And hell, who doesn't? Look at its horrible, ugly body! Ooo, isn't the thing disgusting? They're made of rubber, after all. They're not worthy of my respect or basic manners, because they're just weaklings who are too lazy to change.
"Just stop eating, you fat fuck!" What an insightful, reasoned piece of criticism! Yeah, that's a respectful attitude towards a fellow human being. Well done. You have confirmed your superiority over those with lesser metabolism and willpower. Those lesser creatures who don't have it all worked out, like You.
I thank you all for your comments, from "fat fucks!" to kudos, to useful criticism. This is my first story, it was intentionally casual and direct, and I'm sure it shows. What I'd really like to know is whether the basic idea behind my article is so utterly shocking that I shouldn't commit some time to another story.
In this story, I would explain why I believe the obesity problem is worth serious intervention, how information can be empowering to consumers without affecting their rights, and what some of the best ways to do that are. I would include necessary links to actual research, examples of working solutions, and attempted solutions that failed. Essentially, please tell me whether such a thing would be worth it.
Fat fucks! They're approximately 1/3rd of the adult population of the USA, and accelerating, you know. At this rate, you will soon be neck-deep in blubber. Good luck paying those raised taxes and medical insurance premiums!
I'm Australian. We're catching up quick. A quarter of our citizens are fat, and it's going up faster than in the US. We have near-universal public healthcare here, despite the best efforts of our recent "leaders". Most other Western countries are feeling the effects of this problem to differing degrees.
Isn't it a good, practical idea for you, the taxpayer who has to pay for their medical bills, to do something MUCH cheaper that could actually help avert this nightmare?
How many smokers do you know who say "Yeah, I started smoking fifteen years ago, but I didn't know it was dangerous."? None. They've had it hammered into them over and over and over again, just like the rest of us. It has become a part of the deep unconscious for most people.
I want the same total information awareness that has reduced the number of smokers substantially in all countries (that have gone through the information barrage) to apply to specific nutritional information. Caloric content is the most immediate, relevant way to start addressing this. It is an important part of what would be an extremely simple method of changing your diet, if not for the inconsistencies present now.
For the most part, the Dot would cost the company exactly DICK. They already, as you say, calculate the caloric content and other nutritional information. They already put coloured packaging around their food. Therefore, the Dot would require no more than software changes in their printers for the most part. That's for the most stingy option, without the convenience of a seperate sticker that can be peeled off and saved.Even the sticker, however, could be produced en masse, by established printing companies, in huge numbers, taking advantage of economies of scale.
There would be a bit of cost in putting it on restaurant items, but I assume that it could be worked out with a database of how many calories a certain weight of a certain ingredient contains. All the chef has to do for each new kind of meal is type in the amount of ingredients that goes into the cooking, and divide it by the number of servings. Or get one of his lackeys to do it. It won't cost them much time or money, especially if an optional "If the dish isn't around for three days or more, then don't bother" practice is integrated.
Regarding the idea for a barcode reader, I like it. It displays the same "bring together two widgets to enable never-before-seen benefits" as the GPS with preloaded maps of every city on Earth. You could display the caloric content of everything you eat, automatically, have it tallied up for you every day, set reminders for when you're close to your limit, etc. It would certainly make a lot of people's lives easier.
If they could afford to buy one, that is. As several posters have pointed out, unhealthy food is often cheaper than healthy food. Therefore, the fatties are clustered in poorer demographics, and are less able to fund their own solutions to problems. (You may have gathered at this point that I don't see techno-liberal anarchism as being feasible with the people we have today, even though it is by far my preferred form of society. More enlightenment, please!)
If these people don't help themselves, and are going to make us pay for their medical costs, I'm damn well going to try to make losing weight as easy for them as I can! And, yes, fuck it, I just want to help people.
The people who are already calorie-counting, reading the labels on the back, using a notebook, and carrying a calculator around, are the ones with both enough time, and enough discipline to do so.These are not the people we need to help! But they will get benefits from the Dot as well. It will make them much more likely to stick with their own limits.
If you're too poor to afford a barcode reader gizmo, then it's not going to be an option. If you don't have time to write out everything you eat in a notebook, after calculating its real calorie content with your calculator, then a barcode reader is a convenient solution, for the well-off and technoliterate. Except that not everything is barcoded! Especially fast food, meats and raw vegetables, and restaurant food. So now the barcode reader has a flaw, until it is smart enough to look at food with a camera and work out what it is by itself.
Saying "but a GOOD diet includes only home-cooked, properly selected food!" allows you to be both entirely truthful, and utterly unhelpful to most people. Like, say, the old cliche of the Microsoft Helpline. The Dot must be designed to work with the flaws of humanity. Heck, if we all magically "wised up" and started acting right, I'd be ecstatic. It would be the dawn of true anarchy, because no-one would do anything bad to one another. You know that WILL NOT HAPPEN until some kind of singularity or Night of Miracles or somesuch. ;^) So instead, I propose a solution to merely one of the more niggling problems faced by a large chunk of humanity. A solution that will cost, relatively, very little. The major cost will be in the transition period, when companies try to block it through all their powerful means.
Or, if they're self-interested, they could actually lobby FOR the idea, in order to save training new workers when an exisiting one dies. This is what Henry Ford did, right? Among other, less commendable dealings.
"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan