Great article at cracked.com

Found this site not so long ago from one of the bloggists over on the right – probably Ambush Predator who points to a couple of their funnies this morning.

Anyway – here’s the thing…

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Between the hybrids, the reusable canvas shopping bags and cloth diapers, everybody’s doing their little bit to save the world. Entire industries have sprang up to cater to us socially-responsible types who want to leave behind a better world for the robots to inherit once they take over.

But, most of the time, making you feel better is about all it does. For instance…

#5. Buying Organically Grown Food

Despite all the claims that chemicals used in farming are bad for us, it turns out cancer rates have dropped 15 percent since farmers began using chemicals. How is that possible? Well it’s mainly due to people being able to afford more fruits and vegetables, because the chemicals allow more to be grown. That’s one reason the average life expectancy in the US went up by almost 10 years between 1950 and 2000.

As for the environment, it turns out organic farming has its own issues. Because it is much less efficient, there is actually a shortage of organic food available. This leads to people having the food shipped in from much further away. We’re no scientists, but we think that doing things like shipping organic milk 900 miles over the highway in a truck belching diesel fumes is probably canceling out any environmental benefits you might have gained from going organic.

Oh, and did we mention organic farming uses a lot of manure to fertilize crops? This results in a greater risk of contamination. Although organic produce only accounts for one percent of the food supply, it accounts for eight percent of the E. coli cases in the U.S.

#4. Rejecting Vaccinations

Apparently the whole autism scare was based on a 1998 report which has since been rejected by all the major health organizations, and was even retracted by its authors in 2004. In the scientific world, that’s the equivalent of calling bullshit on yourself.

As for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, studies actually showed that the cases of SIDS actually went down 40 percent even as vaccination rates went up. This is science’s way of saying "You are fucking wrong."

#3. Recycling

As for saving resources by recycling, this is where it gets tricky. Partly this is because whether or not recycling saves resources depends on whether you consider human labor to be a resource (that is, the effort to pick up, sort and transfer the items to be recycled). Recycling requires more trucks, more crews and more people to oversee the entire process. In Los Angeles alone there are twice as many garbage trucks than there would have been without the recycling program. Just like those douchebags who drive to the gym to run on a treadmill but still hop in the car to go the one block to the corner store to pick up their pork rinds and soda, it’s not clear just how much benefit there is at the end of the day.

Also, re-using something is not always better than just tossing it away. A chemist at the University of Victoria calculated that you would need to use a ceramic mug 1,000 times before you would see benefits over using disposable polystyrene cups for those 1,000 cups of coffee. This is because it takes far more energy to make that mug and takes energy and water to wash it after each use.

#2. Using Antibacterial Soap

Nature is a funny thing. Not "knock-knock joke" funny, but "horrifying death preceded by agonizing suffering" funny. The thing about biology is that while it is really easy to kill a lot of something, it’s a lot harder to kill all of something. And the survivors tend to be a lot tougher and pissed off.

Thus, there is concern that the stronger bacteria will become resistant as the weaker bacteria are killed off by our shelves of antibacterial products, leaving only the resistant ones behind. Darwinism works its magic.

If the idea of super germs isn’t scary enough, it turns out the same chemicals we’re using to try and kill those germs may actually be making us sick as well. The active ingredient in antibacterial soap is now thought to have the potential to affect sex hormones and the nervous system both. In fact, the chemicals causing the concern have been found in the urine of 75 percent of people, which means the poison is probably in your wiener right now.

The final nail in this comedy of errors and mixed metaphors is that studies found that using antibacterial soap is no better than using regular soap. Just one more marketing gimmick.

#1. Buying Carbon Offsets

You’re buying a promise from someone else that they are going to reduce their own carbon emissions by a certain amount. The trouble is that currently there is no standard or authority that monitors the offsets.

Investigations found that often, people buying offsets have bought worthless promises. Even when the company offering the offset follows through, there still might not be any additional benefit because the company who took your credits was already planning to reduce its emissions anyway.

Also linked from this article:

See some more stupid shit people did in the name of a cause, in The 6 Most Insane Moral Panics in American History. Or find out exactly what can happen when you respond to unfounded rumors, in 7 Bullshit Rumors That Caused Real World Catastrophes.

Quite a good site actually….

AJ

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About Al Jahom
Anti-social malcontent, misanthrope and miserable git.

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