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Category Archives: Food and Nutrition

You Should Worry About the Data Retailers Collect About You

The Atlantic [free to read]: “…Smartphones gave stores even more refined information about their customers, facilitating new kinds of in-store spying that most people probably don’t even know exists. Mousetrap-size radio transmitters called beacons ping off apps on your phone and can track your location down to the inch inside a store, giving retailers granular insight into what types of products you linger over. This information, combined with other data the store has collected itself and bought from third parties, can paint a vivid picture of who you are and what you might be persuaded to buy for what price in the moment: In principle, you can linger over the sugary cereals in the grocery store, opt for the whole grains, and then be served an ad on your phone for 10 percent off Lucky Charms, which the ad may remind you are actually part of a balanced breakfast. Retailers have also started to test facial- and voice-recognition technologies in stores, giving them yet another way to track customer behavior. In-store Wi-Fi helps with the signal-inhibiting effects of many stores’ concrete-and-steel construction, but it also allows stores to collect your email address and browsing traffic, and in some cases to install cookies on your device that track you long after you leave the store and its network. Store-specific apps offer deals and convenience, but they also collect loads of information via features that allow you to make shopping lists or virtually “try on” clothing or makeup by scanning your likeness. Club cards enable stores to log every item your household purchases and analyze your profile for trends and sales opportunities. Ordinary people may not realize just how much offline information is collected and aggregated by the shopping industry rather than the tech industry. In fact, the two work together to erode our privacy effectively, discreetly, and thoroughly. Data gleaned from brick-and-mortar retailers get combined with data gleaned from online retailers to build ever-more detailed consumer profiles, with the intention of selling more things, online and in person—and to sell ads to sell those things, a process in which those data meet up with all the other information big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook have on you. “Retailing,” Joe Turow told me, “is the place where a lot of tech gets used and monetized.” The tech industry is largely the ad-tech industry. That makes a lot of data retail data. “There are a lot of companies doing horrendous things with your data, and people use them all the time, because they’re not on the public radar.” The supermarket, in other words, is a panopticon just the same as the social network…”

A new tool to help governments with climate data

“To provide a starting point, our organisation, the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE), has developed a new tool to help governments and their partners identify the kinds of data that may be most useful for climate action. The Climate Data for Adaptation and Resilience Typology (DART), which has just been published, describes more than… Continue Reading

The Lies in Your Grocery Store

The New Yorker [free link]: “…Spencer Sheehan Sheehan, forty-four, specializes in consumer-protection class-action suits. Specifically, he focusses on packaged foods, and on the authenticity of their ingredients and flavors. Sheehan has sued the makers of frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts (dearth of real strawberries), Hint of Lime Tostitos (absence of lime), Snapple “all natural” fruit drinks (absence… Continue Reading

America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There’s No Tomorrow

“Overuse is draining and damaging aquifers nationwide, a New York Times data investigation revealed…Global warming has focused concern on land and sky as soaring temperatures intensify hurricanes, droughts and wildfires. But another climate crisis is unfolding, underfoot and out of view. Many of the aquifers that supply 90 percent of the nation’s water systems, and… Continue Reading

NASA’s High-Resolution Air Quality Control Instrument Launches

“A NASA instrument to provide unprecedented resolution of monitoring major air pollutants – down to four square miles – lifted off on its way to geostationary orbit at 12:30 a.m. EDT Friday. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument will improve life on Earth by revolutionizing the way scientists observe air quality from space.… Continue Reading

EWG’s 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

“Nearly 75 percent of non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful pesticides, EWG’s 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ finds. In this year’s guide, blueberries and green beans join our Dirty Dozen™ list of the 12 fruits and vegetables sampled that have the highest traces of pesticides. Any exposure… Continue Reading

Drought Center

“We’re the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The National Drought Mitigation Center’s mission is to reduce the effects of drought on people, the environment and the economy by researching the science of drought monitoring and the practice of drought planning. We collaborate with and learn from decision-makers at all levels –… Continue Reading

Climate & Conflict

Climate & Conflict: The interplay between climate and conflict has received increasing attention from researchers and policymakers over the last two decades. There is significant overlap between countries most affected by climate change and those most at risk of violent conflict. Evidence for adverse effects of climate factors on conflict exists predominantly for internal conflict.… Continue Reading

The world’s infrastructure was built for a climate that no longer exists

Foreign Policy: On the Highway to Climate Hell – “Countries have spent decades building critical infrastructure that is now buckling under extreme heat, wildfires, and floods, laying bare just how unprepared the world’s energy and transportation systems are to withstand the volatility of climate change. These vulnerabilities have been on full display in recent weeks… Continue Reading

Fortune Global 500

“The corporations on our annual list of the world’s largest companies showed their muscle in 2022, delivering record-high aggregate revenues of $41 trillion. But the Fortune Global 500 has been anything but static, as technological change and scientific breakthroughs threaten established leaders and elevate new winners. Walmart remains No. 1 for the 10th consecutive year,… Continue Reading

Falling Fruit – Map the Urban Harvest

“Falling Fruit is a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets. By quantifying this resource on an interactive map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods. Not just a free lunch! Foraging in the 21st century is an opportunity for urban exploration,… Continue Reading