MIT Press Podcast
Food Routes with Robyn Metcalfe

Food Routes with Robyn Metcalfe

April 1, 2019

On the latest episode of The MIT Press podcast, Robyn Metcalfe, food historian and food futurist, discusses her new book, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating. 

Even if we think we know a lot about good and healthy food—even if we buy organic, believe in slow food, and read Eater—we probably don't know much about how food gets to the table. What happens between the farm and the kitchen? Why are all avocados from Mexico? Why does a restaurant in Maine order lamb from New Zealand? In Food Routes, Robyn Metcalfe explores an often-overlooked aspect of the global food system: how food moves from producer to consumer. She finds that the food supply chain is adapting to our increasingly complex demands for both personalization and convenience—but, she says, it won't be an easy ride.

Networked, digital tools will improve the food system but will also challenge our relationship to food in anxiety-provoking ways. It might not be easy to transfer our affections from verdant fields of organic tomatoes to high-rise greenhouses tended by robots. And yet, argues Metcalfe—a cautious technology optimist—technological advances offer opportunities for innovations that can get better food to more people in an increasingly urbanized world.

Metcalfe follows a slice of New York pizza and a club sandwich through the food supply chain; considers local foods, global foods, and food deserts; investigates the processing, packaging, and storage of food; explores the transportation networks that connect farm to plate; and explains how food can be tracked using sensors and the Internet of Things. Future food may be engineered, networked, and nearly independent of crops grown in fields. New technologies can make the food system more efficient—but at what cost to our traditionally close relationship with food?

Discussions on Open Access: Open Access Models and Experimentation

Discussions on Open Access: Open Access Models and Experimentation

November 8, 2018

Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press, and Peter Suber of Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society discuss open access models, experimentation, and the future of scholarly communication.

Discussions on Open Access: Open Science Tools

Discussions on Open Access: Open Science Tools

November 5, 2018

Jess Polka, executive director of ASAPbio, and Sam Klein of the MIT Press/MIT Media Lab’s Knowledge Futures Group (KFG) and Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society survey and explain open science initiatives and tools.

Discussions on Open Access: OA at MIT

Discussions on Open Access: OA at MIT

October 25, 2018

In this episode, Nick Lindsay, Director of Journals and Open Access at the MIT Press, and Katharine Dunn, scholarly communications librarian at the MIT Libraries, discuss open access at the Institute and beyond—illuminating many issues surrounding open access and scholarly publishing present and future.

Discussions on Open Access: Frankenbook and OA Publishing

Discussions on Open Access: Frankenbook and OA Publishing

October 24, 2018

In the first of four episodes in the MITP Open Access series, Travis Rich, PubPub co-founder and project lead, speaks with Edward Finn, founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. They discuss Frankenbook—an open access digital version of the print edition of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein published by the MIT Press in 2017.

“I did It for The Uplift of Humanity and The Navy”: Same-Sex Acts and The Origins of The National Security State, 1919–1921

“I did It for The Uplift of Humanity and The Navy”: Same-Sex Acts and The Origins of The National Security State, 1919–1921

September 18, 2018

Sherry Zane, Associate Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Connecticut, discusses her recent article, “’I did It for The Uplift of Humanity and The Navy’: Same-Sex Acts and The Origins of The National Security State, 1919–1921”, published in the June 2018 issue of The New England Quarterly.

Abstract:

This essay explores U.S. national security interests on the World War I home-front from 1917-1921 in Newport, Rhode Island when Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt's covert operatives attempted to restrict same-sex acts through methods of entrapment. It argues that World War I provided government officials new opportunities to expand security concerns as it policed and punished gender and sexual non-conformity well before the Cold War.

The Art and Craft of Translation

The Art and Craft of Translation

June 6, 2018

Mark Polizzotti translates authors from Patrick Modiano to Gustave Flaubert. In this episode, Polizzotti demystifies the process of translation and demonstrates its capacity for art. Beginning with the first translators, some 2,000 years ago--"traitors" who brought the Bible to the common public via translation--and illuminating the implications of contemporary machine translation, Polizzotti offers a riveting take on language and its elasticity. This conversation about Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto is, in interviewer Chris Gondek's words, much like the book itself a "discussion, a reframing, and a corrective."

This is My Body: Communion and Cannibalism in Colonial New England and New France

This is My Body: Communion and Cannibalism in Colonial New England and New France

June 5, 2018

Carla Cevasco, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, discusses her recent article, "This is My Body: Communion and Cannibalism in Colonial New England and New France." Her article was published in the December 2016 issue of The New England Quarterly.

Abstract:

Analyzing the material culture of English, French, and Native communion ceremonies, and debates over communion and cannibalism, this article argues that peoples in the borderlands between colonial New England and New France refused to recognize their cultural similarities, a cross-cultural failure of communication with violent consequences.

Solar’s Future

Solar’s Future

May 25, 2018

This episode features an interview with MIT Press author Varun Sivaram about his new book Taming the Sun. Varun Sivaram is the Philip D. Reed Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations. He teaches “Clean Energy Innovation” at Georgetown University, is a Fellow at Columbia University's Center for Global Energy Policy, and serves on Stanford University's energy and environment boards. He has advised both the mayor of Los Angeles and the governor of New York on energy and was formerly a consultant at McKinsey & Co. He holds a PhD in condensed matter physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. PV Magazine called him “The Hamilton of the Solar Industry,” Forbes named him one of its 30 under 30, and Grist selected him as one of the top 50 leaders in sustainability.

Exploring the Influence of Haptic and Olfactory Cues of a Virtual Donut on Satiation and Eating Behavior

Exploring the Influence of Haptic and Olfactory Cues of a Virtual Donut on Satiation and Eating Behavior

May 21, 2018

“…Using VR scent, touch, and sight to alter the subjective experience of taste is going to be very large project; not just an academic project but also for those in the food industry.”

Does feeling and smelling donuts in a Virtual Reality setting contribute to eating less and feeling fuller? In this episode, Jeremy Bailenson, Founding Director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, discusses a study (recently published in Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments journal) that sought to explore the effects of haptic and olfactory cues through virtual food on human satiation and eating behavior. Bailenson also discusses the benefits and caveats to standalone consumer VR; the trend of high-end, location-based VR; reality-blurring (when a virtual memory gets mistaken for a physical one); and more.

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