McDonald’s Presses Pig Farmers to Stop Using Gestation Stalls

It is too bad that it is “news” when a major animal harvester decides to be an iota more humane in the way it procures its product. Shouldn’t people demand that suppliers already behave in humane ways towards the treatment of the animals we eat? It should only be news if some restaurant fed us food that was horribly treated and processed instead of vice versa. It isn’t about animal welfare, necessarily. It is about our own humanity. Are we not a civilized society? Do we not have the world’s most technologically advanced resources at our disposal? Are we not living in an age of unprecedented knowledge sharing, idea-sourcing, and iterative circle-back thing-a-ma-jig consensus building? It only stands to reason that reason is not a driving force in McRib production. If the McDonald’s corporation was reasonable, it would ethically source its animal products (Wassup Chipotle! see CMG), staking a forward leaning position on the direction of food production and consumption in our nation and, via franchise, the world market. The incentive is there. Consumers are already going “green.” Michelle Obama wants us to eat healthy. The NFL wants us to Fuel up to Play 60. And McDonald’s throws pork offal slurry HFCS-rich BBQ sauce at us? For $2.99? Homer Simpson excepted, people will probably get sick after one McRib and stop eating them until they are reintroduced to the menu 12 or 18 months later. Is the degradation of our pork stock worth the semi-annual indigestion that the McRib causes? McDonald’s should take a cue from the international slow foods movement and others who don’t need movements – farmers, hunters, and smarty-pants researchers: grow and harvest livestock with dignity and respect. Food, like meetings, become nightmares when they are run from a corporate boardroom.

2nd Web and Consumer Trends

The February 2012 briefing predicts an emerging consumer trend, “Point-Know-Buy,” which is driven by mobile technologies, massive visual cues, & augmented reality.

Using web-enabled smart phones, users will be able to collect digital information that is otherwise not available in the plain, unconnected physical reality.  Then, users can potentially add to that virtual body of knowledge or make an on-the-spot purchase of that item.  I believe Consumer Trends is correct – there are signs of this emergence all around. See their report from the link above for examples of this idea in use.

It makes me wonder if the potential popularity of devices like Google’s “X glasses” (with web-connected Heads Up Display built into the lens) and the proliferation of smart phone (for now) apps will eventually force the deployment of a 2nd Web.  This is not a Web 2.0, but a 2nd Web, built parallel to or on top of the backbone of the 1st Web, which is to say, built on top of the Internet.  The thought is a little science-fictiony, but are we not moving very quickly beyond the utility of the simple hyperlinking that HTTP brought us? I’m talking about massive personal data storage and transfer needs, GPS tracking, motion accelerometers, “big data” analysis requirements, and power grid connectivity.   This is much bigger than what Tim Berners-Lee could have envisioned when he was coding out a way to quickly share references between research papers.  Surely, there is a strain on the system caused by its lack of ability to scale to current use?

There are calls for a “shadow web” that operates alongside the public web. I mention that only to say that folks are discussing the feasibility of the concept, albeit for other reasons than what I am proposing.

The web has transformed our lives – our banking, dating, food-ordering, & baby-face sharing.  While we know sort of what happens when a country turns it off, we don’t really know what happens when it grows beyond its bounds.

Thanks for streaming season 3 of Breaking Bad through Netflix to my web-enabled TV.  And thanks for letting me pay my City of Pittsburgh parking ticket online last month (not so happy about the technology fee though?).  Thanks for the Groupon to Sun Penang – I saved $11!  And thanks for letting me order dog food from Amazon and having it delivered to my house each month by UPS. That is so awesome cause really I just have to click one button for all that dog food goodness to happen.  Thanks for all that, and so much more.  I feel guilty even asking, but what’s next, Interwebs?

The web is no longer a nascent technology – it fuels a global economy.  But it will run out of legroom and it will be forced to change.  As we want more of a meshed experience between our reality and an augmented LAYAR, we will help nudge it into the next web.  I just wonder what that will be.


Hungry for Hunger Games

OK, so I am not a 14 year-old teen, but man did I eat up some Hunger Games last Friday night.  Ever since, I have been chomping at the bit to get into the second (of the three) books in the Suzanne Collins trilogy, but am currently back in slow-read gear.  I am reading, “The Swerve: How The World Became Modern.”  At first, I thought it was a book on how to get my swerve on, but it is not (and yes I had to look up what that even meant).

In thinking about how the world became modern, I would have guessed that the answer to the question of modernity is something simple like, “many inventions were made as time passed by.”  But no such luck.  50 pages into the 300 leaves and I we are still stuck in the dark ages.  An Italian scribe, Poggio, just traveled to a German monastery and and found a treasure trove of ancient Roman texts.  Pretty cool!

While the following Poggio’s trapse through the ancient world is *very* interesting, my mind keeps wandering back to thoughts about what adventures may befall Katniss in her next adventure.  Will she survive?  Is her BFF hunter buddy, Gale Hawthorne, jealous of Peeta?  Or does Gale understand that Katniss was only doing what she could to stay alive?  Will Peeta fulfill his destiny and join an Emo band where his teen angst can be unleashed for all the world to enjoy?  I got Katniss fever.

There are just too many exciting mysteries to contemplate.  For now, I must be satisfied with the mystery of whether or not Poggio will convince the monastic librarian to let him see the ancient tombs of parchment, and copy them for all the world to see.  Of course he does, or else I guess this book wouldn’t have devoted 50 pages to him and there wouldn’t be much of a story.   There goes the mystery, but the unfolding tale of “how” is still pretty incredible.

Even though we already know the final answer of Poggio’s exciting drama, reading through it will have to abide my hunger until I actually do get my swerve on and pick up Katniss’ tale in Catching Fire.  Step aside, Judy Bloom.  There is a new game in town.