In Praise of: Chris Raines and the New "Public Intellectual"

If you've read this blog for more than two minutes, you know that I'm all in favor of informed discussion and debate, which means I'm all in favor of what are usually dismissed as "scholars." You know: those pointy-head types who spend inordinate amounts of time studying a subject so that when they open their mouths to discuss their subject, what comes out is substance rather than fluff.

However, I adore scholars who then make the effort to share what they know with the rest of us. (The alternative being to remain closeted in their university offices, sharing knowledge only with other scholars.) People like that used to be called "public intellectuals," but I think of them as benefactors. Or saints, depending on my mood.

Anyway, that's why I'm a fan of Chris Raines. Chris is a professor in the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Penn State. He's the model of a new kind of scholar: one who is not afraid of blogs, Twitter, and, gasp, making connections with ordinary people like me.

His blog, Meat Is Neat, epitomizes what scholars can (and, in my opinion, should) be doing with their expertise: sharing it in simple language that non-experts like me can understand. A prime example (no pun intended) is his recent entry on e-coli and grass-fed beef. If you have any interest in the current debate about food, food safety, and environmentalism, you should take a gander. (Hoof it over there? Paw through it?)

Chris is also a master of what Twitter can and should be. He's there as @iTweetMeat. Enjoy!