Hydrogen gas-fuelled airships could spur development in remote communities

Hydrogen gas-fuelled airships could spur development in remote communities

By: Barry E. Prentice, theconversation.com

What do tomatoes, hemp and hydrogen gas have in common? Only one thing: they were all victims of misinformation that banned their use. Harmless products that could have had a positive role in the economy and society were shunned for generations.

It seems incredible today to think that Europeans believed tomatoes were poisonous for about 200 years. People did get sick, and some died after eating tomatoes. The culprit was pewter dishes favoured by the upper classes. Tomato acid leached out enough lead out to be poisonous.

The advent of porcelain dishware and Italian pizza finally sorted out the real problem. But once a myth is born, it can be hard for the truth to emerge. Europe lagged a long time behind North America in tomato consumption.

The prohibition of hemp, the fibre of the cannabis plant, has a more nuanced story and competing explanations. Some accounts sound like conspiracy theories.

The alleged conspirators were industrialists in paper, plastics and pharmaceuticals who sought drug regulations to eliminate hemp as their competitor. This is difficult to prove, but economist George Stigler’s seminal article in 1971 on the economics of regulation lends support to the theory.

Read original full article by Barry E. Prentice ~ theconversation.com

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