Lo Mein to Go, with a Side of Overanalysis

Thoroughness in the pursuit of the truth is a virtue to be admired, but Slate’s Jacob Leibenluft, writing for the site’s Green Lantern environmental advice column, may have overstepped his mandate. A question on whether it’s more environmentally sound to get takeout Chinese or cook at home prompts a 750-word avalanche that looks at every possible variable and finally, with a lot of hedging, arrives at the heavily qualified answer that restaurants save a lot of energy through economy of scale but consume a lot of energy in lights, heating, and cooling, and that it’s probably better to cook at home, but green restaurants are more green than other restaurants. Also worth considering: The column generally recommends cooking at home to eating at restaurants, unless you’re concerned about how food tastes.

As an example of juggling combined with hand-waving, the column is nothing short of breathtaking. Those seeking a clear-cut (albeit opinionated) answer backed up by argument should probably just skip the column and flip a coin.

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