It’s January 2nd, time to get ready for the year’s firehose of food-related news and data.

Our daily challenge is to make sense of events, without retreating into a comfy filter bubble.  Economics can help with that.  For students registered in NUTR 238 our course website is now up. Class will start on January 15th, and eventually get into news analysis exercises to diagram the economic principles behind current events, and data analysis exercises to visualize comparisons over time and across countries.  Before then, or if you’re just browsing, here are some shout-outs to some numbery news sources for the year ahead:

— My vote for best newspaper innovation of 2014 goes to the New York Times’ Upshot, whose launch was itself newsworthy. Among their great food stories last year were the Fried Calamari Index, and What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

— One media surprise was the rise and rise of podcast journalism. Not just Serial, but also the great Planet Money and NPR econo-news , with fun food stories like Why is Milk in the Back of the Store, and When Do Chefs Buy Generic Foods?

— The dataverse just gets denser and denser, with better and better data visualization. My vote for best quick advice is these great posts about how to clear off the table and remove to improve.  In class we’ll see a ton of numbers, try hard to avoid numbo-jumbo,and do our best to be use data thoughtfully like this great chart on how gluten diverged from celiac.

The food world is full of surprises – so keep an eye on food-related news with sites like the food, nutrition and agriculture sources to your right, and if you’re enrolled in NUTR 238, use this blog to share what you find.

Happy new year!


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