The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

May 15, 2006 by s.z.

Do you believe that clean air, unpolluted water, and pure, untainted food are good for you? Then you are the kind of illiterate, inbred, simple-minded whiner who makes John Stossel want to puke, and you need to read his lastest book, Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel � Why Everything You Know is Wrong, and Why I Hate Your Guts.
An even better solution to your appalling stupidity would be for you to read the ABC News excerpt of the book, because that way you won’t have to pay for it, and you can use the money you save to buy lots of DDT, gasoline, and Agent Orange.
But if you are too lazy to do even that, here’s a (slightly paraphrased) redaction of that excerpt — it will still teach you how ignorant you are, but will save you a few minutes.
So, here we go:
* * * * * * * * * *
Chapter One: Clueless Media
The media sucks. I should know, since I have been working in the media for thirty-six years, most of that time while wearing clothes. So, you should trust me when I tell you that reporters lie to you all the time, and they use all the tricks in their cynical armory to get you to believe such untruths as “The Moon is Made of Green Cheese,” “Tainted Meat is Bad for You,” and “Dow Chemicals Doesn’t Really Have a Wonderful Plan for Your Life. ”
MYTH : The media will check it out and give you the objective truth.
TRUTH: Everybody in the media but me is clueless, amoral, and out to deceive you. You must trust only me.
The media spits in your coffee when you’re not watching. The media is sleeping with your wife while you’re at work. The media laughs at you behind your back. Plus, its members never talk to the right scientific experts.
For instance, there are experts who work for the tobacco industry who will tell you that smoking is actually good for you. Does the media ever report their views?
These experts never get interviewed because they don’t advance the media’s pet belief that smoking can cause cancer. See, the media just wants to scare you, so it can keep all the sweet, sweet cigarettes for itself. Don’t let it!
MYTH: Pesticide residues in food cause cancer and other diseases.
TRUTH: The residues are largely harmless, depending on how you define “harmless.”
A scientist I met at the Pesticide Trade Association told me that pesticides may actually help to cure cancer, as far as you know.
Besides, vegetables make toxic chemicals to keep off insects, so every vegetable is 5 percent of its weight in toxic chemicals. These are Nature’s pesticides. Celery, alfalfa sprouts, and mushrooms are just chock-full of carcinogens. Yes, vegetables hate you and are trying to kill you, and we must nuke them into submission if we don’t want to be conquered by a race of evil carrots!
MYTH: Radioactivity is deadly; keep it away from food!
TRUTH: Food irradiation saves lives.
See the above info about the threat from the evil carrots.
Also, some expert I met on a street corner told me that the broccoli army plans to invade us via our porous Mexican border, and will then rape our women and enslave our children. Food irradiation may be our only hope.
MYTH: Chemical pollution is the cause of the cancer epidemic!
TRUTH: There is no cancer epidemic.
It’s just something you imagined. Sure, the incidence of prostate and breast cancer is up, but that’s only because there’s more early detection these days. When cancer detected while it’s treatable, it’s not really cancer, for all practical purposes, and so it shouldn’t be included in studies of cancer rates. That’s another thing the media doesn’t want you to know!
See, we think there’s a cancer epidemic because we hear more about cancer. Cancer is a disease of an aging population, and fortunately, more people now live long enough to get cancer. More talk about it too. Many years ago people who got cancer were secretive about it, like God intended. And we liked it that way!
So, if people would must stop getting their cancer detected, and would shut their damned traps about their conditions, then chemical pollution wouldn’t always be unfairly blamed for causing cancer, and it could hold its head high once again.
While I’ve been a reporter, I’ve been asked to do alarmist reports about hair dye, dry cleaning, coffee, chewing gum, saccharin, cyclamates, arsenic face powder, radioactive fallout, and Dr. Sommerby’s home X-ray booths. I refused to do most of those stories, and now I have to ask, if the scares were valid, where are the bodies? Unless I personally see corpses stacked like cordwood in somebody’s basement, I refuse to believe that any product produced by our benign corporate masters could be bad for us. And I’ll kill you if you say differently!
MYTH: DDT causes all kinds of cancers, and nearly wiped out every bird in the world.
TRUTH: DDT saves lives, and is also a tasty alternative to ice cream.
Malaria will kill more than one thousand children before you finish reading this book. So, when you get near the end, start over, so that you never finish. Think of the children!
You are probably saying, “Is Stossel hitting the crack pipe again? DDT is awful!” But it isn’t. DDT is the kindest, fairest, most caring friend you could ever have. You just don’t know that, because some people, including reporters, are jealous of DDT, and spread lies about it.
Here’s how it happened: Fifty years ago, Americans sprayed DDT everywhere. Nobody worried much about chemicals then. People at picnics just sat and kept eating while trucks sprayed thick white clouds of DDT on top of them. In fact, when the trucks came to spray, some people ran toward them-as if an ice cream truck had come–they were just that stupid back then. And now they’re all dead. But it’s not DDT’s fault!
It turns out DDT itself wasn’t the problem–the problem was that much too much was sprayed. When will people learn to enjoy their deadly insecticides in moderation?
And when will the U.S. State Department start buying DDT for poor kids in Africa? Does it WANT these kids to die? Are the USAID officials all racists who hate little kids? Dow Chemicals wants to know.
MYTH: Gas prices are going through the roof.
TRUTH: Gasoline is a bargain.
The media periodically get upset about “record” gas prices.
Then drivers assume what they see at the pump confirms what they’ve heard on TV, and they come to believe that $4 a gallon for gas is a lot.
The public is just so gullible that it makes me sick!
Actually, we should marvel at how cheap gasoline is–what a bargain we get from oil companies. We should contemplate how unworthy we are of the miracle of gasoline, and we should realize that it would be cheap at a hundred times the price. We should all bow down to the oil companies, and worship them at the church of our choice.
After all, think about what it takes to produce and deliver gasoline. Oil has to be sucked out of the ground, sometimes from deep beneath an ocean. To get to the oil, the drills often have to bend and dig sideways through as much as five miles of earth. What they find then has to be delivered through long pipelines or shipped in monstrously expensive ships, then converted into three or more different formulas of gasoline and transported in trucks that cost more than $100,000 each. Then your local gas station must spend a fortune on safety devices to make sure you don’t blow yourself up, because you’re such a moron. At $2.26 a gallon (about forty-six cents of which goes to taxes), gas is miraculously cheap! But what we heard from the clueless media was, “Gas prices are at record highs!” What a load of crap!
So, I order you to drive your SUV over the bodies of the clueless media to teach them a lesson about defaming gasoline. Do it now!
* * * * * * * *
Well, that’s probably enough Stossel for today. But until next time, consider these falsehoods that you undoubtedly believe, and try to wrap your puny mind around the concept that you are WRONG about everything:
MYTH: Satanists regularly kidnap and eat Christian babies
TRUTH: They only do this for special holidays
MYTH: Women are all saints, and men are all the scum of the earth.
TRUTH: I once interviewed a man who seemed nice, so you are WRONG about all men being jerkwads. And I suspect that some women lie about some stuff, thus proving that you are also WRONG about women! But the media doesn’t want you to know any of this, since they want to keep all the sweet, sweet men for themselves.
MYTH: Quiet loners who keep to themselves are currently the biggest threat to your safety. You stand a 95% chance of being murdered by one in the coming year.
TRUTH: Once again, this is just something that the media want you to believe, since it helps them sell papers. In truth, you face just as much danger from bushy-haired hippies who belong to murderous cults, teens who are all hopped up on hard rock music played backwards, and Scott Petersons.

38 Responses to “‘Man, You People Are Stupid: Therefore, You Should Buy My Book,” by John Stossel”

This, of course, is why I’ve been crushing on you for over a year now.
Incidentally, I suspect John Stossel’s moustache tells him what to think and he just writes it down.
I’m not convinced that there’s anything terribly wron with food irradiation. It does not, contrary to popular belief, make food radioactive. I’ve heard activist-types claim that it causes cellular changes in food products, but they never site a reputable study or offer any evidence of this–it seems to be a “faith-based” claim. And, even if it were true, that still doesn’t prove that it is in any way harmful. What irradiation does do is kill bacteria like e. coli and lysteria, which, if you’re infected with them, stand a fair chance of killing you. It also destroys organisms like trichonosis, which you definitely don’t want to contract. Personally, I’m all for it. Sadly, it will probably never be made widely available due to people’s irrational fear of the word “radiation,” and misunderstanding of the process. The companies that want to utilize irradiation were kicking around the idea of marketing it as “cold pasteurization,” which might take some of the curse off it, though I’m sure those same activists would scream bloody murder. If I get killed by a food bourne illness, I’m gonna come back andhaunt those assholes.
MYTH: John Stossel is a credible, honest news reporter with an extensive background in science, economics, education, and many other fields.
TRUTH: No, he’s not.
MYTH: Yes he is.
TRUTH: No, he’s not.
MYTH: He’s not?
TRUTH: No. Sorry.
MYTH: *sigh* Debunked again.
Even in those rare instances when I agree with this lying, �ber-libertarian hack, e.g., the Kelly Michaels excerpt (20 years too late of course), he’s still obnoxious. I can’t tell if his cloying “My Little Golden Book of Rand” style is the way his brain actually thinks or if he learned in psychology school that reducing everything to a set of simple-minded factoids is the most effective means for propaganda. His sing-song “you are an ignorant six year-old and I know better” voice and attitude always makes me think of some mad kindergarten teacher inventing bizarre explanations for reality while plucking imaginary flowers at the asylum.
Thank you. Always nice to see a brilliant takedown of this turd.
I have yet to see any studies showing irradiated food is bad for you. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any that say it’s not, either.
No one’s done any long term studies, and that’s kind of the point.
I think we’re entitled to be wary of new ideas. It’s the precautionary principle at work here. Aside from which, people can refuse to eat green grapes because they look like moldy eyeballs, and what’s wrong with that? Is it any less irrational to want a store to offer red and green grapes than to want non-irradiated food as well?
But none of that really has much bearing on my dislike for food irradiation. My objection is that food, including meat, really can be prepared safely. Irradiation basically covers up less-than-ideal preparation.
We should not allow retailers to put pressure on corporations to get food at prices that cannot be sustained. When the retailers do that, the corporations turn around and demand the plant managers squeeze some more profit out of every chicken and cow so they can hold steady despite being squeezed by the retailer. And the plant managers can only make a living by forcing assembly line workers to go faster, faster, faster, and not waste anything.
These are not safe conditions under which to kill and package animals, or, really, anything else. It leads to contaminated food and food poisoning (sometimes even fatal diseases), it leads to line workers with a host of medical problems that only *begin* with repetitive stress injuries, it leads to wage cuts, it leads to factory farms to meet the demand for cheap meat, which leads to, among other things, massive amounts of animal waste and a wholesale degradation of the environment, often in areas populated by poor people, who get sick from the pollution, and who don’t have medical insurance.
In a very real way, it’s a food chain of pollution and injury, and irradiating food will only solve one of those problems: sick consumers. It seems to me that letting the packing plants legally irradiate food is letting them off too easy. Make them clean up the system, don’t just hide the most visible symptom.
Of course, Stossel would think I’m a dirty hippie for suggesting such things, I’m sure. He’s into letting business externalize costs. Oddly enough, he’s opposed to government doing so.
You haven’t been looking in the right place, DSidhe. There have been plenty of studies that show food irradiation is not harmful to human health. It does, however, produce an off taste; that, combined with the expense, the fact the public is not clamoring for it, and the previously mentioned consumer aversion to “radiation” have kept it from general use. In fact, the leading company in the technology eventually went bankrupt. I’ve had irradiated hamburgers several times, and they’re OK.
Getting to your larger point, though. e. coli 0157h7 is, it is true, killed by thorough cooking. I happen to like my hamburgers rare and will risk a bellyache for it. Salmonella enteriditis is killed by cooking your eggs hard; I like them over easy. Those organisms are the price we’re paying for the natural trend in food production. The concentration and industrialization of agriculture has created new human and livestock health threats, mostly the latter. With thousands or millions of animals confined to relatively small spaces, a disease epidemic can be disastrous; witness the UK’s foot and mouth outbreak of 2001, which forced the destruction of three million animals, or recent problems with Newcastle in California. Also, the more hosts the bugs have, the more rapidly they can mutate and perhaps turn into something deadly to humans, as is the prevailing fear with H5N2 bird flu. I’ve even seen studies which show when livestock are placed in an artificially sterile environment, that leaves them more susceptible when pathogenic organisms do come calling; their bodies are barren of the normal defenses animals have when they live out in the open and are assailed by disease from all angles.
But the natural human condition has been to concentrate food and fiber production into smaller and therefore more efficient areas, and so this is just an adverse side effect of a trend which has generally enhanced our standards of living. If you want all of society to revert to agrarianism, you’ll find very few takers.
My favorite Stosselism of late was when he was on ‘the view’ recently. This time, the ‘myth’ was that minimum wage is a good thing, and raises the standard of living for poor people. We are, of course, idiots for thinking this. Stossel pointed out that minimum wage is why they don’t have people to clean your windshield at gas stations any more, and that now that guy who used to do that is out of work and worse off.
?????HUH??????? Where does someone even start with something like that?
Personally, I like my milk from cows given BHT because of the added antibotic effect and the special flavor that comes from cows with mastitis.
An added bonus – since it doesn’t keep as long as the organic stuff, I am doing my bit to prop up large agri-businesses.
Actually, you are more likely to be killed by your friends and family then by a stranger. Doubly so if you’re friends and family are quiet loners.
Awesome. This is the second-best thing to Stossel going away forever.
I have not read Stossel’s book and don’t plan to.
However, I did see part of one of his videos–which was sent to me free at the High School where I teach Journalism.
It was crap, which is why I only watched part.
They were giving them away free, but it was still too expensive.
I’ll search for some of the studies. My impression was that it was a relatively new development in the agribusiness and that no one had any sort of studies on, say, what effect irradiated food has on people twenty, thirty, fifty years down the line.
To be fair, there’s very little follow-up of that degree with any health issue.
It’s true a lot of illness can be prevented with careful food preparation, but while washing your eggshells with soap is not so big a deal, insisting people cook their lunch bologna to stave off listeria is a bit too much to expect, as is scrubbing your strawberries with soap and a brush to clean off pesticide residue.
My concern is actually things like: making underpaid and poorly trained workers pick lettuce in contaminated conditions because you’re too cheap to provide water and sanitation; demanding hog farms pack in more and more pigs per acre to keep any profit; forcing line employees in chicken and beef plants to work faster than is safe around dangerous machines, too fast in fact to be able to clean the work areas up except between shifts, and so fast that animal parts end up on the floor and are scooped back up and tossed back into the line rather than “waste” them, or so fast that meat becomes contaminated with feces and offal.
(I’m assuming that everyone understands the concept of ruminant-to-ruminant feeding by now. Though “reclaimed meat” is a concept you should probably avoid looking up if you value your status as an omnivore.)
These are all very common results of the way we procure our food. And they’re less “natural” than they are industrial. Smaller farms, produce that’s carefully harvested, animals butchered at a pace where people can be careful, and food that travels significantly shorter distances to our tables would all reduce the rate of food poisoning. But they’re all expensive, and as consumers, we are more interested in cheap than safe.
Irradiation makes consumers significantly safer (at least in the short term), but does nothing about indentured farmworkers, rivers polluted by vast amounts of manure, or workplace injuries.
And, really, if your side of beef was accidentally smeared with cowshit as the processors misjudged the angle for the knife, does it make you feel a *lot* better to know that the cowshit is now free of live germs?
As an aside, Stossel once did a show where he claimed Alar was perfectly safe, and organic produce, his tests showed, had just as much pesticide residue on it as non-organic. Only problem: it wasn’t true. In fact, he didn’t even bother to run any tests.
He’s not really my go-to guy on science issues.
Wait a minute…the windshield-wipin’ service station guy didn’t disappear because of minimum wage, he disappeared because during the second oil embargo the gas giants were able to convince people to pump their own gas to save five cents. Once a company figures out how to get you to donate the labor how flippin’ low does minimum wage have to go to compete?
This is the thing with libertoonians that makes you wonder whether they’re actually as stupid as they appear, or it’s just a matter of bad potty training. Consumer “ignorance” or “environmentalism” is soooo unfortunate, but misleading advertising is free speech. There’s hardly a product you can name that ignorance born of constant advert bombardment hasn’t jacked up the price of, nor many that don’t get to you courtesy of the roads those gas taxes build and maintain.
# Paul Schumacher Says:
… I did see part of one of his videos�which was sent to me free …
What? that’s a complete betrayal of the capitalist system (unless you’re a dealer of addictive substances, of which I’m not sure that dumbassery counts. but it would explain mAnn Coulter)
What D. Sidhe said . . . and also throw in the chicken shit fed to cows. Does irradiation kill prions? I don’t think anyone knows at this point. The only thing the meat industry needs to do to prevent mad cow is to stop feeding animal proteins to herbivores. Will they do it? Do I have to answer? Michael Pollan is must reading.
I for one welcome our new carrot overlords.
I’d point out that I could be very useful rounding up slaves to work in their salad mines.
“In fact, when the trucks came to spray, some people ran toward them-as if an ice cream truck had come�they were just that stupid back then. And now they�re all dead. But it�s not DDT�s fault!”
I can truthfully say I know someone who did just that! It’s my brother-in-law. My sister (his wife) and I gave him all kinds of crap about the fact that he and his childhood buddies would get all excited about the “BugSpray Man!” coming, just so they could dance and gad about in the toxic fog spewed from his vehicle.
And, strangely enough, my BIL is still alive. And (maybe not so strangely) his chosen career deals with hazardous and toxic materials and how to…um…clean them up when they spill. Obviously, he has a high tolerance for toxicity.
About that $4 gasoline: Well, if you really think about it, $4 gasoline WOULD still be a bargain, when you consider all the work you can get out of it. A gallon of gasoline in my minivan will take me and a bunch of people 20 miles in the space of 20 minutes. Travelling the same 20 miles by bike will take me over an hour, and about 2 hours if I’m carrying cargo. Sorry, that’s not a Right Wingnut position, that’s a whacko environmentalist position. Bush seemed to think he was onto something new when he said “we are addicted to oil”, but I’ve been saying it for 30+ years, myself.
While, as D. Sidhe mentioned, there are a number of real downsides to utilizing a new food preservation technology, such as irradiation, I remain cautiously in favor of it, particularly for items you do not intend to cook before consuming, such as lunch meat. With my health as fragile as it is, I cannot afford food poisoning. There’s a chapter in Molly Ivins’ “Bushwhacked” that details, in excruciating detail, the death of an elderly gentleman due to lysteria infection. How did it enter his system? Turkey breast cold cuts. Certain food borne illness is nothing to take lightly. Salmonella is fairly innocuous-it kills less than 1% of those infected with it. E. coli is a bit nastier-up to 5% of sufferers die. Lysteria is a right monster-1 in 5 infected dies (20%!). It will actually grow–at a slightly reduced rate–in the freezer! Frankly, I don’t want to have to follow Molly’s advice and pan fry any ham or turkey breast I wish to consume.
Does irradiation kill prions?
Sadly, No!
It is already debatable as to whether viri are living organisms–they cannot reproduce on their own, so I consider them “near life.” But prions are something altogether wierder and more frightening. They are merely a simple. folded protien, and not alive at all. They operate as a microscopic Borg collective, if you will. When they encounter a similar protein, their proximity causes that protein to change shape and actually become another prion. They assimilate. And, the real unfortunate part is that the proteins they assimilate are found in human and animal bodies primarily in the brain and nervous system. The end result is madness and death–the brain is riddled with characteristic holes where cerebral matter once was… before it was converted into more prions. Plus, the prions are near-indestructible. Cremating a prion victim only results in a pile of ashes seething with fully-active prions. I really don’t know how one would treat a condition caused by prions–antibiotics won’t work, nor radiation. Only if scientists find a way (chemically?) to force the prions to revert back to their original, harmless nervous system building block state, which may or may not be possible to do without killing the victim.
We’re all doomed, I tells ya!
Mike Blog Round Up
Buffalo Gal, I agree wholeheartedly. It is mind boggling that feed for carnivores (dogs and cats) have so much veggie matter, and we feed meat to herbivores. It’s downright Frankensteinian.
Whenever issues like irradiation and pasteurization come up, what usually gets left out of the conversation is the fact that not all food is equal. These end-of-process sterilization methods are necessary because profit-driven conventional food manufacturing is a pretty nasty business. Most people who favor things like irradiation do so because they don’t realize there are other options.
Pastured (grass-fed/raised) beef, chicken, dairy etc. are far healthier, nutrient-dense and more delicious than the crap that most people think is food. Someone mentioned lunch meat in an earlier post. The problem is that lunch meat is ‘meat’ only in the broadest definition of the word. Same holds true for much of the produce we eat, which has been grown in depleted soil rendering it nutritionally inferior.
The sooner we rediscover the difference between real food and the packaged irradiated, pasteurized, sterilized slop that Big Agriculture feeds us, the sooner we can dispense with irradiation and boobs like Mr. Stossel.
regardless of whether food irradiation is ‘safe’ or not (and i don’t trust the food or health industries -nor gummint- to seriously test for problems, merely profitability), the point not talked about is that the irradiating isotopes come from somewhere, and go somewhere…
…and i’m sure that whole process is perfectly safe !
of course, in bizarro world, we ignore all these inconvenient ‘externalities’…
art/not art
Incidentally, I suspect John Stossel�s moustache tells him what to think and he just writes it down.
Hey, leave his mustache out of this. It didn’t choose to be on his face. The free market made it so.
I was unaware of this, but here’s a 1998 FDA internal article which says irradiation has been around for 40 years and refers to a 1986 survey.
I mean, you have to trust somebody. You can take the attitude that the government is in hock to the multinational corporations, and therefore every new technology they approve has to be greeted with suspicion. But that’s a reductio ad absurdo argument. I work a lot–every day–with people with the Cooperative Extension Service and land grant colleges, and they do the research and distribute the information to farmers and industry. Someone earlier mentioned alar; horticulture guys at Universities will all swear up and down there was nothing wrong with alar. And the guys at Iowa State University have been researching irradiation for decades; I’ve been to the lab. We can’t live in caves; you have to judge what’s suspicious and what’s acceptable.
John Stossel is a tool!
A second rate Geraldo Rivera!
What if? Just What IF, the “carcinogens” that give positives on the Ames test that are natural parts of the plants’ defense systems are ‘taken care of’ naturally by our bodies in a way that they wouldn’t in the bacteria of the tests? HMMM?
And these synthetic chemicals are not so easily ‘taken care of’ in the human body? HMM?
So maybe just fucking maybe, the jury is still out on synthetic pesticides vs. natural ones? Maybe we had better be safe than sorry? Like global warming. The science isn’t as conclusive as either side would want you to believe. BUT, why take chances? Why play with fire?
And YES the world is already overpopulated. Notice he didn’t bring up China or India.
China is being turned into a huge wasteland because of overpopulation. They don’t have the land to grow the food they need. China imports a lot of their food from Brazil from farmers that slash and burn the Amazon so they can keep up with demand.
I mean, shit, that’s just the beginning.
And gas ISN’T a bargain! Who eats a gallon of ice cream in one sitting? But you probably burned a gallon of gas or two driving to and from work just today. The TOTAL cost of gas is way more than what we pay for water or ice cream. He complains that people don’t adjust for inflation when he doesn’t adjust for total usage.
And he claims to be a libertarian, but he bitches at the State Department for not sending aid to Africa. What libertarian is going to bitch at the govt for not spending MORE to help people who should be heling themselves?
I agree with Stossel on some things, like public education. I think it should be there, but not as the primary source of education for most kids. Anyway, the things he brings up here are dumb.
Let’s make the whole country a landfill 30 stories high, and put the world population in Texas. That way we can feed them straight from the Amazon and when we’re done chopping that up, well, hell, that’s more landfill space, isn’t it? Moron.
thanks for kicking john stossel’s ass. nothing makes me happier.
Wow, what a bad reply, just a complete ad hominem attack. Where’s the substance.
Don’t worry WoC, the truthiness will set you free.
Prions can be destroyed with enough heat — but the level of heat required will likely destroy the instrument being sterilized.
They are nasty shit.
I remember a story of a man who believed his mother died not of Alzeimers but scrapies (scrapies is CJD which is mad cow, more or less — it’s a prion-caused disease). Scrapies looks like Alzeimers — it “swiss-cheeses” your brain, making all these nasty legions. You can’t remember shit because your brain is LITERALLY full of holes.
He wanted an autopsy. British coroners said hell no.
If she was infected, their instruments would have to be destroyed. Prions contaminate everything. Scared the hell out of scientists.
I don’t think Stossel actually beleves any of this stuff. It seems as the point is that there are two sides to every story, and there are people out there who will try and convince you of anything to sell their products.
My paranoid prion fantasy involves the military thinking, “Wow! Prions would be an awesome bio/chemical weapon! But, they act too slowly. And, attacking the brain–where’s the pleasure in that?” So, they set a bunch of C-list scientists to work to artificially generate a designer prion. They request one that is effective within hours or days. The target? Connective tissue, because some military sicko thinks it would be funny to see enemy soldiers just “fly apart” like a house of cards collapsing. Unfortunately, such a designer prion is created… and, eventually used in combat. Since nobody thought things through very thoroughly, it hadn’t occurred to anyone that this prion would destroy most every multi-cellular animal it came into contact with, as well as enemy troops. It also doesn’t occur that once this prion is loose “on the wild,” it’s completely unstoppable. So, it’s used against the armed forces of some tinhorn dictator somewhere. We “crop dust” them with a fine, prion powder. And, success! A few days later, the enemy start to disintegrate–it’s just hilarious when they begin to be torn apart from within by their own musculature. Also a show-stopper-when they attempt to walk, and their leg bones just errupt through their skin and skitter across the room.
It becomes decidedly less humorous when various animals start falling apart, too. And then the effect starts spreading outward from the area we dusted, slowly, at first, but gathering momentum. The dead are crumbling to dust, which is blown about by prevailing winds. Rain washes some of it into rivers and oceans. Fish promptly begin to fall apart.
Within weeks or months, everything is dead, with the exception of plants and some single-cell organisms. Every surface on the planet is coated with prion dust. The oceans are cloudy with it. No life form that is dependent on the protein used to form connective tissues can ever again evolve. Perhaps some day, something approaching animal life will evolve again, but it would have to go about it in a radically different way. The plants, freed of herbivores and omnivores, reconquer much of the face of the planet, though their sudden ascendancy saddles them with many new problems as well–there are no fertilizing insects anymore, nor earthworms. Decay goes slowly, with only bacteria to accomplish it. But, it’s a green, green world… with no one to enjoy it.
You’ve got kind of a dark side, buddy.
I’m just a cock-eyed optimist.
This is a great blog. I couldn’t agree more with the posts. I will add your url to my favorites.Keep it real.
Thank you for taking on Stossel. And so bee-yoo-tifully.

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