[Stowe Boyd’s meditation on the future][wwmf], focusing on what some call “speculative design,” really ends up focusing mostly on food. 40% of the energy used in American homes is for cooking food. Cooked food is 10,000 years old and was itself a transformation of human energy usage, which had focused our ancestors for one-third of every day, chewing. Tomatoes are 90% water, and yet we insist on raising them in the California desert only to truck them to places like New York city which gets 45 inches a rain a year. (And, it turns out, 40% of the food consumed in Shanghai is grown within the city — fascinating!)
I was especially astonished to discover that only 5% of plastic grocery bags are recycled, and Boyd’s mind leaps from such facts to provocative statements like this:
> I have been following food tech for a few years, and that’s happening, but slowly. It’s growing quickly though: it’s one of those spiky, fearful futures. Can we dismantle the industrial food system before it has a Lehman moment, and the world’s dicey, massively interconnected, patchily regulated food system crashes like the housing market?
My experience among farmers is that they are an amazing resources that we completely ignore. Here I am, living and working in a state that has a fantastic agricultural base which has proven itself capable of incredible innovation — e.g., the crawfish boat — and the leaders of my state our focused on doling out tax subsidies to the entertainment industry, as if that’s our only future. This completely ignores the light manufacturing base that has grown up around the oil industry but could be focused on almost anything: these people are incredibly smart and flexible. One need look no further than the [Provost brothers][pd] who re-invented the surface drive watercraft industry.
Here’s a list of the stuff that’s filling up the tabs of my browser. I wanted to write about a number of them, but I just don’t have the time.
* [Who killed lard?][wkl]: NPR’s Planet Money has a podcast and they recently asked: who killed lard? Was it Upton Sinclair? Or should we blame William Procter and James Gamble? It was their company which created a new alternative to lard — the “pure and wholesome” Crisco?
* [Sell Your By-Products][svb]: is the advice of the good folks at 37Signals, who have a pretty good track record given that they developed Ruby on Rails and have written two books, which in turn spawned a consulting business. They are that good. (Definitely on my “would work for them” list.)
* [AppStorm’s Ultimate Dropbox Toolkit and Guide][db] is a roundup of Dropbox apps or apps that get better with Dropbox.
I’m lucky to have a number of people in my life who are incredibly supportive of the work I do. One of them happens to be my sister-in-law, who sent us a bag of [Raven’s Brew Gourmet Coffee](http://www.ravensbrew.com/) called “Wicked Wolf” which had the slogan “Grandma’s Gone but the Coffee’s On” emblazoned across the bottom of the front of the bag:
The blurb on the back begins: “Got big eyes, big ears, big teeth? Are you cross-dressing?”
It’s really good coffee, too. And I say that as someone from South Louisiana who has drank his fair share of “gourmet” coffees and/or “strong” coffees that were really nothing more than burnt. I don’t know what the folks at Raven’s Brew do, but somehow they get a strong, bold taste which really does have some fruit in it — I know, I know: I sound like a wine aficianado — or a coffee aficianado, I guess — but in the case of this coffee, it’s true, I tell you! (I would gladly accept any of their coffees as gifts. If it was available on Amazon, I’d already have it ordered by now. As it is, I’m already doing comparison shopping in my head to see how much I have to buy to justify the shipping cost.)
There’s something to be said for work stopping Friday at 5. Today feels like a weekend day. I’m sitting outside on our patio, cold beer nearby, while smoke drifts out of the barbecue pit. Inside is the second round of hamburgers that will feed us and our neighbor who is recovering from a hospital stay both today and part of next week. The last bit of cool from the morning lingers in the shade, and I have successfully hidden the sun behind the patio umbrella. After this, I plan to go inside, eat my hamburger with a helping of beans and try to watch a little bit of football.
After that, unfortunately, I will have to remember that this is the weekend before both the Board of Regents and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities deadlines.