Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bozo the Clone

Much Ado About Nibbles

Was it a slow news day? Did media members need a break from cock-eyed caucuses, presumptuous primaries, Hillary's pillories, Barack's background, John, Fred, and Rudy's beauties, and Mitt's millions? Did the pundits exceed their limit of 3,750 usages of the word "Kumbaya?" Was it a plot to take our minds off the economy, or the war? Whatever the reason, all three major networks, their cable affiliates, and a plethora of pundits focused on... food from cloned animals.

Oh the worry, the fear. Imagine, if you would, drinking milk from cloned cows, or chocolate milk from cloned brown cows. Might you one day be served a Clone Bone instead of a T-bone steak? Will a rib-eye become a rib-eye of the test tube? Will a flank become a clank? Tri-tip to tube tip? Will the home on the range become home to Frankensteer? The possibility of cloned meat coming to a grocery store near you brings a whole new meaning to "Make me a ham sandwich."

Ever since the announcement that Dolly the Lamb was cloned (The Dolly Lamba?) a whole new set of fears entered the milieu of the paranoids. A quick Google check of the term "cloned meat" brought up dozens of news stories, all from different sources, all released the same day, all including the words "clone" and "safe." Think there might be a message somebody is trying to get out?

Despite the fact that the electronic age of media has brought much more news to the average household, it has also brought plenty of misinformation. That is due in part of the need for a 10-second sound bite that reporters use to try to summarize a story, and the "new" twists on stories to keep them interesting to keep the attention of the audience. Let's take a look at some of the facts of cloning.

Cloning foods is not new. It takes about 30 years to breed a banana from seed . To speed the process scientists have been cloning for decades. Using the term "vegetative propagation" (less scary than cloning I guess) most apples, pears, bananas, potatoes, and grapes that you eat are clones. Frogs have been cloned since the 1950s. Some endangered species have been cloned to save them from extinction.

Picture the farm scene 20 or 30 years in the future: a youngster says, "Mom, this milk tastes funny." Mom responds, "Of course it does, Dear. That milk is not from Elsie the cow, it came from Bozo the clone."

A little blogging music Maestro... the twisted version from Sondheim, "Send in the Clones."

Dr. Forgot

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