Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Getting to the bottom of Apple and human cost

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    Burnt bacon is definitely my favourite carcinogen, steak is nicer rare.

    I think we should go the experts on this one.
    Yahoo Answers

    I suggest you keep your head clear of the desk while you read some answers.

    Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
    No. Having your body's chemistry turn acidic causes cancer. The Nobel prize for medicine was given decades ago for this little tid bit of information....

    ♥ GARCIA ♥
    ....... i dont know
    sorry, i didn't really answer your question

    leavemea..
    Yes and no. The carbon that is produced when a food is burnt is a carcinogen but since it doesn't taste good anyway you are unlikely to eat enough to cause cancer. Food cooked over charcoal also has carbon but again you'd have to eat alot to get cancer.

    Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
    sol vanzi
    Scientific studies have been released warning the public against too much smoking of food, BBQ over open flames, burnt food particles. Cancerous, they said.

    And this classic

    Ashley
    Only if it was grilled with charcoal

    Ah, the depth of human understanding leaves me speechless sometimes.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    I was going to write something here but changed my mind. Sorry.

    Since Nov 2006 • 553 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    trouble at coalface...

    Ah, the depth of human understanding
    leaves me speechless sometimes.

    Welcome to the Carbon-iffy errors Period,
    some species is bound to go extinct
    any time soon, take a number and wait...
    (the Devonianshire Tea Period is next,
    it's yummy, with lashings of cream...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    To be precise: the suicide rate at Shenzen was significantly less than the lowest of several reported rates for the Chinese population as a whole: 6.6 per 100,000. And it's a third of the all-ages suicide rate in New Zealand and a quarter of New Zealand's rate of suicide in the younger demographic likely to be working the assembly lines for Foxconn. We might want to think about that.

    As suggested, I had a good hard long think about it. it's my conclusive opinion that comparing the suicide rate at a factory (which in May 2010 stated it had prevented a further 30 people from trying to kill themselves in the past three weeks alone.) whose workers are all gainfully employed, vetted for possible personality abnormalities via a controlled interview process, ostensibly healthy, accommodated, fed, and I'm assuming mandatorily drug tested with a swag of population, aged from 0 upwards, in various states of health, nutrition, accommodation and employment (give or take a parameter here or there) is an entirely valueless exercise.

    I am concerned that the male/female ratio in the suicide rate at the factory is at odds with national trend and I wonder if the fact that China is the only country in the world where female suicides outnumber male suicides has been taken into account when hiring in an attempt to skew the in house suicide rate.

    The company I work for employs 35,000 people, suicide is not a significant issue within or to the company because the working conditions are not that bad.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    The commentary here may be worth checking out for those still interested.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1956 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Thanks for posting that, I'm interested, From Nova's Forbes link:

    they’ve responded by giving all their employees a 25% raise, up to 1,800 yuan per month according to Reuters. Foxconn points out that this is the third such raise since 2010, and that three years ago, their workers received 900 yuan per month.

    1800RMB is exactly what I have in hand every month after accommodation, food and utilities. Stan and Dan are asking the right questions. There was a rash of suicides one year and given the employment opportunities in China and the lack of suicides (assuming they were all suicides) at Foxconn prior to 2010, financial considerations seem unlikely to be a primary contributing factor. Whatever the prevailing influence on this phenomena, it's subsiding. I'm quite astonished at the amount of prevarication that seems to emerge from both sides of this issue, be it the dubious equivalence via StatsChat or any other kind (no matter how small) of factually incorrect data (via Gizmodo; via Forbes);

    1,800 yuan is about $285, meaning around $10 a day, or less than a dollar per hour. For reference, a six-piece Chicken McNugget costs $1.20 in China. Good for Foxconn (!/?)”

    As for Sun Danyong, Apple have the last word:

    “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect.” The company would not comment further.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Or if words don’t suffice; a figure may. While the lump sum 360,000RMB payment by Foxconn to Sun Dan Yong’s family was standard industry practice and complies with Chinese Government regulations, the revised offer with an additional annual stipend of 30,000RMB to Sun’s parents until both of them are diseased is highly unorthodox. – the human cost.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    It is probably worth adding a addendum that This American Life have retracted their January report, and are going to have an upcoming episode where the host “talks with Mike Daisey [of the one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs] about why he misled This American Life during the fact-checking process,” and “separating fact from fiction, when it comes to Apple’s manufacturing practices in China.”
    Mike Daisey responded "What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic -- not a theatrical -- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations."

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Hood,

    “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic – not a theatrical – enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations.”

    What a load of bullshit. Daisey traded endlessly in the media on the fact that his was a first-person account, and he was scathing of anyone who sought to question or qualify it. Now, it turns out that he fabricated quite a lot of it and deliberately frustrated fact-checkers.

    TechCrunch has meanwhile just published its own The Future of Foxconn series.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    What a load of bullshit. Daisey traded endlessly in the media on the fact that his was a first-person account, and he was scathing of anyone who sought to question or qualify it. Now, it turns out that he fabricated quite a lot of it and deliberately frustrated fact-checkers.

    880,000 views, the single most popular podcast in This American Life’s history, it certainly was a hatchet job Russell, and whether the CEO will be willing to take a more hands on approach to alleviating residual health and safety concerns remains to be seen. Do ends justify means?

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I thought you might like this one Russell;

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Apple supplier in violation of labor and safety rules, outside audit says
    And other worker unfriendly practices...

    The FLA also took issue with the way that employees were paid overtime. "FLA also discovered that 14 percent of workers may not receive fair compensation for unscheduled overtime," it said in a statement. "The assessment found that unscheduled overtime was only paid in 30-minute increments. This means, for example, that 29 minutes of overtime work results in no pay and 58 minutes results in only one unit of overtime pay.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

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