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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Calorie-Counting Apps, Coca-Growing Locavores, More Creepy Legislation

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 8:08 AM


Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

click to enlarge meal_snap_iphone_app.jpg
1. Is Meal Snap for real? MobileCrunch just posted word of a new calorie-counting iPhone app called Meal Snap. The premise: You take a picture of a dish, you add a caption, and the photo-recognition software processes the picture and returns an estimate of the calorie content. The app promo copy uses the word "magic" multiple times, which is always a little worrying. No word on whether it can calculate portion size ― which is one of the main factors in figuring out calorie counts ― let alone fat content based just on a picture. I've just shelled out $2.99 and downloaded the app, and will test it today and get my thoughts back to you tomorrow. So far, it has guessed that my morning toast has 227-340 calories (which I think is a little low) and that my banana has 83-125 calories (which seems about right). But I haven't thrown anything more complicated its way.

2. Are these stories for real? The New York Post's article about "New York hillbillies"

in New York is like asking cranky Uncle Bob what he thinks of the urban

homesteading movement. It's packed with great one-liners like "I'm sort

of entertained by people who decide to live in the biggest metropolitan

city in the US, only to pretend like they're living on some farm in

Minnesota." And my old paper, the Seattle Weekly,

uh, profiles an underground restaurateur who kills bulls with brass

knuckles and processes locally grown coca leaves into his own drugs.

3. Is the government for real? Minnesota becomes the third state to introduce a bill making it illegal for activists to surreptitiously film factory farms. This movement is getting creepy. Is the copycat legislation a grassroots movement or is it centrally organized, like the attack on collective bargaining rights?

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