Of Fake Bacon, Touchy Chinese and Space Cannibals

Jan. 7, 2022

A snarky look at the news.

Sometimes the news comes so thick and fast that all you can do is sit back and marvel. And make snarky comments, of course.

Poison by Analogue Bacon

One of the most popular features of Reddit is a subreddit called “Am I the [Jerk]” (they use a saltier term). It’s a forum where people who are bothered by their role in a conflict can go for advice, validation or chastisement, as the case may be.

One thread that has received more than 3,500 replies involves the Case of the Fake Bacon. A woman accepted a vegetarian roommate into her home. The day after moving in, the new roommate cooked a breakfast for her housemates that included bacon strips. After the woman consumed them, the new roommate “smugly told us” that it was plant-based analogue bacon.

The problem is that the faux bacon was soy-based, and the woman who ate is it severely allergic to soy. She ended up in the hospital for two days with anaphylactic shock and, understandably angry, complained to the police. The roommate was found guilty of “some low degree of felony,” and the victim also sued her for medical expenses.

The victim appealed to Reddit because she was feeling somewhat guilty about what happened to the roommate: her scholarship was canceled, she had to drop out of school, and she went into debt paying the medical expenses.

The Reddit responses, so far as I can tell, lean toward exonerating the woman. After all, the roommate did lie to her and put her life at risk. I can go along with that, except that felony charge did seem a bit much. (The writer pointed out that it wasn’t her decision what the roommate was charged with.)

Of course, if the victim had died, the roommate might have been facing more than a “low degree of felony.”

Walmart’s Big Trouble in Big China

It seems that Sam’s Club stores in China are declining to sell food and other products from the Xinjiang region in the northwest. Xinjiang is home to the Uyghur people, a Muslim minority. Their treatment by Chinese authorities has been, by all accounts, dreadful, with credible allegations of forced labor, forced relocations, and imprisonment in “re-education camps.”

In reaction, the United States has banned imports of products from Xinjiang. Sam’s Club, a unit of Walmart, found itself accused on social media of pulling Xinjiang products off the shelves of its Chinese stores. Chinese authorities were not happy, using terms like “stupidity” and “shortsightedness,” and threatening to give Sam’s Club “a taste of its own medicine.” Next thing Walmart knew, it was being cited by Chinese police for “cybersecurity violations.”

Well, if you’re determined to do business with a bunch of touchy authoritarians, you’ll have to expect things like this.

Cannibalism on Mars

A couple of “space scholars” told the New York Post that if space ever gets colonized and things go wrong with the food supply, the colonists may have to resort to cannibalism to survive.

The “eat the rich” jokes just write themselves. Only how would it be decided who goes first?

I imagine there would be a certain amount of violence involved. But if you want to know how this could be done in a civilized manner, under parliamentary procedure, check out this story by Mark Twain.