That's where the expression "the best thing since sliced bread" comes from. Obviously, people had been slicing loaves of bread for ages, but pre-sliced bread really is a relatively recent business innovation. The NYT magazine had a page about this in this week's issue. Also, here is a Google ngram of the phrase "since sliced bread". You can see that the saying started in the 1950s. 
Also twistys are color coated on bread, denoting the day of the week it was put out.
"One thing is universal-all bread companies deliver five days a week, with days off being Wednesday and Sunday. Thus, these days have no color coded bread for the deliver driver to remove from the store."
Also, it's not universal the color codes (Which can vary from one brand to another), and in some cases, 7 color codes are used because those bread companies deliver 7 days a week:
Also, Pinjarra is doing the teal-orange thing too (https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Pinjarra,+Western+Australia...)
Aren't these both part of the same process? Whatever is being done to force that piece of aluminum into the correct shape, it involves the same piece of metal.
From the other side of the debate I'd attack the concept of subjective value.
Why do people value this? We don't know. They just do.
How do you know they value it? Because of their actions.
Why do they take those actions? Because of their valuations.
But it's also difficult to argue the counter-case. Outside of corner cases such as depression, psychotic episodes etc, if people aren't acting to diminish discomfort or increase their perceived happiness, then what is motivating them?
The issue comes when that extremely mangled definition of happiness isn't then injected into economic discourse - it becomes a matter of dusting off the hands and saying "well, we proved that people do what's required to be happy" and go back to the simpler definition.
In any case, reducing everyone to a stimulus-response box and stating that on balance, it must be beneficial to choose action X for the organism turns the definition of 'happiness' into something worthless and actually pretty banal.
Edit: I usually see this argument in the sense of 'maximising profit', but occasionally as 'happiness' or other beneficial emotion.
Economists, though, don't fuss as much about motives because they're not observable. I mean you can build a reasonably explanatory model by simply assuming people are greedy hyperrationalists. But nobody really does that because it's just too simplistic.
If I had a point, I guess it's that economics thinking is much more textured and subtle than people give it credit for. "Neoliberal" is a label that was invented by critics and so its meaning is basically "whichever strawman fits right now".
If we're naming names amongst the arch-neoliberals, I think these days I prefer Hayek to almost anyone else. I think he really spent time in the stew of ideas and didn't retreat from the revealed complexity of the world into equations.
How do you define "happiness"? What do you propose as an alternative to the subjective theory of value? (edit: if you disagree with it, I noticed it was the other guy hinting at being against it.)
"coca-leaf which comes from South America and is processed in a unique US government authorized factory in New Jersey to remove its addictive stimulant cocaine"
Consider the implications of one of the largest American companies being singularly authorized to buy and import hundreds of tons of coca leaf, which is banned in nearly every country and produced primarily by illegal drug manufacturers. Does anyone believe there's no funny business going on here?
(For the record, I think coca and cocaine should be legal.)
>The Stepan Company (a $400 million American Stock Exchange company) of Maywood, New Jersey imports 175,000 KG of coca leaves into the United States each year. The leaves come from some of the same farms that supply the Columbian drug cartels.
>Flavor scientists say that the mysterious essence has no significant taste of its own , but acts as an 'enhancer' PepsiCo Inc. does not use the coca leaf. Flavor scientist Nicholas Feurstein thinks that the average guzzler might well notice the difference if Coke stopped using it.
>The leaf is ground up, mixed with sawdust, soaked in bicarbonate of soda, percolated with toluene, steam blasted, mixed with powdered Kola nuts, and then pasteurized. The Coke-Cola company, forever fearful of the DEA and the drug lords, is a stickler on security and quality. Drug lords have a less formal way to extract cocaine: they use kerosene as a solvent; the drug leaches out like tea from a tea bag. Cocaine is then recovered by evaporation.
The actual cocaine refining process, I believe, is a fairly typical polar/non-polar acid/base extraction.
It's also interesting to see a picture of a glass bottle coke when the American product rarely exists in such form. I've sworn off the HFCS version after discovering the Mexican recipe with cane sugar - it tastes so much better and comes in a glass bottle. When I was in Tijuana for a Startup Weekend, that's all they served.
I investigated kola nut as part of the process, and kola nut is simply not what I have been assuming all these years. The powdered form of the kola nut has an awful, bitter taste that is nothing like the "cola" taste. Rather, the main source of Coca-Cola's "bite" comes from the acid component. Some of it may perhaps also come from the caffeine and/or processed cocoa leaves.
Also, I have not seen any recipe (including the purported original recipe by Pemberton) that uses kola nut.
It's much cheaper than Mexican Coke (same price as regular 2 liter Coke), although it doesn't come in a glass bottle. And it's delicious! I actually stock up every year since I found out about this.
Incidentally, there are some very good "alternative" colas. My favourite is Fentimans' Curiosity Cola , which NY Times once described as "the world's best cola", and which is made with a small amount of fermented ginger (fermented juices is their thing). I also really like Boylan's Cane Cola .
I've read it's available some places now; I haven't seen it myself yet this year.
"Which foods and beverages contain GFS?
Because of the limited availability in Europe, the products in which GFS is used, are those where the sweetening power and other qualities are needed simultaneously. Examples of this can be found in baked goods, cereal products, confectionery, jams and preserves, yogurts and other dairy products, condiments (e.g. mustard and ketchup), canned and packed goods. The use of GFS in soft drinks has been limited as this application needs a fructose content of 42% or higher to give the desired sweetness and GFS is not available in sufficient quantities to be widely used in soft drinks. In the EU, soft drinks continue to be sweetened mostly with sucrose, when in the US, they are sweetened with HFCS."
(Linked from here:
Explains that the Mexican coke tested had fructose and glucose in it. It could have been bottled with HFCS or perhaps the cane sugar split in the bottle.
That doesn't in any way account for all the possible differences with Mexican coke though.
While I understand what the author is trying to say, I don't think that is true at all. I'm pretty sure that if they had a good reason, any number of advanced economies could get it together enough to produce the cans themselves. Seems like the main hard part is the aluminium.
While I'm nit-picking, I believe natural cryolite has not been used in aluminium processing for decades.
Thought-provoking article, though; I typed this with a can of Diet Coke on my desk.
> While I'm nit-picking...
Me too, Pinjarra is where the refinery for the largest producing bauxite mine is. And the refinery operates today because of cheap coal in Australia.
As is the case with many industrial minerals, it's often far cheaper to ship raw ore or concentrates to smelters built where electricity is cheap. Aluminum is no exception, and electricity cost is the reason there is a refinery in Iceland, despite being far from any bauxite mines.
The story really isn't that no country can't make a can of Coke, but why they don't. It's a fascinating story, unfortunately mostly told through feasibility spreadsheets.
I'm in the industry and it's not hard to think of all the steps ranging hundreds of millions of years to put an apple on my desk (there's volcanoes and inland seas! Dinosaurs if you stretch your mind!). This is a good summary. If he got any deeper, it'd be a book.
Who grows cinnamon, vanilla, coca, and kola? How many countries grow all four, because I doubt it's "lots". Do they also have some form of sugar and aluminium industries? (or steel/tin industries for different kinds of cans, or glass industry for bottles (with something for caps)?)
Besides, saying "oh, but countries could, they just don't" is having your cake and eating it too - the fact that countries don't because it's massively uneconomical means that yes, it does take multiple countries to produce a can.
It's a bit like saying "it takes a superpower to land men on the moon". Oh, sure, you could say "no it doesn't - throw enough private enterprise together and get someone there", but the point remains, no-one will - it still takes a superpower to land men on the moon.
It's not just the metal, it's the ingredients of the flavouring. Coca leaves don't grow everywhere (although, sure, you could put the plant in a greenhouse).
You need to bang protons or neutron together. Electrons don't participate in color force and can't make quarks.
Eh? The pressure is greater at the top of the can?
Another interesting fact is the can is narrower at the top to reduce the size of the lid, saving cost and mass.
Lots of details and photos on aluminum cans at http://www.chymist.com/Aluminum%20can.pdf so check it out.
There's an interesting Slate article about the complexity of what appears to be a such a simple feature; in order to achieve the force necessary to rupture the can opening, the tab pivot transitions between a first and second class lever. There's a good video somewhere showing the principles, but I can't seem to find it.
Returning to the 'pressure' argument, recall that most drinks cans have a domed bottom which provides comparatively greater strength than the flatter top.
Though I do know with most certainty that if placed in a freezer and left then it will expand at the top and the bottom and mostly rupture a bit around the ring pull tab in the process.
Pressure inside an enclosed volume is equal everywhere.
Smaller is about cost. They save a bit (say $3 per 1,000 as per link I posted elsewhere) by making the top 1/4 inch smaller.
Over 70 million cans a day that's some cash.
(The Industrial Cup Of Tea)
...Did you just make that up on the spot?
>We can make the globalisation and connectedness point a lot more clearly and ideologically neutrally without promoting useless Lowest Common Denominator products that merely waste our resources and do not add to the total sum of human happiness.
Oh, good grief, I responded to your exact type of comment by another person further down, but I'll repeat the summary here: Your comment makes no sense.
I don't know if you're just the type of guy that needs to cut down everything to justify your ego, or maybe this is just a form of the engineer humble brag, but honestly, "Lowest Common Denominator products that merely waste our resources and do not add to the total sum of human happiness." Really? You going to stand by that? Did you even read the article?
I'd say the fact that it requires all of the distribution and production means describes in the article to keep up the demand of its product a tick in the "Brings Happiness" column. I myself very much enjoy having a Cherry Coke Zero when anytime I visit the theater. Have I, along with the rest of the world, been deluding myself? I didn't actually enjoy that product, and got no happiness or enjoyment out of its consumption? Who knew!
Further human happiness is a strange thing to use as a measuring stick for a product's "worth." What is the 'level' of human happiness that a product must bring before it is of value in your book? Obviously, being that coca-cola product represent 3% of all beverages consumed around the world (I looked it up), we need something that, what, hits that 4% mark before we can acknowledge that it actually does deliver some marginal level of happiness to the population?
What is your opinion on restaurants? Those seem to provide the same type of happiness as a coke. Maybe we should tell all those people to go out and do something worthwhile that gives actual happiness. Whatever that fuck that actually means.
I'm a very positive person... for things which improve the su of human happiness and creativity, in the spirit of the Bay Area, rather than just selling sugar for the sake of finance.
wrt your ad homines, I'd examine the psychological projection of your own ego onto ohters: why get personal when this is jsut an interesting deate about values, economics, production and globalisation? Have a lovely day!
By what metric? Please, do explain. What does it mean to be "useful." Is a chef useful? Is an artist useful? Comments like yours get under my skin because they seem purposefully vague, which allows plenty of room for high browing, and faux elitism.
>rather than just selling sugar for the sake of finance.
Ok, so what is your cut off? Should all food manufacturers switch to aerospace engineering so they can finally contribute something useful? Bakeries? We should probably laud them as well. After all, they are, pretty much by definition, sugar in return for profit. Art is probably out too, I suppose. The film industry, despite is fantastically complex tool chain, at the end of the day, isn't really "useful." It contributes a kind of arbitrary happiness. Feel free to let me know if I'm off base, or if you feel as though I'm strawmanning. It's just that "sum happiness" and "useful" are so vague and poorly defined that I have no idea what you mean.
>jsut an interesting deate about values, economics, production and globalisation?
Dismissing something without reason is not a debate. That is the issue I took with your comment. "sum happiness" means nothing at all.
Kevin Ashton fails at pointing out the impact of this collaboration. Couldn't all of these talented people that made such a sophisticated product put their energy towards something.. I dunno, useful?
And yet with all this power in your hands, and with the limited time we have in our lives, you decide to go on Hacker News and comment how other people are not doing useful things? Even though for many people the process of making coke is literally the only way they can survive, and yet, they are the ones not doing anything useful?
I think you are being naively idealistic at the very best, and just a hypocrite at the worst.
It's important that the elites of this world understand what harm they and their tribes are doing, intentionally or not, because awareness comes before action!
If you think that someone at Coca-Cola Co. is going to wake up one day and say "you know, we are going stop making soda drinks and lay off thousands of people and cause unemployment for hundreds of thousands because after all,we produce a drink that's no good for anyone", then I think you are(just like OP) being naively idealistic.
you personally don't find a coke to be useful. However, it is a product that brings many people happiness. That actuall seems pretty useful to me.
Further, you completely missed all of the engineering. the modern soda can, the aluminum milling processes, all the high tech tool chains, those happened as a side effect of the mass production of the product you dislike.
Businesses and the people that work for them need to engage with their consciences, and stop doing work that causes harm, such as producing or marketing a food product with catastrophic effects to human health.
In response to some other comments: 'because I need to earn money' is not a reason to do work that causes harm to other people, 'because i am well off' is not a reason to not challenge what you perceive as harmful.
What is needed to redirect efforts in useful directions is a manner of decision-making and reward within our society that trumps economic rationalism based upon paper-profits and a complete disregard for other factors (human rights, environmental protection, etc.).
How we are going to get there is a question worth working on. I posted yesterday on my perceptions of how we are, albeit slowly, marching towards achieving this. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5308525
Most people are not struggling to get calories. Most people don't have to work hard to eat their 2000 calories a day.
It would be somewhat healthier if it actually contained sugar (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup).
There's a danger from using too much HFCS in the replacement, but really, saying sugar is healthier than HFCS is akin to saying that it's better to be punched kickboxer than a boxer.
The other year when sugar prices were near equal to corn, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper distributed soda with sugar only throughout much of the United States. I haven't followed the prices of sugar since, but I would gather the price went back up either naturally or through congressional means.
Now I looked it up, Pepsi markets "throwback" brands which use sugar.
Useful for what? Making people happy? Killing fire-ants? Repelling purple elephants?
You're gonna need to define a purpose for that to mean anything. (I suspect trying would look a lot like politics)
I remember reading it would be more interesting to use steel cans because it's easier to catch them using magnets. Are we now able to sort and recycle aluminum cans better ?
always jarring to read something you know to be so obviously false so early in a piece. *waves to fellow Sandgropers
It was surprising to me too, but concluding it to be "so obviously false" seems unwarranted, especially online - where it's so easy to check. Dismissing surprises as incorrect narrows the world into one's model of the world. And to me, the unknown is more interesting than the known.
I'd rather there were no lethal poisons at any point in the production process.
I'm never drinking another glass of Coca-Cola. I'm not touching PEPSI either.
But if you are worried about arsenic don't eat rice, and be careful of the ground water (depending on where you live).
If you happen to have a certain temperature range, suitable wild-yeast strains present, adequate chemical composition and pick at the right time of year, it is theoretically possible to make a drinkable wine with unprocessed fruits and no chemicals. However, in most environments and with most fruits you are far more likely to wind up with something foul-tasting and undrinkable.
It is the complexity and the pervasiveness that makes it mind-boggling.
Plus, not every country has every resource. Even the vast internal resources of the USSR needed to be supplemented by goods and services purchased on the open market (and vice-versa, the USSR got most of its hard currency by selling oil).