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November 15th, 2018

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No Wonder ISIS Is So Steamed | Perspective

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Oct. 6, 2016

No Wonder ISIS Is So Steamed |  Perspective


Last year, 3 million Muslims made the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca for the hajj and another 5 million for the slightly less sacred umrah, but awaiting them in the Saudi holy city would hardly have been the reverence many imagined: massive modern buildings; housing construction with worksites brightly lit around the clock; glittery, multistory shopping malls featuring familiar brands peddling opulence -- capped by high-rise views of the city's entire amusement-park-like setting from four- and five-star hotel rooms, where suites during hajj can go for $10,000 a night. (The malls, like the rest of Mecca, come to a standstill -- or kneel-still -- for prayers.) [New York Times, 6-12-2016]




Almost half of all produce raised by U.S. farmers is thrown out before it reaches a consumer's plate, and though there are several contributing explanations, the most striking is American eaters' "cult of perfection." "It's about blemish-free produce," said one farmer, e.g., "sunburnt cauliflower" or table grapes not quite "wedge-shaped" enough. America's "unyielding cosmetic standards," according to a July report in The Guardian of London, even means that much of the annual $160 billion worth of imperfect food is simply left to rot on the vine, or sent directly to a landfill, because farmers anticipate retailers' reluctance to stock it. [The Guardian, 7-13-2016]


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