Global Glance: Aug 17, 2015
A quick look at intriguing international stories
By John Bostwick, Managing Editor, Radius
Welcome back to Global Glance. This week we look at:
Europe’s Most Popular Cuisine (Hint: It’s Not Bosnian)
Go to virtually any commercial district in the US and you’ll find a pizza joint, or more likely multiple pizza joints. And there’s now solid evidence showing that Americans are not alone in their love of Italian food. This article in The Wall Street Journal’s “Digits” blog shows how Italian cuisine dominates the European take-out food market. The story’s data comes from three leading delivery outfits — Delivery Hero, Foodpanda and Just Eat — and shows that “Italian cuisine is the most ordered in at least a dozen European countries, including Italy itself, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Poland,” and that “outside Italy only Greeks, Turks, and Bosnians order their local dishes online more than they do any other cuisine.”
Bosnians? It’s safe to say that while Bosnian cuisine remains popular in Bosnia, it hasn’t achieved any kind of global prominence. A Google search on the subject didn’t reveal much, though a 2011 article in The New York Times on Bosnian-owned eateries in St. Louis is still worth reading. St. Louis has, according to the article, more Bosnians than anywhere else in the world outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnians in St. Louis tend to downplay their origins in an attempt to assimilate. One of the Bosnian-owned restaurants mentioned is (surprise, surprise) an Italian place called “Mr. X Pizza.” The only clue to the proprietor’s background is that “some pizzas come topped with suho meso, popular among Bosnian Muslims who avoid pork-based pepperoni.”
Right to be Forgotten
Earlier this year, Radius VP of Consulting Stuart Buglass wrote an excellent blog series on data protection in the European Union. One of his posts mentions the controversial “right to be forgotten” principle of EU data protection regulation. The post outlined a Spanish case in which the court ruled that Google had a legal duty to remove certain personal plaintiff data from its search engine.
The issue was back in the news in May, when “Europe’s highest court said … that people had the right to influence what the world could learn about them through online searches, a ruling that rejected long-established notions about the free flow of information on the Internet.” One result of the case is that French authorities have demanded Google remove certain links from its databases, even in the US. Google has not complied, but the matter will probably end up in a French court.
The May ruling is fertile ground for debating topics, including those related to legal jurisdiction, the right to shape our own personal histories, free speech, the distinctions between private and copyrighted information, and the responsibilities of search engine providers. Much of this ground was covered earlier this month by Farhad Manjoo in his excellent piece “‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Online Could Spread,” for The New York Times’ “Personal Tech” column. Manjoo nicely captures how the laudable impulses to protect free speech and personal privacy undercut each other, and how difficult it is to achieve a balance in these areas that will satisfy most people.
For Google’s own take on the European ruling, check out its July 30 blog post, which makes a solid case for refusing to accede to the demands of French authorities.
Cuba Photo Essay
Last Thursday, The New York Times’ “Lens” section published a photo essay on Cuba with an accompanying essay by Yana Paskova, a New York City-based photojournalist who grew up in Bulgaria under communist rule. Her reflections on communism are interesting and informed. Here’s a sample: “During my visit, I observed life in Cuba as only a native of the Soviet Bloc could — struck by the decorum of Communism, the appearance of choice that belied government involvement in nearly every aspect of daily routine.” The photos are similarly worthwhile, including a fascinating shot of a Cuba Labor Day parade with large posters of Marx, Engels and Lenin. The photos don’t include any shots of brightly painted American cars from the fifties, but we hardly need any more of those.