Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Human Experiment (movie review)

This documentary looks at the issue of toxins in our tissues owing to higher concentrations of various substances in our ecosystem (economy):  Bisphenol-A, PVC, asbestos... lead.

Flame retardants are a good thing in general, but the devil is in the details.  Efforts to change the mix in California have only incensed the flame retardant industry.

Other cases of this kind show the uphill battle being waged to get some kind of handle on poisons and/or poisonous practices.  Reducing the power of tobacco advertising, a form of drug pushing, was just the beginning of a long slog.

The fact that the USG, presumably a "superpower" is rather unfairly helpless against Big Tobacco, Big Asbestos, Big Killing You Softly in general (Obnoxico) comes through loud and clear.  Uncle Sam tends to go toothless where Cowardly Capitalism is concerned.

Lets face it, democracy is a fairly new invention, and as an average human one is a disposable item, to be milked for money in the interim, and maybe thereafter, in the form of ongoing payments from the estate.

Using the courts against Obnoxico is next to impossible as the legislation (rule making) may be so obstructive as to make court battles irrelevant.  Corporate personhood means giants among us set the rules, with ordinary humans relegated to steerage as 2nd or 3rd class.  Our monsters have us on the defensive already, yet most scientists still project our battle with AI robots in futuristic terms.

Our own conditioned reflexes have proved robotic enough, to threaten our continued survival as humane / sapient human beings.  The post-sapiens will still be good at shopping however.

Consumers still have the power to vote with whatever remaining purchasing power, though institutional buyers may be beholden to specific arrangements, through board members perhaps.

Sometimes "specific arrangements" are a good deal for all concerned, so I'm not casting aspersions on optimization as a concept.  Indeed, free market capitalism has this last resort optimizing capability:  the freedom of consumers, even without top-down organizations, to set up what amounts to a boycott.

Some ingredients get on the black list, as do some companies.  Legislation may bring up the rear in that case -- or not.  Public taste and opinion may lead legislation by a decade or more, as we've seen with Prohibition.

Lets remember the power of women, whom the USG is these days thinking to draft and send into combat, without first passing any ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).  Women look forward to having children with every advantage, and become health nuts during pregnancy, a lot of the time.

Their concerns about radio-toxins in the ecosystem thanks to reckless testing by Iron Mountain's minions, motivated Uncle Sam to clamp down on atmospheric testing, by negotiating with others to do the same.  Mothers everywhere were up in arms, more conscious than most of front lines biology.

When breast milk starts ticking, there's the thought to be more careful with our one shared planet.  Dr. Evil types need to be countered.  Have we no heroes anymore?

I think environmental engineering or engineering with ethics, informed about agriculture, conscious of human and non-human needs, is going to recruit a lot of top talent.  Movies such as this one, rather weak on science specifics, set a bench mark to move beyond.

Contrary to one mother's lament, that one shouldn't need a PhD in biochemistry to have a child, that's something we're all going to need, at least informally.  Taking care of life requires a lot more understanding of biochemistry than simply wreaking havoc, which requires few skills.

The growing crop of weapons inspectors will be a subcategory of environmental engineer.  There's nothing healthy about those stockpiles of WMDs, neither physically nor psychologically.  Humans are reduced to idiocrat post-sapiens when over-exposed to radio-toxins.  Protective measures, beyond just the haz-mat suits, are a job requirement.