Friday 15 February 2013

news round-up or won’t somebody think of the children

There has been a strange colluding focus in the reports towards the waning of the week with a somewhat strange commonality.

First, revelations that horse meat is being dished up in processed foods, albeit in frozen bricks of lasagna that seem a bit suspect to begin with, is sparking mass-hysteria among consumers, primarily because said horse meat was not on offer and some are a bit discriminatory, finicky about what animal they are eating. I think it’s perfect that the scandal coincided with the beginning of Lent and might make people rethink the importance of giving something up, a commitment that has lost a little bit of currency. The attendant panic, and more so in regions where horse is on offer and is husbanded and butchered quite differently than horses not meant for human consumption (as opposed to race horses and dray horses), concerns steroids and doping substances ingratiating themselves in the human food chain. Never mind that that’s already happened with all other livestock with antibiotics and the run-off from human over-medication that’s leeching into the environment from our sewers. The EU is forming a new task force to address these issues, and with more fell severity and forensic certitude than the mysterious food-poisoning cases of two summers ago.
The other strange headline was of course the meteorite that exploded over a populated area in the Ural mountains. That’s a pretty spectacular occurrence though its unfortunate that people were hurt and property damaged but surely something to remember. When I first half-attended to the story on the radio, I thought maybe it was the anniversary or new research into the Tunguska explosion in 1908 (though half a world away from the Urals) that perpetrated by a meteorite some a twenty times as big and leveled forests. The political reflex was to placate the shocked by pledge to protect the public from the threat of such impacts, which while it is possibly feasible to shield against something as big as the asteroid close to passing the orbits of Earth’s most high-flying artificial satellites (which supposedly had nothing to do with the impact but gravity has a far-reaching influence) could not provide an umbrella again every shooting-star.