Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Signs of the Times

Back from ALA and blogging again...

This is getting to be a common story around these parts, and probably where you live too: demand outstripping supply at food banks. A few weeks ago I saw a similar story on the West Seattle Blog, which is my main source for neighborhood news. There are two food banks near me, one for West Seattle and one for White Center, the unincorporated area to the south of my neighborhood. Both are feeling the pinch. Rising food prices and rising fuel prices together are making life difficult at the margins, and as those prices continue to go up, those margins will include more and more people.

Meanwhile, the auto industry's attempt to gut California's emissions standards is dead. I can't say that I'm surprised or sorry. Like many of you, I was just in Anaheim, and even with the toughest emissions standards in the country the air quality was poor. (Not as bad as Athens, where I was a few weeks ago, but definitely eye-watering.)

In reading about the 8 different proposals for replacing the viaduct that runs above the downtown Seattle waterfront, I can't help but think of Dan Ariely's talk at the ACRL's president's program. Ariely is the author of Predictably Irrational, a book I added to the to-read pile after hearing part of his presentation. I had to leave before he was done, but garnered implications for everything from how I teach information literacy to alterations to my library's website.

Anyway, one of Ariely's points is that too many options tend to stymie people and decrease the possibility that they'll make the best choice. None of the P-I's readers appear to like any of the options, but I'm moved to wonder whether that's because none of them are viable, or because there are too many from which to choose.

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