The permadeath thing is in reference to XP and possibly the complete loss of your inventory when you die. To be honest, this would have bothered me a couple of month ago, but when I was building my observation tower last month my game crashed while I was crouching over a ledge and when I logged back in I spawned at my bed. I was confused as I had never spawned at my bed before because I hadn't died since beds were introduced. In fact, I hadn't died in my SSP world in 7 months. Once you've established yourself in the world, dying should be very rare.
(Although, in saying that, I would have been pissed to lose all my XP because the game crashed while building a tall structure. I suppose it depends on how XP is implemented in the game.)
As for the hunger bar, it's part of a complete overhaul of the health system. Jeb didn't detail the new system but he did say that food will be stackable and it wont heal you instantly. I'm assuming that health will heal over time, like a slower version of peaceful mode, and how quickly you heal is related to how full your hunger bar is.
That makes some sense. I just hope it's not some kind of thing where you find yourself deep underground, busily mining, then you realize your hunger bar is about empty and you have to scramble to find some food--only to starve to death before you get back to the surface. It just sounds tedious.
On the other hand, if the mechanism works very slowly (like only draining half a heart every several minutes when you're "starving"), what's the point? Doesn't really add much.
I don't know, I guess I just have an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude about Minecraft. The health system works fine as it is--it's simple and consistent and easy to manage. I'm sure I'll get used to it but with all the other things that could be tweaked or added, this
is on the list of priorities?
It will all be moot once I use mods to cancel this shit out.