Tag Archives: subsistence strategies

Individualism, Freedom, and Food

A surprisingly superficial podcast episode on what could have been a very deep subject.

Open Source » Blog Archive » The End of Free Will?

start a conversation about manipulation, persuasion and freedom from choice

To summarize the main issue of that episode: is marketing and "upselling" by restaurant chains undermining the individual freedom to choose quality food? Apparently simple a question, but billed as much more than that.

Maybe they refrained from delving deeper into any of those issues because philosophical discussions, perhaps aesthetic ones especially, are off limits in "polite company" in U.S. media. Too bad.

Actually, I’m genuinely disappointed. Not necessarily because restaurant chains are very important an issue for me (in Montreal, they don’t seem to have the exact same type of impact and I love to cook). But because the show’s participants all came very close to saying very important things about individualism, food, and freedom. The first two are too rarely discussed, IMHO, and the third could have been the "hook" to discuss the other two.

Ah, well…

If you want to know more about my thoughts on this podcast episode, check out some of the tags below.

Early Domestication

Short articles on the early domestication of both wild wheat and figs have appeared in Science recently.

Radio-Canada’s Les Années lumière radio program and podcast describes theses results and has an interview with one of the authors of the wheat study. According to that study, wheat domestication was a slower process than previously believed, involving natural selection instead of rapid artificial selection.

The fig study explains evidence for early horticulture via vegetative propagation. According to that study, a subsistence strategy common in the Levant during the 12th millenium B.P. revolved around the mixed exploitation of wild plants and initial fig domestication.

Both studies mention barley, which was likely one of the early plants to be cultivated by human beings. Some people use such evidence to associate early farming and sedentarization with production of alcohol.