Tuesday, March 25, 2008


There are so many conversations to follow! Here are a handful of blogs where I follow the community comments with interest.

Among major popular internet blogs, I like the well-informed conversation at boing boing, where the occasionally skeptical comments provide just the right balance to complement Cory Doctorow's reporting on technology, intellectual property, and privacy issues. Among economics blogs, the audience at marginal revolution clearly appreciates Tyler Cowen's plainspoken yet erudite reading summaries, even while correcting him on occasional howlers such as blaming China for his pessimism about global warming while claiming that "the U.S. has done better on carbon emissions than most of the Kyoto signatories" (the comments judge that claim about the U.S. to be plausible only in the legalistic sense of a small reduction by selected measures from 2002 levels, but not as a broad summary of progress for the nation with the single largest contribution to global warming, both in aggregate and on a per capita basis).

On food policy, I learn much from the comments at ethicurean and what to eat.

I always follow the links from the many fascinating comments here at U.S. Food Policy, which are a key motivation for continuing to keep this blog into its fourth year (!). I have essentially never had to delete a comment for objectionable content (perhaps once), and only occasionally delete comments for spam if they seem cut and paste. Please contact me by email if I ever make an error in this judgment. I never ever delete a comment on grounds of disagreeing with it. I am glad that the Blogger platform retains the title of the deleted comments, so you can see the deletions are rare.

Among U.S. Food Policy comments, you may not know about continuing conversations on older posts. For example, here are the views of Fuddruckers customers about their difficulty in acquiring nutrition facts information from the chain. The customers come here as their forum on this issue, because -- for reasons that are not entirely clear to me -- this 2005 post is the top Google search for "Fuddruckers nutrition." That is only true because Fuddruckers itself has no nutrition facts page in the Google rankings. This is a mass-market issue, in contrast with more esoteric topics also covered here, so this single search brings in a large readership. You have to wonder why Fuddruckers, which knows the nutrition facts for its products, would prefer this grief to simply sharing the facts with its customers.

Recent comments here led me to other interesting blogs. After she encouraged us all to garden more, I read Whirlwind Woman this morning with admiration. Courage, Whirlwind Woman! I think I started reading Janet at foodperson and bix at fanatic cook after seeing their comments here. Bix's paraphrase of NPR coverage about the impact of daylight savings on cows will make you smile.

At some point, I hope we can take on some type of community writing or information gathering project. Shall we pick a comparatively obscure U.S. food policy cause to follow together? Or choose a question that would benefit from a little decentralized digging that a single journalist couldn't feasibly undertake? Let's think about this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be interested in something else the USDA is up to. We're not sure yet what it means, but us telecom watchers are catching a whiff of a familiar smell. I know you've called them on this kind of stuff before.

Mystery Company granted $267 Million in Guaranteed Loans by the USDA

Keep up the good work on blogging Food Policy! Maybe someday the knuckleheads in Congress will get it right, along with Telecom policy. *sigh*