Unfulfilled by Amazon

Amazon has pulled more than 400,000 products after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission filed a complaint against the retail giant. The products in question include flammable sleepwear, hairdryers that can electrocute you, and faulty carbon monoxide detectors. 

While we’re speaking about the world of online retail… You’re not crazy if you question what’s “real” any more. Even the word itself has to be qualified sometimes! But when it comes to product reviews online, it pays to take everything with a grain of salt. Several governments worldwide have been attempting to tackle the problem of “fake reviews” online. Businesses will go to great lengths to get five-star ratings for their products, including fabricating glowing recommendations. But it’s easier said than done.

The Apple app store has removed an app called Fakespot from its store at the request of Amazon. The app was designed to detect fake reviews, but Amazon maintained it was a privacy risk.

We have written before about the current fight by farmers for the right to repair their equipment. The FTC has voted to enforce right-to-repair, saying there is little evidence to “support manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions.” Large manufacturers, including such diverse companies as John Deere and Apple, have warned that letting third parties repair their products or people repairing things themselves will lead to reduced safety and breaches of privacy.

Rare steak with a side of soft power

Mad Monday readers will no doubt be aware of the trend for everything “plant-based.” Influential recipe and food site, Epicurious announced last week that it will no longer publish beef recipes. The New York Times reported that a soon-to-be-released document from the UN is expected to recommend targeting methane emissions as “particularly valuable in the short-term fight against climate change.”

One reporter outlines how climate alarmists regularly overstate the contribution of ruminate animals to methane in the atmosphere, pointing out that calculations are often based on the entire supply chain. A Cornell professor reached similar conclusions writing that the amount of cattle in the US has been decreasing over the last couple of decades.

The Federalist podcast weighed in with a light-hearted look at this “unserious” move against beef. They point out that growing crops is not without environmental impact, and worry about the level of control government has over our food through regulation. Epicurious tried to soften the blow by saying they are “not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.” But, just to be safe, why not hug a cow?

In the mean time, the Biden administration wants to pay farmers to leave land fallow in an attempt to sequester carbon. The move could see millions of acres of farmland removed from production.

Cattle on a thousand hills

Eating meat is clearly “Western privilege”: Microsoft’s gajillionaire founder, Bill Gates, has said rich countries should be eating synthetic beef because: climate change. Meanwhile, a California start up hopes to make meat from thin air.”

According to many critics, Western billionaires do not make the best farmers.” While Bill and Melinda Gates have been in the spotlight recently for buying up swathes of American farmland, they have also been busy in Africa. However, a new report out of Germany slams the Gates’ efforts in enticing African farmers to “monocrop”, use synthetic fertilizers and depend on hybrid seeds. Hmm, some sort of agricultural colonisation going on there… 

Farmers are having a stand off with equipment manufacturer, John Deere. With more and more tech being part of agricultural machinery, farmers are fighting for right to repair their own tractors.