October, 2007


15
Oct 07

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

Great, great book. I didn’t really mean to read this — but I was at Logan a couple of weeks ago with nothing to read (a very strange happenstance for me), and this was the best thing I could find to read at the bookstore there. I’m really happy I picked it up — fantastic look at why Americans eat the way we do, how food gets to us, and some of the implications of living the way that we do. 3 sections: (1) the industrial food chain, (2) organic (both industrial organic and local organic), and (3) hunting & gathering.

The book is full of little tidbits that I didn’t really know — things like how “super-sizing” came to exist, that we didn’t have high fructose corn syrup until 1980, and how morels appear in forests following fires as a crisis defense mechanism.

But also full of major themes like why corn completely, totally dominates our food chain (and it does in ways that are much more pervasive than I really thought). And the ethics of meat eating. (For the author, he ultimately decided he thinks there’s nothing particularly wrong with the philosophy of eating meet, but there’s much wrong with the practice of how we do it today.

Anyway, lots and lots of great insights here and things to think about — has already affected the way that I notice the world around me. And has made me a little ill every time I think of all the corn I’m eating now. (It’s everywhere!)


12
Oct 07

awesome blog on china

i’ve been reading rebecca mackinnon’s blog since meeting her in Dalian a couple of months ago. she’s currently a professor of journalism in Hong Kong, and has a long history of work in Asia. great, great stuff on her blog. i particularly like these two recent entries:

China’s Censorship 2.0

Eating River Crab at the Harmonious Forum (this is an absolutely delightful must-read piece)

she also wrote something about one of the most interesting sessions in Dalian with Tom Friedman and some leaders of Chinese government and industry.


10
Oct 07

scooba

As all regular readers of this blog know, I’m an unabashed fan of robots. (The Isaac Asimov be-good-to-humans type, not the Will Smith human-killing type, although that type has a certain attraction at times.)

Okay, not really. I don’t know that I’ve ever even written about them here.

But I bought a Scooba for our kitchen this week — life with a two year old entails a certain amount of ever-present crumbs on the kitchen floor (among other places), which in turn means a fair bit of sweeping & mopping. So I figured a robot sweeper/mopper would be perfect. (As an added bonus, it provides exactly the type of entertainment a 2 year old boy is looking for.)

Alas.

We tried it out last night, and it pretty much was a failure. Sorta mopped okay, sorta swept up okay, but was incredibly loud and pretty slow. I had visions of us unleashing little Scooba each night to eat up the leftovers, sort of like the vacuum from The Jetsons. But way too noisy for that to work.

If any robots are reading this blog, hear this: you need to step up your game, or you’ll never be our overlords on earth. Come on, robots.


8
Oct 07

Miro in Wired

IMG_1871.JPG There’s a nice article about Miro on wired.com today — it’s ostensibly more about their executive director, Nicholas Reville (who’s fantastic), but really about the whole project. I’m quoted in it a bit.

I can’t say enough how much I like the PCF folks — they’re amazing & dedicated & working hard to make things better. (The picture above is from our decidedly unusual (and wonderful) board meeting setting last month on the South Shore in MA.)


6
Oct 07

(Not That You Asked), by Steve Almond

I really, really enjoyed Almond’s recent book Candy Freak — so was excited to see this at Borders the other day. It’s really a book of (mostly) short essays about random things that Almond thinks about, like hating the Red Sox, getting married, having a kiddo. Good, funny, pop culture essays, but sometimes a little more bitter than I like.

But the meat of the book is an essay that Almond wrote about Kurt Vonnegut, his favorite author (and one of mine, along with McCarthy, Coupland, and Murakami). It’s a great, extended piece about how he feels about liking Vonnegut’s work (sometimes juvenile, sometimes not). Was fun to read, but probably worth borrowing from me, not buying, if you’re interested.