USDA grant trains cameras on cafeteria trays and not border scofflaws

May 14, 2011

Surveilling Pears instead of the border

Jeannie DeAngelis

The state of Texas' $2 million border camera surveillance program was so unsuccessful that the government thought it might be worth replicating a similar experiment in another venue. So rather than invest $2 million additional dollars to upgrade the system in an ongoing attempt to secure the border ... to-el-paso between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, ... order.html the feds decided it was a better idea to redirect cameras toward half-eaten pears in elementary school cafeterias 500 miles away. ... -calories/
Instead of investing monies to ensure the protection of American citizens from stray bullets and escalating violence, ... ng-el.html a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will finance "high-tech cameras ... r_embedded installed in [five] cafeterias ...[that will] begin photographing what foods children pile onto their trays - and later capture what they don't finish eating." After which, "digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will ... calculate how many calories each student scarfed down." ... 0-calories

Off the record: Why is it that half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches can be tracked, but full grown men toting AK47s seem to slip through the cracks?

Regardless, program overseer Dr. Roberto Trevino of the San Antonio-based Social & Health Research Center reassured concerned Americans that "only trays" with "unique bar codes... not students will be photographed."

In El Paso while bullets ricochet off the walls of City Hall, over in San Antonio a surveillance camera situated above the cafeteria cash register will photograph each tray to see if it's loaded up with either "mashed potatoes or green beans...French fries or fruit."

Subsequent to children finishing a typical school lunch, bar coded trays will then be returned to the kitchen where "another camera [will] take a snapshot of what's left on the tray. Software then analyzes the before and after photos to calculate calories consumed" and generates a detailed report of child-ingested nutrients.

Think of it this way: The program is a high tech Fast and Furious for school lunches. Fast and Furious ... o-20110304 is the alleged Justice Department scheme to catch drug cartel gang members by letting them smuggle US arms into Mexico with the intent of catching criminals after they commit a crime using said arms.

Banditos sneak across the border, load guns into vans under the watchful eye of the ATF, head back to Mexico unhindered, kill a US Border Agent or two with "walked" guns, and voila! They're nabbed.

Same idea with food. Let the sneaky little French fry eaters buy the contraband with their lunch money. Under the watchful eye of Big Brother, indulge their greasy addiction. Then, like a smuggled gun, track the tray back to the offending kiddie and voila! Nabbed again, but this time apprehended with ketchup breath.

As usual, researchers selected poor, minority campuses where, thanks to alleged Twinkie consumption, ... hoods.html obesity rates place "students at risk for diabetes." The data will also be used to "study what foods children are likely to choose and how much of it they're eating." The goal is to see what kids like to eat and replace it with what they hate to eat, which in turn means kids will eat less.

Professional tray trackers will report the findings back to parents in hopes of guilting the poor dolts into replacing ground beef with ground turkey in the Hamburger Helper.

"The grant from the USDA will fund the study for four years." Instead of directing valuable resources toward finding out who's legal and who is not, what is friendly fire and what is not, Trevino said the "coming school year will be very experimental, with programmers fine-tuning cameras and imaging software to accurately identify what's a pear and what's an apple."

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