Consumer-Product Diversity Now Exceeds Biodiversity

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Vol 34 Issue 12

Bourbon Helps Carpet Salesman Forget About Carpeting For Awhile

HOUSTON–Carpet salesman Martin Janowski, 53, was able to forget about carpeting for just a little while Monday after consuming a fifth of Jim Beam Kentucky bourbon. "For a few glorious moments, I cleared my mind of Anso II Stainmaster Plus and Bigelow Dura-Plush carpeting," said Janowski, a 26-year employee of CarpetMart in Houston. "The bourbon made the floor coverings go away. "To help him forget about carpeting tomorrow night, Janowski said he will likely employ Southern Comfort, Johnnie Walker Red, or some combination thereof.

First-Grader Reeks Of Urine

WAUKEGAN, IL–A distinct urine odor was detected in the vicinity of area first-grader Josh Mills Monday. Though the presence of urine was not confirmed, Mills' history of pants-soakage led a majority of classmates and school faculty members to conclude that there was a loss of bladder control on the 6-year-old's part. School psychologist Charlotte Gehl stressed that Mills just moved to Waukegan a few months ago and needs lots of support to help him fit in.

Shark Attack Claims Life Of Some Guy On TV

SOME BEACH–The life of this one guy on TV was cut tragically short Monday when this giant killer shark ripped the shit out of him during a segment of Fox's When Animals Attack IV. "The guy was just swimming and, like, out of nowhere, this huge shark starts totally tearing him apart," said stunned, shaken viewer Jonathan Hassell, 20, who failed to brace himself for the wildest When Animals Attack yet. "I was like, 'Holy shit, dude.'" The one guy's identity is not known.

Morbidly Obese Man Enjoys Disabled Privileges With Motorized Cart

MESA, AZ–Former fat lump of crap Joseph Woodring joined the ranks of the disabled Monday with the purchase of a Rascal(TM)-brand motorized cart. "I am pleased to make the move from morbidly obese to differently abled," said the 410-pound Woodring, careening through EastTowne Mall on his electrically powered whale transporter. "My newfound handicapped status has truly given me a new lease on convenience." Woodring then motored off to the mall's food court for a McRib Deluxe Extra Value Meal.

We Can Have Babies Whenever You Want To

I just want you to know that we can start having babies whenever you want to. Not that we have to have our first one right now, of course. I mean, we always said we wanted to wait until we were ready, and I still do. It's just that we've been married for almost a whole year now. So, I just want you to know that whenever you feel like you're ready to start having the children, just go ahead and tell me.

The Tyson Reinstatement

Last week, a team of psychologists declared boxer Mike Tyson–suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission last year for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear–"troubled" but fit to fight. What do you think about Tyson's bid for reinstatement?

I Know What Is Best For Everyone

Listen to me, because I know what is best for everyone. There are a great many problems facing America today, and I have all the answers to all of them.
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Consumer-Product Diversity Now Exceeds Biodiversity

WASHINGTON, DC–According to an EPA study conducted in conjunction with the U.N. Task Force On Global Developmental Impact, consumer-product diversity now exceeds biodiversity.

An example of the planet Earth's rich abundance and seemingly limitless diversity of consumer products.

According to the study, for the first time in history, the rich array of consumer products available in malls and supermarkets surpasses the number of living species populating the planet.

"Last year's introduction of Dentyne Ice Cinnamint gum, right on the heels of the extinction of the Carolina tufted hen, put product diversity on top for the first time," study chair Donald Hargrove said. "Today, the Procter & Gamble subphylum alone outnumbers insects two to one."

The sharp rise in consumer-product diversity–with more than 200 million new purchasing options generated since 1993–comes as welcome news for those upset over the dwindling number of plant and animal species.

"As more and more species fall victim to extinction, we face a grave crisis of decreased diversity, not only in America but across the globe," Hargrove said. "But the good news is, these losses in biodiversity are more than offset by a corresponding rise in consumer-product diversity. Though flora and fauna are dwindling, the spectrum of goods available to consumers is wider than at any time in planetary history. And that's something we can all be happy about."

Scientists are calling the current decrease in biodiversity one of the worst episodes of mass extinction in the Earth's history. The rate at which species are currently vanishing approaches that of the "K-T Event" that ended the Age of Dinosaurs 65 million years ago and resulted in a loss of 76 percent of the world's species. The current era of biodiversity depletion, however, is unique in that it is the first mass extinction to occur in conjunction with an expanding industrial society, and thus, the first in which consumer-product availability can function as a "balancing factor" to help keep global diversity thriving.

An example of the planet Earth's rich abundance and seemingly limitless diversity of consumer products.

"Any healthy system needs diversification in order to flourish," University of Chicago biologist Jonathan Grogan said. "Any complex system, whether we are talking about the Amazon Rainforest or the Mall of America, needs a rich array of species/products if it is to survive. That is why, in light of the crumbling global ecosystem, it is increasingly vital that we foster the diversification of the global marketplace by buying the widest range of consumer products possible."

According to Grogan, because of the interdependent nature of systems like the Amazon Rainforest and the Mall of America, the disappearance of any one species/product can lead to the disappearance of countless others.

"The extinction of the Borneo hooded tern was an indirect result of the disappearance of the native species of sea snails upon which it fed," Grogan said. "This kind of vicious cycle, once begun, is impossible to contain. Fortunately, though, the process can function the same way in reverse: The successful introduction of a new item can lead to additional items later on. For example, the proliferation of Love My Carpet-brand carpet cleaner in hall closets across America would not have been possible without the introduction of the affordable, easy-to-use Hoover 5.0 upright vacuum cleaner. And thus, the cycle of life goes on."

According to science writer David Quammen, much of the rise in consumer-product diversity is a direct result of the decrease in biodiversity.

"When a species vanishes, the world loses not only that species, but the wide range of highly specialized physical and biochemical functions that species served. These ecological losses necessitate the creation of new, synthetic products capable of serving the same functions," Quammen said. "So, for example, when we lose a strain of microbe that filters the water we drink, we compensate by developing the amazing Brita water filter, with its patented filtration technology. When we lose a plant in the jungles of Indonesia whose berry bears an extremely rare nutrient, we develop in its place fruity, fun-to-eat Flintstones chewable vitamin supplements."

Read the EPA report: "The planet Earth stands on the brink of one of the most devastating global extinctions in history. By the year 2040, nearly two-thirds of all current species will be extinct. Rainforest habitats that were once lush canopies of life, sustaining millions of highly specialized and interdependent species of plants and animals, have been reduced by upwards of 95 percent in some areas. Thankfully, however, retail outlets which, as little as 50 years ago, were the domain of only a handful of basic staple goods, have evolved into lush, highly developed supermarkets and department stores with a nearly limitless abundance of consumer goods."

Environmental and business leaders cheered the report's optimistic findings, but they warn that consumers still have their work cut out for them.

"As our ecological resources continue to disappear, we must all do our part," Quaker Oats CEO Reuben McCall said. "That means diligent, conscientious commitment to increased consumption of new products. If these products are not bought, nobody will manufacture them. And if this were to happen, the damage to the precious diversity of our consumer landscape would be disastrous."

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