Category: Culture

How much produce is tossed because it’s not pretty enough?

Nobody’s perfect. So why do we expect our fruit to be?

The old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” So why do we do it when it comes to food?

Have you ever noticed how nearly all the fruits and veggies you see in most grocery stores look kinda … perfect? It turns out that not all produce grows into perfect, uniformly shaped foodstuffs. In fact, a good chunk of produce might be considered downright ugly.

But you know what’s truly ugly? The huge amount of food that gets thrown out simply because grocery stores don’t think it looks good enough for us to buy…

Think about it: 30% to 40% of food is wasted (depending on whether you look at post-farmed or pre-farmed). One tomato packing house can fill dump trucks with 22,000 pounds of rejected tomatoes every 40 minutes. And a citrus-packer estimates that as much as 50% of the produce they handle is unmarketable but totally edible.

Estimates show that 1 in 7 Americans do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food…

Let’s be real. When it comes to nutrition, looks don’t really matter — it’s what’s on the inside that counts…

This concept is far from new. In 2013, a supermarket’s Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign in France proved so successful that the availability of uglies for purchase quickly shot up throughout Europe.

Even before the Inglorious campaign I was part of earlier efforts to defeat marketing standards in Europe that made it illegal to distribute and sell unattractive fruit and veggies. Lobbyists from the largest supermarket chains worked with agribusiness growers who could afford to spoil and waste half of what they produced to offer only the “perfect” plum, the sexiest squash.

And the EU made anything else – not allowed.

Inglorious kicked things over the edge and made the difference. Let’s hope we can have as much success with campaigns like @uglyfruitsand veg.

SuperHero of the day


Meet “Buddie” – who consumes only the best buds

Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman, and now Ohio has a superhero of its very own. However, some critics wish it were somebody else — anybody else.

Meet Buddie, the caped crusader enlisted by ResponsibleOhio to aid in the fight to legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State. You’ll recognize him by his green-and-white costume, marijuana leaf-like gloves, washboard abs, half-closed eyes and blinding smile. Oh, and by the enormous marijuana bud that serves as his head.

He’ll probably never volunteer for anyone’s army. Unless Uncle Sugar is planning on invading somewhere with a long green growing season.

L.A. County politicians didn’t get the drought memo – I guess

Despite a devastating four-year drought that has forced strict water conservation measures across California, most Los Angeles County supervisors still have their cars washed two or three times a week…

The multiple weekly car washes carry on despite Governor Jerry Brown’s admonitions to Californians to take shorter showers and stop watering their lawns and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s own “Save the Drop” campaign, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The five supervisors can either collect a car allowance or have the county buy them a vehicle, which is washed, maintained and kept fueled at taxpayer expense.

The Daily News determined through public service records that two of the supervisors, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich, have their SUVs washed by county workers an average of twice a week and that a third, Mark Ridley-Thomas, has his car cleaned three times a week.

The remaining two, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, wash their cars about once a week…Ridley-Thomas, Knabe and Antonovich actually increased the frequency of their car washes after the governor ordered the first statewide mandatory water restrictions in April, directing cities and communities to reduce their water usage by 25 percent…

Unlike many commercial car washes, the county’s facilities do not use recirculated water, the Daily News said.

The supervisors declined to answer questions from the Daily News about the car washing.

How about admitting they’re foolish, self-serving jerks? How about stopping the silliness immediately?

How about adopting practices already part of the daily lives of sensible Californians?

Kentucky lets clerk deny marriage licenses to gay couples despite court order


Karen Roberts and April Miller, denied marriage license by religious bigotAP/Timothy D. Easley

A gay couple was denied a marriage license for the third time in Kentucky on Thursday, after a Rowan county clerk refused to obey a federal court order telling her to comply with the law.

James Yates and William Smith Jr said that officials at Rowan County courthouse, led by clerk Kim Davis, refused to provide the couple with the paperwork for a marriage license on Thursday.

“It’s just making us want to press more,” Yates told the Courier-Journal. “She can’t get away with this.”

One of Smith’s deputies told the couple that the county clerk believes she can refuse to issue licenses until 31 August. The couple plans to return to the office the next day.

Same-sex marriage became legal nationwide on 26 June, but Davis is one of a handful of people who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She did not come out of her office and declined to comment to reporters…

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling ordering Davis to issue marriages for gay couples and denied her request for a stay while courts heard her appeals

Two same-sex couples and two straight couples sued Davis in July. A US district judge then ordered her to issue marriage licenses, but delayed his order so she could appeal against the decision with the US sixth circuit court of appeals. The court on Wednesday denied her request to stay the district judge’s decision.

Theocratic dolts who hold office founded on the US Constitution – and refuse to uphold constitutional rights, decisions made binding by the ultimate constitutional court in the land – should be removed from office.

I don’t really care if the excuses they offer for violating their oath of office are based on religion, racism or what the tooth fairy whispered into their tiny brain last night. Either they lied when they took office, required to meet public standards of conduct – or they have since decided to reject the Constitution of the United States and civil law. Whatever. They should be launched into the ranks of Kentucky’s unemployed and left to find an honest job.

Right Wing cabal defeated in their try to distort Hugo awards

GRRM
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George RR Martin has said that the group of rightwing science fiction writers who tried to swing the results of this weekend’s Hugo awards to their own agenda were “routed” by the majority of fans who “did not like having their choices imposed on us”.

Two campaign groups, the so-called “Sad Puppies” and their more politically extreme counterparts the “Rabid Puppies”, had mobilised earlier this year to vote a bloc of writers onto the shortlists for the Hugo awards…

But on Saturday, members of the World Science Fiction Society rejected the finalists for the Hugos in an unprecedented five categories, voting for “No Award” rather than any of the nominees backed by the Puppies, which had included work by John C Wright, an author known for his homophobic views. Nominees picked by the Puppies won in only one category: Guardians of the Galaxy took best dramatic presentation.

“The Puppies lost and lost big; not just defeated, but routed, finishing behind No Award in almost all cases,” blogged Martin on Tuesday night. The bestselling author of the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series has been a high-profile voice in what he has called “the controversy that has plunged all fandom into war”, urging fans to vote and criticising the Puppies for their actions.

On Tuesday, he said that “the Puppies are howling in outrage and anger…But fandom, according to Martin, is “mostly relieved”…

Martin was “pleased … greatly”, he said, to see Chinese author Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem win the best Hugo novel – an award won in the past by some of science fiction’s major names. “It’s a strong book, an AMBITIOUS book, a worthy winner … and the first Hugo to go to China, which is cool. Let us put more ‘world’ in worldcon, by all means.”…

I bought my first sci-fi magazine in 1946. THRILLING WONDER STORIES. That monthly – along with John Campbell’s AMAZING STORIES – became the heart and soul of newsprint periodicals for the rest of my life. Guiding my thoughts on philosophy, science and politics, flowing directly from the pens of giants.

An equal to some of the best, is George RR Martin. Though we’ve never met, we share mutual friends and the clean air of Northern New Mexico. And a love of science fiction.

Truly electric.

Investors prefer “Drill, baby, drill!” — even over profits


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Investors sent a surprising message to U.S. shale producers as crude fell almost 20 percent in August: keep calm and drill on.

While most oil stocks have fallen sharply this month, the least affected by the slump share one thing in common: they don’t plan to slow down, even though a glut of supply is forcing prices down. Cimarex Energy Co. jumped more than 8 percent in two days after executives said Aug. 5 that their rig count would more than double next year. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. rallied for three days when it disclosed a similar increase.

Shareholders continue to favor growth over returns, helping explain why companies that form the engine of U.S. oil — the frackers behind the boom — aren’t slowing down enough to rebalance the market. U.S. production has remained high, frustrating OPEC’s strategy of maintaining market share and enlarging a glut that has pushed oil below $40 a barrel.

Output from 58 shale producers rose 19 percent in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Despite cutting spending by $21.7 billion, the group pumped 4 percent more in the second quarter than in the last three months of 2014…

Growth has been a key pillar of the revolution that helped transform the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Frenzied drilling often distinguished the new technology’s winners, while profits or free cash flow were less important.

Even amid the worst price crash in a generation, that continues to be true for some companies. Pioneer is expected to spend $735 million more this year than it generates in cash. Cimarex, which lost almost $1 billion from January to June, has fallen just 6.4 percent so far in 2015 even as U.S. crude declined by more than a quarter.

Gee. If drillers run out of storage facilities for their overproduction – I can suggest a few dry reservoirs formerly used for water in the Southwest.

Shameless plug – sort of – for a resort in our neck of the prairie


Wendi Gelfound

Opening on Aug. 17, Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort, a 52-room spa resort in Santa Fe, focuses on “nature bathing,” the opportunity to dwell in nature as a stress reducer and energy booster.Daily activities include yoga, meditation, Native American rituals, therapeutic gardening and animal interactions such as chicken therapy, which is presented as a soothing activity that involves stroking a bird’s feathers.

An on-site greenhouse and kitchen garden will serve as showcases for gardening lessons and food sources for the restaurant. Guests are encouraged to unplug from their digital devices. They can seek health consultations with staff doctors and specialists in both Eastern and Western medicine.

“At Sunrise Springs, we encourage our guests to unplug, tune-in and actively engage in their lives,” said David Hans, a psychologist and the resort’s executive director, in a news release. Rates start at $675 per person per day, single occupancy, with a two-night minimum stay, including meals and activities.

Sunrise Springs has been one or another kind of destination for the decades I’ve lived in New Mexico. My wife and I had some delightful meals there in previous incarnations.

We feel no urgency to visit a wellness resort. If anything, we kind of count Lot 4, here, as achieving most of the same functions – though I haven’t done any “nature bathing” or poultry petting since I spent summers on my grandparents’ farm when I was a kid.

Fool wearing anti-government t-shirt thanks firefighters for saving his home

On the streets I come from the word “fool” has a specific social and political meaning. Fits this dude just fine.


Click to enlargeAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Massive forest fires continue to threaten homes and lives across the Pacific Northwest, and on Saturday the AP reported on emergency response efforts in central and eastern Washington state. Accompanying the story was the photo above, in which an Okanogan, Washington man named Brad Craig thanks firefighters for saving his home. It’s a nice moment, though if you look closely you’ll notice that Craig happened to be wearing a t-shirt that given the circumstances is quite ironic:

The shirt says “Lower Taxes + Less Government = More Freedom.”…Sold by the FreedomWorks Tea Party organization.

In a related matter, 10 different government organizations are mentioned in the AP story about the large-scale coordinated response that worked to Craig’s benefit.

More than 1,000 people are involved in fighting fires in the Okanogan area, the AP says.

…FreedomWorks has, however, opposed funding for federal disaster relief funding of the sort that Washington state has requested and received from FEMA to fight ongoing fires in the Okanogan area. FEMA also paid for more than $2 million in fire-related infrastructure repairs in Okanogan County in 2014.

Fools who have no comprehension of how republican government works blather anti-government silliness in their sleep. They think the word has a capital “R”. Ignoranuses of the highest degree, they’re stuck into questions resolved centuries ago by economists, social scientists, students of governmental forms and, yes, even conservatives who think with their brains instead of their twitchy gonads.

We are a species that continues to require traffic lights, speed limits, police and fire departments. We need federal and state agencies to oversee the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. On the ever-diminishing instances our homeland is threatened we need a standing military – though our devotion to the military-industrial complex is overdone by about 999%. None of this matters to Know-Nothings. And their opinions would be equally meaningless if it weren’t for butt-kissing politicians who rely on their religious devotion as thoroughly as their dependence on corporate wealth.