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Short-sighted “Science” and Media


War is peace.
Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength
.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

Oh how true you sadly were, Mr Orwell! Nowadays, we pursue war in name of peace (we attack countries right before we “suspect” they may become a “threat” for themselves or others). We have become luxury slaves through debt and never-ending work and an our ongoing “need” for “more” and “better” and ‘what if’s”…and ignorance tinted with lots of short-sightedness has become the norm in media and everywhere in mainstream, forming opinions and scaring or moving people to wrong and worse consumer habits because through flat and “equal” education we have reached the point where most of us don’t think for ourselves…

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I wasn’t going to post today, but “The Province” front page and a couple of articles I researched to see where this came from brought my outrage in again. If something is difficult to swallow, it is short-sightedness disguised as “science”…

The “The Province” article mentioned the “research” from Prof Jonathan Klick (a PhD in Economics and Prof. at a Law School from University of Pennsylvaniahttps://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/jklick/ …I didn’t know  Law and Economics professors had any saying on microbiology or food safety)The Province: http://www2.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=f261dfa0-dfb2-4095-b598-8e0c9931e46e . He argues that reusable bags are dangerous because 8% of them have been found to contain E.Coli. Imagine! Your kitchen cutting board is probably full of E.Coli and you shouldn’t use the same one you use to cut chicken or any meat to cut vegetables or fruits! (at least, wash and disinfect it before using it again). The news showed up also in UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2478235/How-bag-life-POISON-Expert-warns-reusable-carriers-contaminated-E-coli.html .

So, I went further and tried to do some more research on this “research” and came up with this: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2196481  and this: http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/0313/gaz04.html …Seriously? Not only these are not serious “scientific” studies, but they are also old, and the factors they are considering have nothing to do with educating people or the long term consequences of using what they suggest (i.e. more plastic bags).  The original study (not this joke!) is cited here: http://uanews.org/story/reusable-grocery-bags-contaminated-e-coli-other-bacteria and at least that article (from June 2010) mentions a few intelligent tips, instead of, like Prof. Klick, trying to create an impossible debate on whether plastic bags may be “safer” than reusable ones…

What I’m trying to point out is how media uses bad science or “opinions” to create false debates about things, knowing that most people in the public won’t have the time (or the willingness) to go beyond their articles (or their headlines)…this is exactly what they do with topics like Climate Change, Peak Oil, GMOs and so on…

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
~ Stephen Hawking

In this particular case, the questions are not whether recyclable bags carry E. Coli. The questions should be about educating the public:

  • Separate recyclable bags you use for dry food/boxes from the ones you use for raw food
  • Wrap raw food or put them in safe, washable containers,. Not in direct contact with the bag
  • Wash and disinfect your bags at least one a month
  • Don’t use reusable bags for everything: have separate bags for shoes, clothes, books, tools, etc.
  • Eat less meat: if you don’t buy meat, you won’t have this problem
  • Grow your own vegetables or pick them directly from a local farm, farmers’ market or CSA and this problem will be reduced
  • Always wash your vegetables and fruits and submerge them in vinegar before consuming them
  • Use different cutting boards for meat, vegetables and fruits, bread or cheeses and wash them thoroughly between uses. Same with knives
  • Wash your hands when before and after handling food
  • Store, prepare, eat and dispose of food properly
  • Take a Food Safety course
  • Check for more info in symptoms, prevention, etc. here: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/fs-fi/ecoli-eng.php

The public should also be educated about what happens with all their plastic bags:

  • They are made of non-renewable, hard to get resources
  • They are usually used once (or twice, if you use them for garbage) and then thrown away
  • They suffocate animals in rivers, forests and oceans
  • They contaminate forever as they disintegrate but never biodegrade (even the ones that say so, take hundreds of years), and their rests block the oxygen in wide areas of the ocean, killing fish and other living organisms we need to survive as specie:

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1    and

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/oceanography/great-pacific-garbage-patch.htm

Manufacturers have long chosen plastic for their products on the basis of price and functionality., But creating a more sustainable relationship with plastics will require a new dexterity on our part. It will require us to think about the entire life cycle of the products we create and use.”
~ Susan Freinkel, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
~ Albert Schweitzer