Monday, August 31, 2009

Weather Wonder

Today's forecast:

Chance of precipitation: 100%. (Expected all morning and most of the afternoon.)

High temperature: 65 degrees. (Just about the same all day.)

What? I stand on the balcony. OK, it is indeed raining right now. And apparently 65 degrees is a temperature at which it is comfortable to wear long pants. This is all very confusing. Did I pull a Rip van Winkle? It's still August, right?

As for the rain: thankfully the drive to school is only about 3 minutes and extremely familiar since I discovered on Friday night that driving home in the dark, in the rain, from a place you've only been to once (when you drove there that same day), that involves taking a lot of weird unfamiliar streets, when both your windshield wiper blades and your windshield wipers themselves are dysfunctional (as in: the blades are in such poor condition that they only smear the rain rather than clear it and the wipers tend to stop & stick in the middle of the windshield for no obvious reason) is scary and objectively dangerous. I had to drive home from the party with my window down and my head sometimes half sticking out in order to have any idea where the street was. Seeing the street signs in this condition was extremely challenging.

It is interesting (or something) that all aspects of my windshield wiper process are broken now. For a couple of months (or more, I forget) I have been unable to spray windshield wiper fluid onto the glass, which was annoying enough. At least replacing the blades should be pretty easy. I definitely need to get some RainX. (I got spoiled all those years I was able to use the RainX windshield wiper fluid and not have to do the tedious hand-application, but it really is time to buck it up.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Things Not to Say

UPDATE: Amusingly, my two potential advisors brought these topics up themselves when describing their own research interests! I really liked both of them and am going to have an extremely difficult time putting them in rank order. Fortunately, they both work together a fair amount, and are in the same lab, so I will have the opportunity to work with both of them over the course of the program. It's just a matter of deciding who I would prefer to be my thesis advisor, and I think I would be pleased with either one. This is the kind of difficult decision that I like to have.

It strikes me that I probably shouldn't say to potential advisors that my time in the program so far has sharpened my interest in studying post-decision regret and ambivalent attitudes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Movie: The Science of Sleep

The protagonist was something of a dip, but I loved the HANDS and appreciated the Lyle Lovett-esque quality of the final image.

And So It Begins

I have my last orientation session this afternoon, then it's full-speed into graduate school. I'm already feeling overwhelmed, but that is partly general freaking out over figuring out my schedule.

I am disappointed (though not surprised) to discover that the class I am TAing for meets 5 days a week, which means I meet 5 days a week also. I have to sit in on the lecture 3 days a week and lead lab sessions 2 days a week. I was surprised to realize that I would have to do 2 labs, but I hope that things will calm down and start making sense once we get into it. I am happy to report that we have a meeting between the professor and all 4 TAs (two first year and two second year who have taught labs under him before) on Fridays so we can go over the labs for the coming week, etc. The professor, whom I will call D, seems pretty organized for an academic, but as you might expect, is not quite up to the highest levels of organization with which I have become familiar in industry/government. I'm still a bit confused by some things, but that is somewhat my fault for not coming to the first meeting this morning prepared to ask questions. Also there were some things assumed by the others that I did not assume, but I was able to ask questions of one of the dept. admins and get set straight.

I also have a ton of keys now.

I got my books from the UPS guy just now, including the neuro one that I have been leery of. Chapter 1 for tomorrow covers the introduction to the nervous system. Joy. I'm just not super interested in this kind of science, and am choking a bit on the memorization that's going to be involved (am I pre-med?), but I'm trying to keep an open mind (brain?). I am at least a bit interested in the executive functions - planning actions, information use, etc. - and I'm sure other things will become more interesting as I learn enough to think about any of this stuff.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TAship and Graduate GPAs

One thing I disliked about the TA training session on Thurs. was that they bombarded us with information that I believe was supposed to make us feel that we were being provided support by the university community in dealing with students, but instead gave the impression that we are going to have to be hyper-vigilant to all the different problems students can have so that we can ensure that they get help. For instance, representatives from the college police, the counseling center, and the student health center all warned us about the different ways students can seem messed up and requested that we contact them when we notice these things.

Another thing I didn't realize was bad until yesterday evening was that they emphasized the approximately 8.2 gazillion things that are part of the TA's responsibility while also acknowledging that our primary tasks as grad students are doing well in research and classwork. This creates a feeling in the student of being overwhelmed (as groups of us discussed at the lunch break), but they did not provide us any information/guidance about how to manage all of these responsibilities. This reminds me of a screwed-up fear appeal (in advertising) in which the listener becomes aroused by the threats outlined in the ad but is not given any recommendations for action that she can take to avoid the negative consequences described.

In my first year, I will be taking 3 classes each semester (9 hours), doing a research class each semester (3 hours), doing a TA (15 hours per week, theoretically), and writing a first-year research paper. My classes for first semester are social psych, cognitive psych, and stats.

So an important issue for dealing with these various grad student responsibilities is knowing the relative importance of the different aspects of the role. To my understanding, the importance can be ranked as:
Research > Classwork >> TAship

But I think the TA training is going to exacerbate problems of people putting too much energy into their TAship at the cost of lesser performance in research and the classroom. It seems to me that we already are likely to put too much into the TAship because failures there are immediate and public, resulting in humiliation and a feeling of inadequacy. If you aren't prepared for a question a student asks or you find yourself fumbling a bit trying to describe something you thought you knew, you're possibly going to feel like you've just announced to the world that you are an idiot. This is a major threat to identity among grad students (especially in highly-ranked programs) who need to feel "smart." With research, it's very easy to be doing way too little without realizing it since failures are private and distant in time; you won't necessarily know how screwed you are until much later (possibly, when applying for PhD programs or academic jobs without competitive presentations and publications or getting to the thesis/dissertation stage and not being able to finish at all or in a reasonable time frame). Classwork falls in the middle because you do get feedback in the form of grades, but grades occur at intervals over the semester.

In PhD programs, I have heard that getting a 4.0 GPA is basically indicative of having done too little research, since for most people, there isn't time to do one's TA/RA, conduct good research, and get straight A's. And since academic hiring committees are going to judge you on the basis of your dissertation/job search paper and recommendations from your advisors, not on your GPA, you've basically wasted your time.

For people in masters programs who intend to apply to PhD programs, it's a different story since graduate GPA will be a criterion of interest and something that adcoms can use to compare students.

So this raised the question for me: What should my goal GPA be for my masters program?

The easy answer is, a 4.0 or the very best I can get. Ceteris paribus, that's true. But all things won't be equal; a 4.0 might come at the expense of doing good research and reading/thinking deeply about the sorts of things that will position me to write an outstanding, intellectually-mature statement of purpose. And once I tell myself I should get an A in every class, I'm really going to basically get an A in every class, even if that doesn't make very much sense in terms of my future, sort of kills me, and burns me on the idea of future grad school. (This is the downside to being goal-driven.) While I need to work hard, I also have to pace myself to a certain extent, since I'm going to be doing this for many more years. I don't see that trying to maintain 70 hour work weeks will be conducive to my mental or physical health or my personal relationships. (For other people, that level of work may be sustainable for longer periods of time, but I know that it would burn me out. Robert suggests this is due in part to the fact that I work at a higher level of intensity than many people do. But it's also because I just get really tired of that kind of lifestyle.)

So then I looked at what masters GPA PhD programs recommend their applicants have. In business PhD, it looks like 3.0 undergrad and 3.5 grad GPA are common requirements. If we can assume linearity, that would make a 3.5 undergrad (a solid GPA for applying to PhD programs) = 3.75 grad.

Next, I looked at the average grad GPA's at various business PhD programs (by google search, not seeking out particular programs). This is what I found:

Southern California: 3.88
Wisconsin: 3.75
South Carolina: 3.8
UT-San Antonio: "over 3.75"
Temple: 3.5
Minnesota: 3.64
Missouri: 3.68
California - Irvine: 3.88
Maryland: 3.8
California - Berkeley: 3.9
Georgia Tech: 3.8

Given that I am in a strong masters program, I think a 3.75 GPA is a reasonable minimum goal. Of course, there is the possibility that a psych degree will not be perceived to be as "rigorous" (i.e. mathematical) as a stat/econ/engineering masters, but it is more rigorous than an MBA program, and a good many of the degrees represented in those GPA's are MBAs. [Note: I don't really know whether GPA and MBA should be made plural with an s or an apostrophe s. I guess I'm hedging my bets here.]

As best as I can determine from the information on my program, I will be taking 9 seminar classes and 4 thesis/research classes for a total of 13 classes (39 hours). With 3 B's, I would get a 3.77 GPA. With 2 B's, I would get a 3.85 GPA. Since I would not want to get a B in stats, a class related to my research interests, or research/thesis course, this allows me 2-3 B's for subject seminars tangential to my research interests. While I hope that getting a B won't be necessary, I am feeling relieved that if a certain course (say, physiological psychology) is a lot of work but isn't going to advance me toward my goals very much, and I have so many more important things going on (including wanting to have something of a personal life), I can settle for the lower grade.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fat Tax Article and Confusing Econ Paper

I have been talking about this as an inevitable issue in a national health care system since at least HilaryCare, and it was amusing how many people in the 90's told me that we would never go there. But I have long believed that the increased expense of providing health care to obese individuals would produce a social/political climate in which more legal pressure would be brought to bear on the obese, and to the degree that the increased implementation of authoritarian government stuff bothers you, you should be leery of national health care.

One thing that jumped out at me from this opinion piece was this reference to a journal article:

Overweight workers are paid less than similarly qualified, thinner colleagues, according to research by Jay Bhattacharya and M. Kate Bundorf of Stanford. The cause isn’t entirely clear. But the size of the wage difference is roughly similar to the size of the difference in their medical costs.

I find it rather unlikely that medical costs really explain (in a causal, not merely statistical, sense) why obese people earn less because hiring decisions are made by hiring managers who want the best employee they can get (where "best" may reflect sundry prejudices and irrational judgments), not upper-level executive staff who are concerned with company-wide issues like health insurance costs. If as a hiring manager, I reject highly qualified Candidate X because she is obese in favor of less qualified Slim Jim, I may reduce the health costs to the company by some small amount, and perhaps may have a teensy-weensy impact on my own insurance co-pays, etc., but I am going to suffer every day from having to compensate for the lower quality of Slim's work. And if it's a matter of paying Candidate X less than I do Slim Jim, despite her being as good or better as an employee, I risk her jumping ship for another organization that will pay her her worth. It seems to me that economic theory would suggest that hiring practices by individual managers would not properly take into account externalities like medical care costs, but that is not the prediction that they draw.

In the lit review of the full paper (which I can access through school), the authors point to some previous research:

The second finding is that the wages of obese workers are lower than those of their normal weight peers, and in the case of white women, the relationship appears to be causal (Cawley 2004). While obesity could cause lower wages through either invidious workplace discrimination or a negative effect of obesity on worker productivity, the absence of an effect of obesity on wages for either men or black women casts doubt on lower productivity as the explanation. In other words, the literature leaves open the possibility that white women experience significant labor market discrimination in the form of lower wages due to obesity. Our results suggest a reinterpretation of this literature. The lower wages of obese white women appear to be due, at least in part, to the higher cost of insuring these workers.

Um, wait - there is a higher cost of insuring obese white women but not obese men or obese black women? I don't even know whether that is true. Is this something everyone else knows, or at least believes to be true? Unless this is common knowledge, how can we as a hiring managers even know to bypass/under-pay Fat White Fanny in favor of Chunky Charlie or Big Black Bertha on this basis? The more obvious hypothesis is that maybe our culture penalizes white women more for being fat than it does women of color and men. (Arguably, it is more acceptable for women of color to be fat and/or women of color are already so discriminated against as to make further discrimination on the basis of body size of little import.)

Aha, here is something:

The results in Table 5 present important new evidence that suggests a rethinking of the conclusion that the obesity wage penalty for women is due mostly to discrimination. However, our finding of a substantial obesity wage-offset for women but not for men is potentially inconsistent with our interpretation that the differential wage-offset is due to the provision of health insurance. An important premise of this argument, however, is that obese individuals spend more on health care than do non-obese individuals. While results from the studies we discussed earlier indicate that this is indeed the case, we know of no estimate in the literature from nationally representative data that reports yearly medical expenditures for obese and non-obese separately for men and women. [Italics mine]

So they are saying that companies know and are properly acting on disparities in medical expenditures for various classes of employee while this information is not actually known?

...Some of our other findings suggest that [discrimination] is not a likely explanation. First, because we find no evidence of similar wage discrimination for obese women without health insurance or obese men with coverage, attributing the residual difference to discrimination requires an explanation of why discrimination exists only for obese, insured women. Second, we find no evidence of similar wage offsets for different types of benefits or for the working obese with coverage from alternative sources. Maintaining an explanation based upon discrimination thus requires potentially ad hoc reasoning about obese women outside of work settings where employers provide health insurance.

The whole issue of employer-insured vs. uninsured vs. alternatively insured is messy because, to my knowledge, the provision of employer insurance is not randomly distributed throughout the population of companies, nor is the appropriate categorization criterion small versus large companies (which the researchers do look at). The companies that offer insurance differ in type from those that do not; for instance, I believe it is the case that people in "professional" type employment are much more likely to have employer insurance than people in service jobs like restaurants. I would expect obesity to be more detrimental (esp. to a woman) in a professional role than, say, serving up chicken at KFC. Perhaps the researchers did not have access to type of employer in their dataset, but this does not mean that it couldn't be affecting the results.

I also wonder how this intersects with research showing that short men earn less than tall men do or that good-looking people earn more than their plainer counterparts. Is there some kind of differential in medical expense driving this, too?

God, it's after 12:30 a.m. 4:00 a.m. was a long time ago.

I Had Wondered About This

My mom's library purges their books on the basis of how old they are and how often they are checked out (except for particular books that the staff have decided are important to keep). I had wondered how the university library systems work, esp. given that so many people use books in the library as a reference but do not check them out. I read quite a few econ and psych books at TSU over the last two years that would never show up as being "used" through the check-out system.

Here's one thing my university tells us to do:

When consulting, but not borrowing materials from the stacks, please do not reshelve. The library keeps statistics on materials used in the building but not checked out by counting materials picked up from red shelves, study tables, copier areas, etc.

Nice to know. I had always assumed that libraries request customers not to reshelve books because we could screw up the stacks (which is true); I didn't realize that these books also are considered in compiling usage stats.

Tam on Food

This title makes me think of the "your brain on drugs" commercials.

Anyway, Tam's got good content on Alethiography this week about why she picks organic food - a topic obviously of no interest to me, but perhaps others care ;) - and her thoughts on the book In Defense of Food. I personally have been too mentally lazy to comment on these interesting posts, but I encourage you to read them. Neat stuff.

Note: I got my university ID today, which means I can start checking out books! In Defense of Food is checked out until the end of this month, so it may be a while until I get around to reading it, but I am looking forward to comparing notes on this book as well as The End of Overeating, which every other person on the planet has read already.

OK, I am now just getting crazily enthused about all the awesomeness of having a college library so close to my apartment. I am going to spend some time on their website now, checking out all the cool features. I'm especially curious how the hold system works, since Austin Public Library sucked so hard with their 5 item hold maximum. (By contrast, Tulsa County Public Library allows the customer to manage a Netflix-like list of books and other media which looks really nice.)

At the TA training, the director of the library came in briefly to tell us about some of the things available to us as grad students and TA's. One of her brochures listed the subject area expert librarians for all the different disciplines and I thought, man, if this whole getting my PhD thing doesn't work out and yet I could stand the idea of yet more school, getting an MLS and becoming a university research librarian would be a lot more interesting (in prospect) than becoming a teacher. Of course, realistically, it seems that I am more likely to just take the psychology masters degree and return to the market research industry making more money. And who knows, maybe those cool-sounding library jobs are hard to get without a PhD.


One of the activities at the TA training today (which was not just my department but all departments) was learning about a constructivist model of teaching. Over lunch, by department, we were supposed to devise our own example of how we could go through the four stages of the model using a subject from our field.

I was wondering how to teach a statistical topic using the method, but someone in my group thought to use the intro-to-psych topic of operant conditioning. (This is the use of strategies like reinforcement and punishment - actions that are taken in reaction to an individual's behavior - to modify behavior. The most well-known example is probably training a rat to push a lever by giving it a food pellet when it does.) After we'd put together our little outline, someone wondered what the leader (a guy from the education department) would think of it, and I suggested that we should hope he doesn't say it's "interesting" (since he'd admitted that he uses that term a lot when he means that something is wrong but doesn't want to say it in such a bald fashion).

After our group spokesperson presented our model, he said... indeed... "Interesting." We, and everyone else in the class, laughed, and he said oh no, that he didn't mean that, but that it was interesting since classical learning approaches often use behaviorism but that constructivist/pragmatist learning is cognitive in nature and rejects behaviorism. So it was "interesting" that we used a non-behaviorist teaching style to teach something about behaviorism.

And yes, he did use the model to teach us about constructivism. We got to categorize rocks. It was fun; my partner and I tried color, weight/density, and crystal size to create categories in the "exploration" phase. (That part was oddly reminiscent of my free classification of cartoon faces project, actually.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chinese Menu

This week I got my first restaurant menu stuck through my door, for a nearby Chinese restaurant. It was pretty much like any other such menu except for the curious information on the right-hand side of the front page.

I'm familiar with New York Style pizza, but I really don't have a conception of what "Authentic Health Food - New York Style" means, particularly in the context of Chinese takeout. Add the logo of pandas eating bamboo (which is healthy for pandas, of course) and it's even more confusing.

I'm glad they let us know that the food is authentically healthy because it can't be authentically Chinese - an admittedly cursory look over the menu revealed no spelling or grammatical errors in the English. The closest I found was the item "Chicken with Mix Vegetable," while typically this was written "Mixed Vegs." I was fond of the description of "Shrimp & Scallops in Garlic Sc.": "Always a smashing hit."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Late Night

My mom told me this evening that she ran into my first 1st grade teacher Mrs. M (I was in her class for about 6 weeks before being transferred) at the library again. She told Mrs. M about my having successfully moved to NC, having been at a party this weekend to meet my new classmates, and enjoying it enough that I stayed until the very end of the party at 2:30 a.m.

Mrs. M said something to her about whether or not she had told me that I had a curfew.

My mom replied that it's kind of hard to tell your 35 year old daughter that she has a curfew.

Mrs. M said that she would not have been able to resist telling me (were I her daughter) that I should have been home by midnight.

My mom and I got to share a huge laugh over this. I told Mom that as long as I am living under my roof, I have to live by my rules. Maybe it's a good thing Mrs. M didn't realize that I also consumed alcoholic beverages at this party; surely she would not approve. (Although I really did limit myself - I had about 2 glasses of wine, none after midnight, at which point I switched to ice water.)

And of course, even if we assume that somebody has the right to tell me when to get home, by my reading of Jane Austen novels, etc., it would be my husband, not my parents, at this point.

By the way, the drive home from the party was insane. It was all of five minutes away, but I saw only one other car on the streets during the drive, and I think that was one of my classmates. It reminded me a lot of driving home from Sonic at 1:30 a.m. after working the closing shift during high school. Very quiet and peaceful and not much in the way of street lighting. Utterly unlike coming home to an apartment with an I-35 street address in Austin.

As for the party itself, I met many of the 2nd year grad students and 4 of the other 1st years. I am the oldest person in the group (who attended the party, anyway), though there is a guy (coincidentally, from the Austin area himself) in the 2nd year who is 30. The rest of the people I met are, I believe, 25 or younger - just out of undergrad or only a few years out. This didn't seem to make any difference to anybody other than for moments like somebody asking me about gaming systems of my youth; I got to say that I got my first computer in 1981 and explain the entire phenomenon of typing in lengthy BASIC programs from PC magazines, getting my sister to help me debug them only under duress, and recording the programs on regular cassette tapes that easily took a half hour to load later.

Four of the five first years have an interest in social or social/personality psychology (one guy was only there briefly and I didn't talk to him about his research interests). When I mentioned this to Robert, he said that it makes sense that the social people showed up at the party. Indeed, I suspect the cognitive people were still thinking about it, the perception people didn't see the benefit, the industrial-organizational people thought a party to be inefficient, the clinical people were too depressed, the neuro people were too nervous, and the development people weren't ready.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I am completely unpacked. Even the art is up on the walls. (I have a lot of art.) My landline telephone is connected and my wireless Internet is functioning. I have groceries in my kitchen. Robert has just finished assembling my new file cabinet.

It is 4:20 p.m. and 86 degrees outside.

I am slowly learning how to navigate to various places in town, though my dad said that my earlier comments on how screwy the streets are in W-S were an understatement. For instance, figuring out that something is at the corner of X St and Y St doesn't help as much as it should since Y St curves around and intersects X St twice. There are also a lot of weird exits that are not precisely cloverleafs but some other kind of shape that was not covered in my math courses to date and that require memorization of counter-intuitive processes like exiting left when you want to go to the right. Major intersections aren't marked, perhaps with the assumption that everybody must know what these streets are. Streets change names all the time, and though this occasionally makes for an easy mnemonic device, it's usually just source of confusion. But the drive to campus takes approximately 2 minutes.

Next week, I will be pretty busy. The week after that, school starts and I will be even busier.

I miss Leo. A lot.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review of Nutrient Content in Organic vs. Conventional Foods

There is interesting coverage of a new (and controversial) study from Britain's Food Standards Agency in the popular press (as well as a press release from the FSA). In a review of peer-reviewed studies dating from 1958 - 2008 (the study looks scarily long, but the main body is only 30 something pages; the rest is references), researchers compared the nutrient value of organic and conventional foods and determined that for the majority of nutrients, there were no significant differences between the two. Further, for the few nutrients where differences were found, the amount of the difference was considered to be too small to have an effect on health. It is also unclear that all these differences were in the favor of organics anyway, since organic produce was higher in sugar and organic meat was higher in trans fats, for example. However, conventional products were shown to have higher levels of nitrogen, on average (a bad thing, though how bad, I don't know).

By design, the study did not purport to assess other dimensions along which organic and conventional food may differ, such as pesticide residue, effect on the environment, or animal welfare. However, this did not stop many organic food advocates from challenging the researchers for excluding these other issues and attempting to invalidate the study in the minds of the public on this basis. Of course, I truly relished reading this paragraph in the Yahoo article:

"Now the healthful-eating crowd is up in arms. Not only did researchers reach the wrong conclusion, advocates say, they didn't even ask the right questions. Such as: Why, exactly, do people buy organic?"

How sad it is that no one is doing this kind of research...well, almost no one. Ahem. But consumer perceptions are not the same as scientific reality. So knowing why people buy organic does little to answer questions about biology, which is the brief of nutrition and public health researchers.

Apparently these findings contradict those of an earlier study from The Organic Center, which found some nutritional differences, and it appears that organic advocates are choosing to place more importance on those results. What's interesting about that, to me, is not that they are more inclined to believe research that supports the position they already have; it's the hypocrisy of valuing research conducted by an interested party over that of a government agency (research which is being published in a peer-reviewed journal) in this case while so often lambasting research funded by "corporations" and other partial groups. To me, the salient difference here is how invested the researchers (or their funding source) are in getting a particular result, not whether the researchers involved are on the "good" side versus the "bad" side of the issue.

(One obvious difference between the Organic Center study and the FSA study is the timeframe involved. It could be the case that conventionally grown food used to be higher in nutrients than it is now, and that the non-significant findings in the current study could arise from lumping "old" conventional products with "new" and inferior products. However, on page 16 of the report, the researchers show that very few of the studies included in the review dated before 1989 and 74% were from 2000 or later. To me, this mitigates somewhat against the possibility.)

As for this person's response, though I was not actually surprised that she believed it, I was surprised that she said it, though I shouldn't be: "I don't see it as a matter of taking sides," [Diana] Crane [of PCC Natural Markets] added. "I see it as being informed, knowing what's reputable, and in some cases what just makes common sense. ... Organic has intuitively to be better for you."

The idea that things that are natural "must be" better for a person is extremely common, and people habitually use a sort of "intuitive" reasoning without facts (or, indeed, in the face of facts) that relies heavily on heuristics. Yet this is all disreputable to me to the extent that I feel like her willingness to admit this publically, as the spokesperson for her organization, should be embarrassing for her and her company. It's one thing for consumers to use this kind of reasoning in making their own purchase decisions (we all do for various things, if some people more than others), but I guess I expect more rigor from someone who is playing the role of an expert or influencer of others. This expectation is itself pretty much unreasonable, of course.

I basically find the whole organic vs. conventionally grown food argument endlessly interesting because it touches on so many issues that are near and dear to me yet I don't have a strong personal commitment to believing specific things about these food products nor do I tend to favor one over the other in general.

I do, however, believe that people should (i.e. would be better off individually and as a society) eat more fruit and veg than they do, full stop. Organic, conventional, fresh, frozen, whatever. I am extremely turned off by that segment of the pro-organic movement (activists, organizations; it does not seem to me to be individual people) that wants to demonize conventional produce, portray it as the next thing to poison, etc., so as to increase the demand for organics.