Saturday, January 09, 2021

Forced Transition (Why I Don't Eat Catfish)

Suggested soundtrack: "Eighth Day" by Hazel O'Connor, from the Breaking Glass album and movie.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of being terrified of the family toilet.  I thought mutant crocodiles might emerge and bite me while I went about my business. Horror from the sewer goes back much further. At least since 1941, spec fic writers have imagined what might arise from polluted waters.

Consider The Penguin, aka Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. As they write on Wiki, credits to

"The Penguin is one of the major villains from DC Comics, most notably appearing as one of Batman's oldest and most infamous foes. The Penguin, like most of Batman's foes, relies heavily on gadgets, since he does not have any superpowers."

Batman is science fiction, isn't it? Soft SF?  Speculative fiction? It's the stuff of superheroes and supervillains, and of super-heroines and super-villainesses. In the case of Batman, the goodies and the baddies rely mostly on technology, but also on genetic mutation. They use costumes and secret identities, and usually, if anyone important dies, they are resurrected by supernatural means or supernatural intervention.

The Penguin is particularly interesting because his problems stem from toxic waste pollution, although, I don't think we are told why his aristocratic parents gave birth to a deformed infant.

What's In Your Sewage? asked a science blog in 2008

Already in 2008 they knew about the feminization of male fish in lakes, and also in coastal parts of the ocean. Some male fish were found to be growing female parts and even laying eggs, and larger predator fish were ingesting sex-changed smaller fish. Lake fish are the worst. Don't eat them.  Similar issues have been found in flatfish in the oceans for instance in plaice, sole, skates... in bottom feeders, one might say.

The 2008 science blog's bottom line is, "Don't flush your drugs."

We cannot help flushing hormone laden urine -- or can we?  Should we?  Those who take Viagra, the contraceptive Pill, vitamin supplements, morphine etc, and those who believe that the safest way to dispose of unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals is to flush them may send surges of unnatural substances into the wild.

With everything Big Tech knows about every individual, and the continued weakening of medical privacy regulations (Covid Passports?) it should not be difficult to identify persons who ought to be disconnected from sewers, or else surcharged for their ungreen sewage output. 
This week, we hear that in New York, where, it is alleged, unused/unusable doses of mRNA vaccine are being flushed down the toilet. One would have thought that administrations that claim to be concerned about the environment would use more caution. Have there been studies on what mRNA does to rats and cockroaches? Likely not.

Michael Savage explains a bit about how mRNA works here:
It is perhaps not a particularly helpful blog with regard to advocating for defeating Covid-19 through vaccination --which everyone, of course, should do-- but the quote from The Independent is edifying.

“It uses a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected into your body, must invade your cells and hijack your cells’ protein-making machinery called ribosomes to produce the viral components that subsequently train your immune system to fight the virus.”“In this case, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is programmed to make your cells produce the coronavirus’ infamous coronavirus spike protein that gives the virus its crown-like appearance (corona is crown in Latin) for which it is named,” wrote The Independent.

Delving back into the sewage issue, it's not just a problem for fish and fish eaters.  Solid waste from treatment facilities is used on farmland, and may poison the worms --not in a good way-- which are said to accumulate pharma products and also residues of whatever is flushed from human bodies during showering (or baths).

The link from what's in your sewage to discussion of worms goes to a deleted page.  The link to an active, environmental blog does work, and is thought provoking.

For spec fic writers, perhaps the bigger problem for the world is not what humankind exhales (C02), but what personkind excretes into the sewers.  Bottom line, don't flush your drugs, either first hand or second hand.  Also, don't flush "flushable" wipes. They are not truly flushable or biodegradable.

All the best

Rowena Cherry 

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