Mark Bittman’s history of why we eat bad food.

We are all guilty of this. Powerful forces are at work.

As Bittman notes, the calories have to go somewhere, and—thanks in no small part to the advertising industry, which attached itself to the food industry like a remora to a shark—they went inside us; we look the way we do because of the need for the Krafts and Heinzes of the world to keep their profit margins growing by finding new ways to get us to consume their limited line of basic commodities. “Global sugar consumption has nearly tripled in the past half-century,” he writes, and so has obesity; the number of people worldwide living with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980. “Two thirds of the world’s population,” Bittman tells us, “lives in countries where more people die from diseases linked to being overweight than ones linked to being underweight.”

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Bill McKibben — The Nation

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The Dreams of India’s Restless Generation


The aspirations of India’s young is rising propelling India into the next league.

Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing the World. — Snigdha Poonam

But what she finds roiling young people will have echoes not just in other parts of India but also in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa where the demographic dividend is in full effect, and where creaking economies (not to mention the consequences of violent conflict and climate change) threaten to stymie the aspirations of generations. What animates many of the young men in Dreamers is something far more basic than ideology: “a rage against irrelevance.” When Poonam astutely parses the bluster of Kumar and Ahuja, she lands on a poignant truth. “They have enrolled themselves in the battle to protect Hindu identity, but what they are really fighting for is their shot at any identity at all.”

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Kanish Tharoor — The Nation

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A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying


Another needull on Mark Zuckerberg’s potential run for presidency. I don’t necessarily agree with the article but important issues are to be discussed.

Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

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Jake Bittle – The Nation

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Why Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Socialism


The erasure of socialist ideas from serious political discourse throughout most of my life wasn’t a historical fluke. The West’s victory in the Cold War—liberal democracy for everyone!—came at the price of iconoclasm, much of it celebratory. In Prague, there used to be a giant socialist-realist statue of Stalin and other communist leaders standing in a line on a hill overlooking the city from the north. Czechs called it the “meat line,” a joke about the long lines they had to wait in to get groceries. Now kids skateboard on the platform where the dictator once kept watch. To visit Prague now—or Budapest, or Sofia, or Bucharest, or Berlin—you might think that communism never happened. All that’s left are a few tacky museums and somber monuments.

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Julia Mead — The Nation

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