• Reading Level 3
Science | Design & Technology | Art & Design

No tears but new onion sparks angry outcry

Has life become too boring? “In rich countries we have everything we need and nothing we want'' goes the complaint. Is removing risk, pain and authenticity a terrible mistake? Everybody knows the pain. First comes the smell. Then, the stinging. Finally, the tears. Chopping onions is a nightmare for everyone. There have been all sorts of solutions: super-sharp knives, microwaving – even wearing a pair of cooking gogglesProtective goggles have been shown to reduce and delay the effects of synpropanethial-S-oxide, but not to stop it altogether.. But none seem to fix the problem. But red eyes could soon be a thing of the past. Next week, the world's first "tearless" onions are on sale now. Sunions were invented by plant breeder Rick Watson. Using natural techniques instead of genetic modification, he managed to reduce the chemical that irritates the eyes, called synpropanethial-S-oxide. It took him 30 years. But food critics are not altogether impressed by the new variety. Some have described it as tasteless. But the Washington Post said Sunions are “sweet enough that you could sit there and eat them like popcorn”. For some, Sunions summarise everything that is wrong with life. We have removed everything that inconveniences us, leaving a bland world behind. Our apples look beautiful but are tasteless. We cover lawns in fake grass so we don't have to mow them. We use plastic Christmas trees so we don't have to hoover up pinePine trees can live for 1,000 years or more. One in California is believed to be over 4,800 years old. needles. Health and safety laws forbid all kinds of activities because they are risky. One school in England banned running in the playground in case a pupil fell over. A Yorkshire council banned flying kites because they could hit someone. The result? A world where everything is easy, but nothing is exciting. "I know I have a pretty great life. But I feel like I don't enjoy it," said one Reddit user. Author Ross Douthat agrees. He argues that people are comfortable in life but have no sense of purpose. But psychologist Wijnand van Tilburg believes boredom is positive. He argues that it can motivate people to look for difficult tasks that will help others, like donating blood. Has life become too boring? Forlorn yawn Yes: We live in an overprotective society where there is little room for adventure. And the lockdowns of the past two years have made things even worse.

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