Spanish food is simply amazing. Spain has now topped my list of places I want to visit based on the food alone. Paellas... here I come! I had some Spanish foods at the Red Room; the food was great but the pricing was a bit steep.

Does anybody else know any good places in or around Chapel Hill for Spanish food? Stuff like tapas and paellas?

. . .

A good read from a former environmentalist about why nuclear power is the best energy option for us.

. . .

I recently took a vacation to Bald Head Island - while there, I was completely blown away by how awesome life was on the island without a car. Bald Head Island is an example of a microcommunity - a (somewhat) independent community that doesn't require its inhabitants to leave the community for goods (basically, it has a fully stocked grocery store that is accessible from a go-cart).

I've heard of Stapleton, Colorado being another example of these microcommunities. I think the emphasis on these microcommunities is to encourage non-automobile transportation (Stapleton places an emphasis on its pedestrians) to not only save on energy costs, but also to foster a sense of community.

This got me to thinking - historically, microcommunities are most similar to old feudal communities (minus the self-sustaining thing, but nowadays, food grows in grocery markets, right?? right???). These got supplanted when corporations used their economies of scale to run these "mom-and-pop" businesses out of operation.

What if companies like Wal-mart used their economies of scale to supply mom-and-pop operations on islands like Bald Head and communities like Stapleton? I would imagine we could still (somehow) take advantage of the economies of scale ... but still be able to prevent the Wal-martization of communities (not that this is a bad thing, I'm pro-globalization).

I know what I'm describing sounds like living in a big city, but big cities lack that sense of community. Although we didn't see many people on Bald Head, everytime we did see someone, it was always smiles and waves - like "Hey, we're kicking it original gangsta style like you... peace out, homie" (this, of course, from a few septuagenarians) ... I just really enjoyed not having to drive a car to go the grocery store or to go for a scenic drive, and I enjoyed not having to worry about being run over by a car while in my somewhat environmentally-friendly electric golf cart.

The implication in this post is I'd like to see the benefits of globalization being used to foster communities. I'm as plugged in as anybody can be in this tech world, and it's still quite a lonely place. The increasing emphasis on competition in our professional lives drives us away from social lives, while the convenience of technology (email, IM, etc.) allows us to be distant from one another. I literally have gone weeks where I have not seen any of my friends, yet I remain "in contact" with them through virtual means; this is no substitute for real-life interaction.

One of the misconceptions of the free market is that money is the ultimate driving force - this is not true. You can use human factors to weight certain markets to derive the effect you want. This is why (debatedly) why emissions trading was (not) effective as a means of regulating emissions on the free market. [I haven't taken a stance on the issue, because I haven't looked at enough studies on it, but my 'liberal' Economics teachings at Carolina lead me to believe that trading emissions as tangible goods is beneficial].

Once all the money has been squeezed out of the markets, corporations will look on how to add additional value to their companies bottom lines - my feeling is ideas similar to my apartment complex idea will be something that pursue, because people will be desperate (like me!) to pay a premium for that sense of community.

Posted by roy on April 16, 2006 at 12:13 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

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Comment posted on April 17th, 2006 at 11:13 PM
Nuclear is the only realistic answer if we want to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels.
Comment posted on April 17th, 2006 at 08:57 AM
I can't remember the title, but it seems to me I saw a movie along those lines awhile back. It was about small, self-sustaining communities where you did not need a car. There was public transportaion for those who could not walk or ride a bike. I think eventually our country will move more toward that type of environment.
Comment posted on April 16th, 2006 at 09:54 PM
stapleton is gorgeous.
Comment posted on April 16th, 2006 at 07:23 PM
food does not come from grocery stores
Comment posted on April 17th, 2006 at 01:17 AM
you're right. it grows in that area behind grocery stores.
Comment posted on April 16th, 2006 at 03:50 PM
I don't know... Chapel Hill doesn't sound like a hotbed of Spanish culture to me...

I lived in Spain for three months, most of the time in Barcelona (my father's from there). I ate so much seafood during that time that it was restricted from my diet when I returned due to high levels of iron in my system.
Comment posted on April 16th, 2006 at 02:13 PM
Taco Bell