Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Pollan

However Many Links You Think There Are In This Post, There Are Actually More Links Than That

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9710380815_b64e98462e_b* First, they cast Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and I said nothing.

* de Boer v. Schuman re: Hopkins. It’s not the supply, it’s the demand.

The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto.

Earth’s Quietest Place Will Drive You Crazy in 45 Minutes.

If I worked at Kansas University, this post might get me fired.

* Rortybomb v. the social safety net.

* Charlie Stross v. Bitcoin.

* X-tend the Allegory: What if the X-Men actually were black? Essay version. Via.

“Men’s Rights” Trolls Spammed Us With 400 Fake Rape Reports.

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency.’ It’s already here. 96 Percent Of Network Nightly News’ Coverage Of Extreme Weather Doesn’t Mention Climate Change. The year in fossil fuel disasters.

* “Unfathomable”: Why Is One Commission Trying to Close California’s Largest Public College? ACCJC Gone Wild.

San Jose State University has all but ended its experiment to offer low-cost, high-quality online education in partnership with the massive open online course provider Udacity after a year of disappointing results and growing dismay among faculty members.

Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems For Massive Open Online Courses.

CSU-Pueblo revising budget downward; up to 50 jobs at risk, loss of $3.3M.

* For-Profit College Oakbridge Academy Of Arts Suddenly Shuts Down.

* “This kid was dealt a bad hand. I don’t know quite why. That’s just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not,” the billionaire told Politicker, calling her plight “a sad situation.”

In Defense of ‘Entitlements.’

* The way we die now.

* Oh, I see, there’s your problem right there. Links continue below the graph.

IncomeGuide_2013_Jan17_RGB_page-11_11

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

* World’s first full-size Lego car can hit 20 mph, powered by insane, 256-cylinder compresed air engine.

Scott Walker signals he will sign school mascot bill.

Thieves steal risqué calendars, leave protest signs.

* DC Passes Great Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Days Bills. What’s in Them?

* France institutes a carbon tax.

Community Season 5 Feels Like An Old Friend Has Finally Come Home.

62 Percent of Restaurant Workers Don’t Wash Their Hands After Handling Raw Beef.

* Mars by night.

* Shock in Ohio: No evidence of plot to register non-citizen voters. That only proves how successful the conspiracy has been!

* Wow: Tampa Toddler Thriving After Rare 5-Organ Transplant.

* The Decline of the US Death Penalty. Still illegal to murder people in Detroit (maybe). 15 Things That We Re-Learned About the Prison Industrial Complex in 20123. Data Broker Removes Rape-Victims List After Journal Inquiry.

* The true story of the original “welfare queen.”

Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable.

* The 16 Colleges and Universities Where It’s Hardest to Get an A.

* Michael Pollan on plant intelligence.

Signs Taken as Wonders: Žižek and the Apparent Interpreter.

Marriage equality reaches New Mexico.

A vigil planned as a peaceful remembrance of a teen killed in police custody ended with tear gas and arrests Thursday night in downtown Durham.

* An oral history of the Cones of Dunshire.

* On scarcity and the Federation.

* “Characters” trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

* And ion has your science fiction postage stamps.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘Michael Pollan Denounces Whole Foods Boycott’

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Michael Pollan has denounced the Whole Foods boycott at New Majority.

John Mackey’s views on health care, much as I disagree with them, will not prevent me from shopping at Whole Foods. I can understand why people would want to boycott, but it’s important to play out the hypothetical consequences of a successful boycott. Whole Foods is not perfect, however if they were to disappear, the cause of improving Americans’ health by building an alternative food system, based on more fresh food, pastured and humanely raised meats and sustainable agriculture, would suffer.

He took a rather different attitude towards the chain in The Omnivore’s Dilemma back in 2006, when his criticism of Whole Foods led to a twenty-five page reply from Mackey and then this reply to the reply from Pollan.

After spending time with you and reading your letter, I’ve wondered if perhaps I did, as you imply in your letter, present a unfair caricature of Whole Foods in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, suggesting a store where organic, local and artisanal food is just window dressing to help sell a much more ordinary industrial product. Indeed, nothing would please me more than to conclude I owe you and the company an apology. I’m not quite there yet. But I sincerely hope you will prove my portrait of Whole Foods wrong, that the company has not thrown its lot in with the industrialization, globalization and dilution of organic agriculture, but rather stands for something better. For my own part, I stand ready to write that apology, and look forward to doing it.

The two met on a stage at Berkeley to continue the discussion in February the next year.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Late Night Late Night

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Late night!

* Still more logic puzzles, via the comments.

* My father directs our attention to a disturbing provision in North Carolina state law.

* I mean, we just went from winter to spring. In Missouri when we go from winter to spring, that’s a good climate change. I don’t want to stop that climate change, you know. Yglesias uses this inanity to try and make a serious point, but man. That’s the second-stupidest thing ever said about climate change.

* Michael Pollan or Michel Foucault?

Written by gerrycanavan

June 7, 2009 at 6:40 am

Pollan on Food

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This is a little old, but it’s worth revisiting in the context of the transition: Michael Pollan wrote an open letter to the President-Elect last month on the importance of sensible food policy in the next administration.

After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study. Whenever farmers clear land for crops and till the soil, large quantities of carbon are released into the air. But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases. This state of affairs appears all the more absurd when you recall that every calorie we eat is ultimately the product of photosynthesis — a process based on making food energy from sunshine. There is hope and possibility in that simple fact.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm

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Flexitarians

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Ezra Klein’s had a number of good posts lately on the high environmental and social costs of Americans’ meat-laden diets.

Most recently:

Bacon is transcendent. The words “porterhouse” and “steak” make my mouth water. Pork belly makes me simultaneously believe in God and doubt my own religious tradition. And because of this, I’m not a full vegetarian. But I should be. And not liking liberals don’t change the truth about meat: Industrial agriculture is cruel, meat production is a huge contributor to global warming, and the market for meat contributes to world hunger in a substantial and direct way.

My come-to-Gandhi story is almost exactly opposite, which is why I think it’s been relatively easy for me to stay vegetarian for a decade: my vegetarianism originated in a visceral distaste for nearly all meat, with the eco-awareness and smug self-satisfaction turning out to be just nice bonuses along the way.

In general I’d say the emergence of flexitarianism is one of the better and more important memes to emerge out of last decade or so, though at this point I’ve completely ruined myself for anything that’s recognizably meat-based. And it’s unlikely flexitarianism could have worked for me, anyway; as anyone who’s ever watched me try to make any sort of lifestyle change knows, the only workable strategy is total, unbreakable taboo. Eighteen-year-old me attempt to eat less-but-still-some meat would have resulted in my eating nothing but McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets, which had been a big part of the problem in the first place.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 6, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Why Bother?

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I don’t know about you, but for me the most upsetting moment in “An Inconvenient Truth” came long after Al Gore scared the hell out of me, constructing an utterly convincing case that the very survival of life on earth as we know it is threatened by climate change. No, the really dark moment came during the closing credits, when we are asked to . . . change our light bulbs. That’s when it got really depressing. The immense disproportion between the magnitude of the problem Gore had described and the puniness of what he was asking us to do about it was enough to sink your heart.

But the drop-in-the-bucket issue is not the only problem lurking behind the “why bother” question. Let’s say I do bother, big time. I turn my life upside-down, start biking to work, plant a big garden, turn down the thermostat so low I need the Jimmy Carter signature cardigan, forsake the clothes dryer for a laundry line across the yard, trade in the station wagon for a hybrid, get off the beef, go completely local. I could theoretically do all that, but what would be the point when I know full well that halfway around the world there lives my evil twin, some carbon-footprint doppelgänger in Shanghai or Chongqing who has just bought his first car (Chinese car ownership is where ours was back in 1918), is eager to swallow every bite of meat I forswear and who’s positively itching to replace every last pound of CO2 I’m struggling no longer to emit. So what exactly would I have to show for all my trouble?

Michael Pollan tries to answer one of the bigger questions people seem to have regarding environmental issues: “Why bother?” Via MeFi.

I’m no Ecotopian and no saint, but I have to say I’ve never really understood that prototypically American drive towards ceaseless consumption without any consequences. What I mean to say is that it’s always been obvious to me that you ought to do what you can to reduce your own consumption, and that the struggle for me has always been in learning about what a person can actually do.

But then again I’ve been wrestling all weekend with a sudden, renewed awareness of the insane reality that our civilization currently faces at least two separate existential threats and that nobody anywhere seems to care, much less have any interest in doing anything about either of them. Manufacturing bullshit controversies about whether or not it looks like Barack Obama flipped Hillary off if you freeze-frame the tape at just the right instant is fiddling while the planet burns. Our culture, quite literally, is deranged.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm