Do you suffer from Mobile Device dependency?

My smartphone is a curse and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Take the test to see if you have a problem relationship with your mobile device: CAGE Mobile Device

What’s your score?

Swap out “Mobile Device” with “Alcohol” and that’s the same test medical professionals use to screen for alcoholism. And look at the similarities:

I blame myself for lack of discipline, but this thing is addictive. Take the “nomophobia” quiz here.

Now What?

At one point I bought a piece of plastic shaped like an iPhone, except the upgraded version with “selfie” capability. It worked for awhile, then I forgot about it.

Now I’m doing 2 things: 
First, I changed my phone to greyscale. In iOS: settings > general > accessibility > display accommodations > color filters > toggle color filters on

Then, I moved all of my apps into the dock. I’m forced to use the search function to find anything, making my iPhone use more focused.

So far it’s working. My iPhone is now boring and hard to use.

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Networking isn’t Sales

The goal of networking is to build relationships and facilitate connections between others. It is not to sell products or services. 

Too often in my formal and informal networks, a coffee meetup suddenly turns into a sales pitch, a loose circle folks of is pushed into a sales funnel, or an online group is bombarded with promos. This is why networking has such a bad reputation.

I love supporting other freelancers and small business owners, but I want to do it on my own time, in my own way. Often, that is through connecting people or offering resources and advice when asked. It is rarely through purchasing goods and services.

The right way to network:

  1. Focus on learning: ask a question, and listen.
  2. Find collaborators: find common interests and tackle a shared problem.
  3. Give: connect people, give recognition and advice, share resources, and include others.

Help make networking suck less. 

Photo: Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt (LOC), The Library of Congress 

No More Amazon.

My 2018 Resolution is NO AMAZON.

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To all the “urbanists” who think an Amazon HQ2 would be awesome for their city — you’re wrong. The richest man in the world is treats his employees like garbage, manipulates cities into giving away a much-needed tax base, and is waging a scorched price war. It’s terrible for people, for local businesses, for cities, for employees.

Unless your city is a leader in affordable housing, sustainable zoning, alternative and public transportation, and enforces a living wage, Amazon HQ2 and the new businesses and people it would attract to your city would drive up housing costs, overload your terrible road infrastructure and create car wars, and deepen income inequality. I don’t think any city in the US has the social, political, and policy structures in place to fully accommodate HQ2 in a sustainable and equitable way.

Do you want to be the next Seattle? or San Francisco? Nah.

Furthermore, Amazon is already proving they care more about the bottom line by shopping this opportunity around for the biggest public subsidies (tax breaks, zoning breaks, and sweetheart deals) every region in the US can muster. And that’s public money that will only benefit the upper end of socioeconomic ladder, arguably the people that need it the least.

I want my dollars to stay in the local ecosystem. I want to buy products made in America, with American jobs. I want less cars and trucks on the street (on-demand home delivery is so unnecessary!). I want to support businesses that support women and minorities. Amazon does none of this. 

How can I buy Amazon and also claim to be an advocate for VisionZero, climate change, and American manufacturing? How can I buy Amazon and also claim to be concerned about the influence of corporations in public policy and space?

My spending has to align with my principles, and Amazon doesn’t fit.   

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Source: Amazon https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=tb_surl_diversity/?node=10080092011&tag=w050b-20

 

 

Disaster Capitalism and Gentrification

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose will forever change the trajectory of Houston, Key West, and other coastal towns. Disaster paves the way for radical capitalist economic policy, from development to war to charter schools. Don’t you know what happened in New Orleans after Katrina?

As you think about the cost of recovery, policy implementation, and government subsidies, remember that the Department of Defense 2017 budget is $582.7 BILLION. That is $582,700,000,000. Houston’s $50 billion recovery effort is 8% of the DoD’s 2017 budget. 

There is no such thing as a “natural” disaster, because who’s in harm’s way, and the kind of harm they face, is a product of human choices. – Andy Horowitz

Here are a few articles + highlights to get you up to speed

Bleakonomics, New York Times – book review of “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein.

  • 100,000 less black people live in New Orleans in 2015 than in 2000
  • most of the city’s public schools have been replaced by privately run charter schools

 

Katrina’s Silver Lining by David Brooks – a primer on how NOT to think after major disasters. This is a dog whistle for the “ambitious and organized” to remove anyone who can’t “culturally integrate”… what Brooks fails to discuss is the underlying systems that created racial inequality in the first place and allowed Katrina to wreck so much destruction on impoverished neighborhoods–racism and the new jim crow.

 

How to Stop Gentrification by Colin Kinniburgh – a look at disaster, the citizens, the developers, and the government’s role in gentrification across the US

  • New Orleans has “become the second-least affordable city to live in nationwide”
  • “In 1976 alone, the city of New York shut down thirty-four fire stations in poor, largely black and Latino neighborhoods; by the end of the decade, seven Bronx census tracts had lost virtually all of their buildings, and another forty-four tracts had lost more than half.”
  • “Economic isolation and the fraying of the social safety net contributed to record levels of crime in inner cities, with public housing complexes hit particularly hard. Policy elites’ response was to blame the buildings themselves….”
  • “black wealth was decimated in the 2008 housing market crash…In 2007, the average black family had a net worth of one-tenth the average white-family’s; by 2011, that number had dropped to one-sixteenth”
  • and keep learning…”it is important not to lose sight of the ways that personal attitudes and actions daily aggravate the crisis of gentrification”

 

Get Ready for Trump’s Diaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein – how the government, Trump, and contractors can exploit diaster for personal and political gain

  • after Katrina, Pence (as chairman of Republican Study Committee) suspended wage labor laws, regulation, and zoning, and made “the entire affected area a flat-tax free-enterprise zone”, repealed environmental regulations, and gave permission for new oil refineries (duh, global warming) –> will be used by Trump to court the labor movement
  • top contractors from Iraq were hired by the government to provide mobile homes to evacuees just 10 days after the levees broke. Their contracts ended up totaling $3.4 billion, no open bidding required.
  • Emergency workers and local volunteer morticians were forbidden to help clear bodies because it impinged on a contractor’s “commercial territory” –> bodies rotted in the streets for days
  • a religious group was paid $5.2 million to build an emergency worker base camp, which was never built – the group had only organized religious youth camps

 

North Carolina denied 99 percent of federal recovery funds for Hurricane Matthew by Michael Rios – here’s what happens when everything is destroyed but you’re not a big “brand” like New Orleans or Houston.

  • in 2016, Hurricane Matthew ripped through Eastern North Carolina, leaving the state with $1.5 billion in damage and 80,000 households to register for FEMA. FEMA is only allocating $100 million.

 

The Transformative Vision of Community Land Trusts by Aaron Tanak – we need to rethink the concept of land

  • we should recognize that land is not just the square feet that we live on but the source of the natural resources that we depend on
  • land in a CLT is owned by the nonprofit and leased to home and building owners at an affordable price.

 

2 ways to fight gentrification by Adam Hengels – the forces behind gentrification aren’t what we think they are

  • The mechanism of gentrification is not development. It is zoning.
  • The battlefield is in the more wealthy neighborhoods where empowered residents fight to keep new people out.
  • The enemy is the rich people who use their influence to thwart development in their neighborhoods.

The Case Against Major-League Sport Stadiums in Urban Areas

Before leaving Raleigh, a conversation emerged around bringing a major-league sports team to the capitol city. Several people–all men–thought a football or basketball stadium near the amphitheater would be THE BEST THING EVER.

Let me tell you why it’s not:

1. Stadiums are dead zones. The NBA plays 41 home games per year, the MLB has 81 home games per year. What happens the other 324/284 days? Not much, maybe some concerts and big college games. And that’s not just an empty stadium, that’s empty parking lots, shuttered retail space, and a lot of dead sidewalk.

Have you been near a stadium during the day? I’ve seen Indianapolis, Charlotte, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis stadiums first hand. It’s terrible. Parking takes up 3x as much space as the stadium itself. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis covers 6 to 7 city blocks for the stadium, parking, and landscaping. These megablocks have poor walkability scores and rarely, if ever, include ground-floor retail.

Erik Weber has a great post on specific stadiums.

Dogers
Dodgers Stadium (pink) and parking (orange)
Philly
Philly Stadiums (pink) and parking (orange)



 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “The Case Against Major-League Sport Stadiums in Urban Areas”

Uber Can Do Anything As Long As We Buy What They Sell

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Uber is a private company. They set pricing, company values, and customer service. If a company run by a pretty awful bro turns a blind eye to assaults, has no respect for consumer privacy, and touts a price-gouging (dynamic) business model, then make the decision to not support them. Like every other private company, they will only be around as long as they have customers. It can be inconvenient, but every rider has the option of calling a taxi, which is simple with a smartphone.

Furthermore, I have 3 points in response to the Triangle Business Journal’s article on the NC Attorney General’s involvement after Halloween:

  1. Uber made the entire dynamic pricing model very transparent. I received several emails and notifications from Uber leading up to Halloween and how to avoid costly ride. Also, Uber required the passenger to confirm they understood the “multiplier” on 2 separate prompts.
  2. It seems that most of the complaints are coming from people leaving bars between the hours of 12:30-2:30am who knew planned on drinking and wouldn’t be able to drive home. It’s not Uber’s fault they were drunk and made a bad financial decision.
  3. Every Uber rider had the option of calling a traditional cab company and paying a price determined by city policy.

You can protest Uber by not giving them your money. It will send a powerful message.

Photo by TechCrunch.com

Food Truck Proposal for Raleigh’s Moore Square

The City of Raleigh is spending $12 million to revamp Moore Square, one of two downtown green spaces. While the space needs an upfit to reflect the world-class status Raleigh is working towards, I believe there are smaller steps the city could take to attract crowds and increase revenue.

Restaurants, shops, and a children’s museum face the square on the west end. To the east are empty lots and storefronts. There is no reason to walk through the center of the square. Currently, the square is known for its homeless population that are attracted by public transportation and a variety of services aimed towards people in need.

I suggest the city allow two food tucks to serve from the middle of the square. Area food trucks are eager to run in downtown Raleigh, and are willing to pay for the opportunity. Each truck would easily pay $100 per shift. After a few weeks, the city would have enough funds to buy picnic tables and other amenities to create a more enjoyable experience.

Other cities proved that the presence of food trucks aren’t detrimental to other businesses; they increase interest and foot traffic. People will take lunch breaks in the square, visit after work, and spend time outside. Furthermore, the square will feel more safe with a greater public presence.

Sure, a city employee will have to schedule food tucks and process payments, and other employees will have to empty the trash can more frequently, but I think 4 food trucks per day will generate enough revenue to cover it.

C’mon Raleigh!

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Activate14: Architecture + Design Event Series

What started as intra-office conversation on hosting architecture and design events quickly turned to reality when Frank Harmon Architect decided to sponsor the inaugural summer event series at the AIANC Center for Architecture and Design (CfAD) in Raleigh, NC. Planning quickly commenced with the AIANC Program Committee. We decided to bridge the events by focusing on issues facing North Carolina cities: sustainable foodways, alternative transportation, and urban housing.

Within 2 months we had started the framework for Activate 14 (a play on the address of the CfAD), released a Design + Build Competition Call for Entry open to North Carolina architects, architecture students, and artists, and started planning for 4 summer events.

Activate 14 is an annual event series that instigates conversations with the public about current architecture and design issues shaping our communities. It is free, public event series in downtown Raleigh, utilizing the entire grounds of the CfAD with cascading events to feature educational components, food, drink, music, children’s activities, and art.

This has been my primary focus for the past 2 months and I’d love for you to check out the website and give me some feedback, especially if you live in North Carolina!

 

My NYE Wishes for Raleigh: A List

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I think about Raleigh all the time. I want to make it better, I want to contribute, I want to provide services to encourage a thriving urban center. Here are some of my wishes for the New Year.

I wish for increased ridership on public transportation; dedicated bike lanes; attainable rents for startup businesses or discounted rents for the first 6 months; successful implementation of the Market and Exchange Plaza renovations; window displays in abandoned buildings; more interactive public art; a nighttime gathering space that isn’t centered around alcohol; cool playgrounds; politicians concerned with living wages, alternative transportation, and all things green; a great anchor tenant in 227 Fayetteville; a local grocer near my home; BIKE SHARING; a neighborhood cleanup; utilization of empty lots; shelters at bus stops–we’re bare to the elements; streets democratically oriented towards pedestrians and cyclists, not large personal vehicles with lonely riders; pedestrian scrambles on Fayetteville during the lunch rush; food trucks!; c’mon parklets!; affordable solutions for downtown living; Dorthea Dix to become a park; a bar in the basement of the Velvet Cloak; intersection repair, everywhere; mixed used buildings that haven’t been value engineered; a GOOD donut shop; light rail; and, as always, books, books, and more books.

Well, this list could go on but I’ve exhausted my supply for the night.

What do you want?

photo © Matt Robinson, RaleighSkyline.com

Custom Textiles: Print All Over Me + Spoonflower (Durham!)

While doing some research today I ran across another custom fabric company called Print All Over Me that lets me pick an object to digitally print whatever pattern I want or pick from another’s uploaded design (that user receives 20% of the sale). I can’t speak to the cut or fabric but the print is as good/bad as you make it.

Spoonflower–Durham, NC–is similar but you buy printed fabric by the yard, which means you have to make the object. They have 12 fabrics to choose from including silk, linen, and cotton.

Either way, here are two services that help you MAKE IT HAPPEN.

These custom clothing services will keep popping up because who wants to go out and run into someone wearing the same shirt? Then it gets down to Who Wore It Better? and things get ugly.

Speaking of which, what’s going on at NCSU’s College of Textiles?

Images from PAOM, who am I to judge?

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yikes

Why I wanted to be a RDU Baton holder

I am the RDU Baton holder on instagram today (@rdubaton) and I plan to use it as a soapbox for multimodal transportation, sustainability, utilizing urban space better, the need for public art, and so on.

The mission of the RDU Baton is to showcase Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the surrounding communities. We’re supposed to “show off our beautiful and lively corner of the world,” which many other baton holders have done. These people are pumped to be living here, in a growing area grounded by great universities, a burgeoning tech center, good food, and craft beer. I like all those things too but there is a lot more to Raleigh regarding transportation, social equity, and sustainability.

The relationship between the homeless, Moore Square, public transportation, and the city is strained; the train tracks are privately owned and serve as a thoroughfare for the transient; new cookie-cutter housing is built in large blocks next to residential neighbors with no input; bike riders fear for their lives because there are not dedicated bike lanes, even on brand-new streets; a small group of citizens dictate how public land and resources are used, citing safety and money to scare people; a lot of time, money, and space downtown is focused on alcohol and the more frequent “special event”; light rail was struck down, again, while Citrix is building a giant parking deck on Morgan Street.

I live between NCSU and downtown in a relatively low-income area cut off by Hillsborough Street, Pullen Park, and the railroad tracks. I see a lot and ride my bike to work often, rolling past the jail, a methadone clinic, new housing developments and several great local businesses.

I’m hoping to bring awareness to some of these issues. Raleigh is great, but it could be better.

Thoughts on Books and Bookstores

I’m researching book mobiles and book bikes and such to figure out ways to increase literacy and the love of reading. I’m tired of blogs foretelling the death of books as a physical entity. At some point they will meet their end but we are not there yet. At the very least, rich book collectors will keep the first editions of “masterpieces” in plastic sleeves on their built-in shelves, much like a collection I saw a few weeks ago (which focused on African-American dialect written by white people, of course–ugh).

Cost and accessibility are problems: new books are expensive. Libraries and book stores are not always easy to get to, or the selection isn’t great–used bookstores especially, or once surrounded by stacks of books, you forget what you want to read, you can’t remember authors or titles picked up in friendly conversations, or the staff is nonexistent or unfriendly.

Furthermore, bookstores once doubled as the printing press or publishing house of literary reviews and magazines and were the hub where writers and readers converged (i.e. Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company, Left Bank, Paris, 1920’s) Sure, online forums are great places for that but, personally, that’s not my thing. Plus, trolls. I want to have a face to face conversation and allow my excitement to carry me into the nth cup of coffee.

Though the independent bookstore is doing well in the midst of big chain bookstores failing or downsizing, it is necessary to revamp the bookstore model. Digital books and media must be included in the selection and other revenue streams must be found….more on this later. Shakespeare-and-Company-Hemingway-Sylvia-Beach-Adrienne-Monnier bookstoresgothamliterary1948party_zps193d7c73 The literary crowd of Shakespeare & Co. Joyce and Sylvia BeachSylvia Beach and James Joyce

be an enthusiast

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

Roald Dahl’s UNCLE OSWALD

Passion makes can make a good idea great.

Expansion in Downtown Raleigh

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I didn’t like downtown Raleigh when I moved here in 2009–I was working two jobs, the scene was small and close knit, and, being a government center, was dead past 5:30pm. After Raleigh Denim moved downtown in 2010 (I was working there at the time), I noticed that many storefronts were going under renovations and filing with new restaurants and shops.

CAM Raleigh opened next door, Capital Club 16Neptunes and Kings kept the Martin–Salisbury corner busy, the trifecta of Beasley’sChucks and Fox dominated the Martin–S Wilmington corner, Raleigh Times expanded next door to include a rooftop, Bida Manda brought Laotian food to the South, Videri Chocolate and Tasty Beverage brought traffic to the old train station, the warehouses were acquired by Citrix for their new headquarters, the AIA NC built their new headquarters across from Peace College (my office, Frank Harmon Architect, built and rents from the AIA NC), Seaboard Station expanded with Tyler’s Taprooma cafe, and a burger jointC. Grace lit up GloSo, and Dos Taquitos Xoco is almost open, CityFabricCompostNow, and ReDress Raleigh moved into Boylan Heights, Trophy Brewing is coming to the Morgan St. shopping center (next to murder mart), the Fiction Kitchen is setting up, and the Person Street developments of Rapid Fitness, PiebirdRaleigh City FarmMarket’s new location, and an upcoming market, and the various little boutiques that have popped up around downtown… I’m sure I missed someone, sorry.

Being part of the downtown community and watching it expand and thrive has been a great experience. All the bars and restaurants I go to are locally owned, are involved in the community, and have a similar set of values. What’s even better is living so close to downtown and walking or riding everywhere.

I can’t wait to see who is going to start what next… there are so many projects and ideas and floating around downtown, you can feel it.

Startups Are Enjoyable Work and Pain

Startups are not fun, they are stressful and quick-moving but they come about from a necessity to DO MORE and that is what makes them so enjoyable. A successful startup is building on an amazing number of failures, of dumb ideas and fitful nights obsessing over tiny details. Learning to manage time and duties, finding out what it truly means to “self-start”, and effectively coping with the stress and setbacks creates a wealth of tools to use for the rest of your life. Sure, I might fail in this endeavor but the time won’t be wasted, unless I learn nothing from this experience. I embrace the hard work because now I am building something that I want, for you.

“Startups are not magic. They don’t change the laws of wealth creation. They just represent a point at the far end of the curve. There is a conservation law at work here: if you want to make a million dollars, you have to endure a million dollars’ worth of pain. For example, one way to make a million dollars would be to work for the Post Office your whole life, and save every penny of your salary. Imagine the stress of working for the Post Office for fifty years. In a startup you compress all this stress into three or four years. You do tend to get a certain bulk discount if you buy the economy-size pain, but you can’t evade the fundamental conservation law. If starting a startup were easy, everyone would do it.”

Paul Graham on “How to Make Wealth”

My Food Truck Startup

My friend Tom approached me a few months ago about a joining his new food truck venture. He thought I would be a good fit given our personal history and my previous work with startups. Well, that talk at Surf Club led to bringing our dream food truck to life. We bought the truck bus and have started cleaning and preparing it for our culinary adventure.

You can follow our ride at Ready to Roll.

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The Food Bus on day of purchase!

An Exercise in Gender Awareness

I read a few articles in the New York Times using a Chrome extension called Jailbreak the Patriarchy and found it empowering and revealing. It functions to swaps gender-specific words on any webpage to it’s opposite. For example, “he used his sister’s computer” is switched to “she used her brother’s computer”. From a gender-swapped perspective, never have so many women, worldwide, run the most powerful economies, businesses and laboratories, nor had they resorted to such violence.

Here are a few (swapped) observations and headlines: women were dunking in the NBA without fanfare; a group of armed women killed 7 peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast; men are very concerned about their looks; the Venezuelan government is a one-woman show; Mrs. Taylor, former president of Liberia, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes including rape, use of child soldiers and mutilation; women dominate the Fortune 500 and move a lot of money.

Certain themes seemed to be more predominant with one gender than the other but hopefully this will not always be so and some themes would be best as a thing of the past.

Be aware.

Mc SuperSized – McDonald’s Commentary

This debuted back in ’09 but seeing how McDonalds sales are increasing it is (sadly) still relevant.
Ron English (the artist) is a  subversive genius and his commentary on consumerist culture is spot-on.
It’s creepier in color and the extended right pinky is a great touch.
Let’s see Wendy and Colonel Sanders next…

The OG – Ron English’s Mc Supersized via Hypebeast

The Deluxe version at 3 feet tall x MINDstyle via MINDstyle

New Colorways x Whiz x Secret Base via Freshness Mag

Alternatives to Plastic Water Bottles

This illustration has been making the rounds on the internet and I thought it was a great informative illustration for those that don’t realize how wasteful and harmful plastic bottles are for our resources, including financial.

Here are some alternatives: The Muji keeps a liquid hot for 7+ hours and cold for 12+ hours – I’ve had it for 3 years and done some damage to it but this thing is going to last. The Sigg is best for water because it is harder to clean but I’ve also used it for other cold drinks, like beer and champagne. It’s a higher up-front cost but if you make tea/coffee at home and don’t mind drinking from sinks and water fountains you’ll save a lot of money. Plus they’re pretty; I was always receiving compliments.

*Links:  Muji – $30Sigg – $25
**Muji is one of my favorite minimalist brands and also makes really good pens 

Organizational Development

While donig some research I came across a the term “Organizational Development”, which immediately intrigued me. Organizing is second nature to me, it is embedded in my thoughts and actions and is acted upon unconsciously. The field itself is multi-disciplinary, viewing the organization holistically instead of in segments. An organization is more than a business plan, there are free-thinking humans involved – as employees and as customers – and the organization has to be ready for change, from new technology to company culture.

What stood out was how employees were viewed in the workplace (below) – which is a growing concern among potential employees. Those with talent will go to the organizations that offers perks, opportunities and fulfillment. A coveted award is “The Best Place to Work” and that list of companies is usually very successful. Employee attitude drives the work culture so their treatment should be well thought out.

Maybe this field is the way to go…

Margulies and Raia (1972) articulated the humanistic values of Organizational Development as follows:

  1. Providing opportunities for people to function as human beings rather than as resources in the productive process.
  2. Providing opportunities for each organization member, as well as for the organization itself, to develop to his full potential.
  3. Seeking to increase the effectiveness of the organization in terms of all of its goals.
  4. Attempting to create an environment in which it is possible to find exciting and challenging work.
  5. Providing opportunities for people in organizations to influence the way in which they relate to work, the organization, and the environment.
  6. Treating each human being as a person with a complex set of needs, all of which are important in his work and in his life.

Pink Slime: Using Waste and Chemicals in Food

Watch the video to see how food processors and manufacturers can lower their cost of meat for a larger profit margin.

Waste products from the cows, which can be made into dog food, is separated from fat, cleaned with ammonia, turned into a pink slime and put back into ground beef. The USDA allows companies to add up to 15% of the “pink slime” into food products and the chemicals do not have to be added on labels since it is a “process”, not a food part. According to this video, 70% of all beef products contain pink slime.

Beef costs x, Pink Slime costs y, x > y, Beef + pink slime = food, food costs $/lb
The more pink slime added to food, the more the company makes from selling food.

At a certain point, it is beneficial to pay lawmakers to allow them to add more pink slime for a higher profit margin. Lawmakers have most likely accepted money from lobbyists and corporations to provide these lax laws, proving that money trumps health and safety. Do they wonder if their children eat this at school? Maybe not if they are sent to private schools (courtesy of lobbyists).

thanks for the video Kaleigh D.

Open Doors

I didn’t get the job with the SBTDC but during the process I met a really great guy, Mike B., who has been more than supportive and wants to help me in any way possible. He and Dave P. (both in divisions at the Small Business Association) are great guys and I will definitely be reaching out to them in the near future for advice and mentoring.

When one door closes, another opens – now I just have to find it!