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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Crop Algae  
  Growing algae in tanks as a source of basic food stock.  

When gallivanting between the stars, it's helpful to have a ready source of basic food stock.

"It's the food situation I'm worried about... There's been another mutation in the Chlorella tanks; must have started when we passed through that radiation field near Sigma Draconis. We're getting a yield of about twenty-two hundred kilograms per acre in terms of fats."

"That's not bad."

"Not bad, but it's dropping steadily, and the rate of decrease is accelerating. If it's not arrested, we won't have any algae crops at all in a year or so. And there's not enough crude-oil reserve to tide us over to the next star.

From Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
Additional resources -

Suggested by Fred Fred Kiesche of The Eternal Golden Braid.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to Cities in Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

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