Thanks for nothing, Matt.
All right, people—I just ran into Stranger web guru Anthony Hecht (outside the bathrooms, coincidentally), and he and I agree, based on a gut feeling (har!) and on the refrigerator in the video labeled "SHIT BURGER," that this whole Japanese-scientist-synthesizes-meat-from-human-feces thing is a hoax.
My reportorial skills falter in the face of trying to confirm a story out of Japan, but when you google "Okayama Laboratory"—where researcher Mitsuyuki Ikeda has supposedly synthesized the poop-meat—you get a website for a company that makes stents and other medical devices. And here's the only hit for Mitsuyuki Ikeda besides all the recent turd-meat "news"—for a Mitsuyuki Ikeda who's the director of the Okayama UNESCO Association, not a research scientist at all.
I'm going to go out on a limb and be the first one on the internet to call it: HOAX.
UPDATE! It's funny to see various outlets rewrite the "story." Here's the International Business Times, a.k.a. "the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs":
Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Environmental Assessment Center in Okayama has developed a new a artificial meat burger but before you go drooling over it, be warned—it's made of human poop.
Here's Yahoo News taking the bait:
Somehow this feels like a Vonnegut plotline: population boom equals food shortage. Solution? Synthesize food from human waste matter. Absurd yes, but Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces.
Mankind has come up with all sorts of ideas for new meat sources from cloned animals to chowing down on insects, but this idea may be the most outlandish yet...
And our friend Andrew Sullivan bought it, too! Ha.