The stupidity of the popular press and its willingness to blithely spread complete horseshit as though it were scientific truth is brought to me today in a story from the fashion page.
It seems a young woman in Germany who is both a biochemist and fashion designer has developed a new fabric made from milk. The stuff, called Qmilch, is apparently washable like cotton but otherwise has the characteristics of silk. As a result, it has great potential. Moreover, it is totally sustainable and not nearly as bad for us as those other common fabrics, according to the Associated Press. “Currently, apparel depends heavily on byproducts from oil, or natural resources such as water— used in the thousands of gallons to produce just a bolt of cotton.” Really?
Cotton is a highly resource-intensive product but milk just comes out of the cow and hardly has an impact on the environment? Gee. I would have thought that most of what cotton uses in the way of water is rainwater, perhaps assisted by some irrigation using resources we have been using for a thousand years. (The Nile, for example.) I would also think that cotton, being a plant and all, would consume carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, thus reducing the carbon footprint of cotton.
On the other hand, I would guess that cows breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Moreover they poop a lot and fart a lot. Pooping and farting cows generate methane, which pollutes the atmosphere. In fact, as I recall, the single biggest cause of air pollution in Australia is sheep which, I suspect, don’t poop or fart as much as cows. Moreover, milk is a significant source of nutrition. When we turned corn production from growing food (a lot of it eaten by cows) to growing fuel, we significantly increased the price of food. Poor people go hungry. There were riots in Mexico over the price of tortillas and a significant increase in the price of high fructose corn syrup, which is at the core of most processed foods. We have all paid a little for that. What will happen when we turn cows to the task of churning out prom dresses?
You have to wonder what moron writes this stuff. When I was a cub reporter I was expected to be more discerning than this, and editors were expected to exercise some superior wisdom in guiding their young writers to thinking critically about what they write. Today, any shit for brains punk can get a journalism degree and editors are only slightly elder shit for brains punks who have not been able to find a better paying job tending bar.