Michael's blog

What I started out to say...

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Everyone needs an editor. Of course I would say that, having been employed as one for almost 30 years. But I see it often as a blogger, too — a blogger without an editor.

Yesterday, I started out saying something else — what I hope to get to now — but by the time my prelude was done, I had a post that was longish already.

You may have noticed that I'm in my third paragraph already, and I haven't gotten to the point still yet! So here it is...

What you see, when you just look

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In writing a new first chapter for my book, I've flirted with the idea that we are under some form of mass hypnosis. I don't want to assert that in any clinical way, 'cause I wouldn't know enough to make a good argument, and so far, I haven't found a way to express it credibily enough for inclusion.


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So I'm still out here in Seattle, in the home of my father-in-law, Clay, who previously worked in the vending industry. He and I have differing political views that make our conversations rousing and fun.

Today, he slides a couple of printouts across my desk (well, technically, it's his desk; his house, his desk) from foodnavigator.com in which Dr. Barry Popkin has "revoked" a theory that HFCS was tied to the rise in obesity. The 2004 article catalyzed a consumer backlash against HFCS that's still under way.

That place called "away"

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Practically every human on the planet throws stuff away every day without giving much thought to where "away" is and how the stuff gets there. This morning in Seattle, a team of MIT researchers outlined their scheme to do just that. 

The so-called Trash Track project has electronically tagged more than 500 items of refuse, culled from several source categories, and is tracking their movements in hopes of learning more about what Professor Carlo Ratti [at microphones, in photo], team leader and director of the SENSEable Cities Lab, calls "the removal chain," which he contrasted to the much better known business supply chain.

Oh, Alex

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I am a great admirer of Alex Beam. I used to edit his columns some times, and I would invariably need to look up a word, which in his case I always admired: he used the words appropriately, and I never sensed he was showing off by using the higher-priced word.

More substantively, I've always been able to rely on Alex for entertainment and unique perspective. Though unlike with his word choices, I haven't always been convinced his contrarianism was organic, is he not a columnist? He's supposed to be provocative.

Straining the concept of "news"

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The CEO of Coke thinks a federal tax on soft drinks would be ghastly. Now there's a surprise.

Oh, and the Pepsi dude thinks it's bad, too.


Get used to this discussion. Taxing the foods, or in the case of soda, "foods," that aren't healthy is going to come up again, and those who would be taxed will fight, of course. Coke's Muhtar Kent, the chairman and CEO, invoked the Soviet Union in his reply.



How's your bolus rolling?

Let's start with this basic fact: The US population is estimated to grow at .975 percent this year. If everyone keeps eating at the same rate, doesn't that mean that food companies are looking at a growth rate of less than 1 percent this year? How's that going to play on Wall Street?


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