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Reputation, Trash and the Future of Choices

A couple weeks ago, Google released a new dashboard service that lets people know when they have been mentioned, for better or worse, by someone else on the Internet. It's the automated version of googling oneself--and it underscores an idea that seems to be gaining a lot of traction, namely that we are increasingly understanding reputation as a form of currency.

Transparency informs smarter food choices. Or does it?

Business Week reports that when nutritional information is available on fast-food menus, parents choose about 100 fewer calories per meal for their children. It quotes the lead researcher's apt observation that,

One hundred calories over time is actually a significant amount in terms of weight gain, given the rates of fast food consumption and childhood obesity in our country.

On conversation and extremism

It's conventional wisdom that groups generate ideas and plans more moderate than those of individuals. Groups and discussion encourage compromise, smooth out extremes, and guarantee moderation. It is also one of the unspoken assumptions of facilitation and group-oriented scenario work. Facilitation and scenario-building, the thinking goes, builds a sense of collective spirit by helping groups develop a shared vision of the future.

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