Gary K first drew attention to this:
THE air pollution that city dwellers are exposed to is as bad for the health as smoking a packet of cigarettes a day, a shock report warns.
Maybe city air pollution is not so bad after all?
Following this Walt drew attention to a related report:
“Rates of chronic lung disease in this country are going up and increasingly it is recognized that this disease occurs in nonsmokers,” said Kaufman, also a professor of internal medicine and a physician at UW School of Medicine. “We really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease, and it appears that air pollution exposures that are common and hard to avoid might be a major contributor.”
If “we really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease”, it can only mean that we currently don’t understand what’s causing chronic lung disease.
And if it “appears” that air pollution exposures that are common and hard to avoid “might” be a major contributor, it can only mean that they’re really just guessing it might be.
And what’s “air pollution”? Personally I don’t think tobacco smoke is “air pollution”. I’ve always liked the smell of tobacco smoke. And I’ve been smoking unfiltered roll-ups for 50 years without ill effect. And I’ve made it to the age of 71 years. What more could I ask for?
If tobacco smoke is “air pollution”, then is the smoke from a campfire or a barbecue also “air pollution”? Are perfumes and fragrances “air pollution”? Is the smell of frying bacon or baking bread also “air pollution”? Is any odour at all “air pollution”? Is the sea spray in the air on beaches “air pollution”? Is the sand blowing in the air along those beaches “air pollution”? Is the smell of gasoline at gas stations “air pollution”? Are nitrogen and carbon dioxide different forms of “air pollution” in the atmosphere? Are the oceans “polluted” with sodium chloride?
Is music a form of “air pollution”? Is loud or obscene conversation a form of “air pollution”? Is any sort of conversation “air pollution”?
And doesn’t calling something “pollution” really just mean that it’s something you personally don’t like. “I would have enjoyed my coffee a lot more if it hadn’t been polluted with milk.”
“Pollution” is a loaded word. To say that something is “polluted” is to say that it has been debauched or corrupted or poisoned. Why not just say “mixed” or “blended”? Coffee comes mixed with milk and sugar, not “polluted” with milk and sugar.
A lot of people seem to look at the world around them and see it as a poisoned world. But I think that that says more about them than it does about the world. For the “poison” they see is more in their imagination than it is in the world. If you can’t stand smoky bars filled with the babble of conversation and the tinkle of music playing on the juke box and the snatch of scent and the clink of glasses, that says much more about you than it does about those places. It says you’re some sort of killjoy. Or some sort of snowflake. Or something even worse.
Anyway, Professor Kaufman of UW School of Medicine is really just telling everyone that he hasn’t a clue what causes chronic lung disease. And that’s actually what I thought all along. I think that most of these self-styled experts haven’t really got a clue about anything that they’re supposed to possess expertise about. It’s not just medicine. It’s everything else too. It would be really refreshing if a few of these people would say something like: “Well, I’ve been studying this stuff all my life, but to be quite honest, I have no more of a clue today about it then I did when I started.” But no, they never say that. Or they hardly ever say that. Instead they usually pretend to know something. And as soon as anyone pretends to know something, somebody will believe them. Because we all wish that somebody somewhere knew something about it. We want to believe that, even if we ourselves don’t understand what’s going on, somebody else does. It’s too awful to contemplate the possibility that nobody knows.