Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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anecdotal evidence of economic meltdown

Posted on Oct 18, 2008 in Blog, food, politics | 2 comments

Living in the middle of nowhere, it sometimes feels like we’re insulated from larger national events. Housing values in our part of Colorado have actually remained fairly stable, etc. But I’ve just heard about a couple of friends, one a software developer at a major software company who has been laid off, and the other, a magazine editor at a magazine that’s currently on the ropes because of advertising losses, and I can see the chinks appearing in the illusion of stability that I’ve created for myself. So far, we’re still fairly unaffected personally, but I’m starting to have little economic apocalypse fantasies. I guess we’ll know if things...

China! Cadbury! Melamine! MMMMMMM!

Posted on Sep 30, 2008 in Blog, food, travel |

Cadbury is recalling chocolate made in their Beijing factory because it’s laced with melamine. I used to eat that chocolate all the time when I lived in Beijing. Mmmm....

Buy Nothing Day

Posted on Nov 23, 2007 in Blog, food, politics | 2 comments

Welcome to Buy Nothing Day, where we try to stop all consumer spending for an entire 24-hour period. Gasp! I love this holiday. Even though I already screwed it up this morning by dashing to the grocery store for Cream of Wheat. Even so, I like the idea of noticing, just for a day, how much stuff we habitually buy, and how we go about acquiring it. The buying habit is so incredibly reflexive, so interwoven into our existence that it’s hard to even see it. It’s as if we’re fish in the ocean asked to notice the water. It’s all around us. It defines everything about us. (Queue...

Good Chicken Gone Bad

Posted on May 1, 2007 in Blog, food | 2 comments

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18405363/ Just another story from our industrialized food chain. I’d like to see a warning label on all supermarket foods: “This food product contains unknown quantities of unknown substances. In fact, even though this may look like chicken or beef or spinach, we actually have no idea if it actually is any of these things. We have no idea what else it may contain, and we have no idea if it will kill you....

Sandwich Makers

Posted on Mar 13, 2007 in Blog, food | 2 comments

Does anyone use a sandwich maker? My wife has one. She actually asked for it as a wedding present and she does things like put strained Moroccan stew between slices of bread and then — psshhhh — squeezes and grills it into this odd sort of squished grilled sandwich. More like a grilled sandwich pouch, really. Weird...

A pound of strawberries… and a little something special

Posted on Mar 3, 2007 in Blog, food, politics |

One of the things that interested me about last years’ e.coli in spinach thing was that it underlined how little we know about where/how our food is produced. There’s a whole vast network of growers, packagers, distributors, and sales outlets and we have a pretty imperfect understanding of what happens to, say, our lettuce or spinach before it gets to our table. Enter, once again, Environmental Working Group. I like these folks because they’re data-oriented. They gather information, and make it available to consumers so that we can make more educated decisions about what we stick into our bodies. In this case, they’ve got a handy wallet card that...

When Democracy becomes moot

Posted on Feb 27, 2007 in Blog, food, politics | 3 comments

The whole GMO thing has gotten me thinking about where we’re headed as a democracy. Technically, the democracy thing means that the general populace has a strong say in their local/regional/national governance. And when it was first created, it seems like it must have been pretty okay. When the only things you really needed to legislate about were things like going to war and collecting taxes or building a road, the issues and the impacts were probably clear enough to provide a decent debate and a relatively fair democratic resolution (Yes, yes, sure there are caveats but still, bear with me here). But highly complex industrialized societies have so...

GMO’s and Farmers

Posted on Feb 27, 2007 in Blog, food | 2 comments

This is related to my spluttering about GMO’s on Daniel Abraham’s blog a week or so ago… Dr. Katherine Miller (who happens to be teaching a course this semester on sci-fi and science, how cool is that?) just pointed me to the Monsanto vs Schmeiser case, in which a farmer was sued by Monsanto for re-planting Roundup Ready seeds. The farmer took the case to the Canadian supreme court… and lost. I wasn’t aware of it at the time that I wrote “The Calorie Man” but it fits into my overall jaundiced sense of the world. The most interesting part of it to me, (other than the fact that...