Tag Archives: GOOD Magazine

graphic journalism

24 Oct

Gapers Block, Chicago’s fantastic Web newspaper, is trying something new. Graphic journalism, they’re calling it—blending a typical news story with the style of a graphic novel.

There’s a gravity to their debut story (above) we might not initially see because we associate its style with childish things like comic books. But the panels tell the story of a woman on her wedding day. She arrives at the Cook County courthouse to marry her fiance, who is being held at the jail until his court date. He is charged with shooting and killing a 24-year-old man during a card game. More emotional than the stark words a journalist would typically use and more soulful than photographs, these illustrated stories may help soften the callousness associated with news reporting. Continue reading

food service < factory work

20 Jul

In a report by GOOD on the state of the American waiter, the magazine notes that the food-service industry has added more than 216,000 jobs in the past 18 months, growth that is twice the national average. This has been going on for some time, not just in the past two years, and interestingly, these food-service jobs are what’s replacing old factory jobs. The benefits, however, are much worse.

“Back in the ’60s, so much of the working class was employed in factories. The jobs we’ve seen taking their place have been service sector jobs that don’t have labor protections. Only ten percent of workers get paid sick days and 90 percent don’t get health insurance from their employers. The fact is, most of these jobs are replacing work that used to be better.”

the barcode :: history & future

28 Jun

Today is the anniversary of the purchase of a pack of gum.

“On June 26, 1974, a white male by the name of Clyde Dawson entered Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. He loaded up his cart with groceries and approached the checkout line. The cashier that day was Sharon Buchanan. At 8:01 a.m., she picked a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum out of his cart and scanned it. The gum has now been immortalized at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.”

The reason the gum has become something of a national treasure, writes Peter Smith for GOOD, is because it was the first item to be scanned using the Universal Product Code, or UPC, “the nondescript, monochrome rectangle that adorns nearly every retail item we purchase.”

Creative branding by Vanity Barcodes

Oddly, though the barcode has since been used as a “social surveillance tool, a sign of the devil, and an embodiment of the dull commercial uniformity of packaged supermarket goods,” the concept is evolving to something rather interesting. We look to Smith again (yet via a different article) to explain a phenomenon known as “ichthyologic name-swapping,” an intimidating term that simply refers to the fact that fish vendors are making up new types of fish, or selling one species as something else.

“Argentine Roughy, Cherry Snapper, and Salmon Trout only exist at the fish market. They’re fictitious names for fish that don’t exist. … Despite growing awareness about the origins of our food, we’re often served a completely different fish species than the ones we order. This comes with economic costs…[and] obfuscates the origins of fish, so contaminated or toxic food causing health problems often can’t be traced to the source.”

It’s in the next part that the barcode comes back into play.

“What’s interesting is that the same technology scientists and amateur sleuths have been using to detect mislabeled seafood could help combat the confusion and fraud. It’s called DNA barcoding, and it works by comparing gene sequences of a sample fish flesh to the 8,000 varieties stored in the International Barcode of Life Project.”

That project seeks to use its DNA barcodes to combat the market substitution Smith is talking about, but also assist researchers in understanding the natural history and ecology of fish species. Thirty-seven years ago, the barcode was first used to price a pack of chewing gum. In another ten, Smith conjectures, we might see inspectors with hand-held DNA sequencers, reading the genetic codes of the fish being sold around the world.


15 Feb

I have a new favorite husband/wife team:

Geoff Manaugh + Nicola Twilley.

The toppled couple is Jonathan Safran Foer + Nicole Krauss, who still occupy second place.

Manaugh, author of BLDG BLOG, former senior editor of Dwell, and contributor to Wired UK, has only been on my radar a month or so longer than Twilley, food editor at GOOD, author of Edible Geography, and contributor to The Atlantic, but it was how I found out that earned them their #1 ranking.

As I made my way through The BLDG BLOG Book, Twilley’s name showed up in one of the photo credits. I wouldn’t have even noticed except that I’d just read her introduction to GOOD‘s new Food Hub. Serendipitous as that was, I didn’t put two and two together until Manaugh thanked his wife, Nicola Twilley, in the credits. Of course.

Congrats to the happy couple.