Nick Kristof pleads for iodized salt as a chance to add a billion IQ points to the inhabitants of Planet Earth (not that IQ means anything...):
Travelers to Africa and Asia all have their favorite forms of foreign aid to “make a difference.” One of mine is a miracle substance that is cheap and actually makes people smarter.
Unfortunately, it has one appalling side effect. No, it doesn’t make you sterile, but it is just about the least sexy substance in the world. Indeed, because it’s so numbingly boring, few people pay attention to it or invest in it. (Or dare write about it!)
It’s iodized salt.
Almost one-third of the world’s people don’t get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness.
Bjorn Lomborg, the Skeptical Environmentalist, had improved nutrition at Number Two on a list of priorities, behind only HIV/AIDs efforts back in 2006. His point was that, if people are actually making choices, money spent on global warming would be better spent elsewhere. Mr. Kristof does not similarly vex his readers.