Jonathan Foley at Chautauqua on the Global Food Shortage

Jonathan Foley just wrapped up his time on the Chautauqua Amphitheater stage discussing the future of food. To preview his talk, here's a snippit of his editorial today in the Chautauquan Daily:

You’ve probably heard it many times. While the exact phrasing varies, it usually goes something like this: The world’s population will grow to 9 billion by mid-century, putting substantial demands on the planet’s food supply. To meet these growing demands, we will need to grow almost twice as much food by 2050 as we do today. And that means we’ll need to use genetically modified crops and other advanced technologies to produce this additional food. It’s a race to feed the world, and we had better get started.

To be fair, there are grains of truth in each of these statements, but they are far from complete. And they give a distorted vision of the global food system, potentially leading to poor policy and investment choices.

To make better decisions, we need to examine where the narrative goes off the rails.

The whole piece, and his subsequent talk, is supremely eye-opening. It's a sober review of the data, and a surprisingly bearish view of GMO when presented through his lens. Worth checking out. And for those who weren't able to make it to the lecture, here's his talk, "The Other Inconvenient Truth: How Agriculture is Changing the Face of Our Planet," from TEDxTC.

Terpstra on Tags in OS X

Brett Terpstra has been digging deep into tag performance across the Mac ecosystem. Losing Spotlight comments exactly as he describes in this post is what originally pushed me off of tagging in the first place. As with all things Terpstra, there's much to get from his investigation and given some of the changes he points out here, I might just be able to get back into tagging myself.

Tags are generally safe within the OS X ecosystem, from Darwin tools to iCloud sync, but third-party tools can wreak havoc on your carefully-crafted tagging system. As a proponent of tagging, losing tags inadvertently is a fear (and one shared by any tagger). I’d like to keep this resource growing and would appreciate your input.

Here's more background on tags in Mac OS

"The Putter"

The Putter is a delightful short film by Shaun Bloodworth showcasing the work of Cliff Denton. Denton is a putter, or more fully, a putter togetherer — a man who puts together scissors by hand. Everything plays well in this film, from the light on the silver in these delicate close-ups to the mesmerizing music courtesy of The Black Dog. Take four minutes and learn something, then go buy a pair of these things from Ernest Wright & Son for about $68. 

Facebook, Trust, and Ethics

Alex Wilhelm:

The average Facebook user has something akin to an unwritten social contract with the company: I use your product, and you serve ads against the data I’ve shared. Implicit to that is expected polite behavior, the idea that Facebook won’t abuse your data, or your trust. In this case, Facebook did both, using a user’s social graph against them, with intent to cause emotional duress.

This story keeps getting better and better. The real trick here is that Facebook did, in fact, have permission to do this. Explicit permission, in fact, which we all agreed to in the 10,000-word license agreement we all signed to use the service. That we didn't read it is on us, the users. 

But that a license agreement we may have signed years ago grants permission for psychological manipulation flies in the face of ethical informed consent. It's legal, it's just not right.