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Salt, Sugar, Fat

Since the 1950s convenience foods have ignited the processed food industry. In his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss says that the government has been the industry’s best friend and partner in encouraging Americans to become more dependent on processed foods. According to Moss, processed foods are engineered using addictive recipes and manipulated ingredients whose structures have been chemically-altered. He says processed foods are manipulated using weaponized salt sugar and fat ingredients including 40 varieties of restructured salt and with tobacco-industry like marketing campaigns aimed at various ethnic groups and children, products are poised to addict or as the industry prefers to say, appeal and allure.

This is the second in a three-part Big Food series for Letters & Politics, a syndicated public affairs radio show out of Pacifica’s west coast station, KPFA 94.1 FM. This series investigates how the processed food industry came to dominate the American plate to become a top industry earning over one trillion in annual sales. The series digs into America’s food labs, food habits and food policy to detail how America became hooked on processed food.


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Young & Determined: how a group of young men is reinventing Marin City



Read the story on KALW.

Lorenzo Bynum has the “baller” build you might see on the cover of GQ, without the swagger. He’s clean-cut, 5’10”, wears two small earrings and has a muscular frame. It’s a Wednesday afternoon in Marin City, and the 23-year-old is digging frantically through a 10’ by 10’ closet. He’s hunting for a parachute large enough for a game with 15 third graders.

Wednesdays are busy days for Bynum. He clocks in at three part-time jobs: two hours directing elementary school children, two hours coaching track and field, and two hours coaching middle school boys basketball.

One reason Bynum likes basketball is that he grew up shooting hoops around town—with the friends and family members who are now his business partners. In late 2011, Bynum, his cousin Louis, and his friends Marcus Mason, Maurice Jenkins, and Melvin Judson, launched a business designing and selling t-shirts.

With $365 pooled from their savings, they ordered 100 cardigans and 50 sweatshirts, and began screen printing original designs. So far they’ve sold over 200 shirts.

“If you don’t know us, and you just see us on the street, you think ‘oh these are just some bad guys from Marin City.’ And most people don’t see us. So we’re here to get that out in the streets,” says Bynum.

Like many living in Marin City, the young men have had a hard time finding work.

Two of them are working towards degrees. For both, it’s their second try. Mason lost his housing, and Bynum says he just wasn’t able to pay.

“They hiked the tuition to where it was $35k to go a year and I couldn’t afford that even with financial aid, grants and scholarships,” says Bynum.

Meanwhile, Judson and Jenkins work part-time. They see each other daily at Babies “R” Us. Judson has worked as a cashier and stocker there for four years. This year, he got a raise. Now he earns $10.51 per hour, just over the county minimum wage. At 17 years old, Louis Bynum is the youngest. He also used to work at Babies “R” Us.

“Right now working for me is a bigger priority, trying to start this business and also provide for myself,” said Jenkins.

Over the last 30 years, Marin City residents battled poverty and drug abuse. Today, some things are better.

According to the 2010 census, Marin City is now a median-income community. But the stigma and the challenges remain. Marin City still has higher crime and poverty rates than the prosperous county surrounding it and more than a quarter of Marin City residents continue to live under the poverty line.

“Over the last few years, the city changed for the better,” says Andrew Abou Jaoude, Client Services Coordinator for the Marin City Community Development Corporation.

Bynum and his crew see themselves as part of Marin City’s renewal.

“Our clothing line is called RedEy3. It means ‘Real expressions determined through one’s eyes.’ And the image is a plane. It means being successful in anything and everything you do. Flight to success, it’s catchy. It rolls off the tongue,” he said.

The crew works out of two homes, both of which are in public housing. At the four-bedroom apartment that Maurice Jenkins shares with his parents and siblings, they receive equipment and clothing. They hold meetings at the two-bedroom apartment Lorenzo shares with his family. But soon, they will be working out of their own office, thanks to a local non-profit.

Along with joblessness, youth crime continues to plague Marin City. Kevin Lynch is the Director of Marin County Youth Probation Services. “Approximately 75 percent of youth in our system are youths of color, which is way out of proportion to what youths of color represent in Marin County,” says Lynch. “And when I see numbers going down for other youth, that frustrates me even more. I feel like we can do better.”

Walking around Marin City, it’s easy to see the things that make life harder. Outside Jenkin’s apartment, an older, frail woman is walking around in circles. She’s stoned. Within 45 seconds, a police car approaches, and officers step out to talk with her. Behind her, young men are joking and listening to music. They don’t seem to notice.

Outside of the Phoenix Project of Marin, John Allen, 26, and Derek Morgan, 17, both say living in Marin City is challenging.

“Marin City is what you make of it. It can be your heaven or it can be your hell,” says Allen.

“It’s kinda hard growing up here because we don’t have a lot of things. But, it takes you to rise up above the influence. Growing up here you can get caught up, or, you can rise,” says Morgan.

RedEy3 still faces some challenges. This year they contacted the Marin City Community Development Corporation for small business resources, but they have yet to sign up for any assistance programs. The bigger issue now is duration. Can they keep it fun long enough to push them through months of small business hardship?

The RedEy3 team is in the process of coming out with a new collection. This one will have 120 shirts and tank tops for sale. Until the collection comes out, they will be submitting grant applications as they prepare to buy a digital t-shirt printer machine, and they’ll keep the business going.

You can see RedEy3 designs at http://www.redey3flight.com.


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Getting apps into your car

Remember KITT?  The Knight Rider car from the 1980’s?

KITT is finally here and not just for those with BMWs.  With the proliferation of smartphones, automakers have found a hook to pump sales. And, consumers now expect constant grid connectivity. Last year 4.5 million cars were sold with “telematics“, by 2015 that will increase to 22.7 million, according to IHS iSuppli. source

What will we see more of?

  • smartphone management (aka radio off the dial) through in-car audio systems or via voice recognition, source – see MyFordTouch and AppLink
  • antenna systems that allow TV reception, sports and kids shows seem to be the main push on this, care of KVH, DirecTV, SiriusXM, Backseat TV now comes preinstalled in select Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeeps
  • improved navigation databases that inform electric cars of the closest energy fill-up station
  • built-in wireless connection that connects the car to the cloud and allows owners to communicate with the car from their smartphones
  • real-time traffic updates, games, streaming video in old cars via 4G – see  Harman source

“About 50 car models in the United States already have Internet radio app integration or will have it in their model-year 2012 versions. BMW, Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Buick, Chevrolet and Hyundai integrate Internet radio apps in the United States. In Europe, only BMW and Mini offer Internet radio so far. In China, there are four Chinese luxury models that are in the process of adding Internet radio integration.

A range of Internet radio service providers have entered the U.S. market, including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Spotify. These companies’ services represent direct competition to standard broadcast radio and subscription-based satellite radio.
Global sales of automobiles with Internet radio capability are set to rise by a factor of more than 30 during the next eight years, leading a wave of in-vehicle apps that will be integrated into car electronics systems in the coming years, according to the IHS iSuppli Automotive Research Service from information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).

Sales of cars with Internet radio integrated into their head unit will soar to 24 million units in 2018, up from 168,000 in 2010, as presented in the figure below. The United States will lead the Internet radio market, with sales growing to more than 10.9 million units in 2018, from 149,000 in 2010.” source
“…in the past year, 5 percent more drivers are using their cell phones to listen to Internet radio on the road. Overall, time spent listening to online radio has also increased an impressive 49 percent in the last three years. Over the recent Christmas weekend alone, an estimated 6.8 million new Android and iOS phones and tablets were activated, more than double the previous year’s count.”  source.

More info:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9220979/Car_tech_The_connected_car_arrives
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-future-of-in-car-technology
http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/car-tech-trends-at-the-2012-consumer-electronics-show.html
http://analysis.telematicsupdate.com/infotainment/livio-radio-how-apps-get-cars
http://newsroom.intel.com/community/news/blog/2011/05/03/consumers-accelerate-demand-for-connected-cars


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A taste for inspiring food coverage

Daniel Klein, Mirra Fein, Todd Selby and Lisa Hamilton lead the way in food coverage. And, they give me optimism for what is to come in the world of media.

Daniel Klein and Mirra Fein produce the The Perennial Plate, an online weekly documentary series on food and eating. The images are sharp, the pieces are short and better still it feels alive. Watch A Taste of Vietnam from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

 

Lisa Hamilton has integrated multimedia and storytelling to document the stories of rural California. Called “Real Rural,” hers is an interesting project for it’s depth and the narrative arc in each of the stories.

And Todd Selby! His are vivid photos presented with audio and in some cases scanned notes that present a quick vignette in refreshing ways.

Want more visually compelling project interfaces? I do, and, I await the Hyperaudio Pad that Boas and Moskowitz are developing to foster open media that is accessible to everyone both for consumption as well as creation.


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on family in the new America

  1. Status hierarchies on OKC: White males are receiving a majority of the male attention. Indian women followed by Hispanic women received the greatest attention among women. And they did find that women with degrees higher than a B.A. are penalized, receiving less attention. Matching is substantial for the following: for religion (among atheists, catholics, and jews), occasional drug use, virgos, clerical workers, pet owners, lengthy profiles. 
  2. Share
    A majority of married couples don’t last anywho.
  3. Share
    Ukrainian women|Survey of Couples Who Use International Marriage Service Shows the Majority are Married an… t.co/km6rOwBG


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Occupy Oakland Debates the Question of Non-Violence

The Occupy movement has changed the way Americans view political activism. And there’s a raging debate over what tactics should be used. On Thursday, December 15th, Oaklanders gathered at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland to discuss how best to Bring The Walls Down.

Watch the resulting video on diversity of tactics and what Occupy needs to move forward.


Hear the full show and see testimony footage.

Featuring: Starhawk, global justice activist and author; Rev. Phil Lawson, Methodist minister, and civil rights activist; Josh Shepherd, Navy veteran and Iraq veterans Against the War activist; Kazu Haga, Kingian Nonviolence trainer; Matthew Edwards, Iraq war conscientious objector, Melissa Merin, human rights activist; Paolo, organizer and Occupy Oakland participant; Sean O’Brien, DASW organizer; Rahula Janowski, moderator.


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Who is tracking who?

Into the Woods. Producers Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendel make waves at Sundance with their interactive nature doc Bear 71.

I am really digging this interactive documentary which grapples with deep philosophical questions, brings real time data to the forefront, has great audio and most importantly, is well executed. Note: be prepared to be on camera yourself. One of my favorite quotes: They point is, just because you can’t sense something, doesn’t mean something else can’t.”