Tag: America

The World War II Campaign To Bring Organ Meats To The Dinner Table

In January 1943, just over a year into the United States’ involvement in World War II, former president Herbert Hoover took to the pages of the now-defunct magazine What’s New in Foods and Nutrition to deliver a part-pep talk, part-warning about the state of the American meat supply.

Meats and fats are just as much munitions in this war as are tanks and aeroplanes,” wrote Hoover, who led the U.S. Food Administration during World War I.

The problem will loom larger and larger in the United States as the war goes on … Ships are too scarce to carry much of such supplies from the Southern Hemisphere; our farms are short of labor to care for livestock; and on top of it all we must furnish supplies to the British and the Russians.”

Hoover knew of what he spoke. Just two months later, meat would join butter and cheese as a rationed food item, as growing quantities of beef and pork were shipped overseas to feed American and Allied troops.

But meat rationing represented a harsh blow to the American diet, which considered it a staple. As Lizzie Collingham wrote in her book The Taste of War, “Red meat, preferably beef, was highly valued as a prime source of energy, especially for the working man, and its presence on a plate helped to define the food as a proper meal.

In 1940, at the behest of the Department of Defense, the National Research Council assembled a team of the country’s leading social scientists to create the Committee on Food Habits.

Its mission was twofold: First, they needed to launch an in-depth study of Americans’ eating habits—who in a household decided what would be served?

What made a meal a meal? What was the ideal balance of familiarity versus novelty?

And second, once it understood the factors that influenced those answers, the committee needed to change them in ways that benefitted the war effort.

To head the committee, the NRC recruited anthropologist Margaret Mead, along with German-born psychologist Kurt Lewin. At the top of their agenda: addressing the looming meat shortage.

More specifically, they needed to devise a way to convince Americans to abandon their steaks, pork chops, and other familiar cuts in favor of the meats that the soldiers wouldn’t eat—the hearts, livers, and other organs that remained plentiful stateside.

In other words, even the government didn’t fully embrace its own message that variety could become the new normal. Organ meats would do for wartime—but the satisfaction of a well-cooked steak was still a formidable foe.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Why Is Power Consumption For Gadgets Dropping At Home?

A new report from the Consumer Electronics Association and Fraunhofer USA asserts that the power consumed by home electronics declined from 12% between 2013 and 2010 in the U.S.

It’s a positive result, especially when you add in that the number of devices climbed from 2.9 billion to 3.8 billion over that same period.

But what’s really interesting about the report is why power consumption is declining.

In a word, it’s tablets. The number of plugged in TVs has declined from 353 million in 2010 to 301 in 2013, a 14% drop.

The number of plugged-in desktops has dropped from 101 million to 88 million while the number of active laptops has declined from 132 million to 93 million.

Tablets, meanwhile, have gone from being a relative asterisk to being present in 100 million households.

While part of the decline in consumed by TVs can be attributed to new accounting methods and the final disposal of those remaining CRT tubes, the bigger impact seems to be coming from the shift to smaller screens.

The active power consumption of a 34-inch TV is 90 watts: a TV this size will consume 166 kilowatt hours a year under normal use scenarios. Desktops will consume 186 kilowatt hours.

Notebook power draw can range from 6 to 36 watts and account for 53 kilowatt hours of power consumption. A tablet might use 6.1 kilowatt hours a year in regular use.

In short, power consumption is dropping at home, but more importantly we are seeing a tectonic shift in what we use.

Tablet sales might be below some analyst’s expectations, but they are having an impact on the categories around them.

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Pass it on: Popular Science