There’s something decidedly random about Time’s annual celebration of the “100 most influential people in the world”. Does anyone really think Scott Brown is one of the 50 most influential senators, to say nothing of top 100 in the world? Golfer Phil Mickelson? Really?
But it’s nice that Berkeley gets a look in. Our own Michael Pollan is hailed in the issue along with worthies like president Obama, French finance minister Christine Lagarde, conductor Valery Gergiev and actor Ben Stiller (really?). Better yet, the paean to Pollan is written by Berkeley’s Alice Waters. Here’s her conclusion:
Michael’s rock-star status isn’t just about his rigor or brilliance. He thinks about the ethical bonds that connect our bodies, farms and food. In so doing, he has become and example to the rest of us.
Our East Bay neighbor Oakland also deserves a shout out for the inclusion of Tim Westergren, CEO of Oakland-based Pandora.
Update: Oops, we missed another noteworthy local. Time also named Tim White, a professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, to its list of the most 100 influential people. White was the leader of the team that discovered a 4.4 million year old fossil hominoid, an Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed Ardi, in Ethiopia.
Sean B. Carroll wrote in Time, “‘Ardi,” a 4-ft. female, transforms our picture of our early ancestors. Ardi was at home in trees, but she also walked upright. A woodland dweller, she refutes the belief that modern posture was an adaptation to living on the savanna. Gaps in human history remain, but White has filled a big one.”