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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

It is a bit staggering to look at the history of China and see how many people have died as a result of disasters, famine, genocide, and war over the past two millennia. To be fair, death and suffering are common elements in every nation’s history. But, China’s perpetually massive population ensures that the scale of its tragedies dwarfs that of any other nation.

There are several tragic events throughout China’s history that have a death toll which exceeds the present-day population of most countries. Famine, in particular, has claimed the lives of countless people in China, and until fairly recently, were a regular occurrence there. Nearly two centuries of back-to-back famines in China ended in 1961 with the Great Chinese Famine, which caused more people to die of starvation than are currently alive in Canada.

Much of the blame for this tragedy can be placed on the astounding level of incompetence displayed by Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. However, in the decades since then the Party has put a lot of work into ensuring famines, especially of that magnitude, never happen again. The Party has actually been incredibly successful in that regard. For people living in China’s ever-growing urban areas even small-scale malnutrition is more or less unheard of, let alone famine.

To get an idea of how much the food security in China has improved, one need only look at how much food waste is currently being generated by Chinese urban areas. The amount of waste is so extreme that there aren’t enough landfills in the entire country to dump it all in. It was only a few decades ago that these urban areas were struggling to dispose of the corpses of the millions who had starved to death, yet now they struggle to dispose of the food waste created by millions of well-fed people who have more food than they can eat. The latter is definitely the better problem to have but a problem nonetheless, and it’s only going to get worse as the average income of Chinese citizens continues to grow.

The nauseating amount of food waste in the United States shows how wasteful a society can become when it’s so wealthy that food security is something most people don’t even think about. Fortunately, wherever there’s a problem there are entrepreneurs with clever (and profitable) solutions, and this is no exception.

Li Bingcai is one such entrepreneur, and he was so confident in his clever solution that he quit his job as a mobile phone vendor and invested equivalent to nearly $150,000 into what he believes will eventually become a large profitable enterprise. His belief is well-founded too, as his solution has proven to be incredibly successful.  According to Reuters, Li plans to increase the size of his operation tenfold in the near future.

So, what exactly is this seemingly incredible solution to China’s food waste problem? Has Li developed a method of turning food waste into an efficient biofuel? Has he found a way to recycle food waste into new food products, or created a system for distributing discarded food to under served communities? Not quite.

As with most entrepreneurial success stories, Li’s solution is simple – and just strange enough that most people wouldn’t have thought of it. The solution? Farm cockroaches, millions of them, and then feed them the waste. That’s it.

Li currently operates two farms in the province of Sichuan (the namesake of the heavily meme’d McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan Sauce) in southwest China where he raises 3.4 million cockroaches. But, he plans to eventually have twenty farms. He feeds his cockroaches the food waste generated by nearby cities. Once they’ve reached the end of their life, he then sells them as feed to fisheries and pig farms. He also sells them to pharmaceutical companies where they’re used as an ingredient in medicine, both real and fake.

I am sure many of us are unfortunately very familiar with how much cockroaches love to eat our leftover food – and how much of a nuisance they can be when they invade your home. However, it’s that voraciousness that makes these pests such an effective and efficient way to dispose of food waste, and Li isn’t the only person to discover this. In fact, his operation is minuscule compared to the likes of Gooddoctor, another Sichuan-based operation, which currently raises more than 6 billion cockroaches. Meanwhile, in the Shandong province on China’s east coast, Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology Co. uses cockroaches to dispose of 50 tons of kitchen waste every day. The company is planning to open three more cockroach-powered, AI-assisted food waste processing plants next year with the intention of processing a third of the kitchen waste produced by the 7 million people living in Shandong’s capital, Jinan. Just like Li, both Gooddoctor and Shandong Qiaobin sell their cockroaches as feed and medical ingredients, but even more uses for cockroaches are currently being researched.

In other countries that generate a lot of food waste, such as the United States, solutions are more focused on reducing how much food is wasted rather than finding more efficient ways to dispose of it. The problem of food waste in these countries is less of a logistical problem caused by the amount of waste, like in China, and more of a moral problem caused by wasting so much food while nearly a billion people all over the world struggle to feed themselves. The United States alone throws out 133 BILLION pounds of food each year, worth about $161 billion according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

The Trump administration is making an effort with its “Winning on Reducing Food Waste”, but there’s more that can be done. That being said, the moral situation is even worse in China, unsurprisingly.

Food waste is different in the United States and other developed nations where the vast majority of people living there are well-fed. The moral question for these nations is, “We have more food than we could ever eat, so why aren’t we sharing it with less prosperous nations?” In China, however, this isn’t the case. While the quality of life for people living in China’s cities has improved immensely, especially when it comes to food security, the prosperity of Communist China hasn’t exactly been spread equally, and its rural population has been left behind. The numbers vary from province to province, but there are currently tens of millions of people in China who are struggling to feed their families, and malnutrition is fairly common in these areas.

So shouldn’t the moral question for China be, “Our fellow countrymen are starving, so why are we feeding our excess food to cockroaches?”

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Democrats

Kamala Harris makes 2020 run official

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Kamala Harris makes 2020 run official

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced she will be running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. She joines a slew of Democrats who have already announced with plenty more expected to join the race soon.

She joins Julian Castro, John Delaney, Richard Ojeda, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren as major candidates who have declared or stated their intention of declaring soon. Then, there are 142 other people who have filed with the FEC to run for the Democratic nomination.

Add another 20 or so who have expressed interest publicly to run and they’re going to have to trade in the clown car for a clown bus.

My Take

Nobody is surprised by this. The Senator used the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as a platform to promote herself and her future campaign, which she almost certainly intended at that point. Now, it’s official.

She has a good chance despite national polls showing her lower than Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and a handful of other better-known Democrats. California has an early primary next year, meaning she has a chance of getting a huge boost in delegates from her home state if she can remain viable at that point.

Another thing to watch is President Obama. He’s spoken more kindly of Harris than just about any other potential candidate other than Biden. If Joe doesn’t run, the former President might throw his clout in her direction.

Here’s how it’s playing out on her Twitter Moment:


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Guns and Crime

Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

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Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

A man believed by authorities to have committed four murders in Northern Nevada was taken into custody on January 19, possibly bringing to an end a killing streak that has worried residents for the last two weeks.

19-year-old Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman was arrested by Washoe County Sheriff’s department on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and immigration law violations. Martinez-Guzman is an illegal alien with a federal hold. The District Attorney’s office plans to file murder charges against him as well, claiming they have sufficient evidence to convict him.

Murder charges expected against suspect in killings

https://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Murder-charges-expected-against-suspect-in-Northern-NV-murders-504626241.htmlThe first killing took place January 9 or 10, 2019. 56-year-old Connie Koontz was found shot to death at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos. She was found dead by her mother, who also lives in the home and is hard of hearing and disabled.

January 13, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile away, also shot to death.

January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, a former Reno Rodeo President, and his wife, 80-year-old Sharon David, were found dead in their home on La Guardia Lane in south Reno, near Zolezzi. They also had been shot to death.

My Take

If he is proven guilty, this will be another example of American citizens dying at the hands of an illegal immigrant. How many people have to die before Democrats take the border crisis seriously enough to do something about it?


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Conspiracy Theory

China says doctor behind gene-edited babies acted on his own

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China says doctor behind gene-edited babies acted on his own

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese investigators have determined that the doctor behind the reported birth of two babies whose genes had been edited in hopes of making them resistant to the AIDS virus acted on his own and will be punished for any violations of the law, a state media report said Monday.

Investigators in the southern province of Guangdong determined Dr. He Jiankui organized and handled funding for the experiment without outside assistance in violation of national guidelines, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Along with the birth of the twins, Lulu and Nana, another embryo yet to be born reportedly resulted from He’s experiment, while five others did not result in fertilization. All three will remain under medical observation with regular visits supervised by government health departments, Xinhua said.

It didn’t say which laws He might have violated but said he had fabricated an ethical review by others.

“This behavior seriously violates ethics and the integrity of scientific research, is in serious violation of relevant national regulations and creates a pernicious influence at home and abroad,” the report said.

Then little-known, He attended an elite meeting in Berkeley, California, in 2017 where scientists and ethicists were discussing a technology that had shaken the field to its core — an emerging tool for “editing” genes, the strings of DNA that form the blueprint of life.

He embraced the tool, called CRISPR, and last year rocked an international conference with the claim that he had helped make the world’s first gene-edited babies , despite a clear scientific consensus that making genetic changes that could be passed to future generations should not be attempted at this point.

China called an immediate halt to He’s experiments following his announcement.

Gene editing for reproductive purposes is effectively banned in the U.S. and most of Europe. In China, ministerial guidelines prohibit embryo research that “violates ethical or moral principles.”

The chief of the World Health Organization said last year his agency is assembling experts to consider the health impact of gene editing.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said gene editing “cannot be just done without clear guidelines” and experts should “start from a clean sheet and check everything.”

“We have a big part of our population who say, ‘Don’t touch,’” Tedros told reporters. “We have to be very, very careful, and the working group will do that.”

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