Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

So why am I thinking about rural broadband as I bite into the Impossible Whopper®?

I was listening to a Dope Labs podcast the other day, where Zakiya and Titi joyfully bring science and engineering to everyday things – just as Clearfield® uses the science of optical transmission and agile engineering to create cost-effective fiber deployments with service providers everywhere. The December 5th podcast episode was about the Impossible Burger and how they make that soy taste like beef. Turns out Impossible Foods uses something called recombinant microbial technology to produce “heme,” the molecule found in every living plant and animal – like hemoglobin. The soybean plant has a tiny bit of this heme that gives the Impossible Burger its sizzle and turns it from red to brown as it cooks. But it would take acres of soybean fields to make a pound of ground beef. So that recombinant microbial technology sources the gene for the plant hemoglobin protein, takes that gene and makes yeast to manufacture the protein in large quantities. This is the same process used to make insulin since 1978. The old method required the pancreas of a pig and produced a very small amount, so scientists figured out they could sequence the DNA of human insulin and synthesize that digital fingerprint into actual chemical DNA that the yeast can read to make massive doses of insulin – with no pigs.

OK, thanks for sticking with me – the hard part’s over.

Well, it’s one thing to figure this out, but quite another to make it happen. The guest scientist from Impossible Foods described simply typing “hemoglobin gene” into her browser, and in seconds she could access the databases of dozens of companies who had sequenced scores of hemoglobin genes from various sources. (My search yielded 23 million results!) That’s when it hit me. Thanks to High Performance Computing, DNA sequencing databases are instantly available to anyone with internet access. Available yes, but are they usable? I maintain yes, but only with a high bandwidth connection. And there’s the rub. What if my niece in the rural Midwest reads this, and wants to convert the pig farm into a soybean farm? The information is there, but with DSL (or worse) available to her, she might have to park her car at the library in town to access and analyze the data.

At Clearfield, we are supporting electric cooperatives, municipalities and all community broadband providers in their efforts to bring broadband to those underserved markets, and those not served at all. History has shown that positive aspects have always resulted from increasing broadband services to all areas of the country: better education, increased home values, economic development. If we expect to catch up to those countries that have passed us by in technology enablement, we must invest in the fiber infrastructure that will empower all American homes and businesses to unleash a new wave of creativity and help write the next chapter of our country’s transformation.

By the way (for research purposes only), I did try the Impossible Whopper and – for my taste – sorry Burger King®. To twist a quote from the famous chef, Julia Child: “The only time to eat an Impossible Whopper is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

There’s no question that plant-based foods are on the rise. But don’t “stake” your network on anything but the industry’s most craft-friendly solutions from your friends at Clearfield.

By Michael Wood 

Product Marketing Manager for Clearfield’s Fiber Active Cabinet line, Michael Wood also manages the industry certification training program and advanced marketing work related to federal broadband funding programs. Michael began his career as Process Engineer, designing and manufacturing fiber optic cables for Anaconda-Ericsson. Later, he was Fiber Optic Product Manager at Belden (for fiber cable products in the Local Area Network market), Pirelli (for fiber cable products in the CATV market), Hubbell (for structured cabling systems) and Legrand (for the Ortronics network infrastructure solutions). Before joining Clearfield, Michael was Global Product Manager at nVent’s (Hoffman and Schroff) Data Center & Networking Solutions initiative…developing and producing the direct-to-chip thermal management solutions for high-performance computing data centers. Michael holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Notre Dame and is a Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT).

IMPOSSIBLE is a trademark of Impossible Foods Inc.