new Things I Ate in Cambodia: mmm arugula, internet getting smaller?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

mmm arugula, internet getting smaller?

Top Chefs Push Obama on Food Policy

This article, regarding how big-name chefs are hoping to use their influence to get Obama to improve USA food policy, also impressed on me the difference between W. and Obama. W, as I reference on Twitter, considered burgers n' french fries and PBJ to be the height of deliciousness. Obama, on the other hand, enjoys contempo Mexican cuisine, sushi, and, well, yeah, arugula. Bush was deeply uncurious about pretty much anything, despite the dizzying opportunities dropped in his lap. Obama has traveled widely and displays a refreshingly upfront interest in just about everything. I think I've made my point.

There's totally a topic in there for my PHD thesis in Pretentious Asshattery. "A History of American Politics as Told by Presidential Palates: Andrew Jackson, There's A Raccoon In My Soup."

God, I'm brilliant.

As for the chefs actual goals to change food policy, god speed and good luck. At the very least, the Obama's may inspire a national run on Arugula, and arugula is good.

Internet getting smaller?

Have Wikipedia and Google changed the internet from the world's most heterogeneous information source to its most homogenous one? Have the Oracles of the Internet created a "feed back" loop, driving us all away from alternate sources of info to the Big Two?

Hmm. Interesting idea. I do think it's highly likely that the majority of internet users are indeed "taking the path of least resistance," choosing to rely on Wikipedia (which is, by the way, usually the number one Google hit) to find out what they need to know. But is this homogenization any different from the fashion in which people gravitated to the Encyclopedia Britannica back in the day? I'm still not convinced its a bad thing to have some sort of information standby - though I find it as worrisome as anyone else that Wikipedia has come out on top.

If we're discussing feedback loops, however - the common logic about Wikipedia is that it is generally correct because false information (filtered through a large number of people) will rectify itself. For every tin hat changing Wikipedia articles about the moon landing into Esparanto, there's a dedicated PHD lurking in his or her office and setting things right, one click at a time. Or so we hope.

Finally: I support Wikipedia's push to force editorial review on "sensitive" articles. It might, if nothing else, give Wikipedia a bit more general respect. And it might force the "mob" Nicholas Carr refers to to look elsewhere - which is, in theory, a good thing - to find truly open source information.

What do you think?

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