Whole Foods and Pseudoscience

Michael Schulson takes a great look at the contrast between Whole Foods and the Creationist Museum in Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience. It is a good reminder that we must try to use the best available data in decisions regardless of our preĆ«xisting proclivities. Also good to check out is Grist’s series on GMOs, probably best summarized in What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters or the NY Times A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops.

Two cool new WordPresses launched on VIP: Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight site, and the Facebook Newsroom, which I believe is the first WP-powered Facebook site. (Hopefully the first of many!) Also congrats to 10up and Beyond respectively for working on each of these sites.

No Smartphone for Lent

nophoneEvery year for Lent I try to give something up that I would otherwise find unimaginable or consider myself particularly dependent on. Last year I gave up meat, which isn’t that unusual but you have to remember I’m from Texas. ;)

This year as I surveyed my life there was one thing I kept coming back to as being completely dependent on: my smartphone(s). It’s only been a few years since the iPhone came out, but it’s inconceivable to imagine my life today without my calendar, email, Foursquare, Path, Chrome, Tripit, Simplenote, WordPress, Tweetbot, Sonos, Uber, Spotify and my iTunes library, and most importantly Google Maps. (On my second screen: SmartThings, Nest, Lociktron, Lutron, 1Password, Calm, Authy, NextDraft, Withings, Circa…) These apps and everything they represent weave into every aspect of my life, I’m sure I’m one of those people who looks at their phone at least 150 times a day. My smartphone is my camera, my flashlight, my connection to the world, and my crutch.

A small selection of what a phone replaces, from Reddit.

And now it’s what I’m giving up for Lent in 2014, from March 5th until April 17th. (Yes, that includes SxSW.) For safety and business reasons I’m going to have a makes-phone-calls-only phone, and might hop in a friend’s Uber, but the idea is there will not be a device on me 24/7 that I’m tethered to, constantly looking at, and lost and hopeless without. You obviously can’t turn back the clock on progress, so I don’t expect this to be a permanent thing, but I’m curious what I miss the most, how it affects my ability to focus throughout the day, and how it changes my relationships with other people, especially the lack of messaging.

I am in the market for a cool feature phone though, maybe a small one like Zoolander had or a slidey one like in the Matrix. Any suggestions?

I’ll leave you with the “I forgot my phone” video from last year: