business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the possibility that the US government could try to ban TikTok unless the current Chinese owners spin it off into a US-owned company, MNB reader Andy Casey wrote:

Not that I have any doubt China may have nefarious intent, but somebody help me understand just exactly how TikTok (or really, anything on the internet) can be banned in the United States?  That pesky First Amendment would seem to be an obstacle along with the well documented inclination of Americans to seek out that which has been forbidden to them (remember prohibition?). And frankly, “national security issues” surrounding China knowing what the average American teenager does on the internet seem a little overblown.

My understanding, as far as it goes, is that trade issues would be invoked.  Scott Galloway argues that since China does not allow US social media companies to operate there unfettered, and when it does allow US companies in it often is to steal their IP, the US government should be able to play hardball.

Another MNB reader wrote:

I don't disagree that we need to be mindful of the psychological impact of social media on young people...but if that is indeed the focus here - how about we do something real and meaningful about gun violence in our schools.

You'll get no argument from me.

Though I fear that "real and meaningful" steps to deal with gun violence in general, and especially in our schools - like we saw just yesterday in Nashville - is unlikely.

On the subject of the scary UN report on climate change, I commented, in part:

Earth scarring solar panels?  Bird-killing wind farms?  Really?  I love it when I come upon a field of solar panels, or I see windmills on the landscape.  It makes me feel that there are some people in some places who are connected to reality.

One MNB reader responded:

You love seeing solar fields and wind farms?  Wow.  I would rather see rolling fields being farmed, mountain tops with natural lines.  In upstate NY we have both alternate energy sources, and to me it is very disheartening when you use to come up over a ridge and see beautiful landscapes for miles and now you see silver solar panels covering the farm land.  Not to mention the 25yr life span of a solar panel.  What do they do with them then?  Burn them??  But hey, I guess in your eyes you see people connected to reality.  What reality I don’t know. 

I like open fields, too.  But I think we have to get real about our energy sources.  

On another subject, from MNB reader Jerome Schindler:

My observation is that in general consumers are essentially immune to being educated, especially when it comes to food.  .  Examples among many:  (1) MSG is bad for you.  (2) Preservatives are bad for you.  3.  Artificial anything is bad for you.  4. Milk and any other dairy products made with milk from cows treated with rbST are bad for you.  5.  GMO is bad for you.  6. Natural is always good for you.

1. Scientific consensus is that MSG has gotten a bad rap.  Double blind studies have shown no significant difference is side effects from ingestion of MSG. compared to ingestion of a placebo. 2. Preservatives are generally harmless and reduce food spoilage and waste. Cheese with no mold inhibitor often grows mold after it is opened and then discarded.  Sorbic acid once was widely used and retards mold growth but presents no hazard.  3. There is no difference between a compound made chemically and one from nature.  4. rbST is undetectable in milk from cows treated with rbST.  And while rbST falls within the technical definition of a hormone , it is not an estrogen and nowhere near chemically to what consumers think is a hormone like diethylstilbestrol.  5.  The proven benefits of GMO technology far exceed the theoretical and speculative risks of ingesting GMO ingredients.   6.  Just because it is natural does not mean it is less harmful. 

So, no matter how much the proponents try to educate consumers, as long as meat is reasonably available I do not see a significant market for lab grown substitutes.   

And just like food companies blast claims such as no this and no that on their labels, in reality implicit claims that such is harmful, I am sure the sellers of real meat will tout "not lab grown" on their products implying that there is something wrong with being lab grown.

This is marketing to unfounded fears.

On the subject of the composting of human remains, MNB reader Carl Jorgensen wrote:

Loved your human composting piece today. I think it’s a lovely trend. Somewhat related is this story out of Kenya, which has recently experienced some Biblical-style plagues of locusts. One community is collecting the locusts and composting them to produce a rich fertilizer.

I mentioned in my FaceTime that I'd like at least some of my remains to end up in the corner of some vineyard in the Willamette Valley, which prompted MNB reader Deborah Faragher to write:

I love this piece, Kevin.  Talk about giving back!  I had to forward it to my friend Karen at Willamette Valley Vineyards.  I hope she shares with Jim Bernau!

On the subject of the 3D printing of food, one MNB reader wrote:

Sounds disgusting but on a positive note, this will likely help with our national obesity problem.

And finally, in response to my mentioning a dish I'd made, MNB reader Mark Thorngren wrote:

Have you ever posted the recipe for Shrimp, It's all Greek to me?  Sounds good.

I can do better than that.  From MNB, almost two years ago: