Saturday, January 29, 2022

Lab-grown meat is supposed to be inevitable. The science tells a different story.

Original Article (link).

Splashy headlines have long overshadowed inconvenient truths about biology and economics. Now, extensive new research suggests the industry may be on a billion-dollar crash course with reality.

Alternative protein company Eat Just started selling small amounts of cultured chicken in Singapore earlier this year (2021).

Alternative protein company Eat Just started selling small amounts of
cultured chicken in Singapore earlier this year.

Paul Wood didn’t buy it.

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress

[From Sunday Times Jan 10, 2010]


Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives Michael Specter Penguin Press (2009)

A science and public-health writer for the New Yorker, Michael Specter tackles the disturbing trend of the 'denial of scientific advancement' among some Americans: perceiving science as harmful and turning to natural remedies as alternatives.

There's a lot to be said for buying locally grown produce: it can help sustain community farmers and focus attention on the quality of the environment. It tastes better, too.
But is organic food healthier for you than food that contains genetically engineered ingredients or that has been harvested by robot-guided combines instead of human hands? Is it more likely to sustain the planet or the majority of its inhabitants? And are organic fertilisers and pesticides clearly a more virtuous and earth-friendly choice for the consumer than those made of synthetic chemicals?
There are no short answers to those questions (at least none that are true). But there has certainly never been a study that would suggest the answer to any of them is a simple yes. There is no evidence, for example, that a single person has died or become seriously ill as a result of the accumulated residue of pesticides in their food.
The same cannot be said of the toxins contained in 'natural' food - as any number of salmonella outbreaks or raw milk poisonings in the United States continually demonstrate. In 2009, after salmonella and listeria contamination sent dozens of people to hospitals in six states, the Food and Drug Administration even warned Americans to avoid raw alfalfa sprouts - perhaps the signature food of a healthy, organic lifestyle.

Extracted by Chong Thong Yang from the National Library Board.
The book is available at NLB's public libraries. Call No.: English 306.45 SPE

Organic food just means that there are no inorganic (and thus artificial) fertilisers and pesticdes used to grow the food. Without pesticides to protect the fruit, pests may invade the fruit, so that organic fruit juice may just contain the ground up remains of an insect or other pests. But guess what? Those things are organic! So no false advertising there when they tell you the juice is 100% organic. Me, I'd prefer my juice to be 100% fruit.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Singapore could see more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases a day as Omicron wave hits: Health ministry

The Omicron variant now causes at least 70% of daily cases, says task force co-chair Gan Kim Yong.

Ang Hwee Min

21 Jan 2022 

SINGAPORE: Singapore will likely see a “significant wave” of COVID-19 soon, with the more infectious Omicron variant now causing at least 70 per cent of daily cases, said co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Jan 21).

“But in reality, the proportion is likely to be higher, perhaps close to 90 per cent or more. Omicron has clearly dominated over Delta variant in Singapore,” Mr Gan said at a press conference.

“Given that the Omicron variant is more infectious, it is likely that we will soon see a significant wave.” 

We are Taiwanese’: China’s growing menace hardens island’s identity

A shopping district in Taipei on Oct 5, 2021. More than ever, Taiwanese are embracing an identity that is distinct from
that of mainland China, a shift that is partly generational.  - 
The New York Times

January 23, 2022

CHIAYI (Taiwan) — When Ms Li Yuan-hsin, a 36-year-old high school teacher, travels abroad, people often assume she is Chinese.

No, she tells them. She is Taiwanese.

To her, the distinction is important. China may be the land of her ancestors, but Taiwan is where she was born and raised, a home she defines as much by its verdant mountains and bustling night markets as by its robust democracy.

In high school, she had planted a little blue flag on her desk to show support for her preferred political candidate; since then, she has voted in every presidential election.

“I love this island,” Ms Li said. “I love the freedom here.”

Friday, January 21, 2022

'If it's your time to go, it's time to go': Henan survivors pick up the pieces after deadly floods

Rescue teams try to reach flooded villages in Zhancheng, Henan province. (Photo: Olivia Siong) 

Olivia Siong

05 Aug 2021

ZHENGZHOU, Henan: For 11 hours, Zhu Gongjun perched precariously on a ladder in his home, watching floodwaters rise at an alarming rate.

Similar scenes played out across the city: Residents holding hands to cross streets covered in torrents of water, shop owners frantically moving goods to higher ground and people forced to stay the night at their workplace as the city's electricity and water supply came to a juddering halt.

And pure terror in Zhengzhou's subway system where more than a dozen people drowned in a flooded carriage.

CNA witnessed the aftermath of the deadly floods in July and spoke to survivors. These are their stories.