Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You're Soaking It In Now

About a week ago ATC ran one of those OMG! stories about how poorly educated US students are. The report was sloppy - telling us nothing about differences in the pools of students surveyed or the overall rates of public education in areas being considered. A great deal was made about the superiority of students in Shanghai compared to the entire US public school student population, though an "expert" in the story actually referred to Shanghai as a "country." Whatever shortcomings our public schools may have, US journalism schools are having no problem churning out job-ready knuckleheads for the US media market. (Did someone say Ombudsman?)

The report lamented how badly US students perform when it comes to math and science. Hmmm...I wonder why Americans might be so poorly informed when it comes to science? Could it be that some media outlets constantly present junk science as deserving equal treatment with real science?

That brings us to NPR's Wednesday morning's dirty story about dishwashing detergents that don't have phosphates in them. The phosphates have been removed because more and more states have banned their use because they contribute to water pollution. The gist of the story is that consumers are devastated by the poor performance of non-phosphate detergents in their dishwashers. Here are some of the dire conditions that NPR's Elizabeth Shogren describes:
  • "...something was seriously amiss with her dishes."
  • "...many people across the country are tearing out their hair over stained flatware, filmy glasses and ruined dishes."
  • "...months of aggravation and expense..."
Shogren does at least mention why the dish detergents are phosphate-free:
"Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen."
Not a bad start, but let's pick it up at the end there and see what comes next:
"...and starve fish of oxygen. But dirty and damaged dishes are turning lots of people into skeptics, including Wright."

Ms. Wright: "I'm angry at the people who decided that phosphate was growing algae. I'm not sure that I believe that."
There it is. Just left there as if it's a perfectly rational statement: I'm angry at what scientific research has proven so I just won't believe it.

Probably the most reprehensible part of this whole rehashed, dish detergent story (and it is an old story), is when Shogren - instead of rebutting the ignorance with researched facts (this link was posted in the early comments on the story) or pointing out responsible solutions for frustrated consumers - gives listeners detailed instructions on how they can defeat the ban by adding phosphates to their dishwashing machines...I'm not kidding:
"But not everyone is willing to adjust. Sandra Young figured out a way to undo the phosphate ban, at least in her own kitchen. She bought some trisodium phosphate at a hardware store and started mixing her own formula. "
Who needs clean lakes, rivers and streams? The important thing is to defeat the "nanny state" by any means necessary. Go FOX...I mean NPR.



I must be on Santa's Nice List to get all these nice presents from MYWords!

I was stunned by the poor quality (even for NPR) of this reporting. It does prove NPR's GOP-friendly default style book is exclude any opinion from the Left, or environmentalist, or scientists, historians, . . . It seems NPR is now following WWCW: "What Would Corporate underwriters Want?" as its new standard.

The really bizarre part was when NPR instructed it's listeners on how to pollute their water by adding phosphates to their dishwasher. Now that some Pubic service. This from NPR "environmental reporter"?

What's next for NPR, maybe these similar reports?

"How to add pesticides to you foods?"

"10 fun home improvements with asbestos"

"PCBs: Some say drink all you want."

"Tobacco, the gift that keeps giving."

Not Pubic Radio, at it's finest: pro-corporate, anti-science, FOX lite.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, the nitwits get what they deserve:

Trisodium phosphate poisoning
"Trisodium phosphate is a strong chemical. Poisoning occurs if you accidentally swallow, breathe in, or spill large amounts of this substance on your skin."

Anonymous said...

While we are about "Better living through kitchen Chemistry", I hear concentrated hyrdofluoric acid works really well on glassware.

Fred Baumgarten said...

I know nothing NPR does should shock me anymore,

informedveteran said...

Does this mean NPR can be charged with supporting eco-terrorists?

gDog said...

...and try new improved Isobar [TM] with it's patented mix of uranium-235, uranium-233 and plutonium-239. One bar under your sink will nab those nasty bacteria while they're napping! And it's economical, mom! One bar will last at least 24,200 years!

gDog said...

its, too

Anonymous said...

The term "eco-terrorist" is reserved for those who threaten business in order to protect the environment.

Those who threaten the environment to protect business are called "good citizens".

Anonymous said...

I hear this removes those ugly spots from dishes even better than phosphates.

informedveteran said...

They sure achieved their goal with this phosphate story. Dumbed down by design.


Anonymous said...

I think it is a virtual impossibility that NPR could ever become what that article talks about without firing everyone who currently works there.

The folks at NPR pride themselves on being smarter than everyone else and so do the people who listen.

I have to agree with the woman interviewed for the article:

"Wordiness is a problem for one white woman who spoke to researchers about NPR: “I think it can be clever and quirky, and smart and insightful. But I don’t choose to listen to it because it’s too much talking for me.”

For me, too.

Too much (essentially vacuous) talking by a bunch of elitist twits who think they are smarter and better than everyone else on the planet.

Porter Melmoth said...

Unbelievable. Typically unbelievable. More proof that NPR will stop at nothing to establish itself as Definitive Explainer for the alleged Thinking Masses.

Ever since it was determined that there was money in that there Journalism (remember all the Ron Baillie schools?), becoming an American Storyteller was doomed to corporate capturement. It's obvious that nearly every NPR-oid is an ambitious egotist, whether in the faux-intellectual showoff department or the blatant moneygrubbing department (lots of overlap there).

And speaking of Alicia's Shepherding of we the listeners, did anyone happen to catch her on On Point a few weeks ago? It was at the height of Juangate (remember that?), and it was the first time I'd actually heard her voice. She was just another snot-nosed narcissist that fit perfectly into the haughty halls of Beltway broadcasting. More than 'nuff said on that miserable subject.

Just a thought on NPR's witty commentary and supremacist humor (I get kind of tired of using quotation marks for what is already over-obvious). That is, whenever Inskreep & Co. crack a little levity before daintily diving into Ivory Coast or choleric Haiti, the implication is that the humor usually describes some stupid act by stupid people, and that everybody stupid is OUT THERE someplace. You know, that such stupidity could never apply to the lofty hosts & literate readers of NPR. And you the listener can join in and parrot these stories of stupidity to your co-workers, so as to prove that you yourself aren't stupid at all, and you never will be because you're smart and listen to smart people. And then you can crown your moment by saying, 'I HEARD IT ON NPR'. 'Nuff said again.

Of course, this is part of the success story of NPR creating its own elitist flock. Like the GOP: you're welcome to support us, but you will never really become one of us.

Egads! I'm guilty of 'doing an NPR': WORDINESS!!! AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!! Help me!!! Somebody help meeeeee!!!

gDog said...

Sodium tri-phosphate is only one of the many household chemicals that have been distributed through our escosystem by the capitalist/consumer model of economy we suffer under. A lynch pin of this whole sick culture (endlessly promoted by NPR-oids) is what John Lennon termed "the nigger of the world." We make her paint her face and dance. And the stuff she paints on her face has always been exempt from the "nanny state." (Where is) mom's dance involves doing hand over fist grabs at Walmart while dad (is war) loads the lawnmower with Roundup: "git along thayah li'l bitches!"

Until a couple of years ago, we had a dishwasher that (like everybody else's) would redistributed the dish dirt and then bake it on hard. Got rid of it and have been washing dishes by hand ever since. The trick is soaking. Then a little Dove and a rinse and insto-presto: clean dishes.

bpf-phosphate-free-b said...

^ Heh heh - I be doin' the same G-dawg. And as an ol' bud had quipped:

"I wash, God dries."

(my my, bunny's hoppin' happy he ain't contributing financially to this crapola no mo')

Anonymous said...

The funniest part of that NPR piece was the part about having to "rinse the dishes first" [gasp!] before they went in the dishwasher and that this would use up more water.

Well, relative to the amount used by the dishwasher, it would be a proverbial drop in the bucket and might even allow you to run the dishwasher on "short wash" cycle, which would probably yield a net saving in water used overall.

The idea that it is somehow a BIG deal that people have to do a little more manual work to prevent pollution of the environment is just absurd -- obscene, really.

Porter Melmoth said...

NPR is in the forefront of the Big Babyization of America movement.

Porter Melmoth said...

Ultra-sophisticated Jack Speer newsreads that Julian Assange was released but 'THAT DOESN'T MEAN HE CAN DO AS HE PLEASES'.

larry, dfh said...

I was here today, but I didn't stay for the arrests. Mara told me it was "dozens". Now who am I going to believe Marastandsfornothing or my lying eyes?

gDog said...

Way to go Larry - Love you for it!

Raw story has it too.

Anonymous said...

Where to begin? So much BS and so little time but . . .Larry? Let me add my heartfelt solidarity with you and the rest having to stand in the cold and snow while calling for peace in this "season" of Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.

I hope some day that my life will get so f***ing comfortable that my only worries are how spotless my tableware is divided by the amount of "work" I must do to achieve that level of clean.

I wonder if anyone (certainly NOT! Stands4Nothing radio) has done an analysis of the income/estates of the members of Congress that voted for the Great Tax Giveaway. My guess is that the Senate would look like they were simply acting out of financial self-interest.

Intelligence degeneration alert! Inskeep is giving address at Ball State (i think i heard). Wonder if it for HIS "intellectuaL heft"?


Anonymous said...

Inskeep is giving address at Ball State (i think i heard). Wonder if it for HIS "intellectuaL heft"?

No, Balls tate would more likely be to bolster his cred with the neocons.

Patrick Lynch said...

Trisodium phosphate?! I can't believe anyone in their right mind would add that to their dishwasher. I used that stuff 20 years ago to clean up an automobile engine I was rebuilding and I wore heavy rubber gloves while using it. I didn't want that stuff on my skin. Did a great job cleaning a couple of decades of grime but anyone who uses it as a booster for their dishwasher detergent is committing suicide by idiocy.