A megathread of dirty industry secrets that you'll be glad you know even as you wish you didn't

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/18/everybody-knows-3.html


The one big of encouragement for all these industry secrets: It’s a source of leads for investigative journalists on topics that need exposure.

Not that the one fact alone blows the case wide open, but signals that there’s smoke and a smaller scale of fire. With a lot of hard journalistic work, these don’t have to be secrets.

tl;dr: Support good, long-form journalism with real money.


Seems to me that the level of scrutiny and due diligence for this thread is about as strong as for Trump’s tweet about prayer rugs and Czechoslovakians at the Mexican border. Some of these “secrets” - maybe even most of them - are, no doubt, true… but some of them smell a little funny to me.

Be careful not to believe things just because you want to believe them.


I worked in a fancy restaurant once that rebreaded and refried fish that diners didn’t eat on fish-night Fridays.

Does that count?


Um, was this on Wednesdays?

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No, as I said, Fridays.

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The plastics one piqued my curiosity. I always wonder why manufacturers might choose an non-recyclable plastic, could there been such a difference in cost?

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Not to worry. The Invisible Hand of the Free Market will sort it all out, tout suite!


This seems like the sort of thing Wikileaks was desperate to become at one point in the distant past.

Of course, as all this is anonymous, it would be very easy for people to disparage industries against which they hold a grudge but otherwise lack any personal involvement.


jmc, there are some very valid reasons for the plastic choices made, beyond just cost.

Thermoset resins tend to withstand higher temperatures in use. But they also are generally not recyclable, compared to thermoplastic resins. An example of where we need to withstand more heat is under the hood of a typical automobile. Plastics used there (e.g. air intake manifold, sensor housings, under-hood panels) tend to be exposed to much higher temperatures than plastics that live in the passenger cabin.

Also, for a molding process they tend to limit the amount of regrind allowed (molded parts or ‘shots’ that are rejected, reground, and fed back into the molding process) because it affects the finished part strength, shrinkage (molding to an accurate size), or other properties. Excess regrind tends to be pure waste.


Thanks! That’s illuminating. Though I’m more thinking of food or household item packaging (probably my largest source of recycling), where one company uses a recyclable product and their competitor does not. Is it different manufacturing processes that require the different plastics and it would cost too much to switch?

This one popped out at me

A “doctor specializing in surgery?” You mean a surgeon, as in, “I’m a surgeon.” And among surgeons, each has his or her specialty, thoracic, GU, Gyne, etc. The phrasing just smells funny to me.

Nonetheless, I’m sure unnecessary surgeries and other screw-ups happen all the time.


A nurse friend of mine recommended the Dr. Death podcast. Really well done. You might check it out.


Weird phrasing aside, that one didn’t surprise me at all… but I grew up on “and that’s when my glasses slipped off and fell into the open incision” stories from my mom.

The one that made me roll my eyes was the “what were historically master painters are now uncredited concept artists for movies/games and fine art involves no skill.” Like… yeah buddy, I’m a disgruntled art school grad, too! What doesn’t get said about all that beautifully-rendered concept art you see in artbooks is that it accounts for like 10% of the concept art generated for a project, and a lot of it is specifically painted as “concept” pieces for PR purposes. Most functional concept art is done very quickly and relies on paintovers, photo stitching, and iteration/reuse that would spawn endless angry YouTube videos of the “Disney once LAZILY reused 15 seconds of dancing animation back in the 1950s rather than spend $100k+ to do it all over again”-variety. Also, if a studio can outsource even a single drawing/design to South Korea, they will do so without hesitation.


And use the three shells publication system, use business services that have a P.O. procedure, print mooks for nicer stock holders, and keep subs to things whose creative nonfiction journos are going to submit their stories soon, and hire valent PR flacks so you can throw kilogram after kilogram of quicklime on their desks if they write a release and send it to a Scripps outlet first. Sneeze at Ozy thrice a week…

Fine, but Da ShareZone …how does that come into it?


Anthony Bourdain kicked off his career with this tidbit, how you should never order fish on a Monday.

Also how restaurants will give the crappiest cuts to those who order their steaks well done, since those patrons can’t tell the difference.

So yeah, it’s corroborated.


I have always wanted to know ho the three shells work,

but this doesn’t help at all.


If anyone is still building battleships, it’s not just the workers who are on drugs! (The original tweet said “navy ships”.)

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The equivalent thread shows up on Reddit every few months (at least) and it’s interesting how different the feel is. I think this started from the same place—“hey, let’s everyone vent a bit about late stage capitalism and maybe give some life pro-tips about which kinds of latté to never order”—and just ended up as an onslaught of misery/misanthropy porn.

In the Reddit version, the overall tone is totally different, because each thread-starter knows that there will be someone else who does the same job or works in the same industry to respond if they make a claim that’s too broad.

It’s not that most people would set out to deliberately lie about these things (a few internet sociopaths notwithstanding—what’s up, fellas?) but we all tell stories very, very differently if there’s any chance our audience can talk back.


It’s stuff like this that makes me so irritated at the infinitesimal impact of my recycling and conservation and whatnot that makes my life a little harder. Now I read of a thing where the bags people use to pick up dog poop are supposedly some kind of crisis that must be dealt with.

I’m sorry, but I’m not going to feel guilty about my half-assed compliance with all this. Fix the 99% of pollution from industry, THEN I will be more inclined to participate.