbrosnan ( 880121 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:27PM (#17985594) Homepage

    NASA has been sending seeds to space for a long time. In 1989 I, and all my classmates, received packages of tomato seeds as part of LDEF Experiment P0004-01 []. A little bit of Googleing turned up Park Seed SEEDS project [] which nicely describes the project. Most of my classmates killed their plants. I planted mine in the family garden and bore fruit. That was quite tasty. As I recall there was some legalese that said don't eat the fruit that the plants bear lest you turn into a tomato based superhero.

    The Long Duration Exposure Facility project [] main page.
  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:52PM (#17986018)
    If you are going to go through the trouble of sending seeds into space, you're also likely to do two things: choose a good varietal and take extra care when raising the plants. So I'd be surprised if these weren't tastier and more nutritious compared to the average tuber stock grown in the average field.
    • Wait a minute... you mean being an astronaut doesn't cure nearsightedness?!
      • Funny you should say that. I heard recently that because of increased exposure to radiation, astronauts who went to the moon are getting cataracts an average of 7 years sooner than their near earth orbit buddies.
  • Fantastic (Score:3, Funny)

    by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:58PM (#17986142)
    Chinese space officials claim that after being exposed to cosmic radiation in space, the potatoes display unusual, even bizarre characteristics. "Some are as hard as a rock, while others are transparent. We've seen a few that can stretch to unbelievable lengths, and at least one that seems to undergo spontaneous combustion."

    Asked if the resulting tubers were good to eat, they replied, "Oh yes! They make fantastic fries!"
  • No doubt they are on their way to a secret rendezvous with mooninites in Boston.

  • My first thought when reading the headline was a giant satellite spud gun.
  • I actually submitted this story (via journal entry []) back in September, but it didn't make it -- it happened at the same time as Atlantis was docking with the ISS, so I guess the editors didn't have more space for more space. When the craft was launched, Chinese officials were cited [] as saying that "seeds exposed to space radiation and microgravity contain more vitamins and other crucial minerals.".

    Wow. I guess science class in China consists of repeated viewings of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes [] , or perha
  • .... that they'd be more interested in the nutritional value and delectable flavor of all those dogs that Russia sent into space.
  • Moon Trees [] anyone???
  • ...The dead will walk the earth. Dude, stuff coming back from space is bad. I definitely don't want to eat no zombie sweet potatoes.
  • How else are they going to power their space-age clocks?
  • The pod people did this years ago with Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And quite well too- SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
  • When are they going to make broccoli and Brussel sprouts taste better? I say take those seeds up to space and leave 'em.
  • "Would you like some Space Spuds with that?"
  • Nature Grows the seed ...
    We send the seed into space ...
    Then, we eat the seed ...

"I say we take off; nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." - Corporal Hicks, in "Aliens"