03 May 2007

Variability

Here, Malcolm Gladwell, whose most recent book, Blink, I didn't much care for, gives a talk in the TEDTalks series on the lessons of one food scientist who discovered a long time ago that, in short, one size doesn't fit all.

Watch the video here
.

I think it goes a bit beyond this. I think that we're just starting to scratch the surface of what he calls "discovering variability". I think, in fact, that what we're coming back to is what I've come to call "analog warmth". It's what audiophile talk about when they embrace the "warm" sound of an analog amplifier that uses vacuum tubes over a digital one that breaks everything down into ones and zeros, either/or.

Digital makes scalable, but the either/or of the whole thing robs digital of the warm feeling of life on the most basic level. Somewhere between the chaos of randomness and the order of binary code, there's life.

I've been thinking of this concept for a while and would like to start fleshing it out, maybe not even in the food realm, but it seems a good place to start. More later.

3 comments:

cralbert said...

I'm surprised you didn't care for Blink....I don't know why that surprises me. I think I rather enjoyed it more than Tipping Point.

Rich said...

Gladwell's a good explainer of complex science to the layperson. I loved The Tipping Point. I loved the individual articles in it, and thought the fact that they all cluster around one concept was nice and fairly elegant. The problem I had with Blink was actually that it tried too hard to be about one thing. I liked the individual articles, but thought that cramming a bunch of sort-of-kind-of-similar-but-not-really articles into a book and slapping a questionable but ultimately useless thesis on there was kinda disingenuous. It seemed thrown together to sell more books. I would've preferred just a collection of articles.

lady d said...

rich, are you never to post again? yours is the only food blog i know of with pics of meat cupcakes and "lovecraftian food." if your blog is defunct i'll be sad.