Archive for November 23rd, 2011

Nanny Plate

Wingers are given to carping and moaning about what they call “the nanny state.”

By this they generally mean governmental rules and regulations and such-like preventing, say, eight-year-olds from working in coal mines, or the erection of a combination crematorium and day-care center.

However, just as it is said that even a blind pig will sometimes stumble upon an acorn, so too do winger ululations about the nanny state sometimes have merit.

Such, I believe, is the case with what I call “the nanny plate.”

This is a $2300 device built in Sweden and let loose upon the land by the UK National Health Service. It is intended to assist obese Britons in controlling their weight; in this instance, through being ordered around by a plate.

The Mandometer monitors the amount of food leaving the plate and tells users who gobble: ‘Please eat more slowly.’

It comes in two parts—a scale placed under the plate and a small computer screen showing a graphic of the food that gradually disappears as the user eats.

A red line on the screen shows the user’s speed of eating, while a blue line shows a healthy rate.

If the user guzzles, the red line angles away from the blue one, warning them to ease off.

If the lines deviate too much, the computer voice tells them to slow down.

The screen also flashes up messages asking: ‘Are you feeling full yet?’ to remind users to think whether they have had enough.

Now, I don’t think we need any of that around here. It is true that obesity is no fun. It is unhealthy, and aesthetically displeasing. However, if I were to be eating, and then found myself lectured by a plate, I would first look at my hand: if I could see through it, I would know I had recently consumed some consciousness-altering substance. But if my hand were opaque, I would feel the need to make like Mediterranean peoples, who, it is said, sometimes let fly plate, to meet wall, as a form of communication.

When I Worked

November 2011
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