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The buffet is a horrible place to make eating decisions — at least if you’re set on limiting your caloric intake. The psychology combines hunger, smells, and fear of missing out, and I’m sure there are many more variables, into a soup that makes it easy to stuff one’s plate. There’s also a greater risk of food contamination and illness, either from items left out for too long, being used as leftovers, or other diners leaving some of their gut microbiome behind.

But the buffet also holds opportunities. It might mean trying something you’ve never tried before but even more so, trying food combinations that you wouldn’t think of. What if those beats mix with the mushrooms? Or cheese and croutons and apples?

There is something of a metaphor for trying different methods or technologies in new ways for new problems. WhatsApp to call your waiter or order a drink? AR and an Alexa Skill? Magic happens when the borders blend together. Most of the time it’ll be weird but sometimes it will be a home run.

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