Branding Matters In Local Government, And Atlanta Is Leading The Way

Place branding was the topic of my dissertation. I’ve continued to research and chart it since my dissertation was published, and it’s interesting to see how the entire branding exercise became so incredibly short-sighted and messy, and how that disorder eventually evolved into a better solution that is both responsible and functional.

From Fast Company:

Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should.

Source: Branding Matters In Local Government, And Atlanta Is Leading The Way

European Style Gluten Free Baking with FiberHUSK®

I have been eating gluten free for nearly 10 years. It’s hard to believe that much time has gone but, but it has. Over that time, gluten free products have become prolific in the United States and Europe. However, there is a marked difference between American and European gluten free products, especially baked goods. Most American gluten free products seem to be dense and overly sweet. European gluten free products are (on average) nearly identical to their glutenful counterparts.

For some time, I have been curious as to why this is the case. The answer lies with psyllium husk. Not widely used in America (it’s the main ingredient in Metamucil), it is a common ingredient in European baked goods. Psyllium husk absorbs up to 8x its weight in water. This is handy in baking, as a slow bake will cause this water to evaporate, leaving the baked goods spongy and chewy, very similar to guten filled counterparts.

Psyllium husk is widely available, and easy to use. Check out this German site featuring FiberHUSK, a product specifically made for baking. It might be a good thing to try for your gluten free holiday baking!

Für ein saftigeres und luftigeres Gelingen Ihrer glutenfreien Backwaren. Funktioniert als Bindemittel und Mehlzusatz bei Low-Carb Gerichten. – FiberHUSK.de

Source: FiberHUSK® Flohsamenschalenpulver | Glutenfreies und Low-Carb Backen

The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

Every one knows that I’m a huge fan of Aldi. I say… bring it on!

Grocery stores are aggressively expanding, and now there’s a glut of food retail space in the US.

Source: The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

This is why I’ll never shop at OfficeMax again—even if everything is free

This sounds like:

a. Something I’d write.

b. An experience I would have.

This column is my first step toward recovering from a maddening return experience.

Source: This is why I’ll never shop at OfficeMax again—even if everything is free

REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

These are my favorite holiday cookies, but are hard to come by in North America. Dominosteine are a staple in the advent and Christmas season across Germany. This is a great recipe for the gluten free version. I make mine without marzipan.

Source: REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

The Creative Society

One of the very best (and most refreshing) books that I’ve read—really read, not just skimmed—in a long while is The Creative Society: How the Future Can Be Won by Lars Tvede. The book sets the American Studies canon on its head taking on “greats” like Jared Diamond. TCS examines not only how, but why we find ourselves where we are now. The root is his argument is that free exchange of ideas and goods constantly demands new methods and new ideas. This, he argues is creativity which fosters unparalleled capacity for moving forward human intelligence, ingunity, and intuition. Tvede makes a compelling case.

Why did Western Europe succeed in the later half of the 20th century, while Eastern Europe disintegrated. Why is South Korea a burgeoning economy, whereas North Korea struggles to feed its people. Why did the British, Russian, Soviet, Egyptian, Roman empires fail? Why was China a rapidly growing society from 1000–1900, but then slowed significantly since? Tvede argues that totalitarian regimes and rigidity in systems of governance extinguishes creativity. This occurs rapidly. The Roman Empire, for example unraveled over the span of 70 short years, after dominating much of the world for nearly 1500. The Soviet Empire collapsed within the span of 3 years after dominating half of Europe and most of Asia for nearly 100. These and other societies collapsed from the weight of creativity pulsing at its door. As the Soviets ushered in perestroika and glasnost, for example, the resultant (and latent) surge in creativity rapidly propelled the system of governance out of order.
Tvede makes a persuasive aruguement for accepting or resisting change and the causal correlations that stem from either acceptance or resistance. Think of the book as a ethnographic and historic underpinning to Florida’s immensely popular, but shallow on compelling argument, Rise of the Creative Class. This text is unabashed in its explanations and suppositions and takes on one prejudice after another and skillfully (and convincingly) defuses each. In so doing, answers the many, many questions that have plagued those of us interested in cultural dynamics and interpersonal dynamics. Tvede is on to something here, and what may be the best and most important book of the decade has received little, if any, press. Well worth a careful read.