The Economist gets some well-deserved derision these days, but it still delivers lots of interesting data, illustrated by graphs that are usually well designed and informative. Via Kenny Easwaran I found this table (published by EconomistDailyChart, but I haven’t yet located the chart) of annual meat consumption per person by country. The data set has plenty of anomalous features, but looks accurate enough for my purposes.

I’ve previously argued that we can feed the world if we make the right choices. . More precisely, our current food system produces more per person than is needed for adequate nutrition, and can continue do so in future if the right policy choices are made. The key problem is distribution, not production.

But the meat consumption data leads me to a more surprising conclusion.  Using current technology and with no additional diversion of food grain, the world could produce enough meet to give everyone an intake comparable to that of the average person in the Netherlands[fn1].

[click to continue…]

Noli turbare circulos meos

by John Holbo on May 2, 2012


Daddy: What did you learn in school today?
Zoe: Some Greek guy said if he had a big enough lever, he could move the world. That’s pretty cool.
Daddy: Possibly not even the coolest thing he ever said! (Reads relevant portion of Wikipedia entry to Zoe and Violet).

Saturday [events reported by Zoe to Daddy]:

Mommy: Don’t you think you’ve been playing “Cooking Mama” on your Nintendo DS long enough [or words to this general effect]?
Violet: Don’t mess with my circles. [Bonus points awarded because play in “Cooking Mama” consists largely of making little circles with your stylus.]

Advantage: Daddy!

I have now given Zoe a harder assignment. She is to wait until life affords her the opportunity to utter “Go Tell The Spartans”, appropriately. (Per this thread, we’re working through E.M. Gombrich’s Little History of the World [amazon], which turns out to be surprisingly good and age appropriate.) This may take a while. Then again, her school has about as many silly little rules as the next school, so maybe it won’t take too long. If it works, I’m hoping the effect will be like a classic “Peanuts” strip. I feel “Go Tell The Spartans” is the sort of thing that Linus might have said, after being bossed around by Lucy.

What other sayings do you think every 8-10 year old girl should have at her disposal, to baffle and amaze those around them?