How Many Goddamn Chickens Are There In The World?
Think of every KFC, Popeyes, Zaxby's, Bojangles', Chick-Fil-A, and Church's Chicken within ten miles of you. And then think of all the other non-chicken-specific fast food joints that serve nuggets or chicken sandwiches -- all the Hooters and Buffalo Wild Wings and every local sports bar that slings wings for so cheap that you'd think Star Trek's food replicators were real. Do the same with all the grocery stores that are never hurting for chicken meat, and every other restaurant that has a chicken dish on its menu.
Now expand that by the rest of your city, then your state, then the country, then the world.
Jesus Christ, that's a lot of fucking chickens. The number's got to be enormous to accommodate our global bloodlust for delicious chicken death. But that's also got to be an impossible thing to calculate. How would you even begin doing that? What kind of idiot would conduct a worldwide chicken census to even answer such as a stupid question?
The United Nations, it turns out.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization went coop to coop asking chickens about the number of chicks in their households, along with their annual income, and concluded that, as of 2014, the world has around 21 billion chickens, which produce the 79 billion eggs eaten by Americans every year -- and that only accounts for the chickens on farms. They're not factoring in the random loose chickens you have to dodge when you drive through shitty neighborhoods, or by the one house on the block that's decided to build an organic farm in the two square feet of their front lawn.
For a little perspective, cows have the second-highest livestock population, and they top off at a pathetic 1.4 billion. As the human population grew by 80 percent between 1970 and 2008, the global chicken population grew by 262 percent. The ratio of chickens to humans is 3-1. That means that if we divided all the chickens equally among ourselves, and then gave ourselves a little time to get to know them, every human on Earth would have the perfect number of chickens with which to play "Fuck, Marry, Kill."
Why Doesn't Saran Wrap Cling To Things Anymore?
There used to be a tiny bit of joy I derived from my mom making me put away leftovers. I'd get to wrap things in Saran Wrap, that clear plastic film that's primarily used for storing food or neatly wrapping up dead body parts before disposing of them in a bog. It did more than just wrap. It hugged. It clung. It stuck. Whatever was wrapped up in it was never let go. I'd have to dig my fingertips underneath it and feel it resist my attempt to peel it away. It'd sound like a big wet lick from a cartoon dog when it was peeled off. It was satisfying.
And then, one day, it didn't stick anymore. And I wondered: Was it just me? Was I misremembering how good it was? Because if you try to wrap something in today's Saran Wrap, you'll find that it's about as effective as trying to verbally convince the leftovers to not spoil.
It's a relief knowing that I didn't imagine it. The loss of cling is real.
What bestowed Saran Wrap with clingy magic was a chemical called Polyvinylidene Chloride, or PVDC. And it was toxic. When people threw away the wrap along with the eight-week-old leftover casserole they finally admitted they were never going to finish, the plastic would eventually get incinerated at disposal facilities, sending poisonous toxins drifting into the air for us to breathe.
That didn't sit well with Fisk Johnson, the CEO of SC Johnson, Saran Wrap's corporate owner, as well as the bearer of a name that makes him constantly sound like he's going to bully George McFly. He ordered the removal of PVDC, fully aware the chemical was the reason Saran Wrap worked so well. For a year, he and his engineers worked on a cost-effective replacement that wouldn't harm the environment. They came up with ... nothing. So they reformulated Saran Wrap to the best of their ability, knowing that unless there was some kind of chemical compound breakthrough, they were never going to duplicate the results of the old, toxic formula.
Before the change, Saran Wrap's market share was an 18 percent. Today it's at 11 percent. Johnson removed PVDC for the betterment of the human race, knowing it would hurt sales, and he didn't give a shit, and now I want to make a clear plastic film for storing meatloaf our new flag so I can salute it. It's beautiful to hear a corporation do the ethical thing by playing their small part in making the world a cleaner place to live at the risk of profits. For all I know, SC Johnson is trying to turn us into screaming cancerous flesh blobs with plutonium-powered Glade Plug-Ins, but this one act is a nice gesture that corporate giants don't often do willingly. Is my kitchen floor absolutely caked with food that refused to be contained? Yes. But are my lungs Saran-Wrap-gas-free? Hell yes.
Luis is busy trying to come up with his own billion-dollar Garfield-style scam. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
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