S U S T A I N A B L Y

Two foodies, tied for Ferst/First

My committedly curmudgeonly friend Alex Beam used to have an evergreen column about people with the same names. I was always disappointed that when he wrote of the Doug Browns, he didn't include my pal Doug, of the ESPN Browns. (I seem to recall I may not be recalling this anecdote precisely, but I can count on Alex to correct me.)


"10 Words or Less" with Aman Singh

Scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. eastern today.

Aman and I had a great conversation, running about 27 minutes, about her and about her work as a stalwart in the fields of CSR and sustainability. She's been CSRwire's editorial director;  written for the Wall Street Journal, Greenbiz, Forbes, and others; and is now a veep at the PR firm Edelman. In a week or so, I'll also publish an edited-text version of the interview as well.


Of course you oppose child exploitation. Right?

I’ve been reading the excellent report, “Kids Unbranded,” created by the Center for the New American Dream, and hope you will too. It does a wonderful job both stating the problems created by commercial exploitation of children and offering tactics that individuals can use to fight that exploitation.


True story: The first letters typed on the Internet were L-O-L

Ira Flatow, host of "Science Friday"Did you know that the first three characters ever typed on the Internet were L-O-L?

No, this is not a joke. It’s a tiny bit of knowledge identified as interesting by someone who does that all the time: Ira Flatow (right), founder and principle voice of the public radio show Science Friday.

On Oct. 24, he was interviewing Charlie Kline, who entered those (and other) letters on Oct. 29, 1969, but had never himself realized that that was kinda funny. Kline was telling the story of the first test of ARPANET, which became the Internet: He was at UCLA, and as a test run, tried to log into a computer at Stanford Research Center in Palo Alto. There were no names and passwords; to log into this computer, one typed, L-O-G-I-N. Kline said that when he typed L, it appeared on the screen in Palo Alto. Same when he typed O. But then the SRI computer crashed.


On Ted Kyle's "three tribes of obesity"

Ted KyleWriting on ConscienHealth, Ted Kyle talks about the three tribes of obesity, whom he labels the Healthies, the Quants, and the Buttouts.

It’s not hard to see where the sympathies of Kyle, chairman of the Obesity Action Coalition, lie, from his choice of descriptors: In his paragraph on the Heathies, he writes:


"Life creates conditions conducive to life,” part 2*

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people, and request brief answers in return. Today’s participant is listed eighth on GreenBiz’s Twitter Index, which is testament to his formidable combination of smarts and charisma. I once went to a networking group on his suggestion. When I sat down at a table with others and they asked how I’d learned of the group, I said simply, “Asheen,” to which the whole table chorused, “Of course!” Please remember: “10 words” is an ethic, not a limit, so please, no counting! Besides, if you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it.

Asheen Phansey of Dassault SystemesName Asheen Phansey
Fahn-SAY? I’ve been saying it wrong. Yes, it means “One who farms jackfruit.” And my first name means “tireless.”
In what languages? "Phansey is Marathi. Asheen is Sanskrit."
Born when, where: "Oct. 15, 1980, 12:23 a.m., Charleston, S.C."
Anything unusual about the circumstances? “The most unusual thing, if you know me at all, was that I was born on time. I think it was the last time."
Resides: Burlington, Mass.
Family situation: "Married, with two kids that I chase around. 1 1/2 and 4."
First world event you recall being aware of The first event that I really understood and affected me was the Exxon Valdez spill. [March 24, 1989] I can’t remember if that was before or after the first Persian Gulf War. [Aug. 2, 1990]


"Nature abhors a monoculture"

I’ve said many times, probably more than a couple of times in this blog, “Who is this guy?” referring to myself. For the first third (?) of my life, I was a sullen, cynical couch animal, whose only blazed trail was the triangle connecting refrigerator, television, and misshapen seat on the sofa.

That guy could never have envisioned this one, the one who glowingly quotes the Georgian farmer featured in a film by Maryn McKenna on The Plate, National Geographic’s food-focused website:

“In my mind, monocultures are the hallmark of what’s wrong in agriculture today. I learned in college physics that nature abhors a vacuum. I learned out here that what nature really abhors is a monoculture. Nature loves the symbiosis of many different species — microbial, plant, animal — all living together, one benefitting from the other.” ~ Farmer Will Harris, White Oak Pastures

Exactly! (Just to be clear, he knew it first, and I’m celebrating his words.)

I would add just a little perspective implied in his comments: Harris implies that what nature “thinks” is important, which is a point I make at the podium. By what evidence? Nature has been sustaining life on earth for 3.8 billion years. Humans arose out of nature, and are a subset of nature, just live all the other lives, and as such, should be trying to fit in, instead of trying to subvert the realm we sprang from.


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