PLASTIC THREAT TO OUR SEAS AND HUMAN SPERM COUNTS
Will our future be extinction through infertility, or temporary overpopulation in a world with a dead ocean? The Torah warns about both possibilities, but leaves the choice in our hands. Updated on 11/23/2018.
On November 19, 2018 I received a lab report showing that (at the age of 71) I have osteoporosis in the left neck of my femur bone. In researching causes I found that carbonated water is likely to be a cause. I drank a lot of glass-bottled Perrier until I read the report, but it's now gone from our weekly shopping list. That night National Geographic broadcast a show that included a segment purporting that in Western nations sperm counts had fallen dramatically since 1970. All the water we buy is in plastic bottles. Alas, I'm past the age when X-ray technicians offer lead aprons to protect my gonads, so I guess I don't have to worry about plastics killing the little guys limping along in those parts, but the sperm count chart does not bid well for my hope of seeing great grandchildren one day. In conjunction with that the matrix has POISON in sequence with a transliteration of PLASTIC as the axis term. In the open text is SMITE THE SEAS and SEED NEEDED TO SOW IT with the word for SEED and SOW the same word as SPERM. The word for EXTINCTION/ANNIHILATION is at skip +1. Terms at non-special skips are ALL THE WORLD, POLLUTION and GOVERNMENT.
Plastics apparently not only kill our sperms when we use them in conjunction with food or drinks. When used to hold sperm samples, the sperm dies faster in plastic containers than it does in glass containers. See: Reduced Sperm Motility in Plastic Containers, Daniel M. Strickland, Col, USAF, MC, Paul R. Ziaya, Cpt, USAF, MC, Laboratory Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 5, 1 May 1987, Pages 310–312, https://doi.org/10.1093/labmed/18.5.310.
Here are the top 10 river systems contributing to ocean plastic, according to the new study, as well as the seas they feed and the continents where they're located:
- Yangtze River, Yellow Sea, Asia
- Indus River, Arabian Sea, Asia
- Yellow River (Huang He), Yellow Sea, Asia
- Hai River, Yellow Sea, Asia
- Nile, Mediterranean Sea, Africa
- Meghna/Bramaputra/Ganges, Bay of Bengal, Asia
- Pearl River (Zhujiang), South China Sea, Asia
- Amur River (Heilong Jiang), Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
- Niger River, Gulf of Guinea, Africa
- Mekong River, South China Sea, Asia
While ocean plastic remains a daunting problem, this could be good news for the quest to control it. These 10 waterways contribute between 88 and 95 percent of the total plastic load that oceans receive via rivers, the study's authors conclude, so they would be good places to focus our efforts on better waste management.
STATISTICAL AND REAL WORLD SIGNIFICANCE OF FIGURE 1. As per my standard protocol, no statistical significance is assigned to the axis term, here POISON in Hebrew folllowed by a transliteration of PLASTIC at its only ELS in Torah. While SMITE THE SEAS sums up what plastics are doing to the ocean in many places, it was only noticed a posteriori and thus wasn't included for odds calculations on the spreadsheet below. The primary word sought first was SPERM. It was located in the open text in a 180-letter box with PLASTIC POISON against odds of about 423 to 1, but odds against it being found this way on the full 972-letter matrix were about 78.9 to 1.
Figure 1 shows a drop in sperm count from 338,000,000 to 138,000,000 over forty years from 1970 to 2010. That's a drop of 200,000,000 sperms. If the graph shown is extended another 27.6 years, at the rate of loss seen on the graph, the sperm count will reach 0. What is that? It's EXTINCTION/ANNIHILATION, and that term is on Figure 1 at skip +1. I checked for three synonyms for EXTINCTION and found the one shown against odds of about 14 to 1. Most of the plastic pollution is, as was pointed out above, coming from 8 rivers in Asia - the Yangtze, Indus, Yellow, Hai, Ganges, Pearl, Amur, and Mekong while two are from Africa - the Nile and Niger. Yet the threat is to ALL THE WORLD, which against odds of about 105 to 1 is found at an ELS. POLLUTION had about a 41% chance to be found on the matrix. Finally, at my wife's request I looked for three synonyms for GOVERNMENT because we know that the Chinese Government has long maintained a 1 child per family policy to keep the population explosion under control. I found the shortest (4-letter) ELS of GOVERNMENT, but there was a 99.99% chance for one of these terms to be there. This means that the matrix did not supply evidence that a Government is behind the decrease in male fertility, but that doesn't mean that we are not looking at a problem foreseen by the Author of the Torah. Combined odds against Figure 1 are calculated to be about 285,090 to 1.
Plastics aren't the only factor affecting fertility. Wikipedia mentions plutonium and many other chemicals. Recently, with the economic successes of President Trump, we have learned that (so long as people enter the U.S. legally) we need more workers because there is a shortage of them in many fields. While not yet a crisis, if we don't get a handle on the problem soon we may one day find it necessary to do something like add a Secretary of American Fertility to the President's cabinet. However, before going to far on this issue I would point out that unless or until we come to believe we are facing extinction, moderation is still wise. I have family members who are ultra-Orthodox Jews. Like the Catholics, they don't use birth control. Evidently they have not yet felt the effects of plastics. One of them is a rabbi who has 8 children, and it appears that despite the father's excellent education at one of the world's finest universities, he will never have the funds required to educate his own children. The lack of funds and time required to do proper parenting for each individual child has already caused the oldest child to rebel and identify himself as an atheist. Recently the New York State Education Department has been looking at pulling funding for 57,000 yeshiva students because yeshivas are not providing enough instruction in required subjects such as English, math, social studies. Indeed, some New York yeshivas appear to be anti-science and do little more for preparing students for life than teaching them how to pray. This is especially true for one that I know of - Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in Monsey, NY.
So far as we know, nobody asks to be born. Where infertility does not block the path to parenthood, bringing children into this world should imply taking on an awesome responsibility. We don't want to see fertility rates drop to zero coutesy of plastics, but if there are no natural or other checks on population growth and if we don't stop pollution of the ocean our future may resemble the horror portrayed in the classic film SOYLENT GREEN where the only food left turns out to be........................................................people.
Below: Spreadsheet calculating the odds against Figure 1 above.