Weekend reads: Rivers should be people too, earn thousands selling slime, chefs study Instagram 101

Kristin Tyndall's read

Culinary schools now teach chefs to make their food more Instagrammable, a critical skill for attracting customers. Pretty food stays on the menu longer—one social media post can cause the featured dish to sell out. It's a great example of schools responding to market forces to help their students succeed, but I admit I'm skeptical of the broader trend. I can't help but worry that the obsession with food pictures has led us to confuse our priorities. Some meals—ratatouille, curry, chicken pot pie—will never be satisfactorily photogenic. And the food that appears in beautiful pictures often isn't edible. I think the time is ripe for a backlash: this is what real, unfiltered food looks like, and woe be unto those who cannot appreciate the beauty of delicious things.

Seren Snow's reads

A report by the Pew Research Center found that most American don't believe their job will be eliminated as a result of automation. In fact, only 6% of adults report having lost their job or had their hours reduced because of automation. Despite this, about 76% of Americans expect automation to increase economic inequality. Others were more concerned about safety. For example, Americans were split on whether driverless vehicles and robot caregivers would be good for society. I personally welcome automation, as long as humans have as much control of the machines and the algorithms that control them as possible.

A case filed in a Colorado court list a new kind of plaintiff: a river. Environmental activists are arguing that the Colorado River should have the same legal rights and protections as a corporation, which the United States Supreme Court classified as people in the now infamous Citizens United decision. The reason the river deserves rights is because it has sustained life in the region for centuries, the activists argue. Therefore, they argue, people and legalities shouldn’t be allowed to pollute or drain the river or endanger any of the species that use it as a habitat. Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert in environmental law, believes the lawsuit has a chance but will face an uphill battle. Others, including a senator in Montana, believe the battle is already lost. 

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

Young people may not love Applebee's, but they do love slime. The simple recipe of water, glue, and borax has taken social media by storm. The slime trend has bumped Elmer's Glue sales by 50% in December and even caused a glue shortage in craft stores across the United States. Thousands of Etsy shops now sell slime with creative add-ins like glitter, scents, and beads. Some slime entrepreneurs are as young as 10 and are putting away their profits towards college (or for more slime). 

The right distillery cat will catch rodents, improve team morale—and boost the brand? Historically, distilleries have offered cats shelter, while the mousers exterminate unwelcome guests. But today's modern distilleries ask their cats to be more social media star than rat killer. While some cats still do the dirty work, others have a different purpose: looking cute while sleeping, says one distillery marketing manager. 

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