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Credit card declined? You’re going to have to eat bugs, according to Infowars weirdo Paul Joseph Watson

Well, it’s better than having the bugs eat you

So a Swedish tech startup called Doconomy is releasing what they call “the world’s first credit card with a carbon footprint limit.” The idea is to track the carbon footprint of all the shit you buy on a regular basis and encourage people to buy carbon offsets when they spend too much money on environmentally harmful stuff.

So where exactly does the mandatory bug eating come in?

That bit of unappetizing prophecy comes courtesy of the overheated imagination of Infowars blabber and general scaremonger Paul Joseph Watson, who in a recent video tried to argue that the DO Black card would put us on a slippery slope to compulsory bug dinners.

Eating too much red meat this month? Take one too many car journeys? Not recycled enough garbage? Well in the near future when you go to pay for something on your credit card you could be met with this: transaction denied, you’ve reached your co2 emission limit.

Uh oh. That sounds ominous.

That steak dinner you plan for tonight is actually gonna be a bug burger made of mealworms all washed down with an invigorating cup of … worm poo tea.

Actually, on the off chance I ever go to a restaurant that serves both steak and mealworm burgers (and makes you pay before you eat), and my DO Black card is declined I think I would just whip out a different credit card and pay with that.

But Watson has a whole elaborate scenario for the future in which these cards are your only option. He notes that in a recent paper in Nature discusses the possibility of “mandatory [personal carbon allowances] or personal carbon-trading schemes” in the future that could help “to promote low-carbon lifestyles in a synergetic manner.” The authors of the paper actually reject the idea of “carbon card” and suggest using smartphones instead. They also point out that whoever implements their altogether hypothetical scheme will have to provide possible subsidies to keep poor people from getting too screwed over.

I’m not sure Watson, his head filled with visions of worm dinners, has read the whole paper, which was more an extended thought experiment rather than a concrete proposal. And no, it contained nothing about eating bugs.

But Watson can’t get the bugs out of his head.

There you were thinking you’d never eat the bugs once you top out your co2 ration limit. It could be a choice between consuming the crickets or going hungry. But wait, not only could future purchases be dependent on whether you’ve topped out on your carbon footprint.

They’re also announcing that credit scores could be based not on the fact that you’ve abused credit and got yourself into mountains of debt … but … on … non-financial customer data such as browsing histories and online shopping behavior … or customer ratings for online vendors. [Or] you shared an article that the fact checkers weren’t happy with. [Or] you tweeted a nasty thing about Jeff Bezos. [Or] you failed to post the black square for BLM. Now you can’t get a loan; now you can’t get a bank account; now you can’t get a mortgage.

Or, apparently, a roast beef sandwich.

I’ve heard dried locusts, ants and beetles are an acquired taste. Well, if the technocrats get their way you’ll be acquiring it very soon.

If we ever get to that point (we won’t) I’m pretty sure Infowars will start selling bug protein supplements. I’m kind of surprised they don’t sell them already.

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Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
7 months ago

“Infowars weirdo”…there’s a redundant phrase if I ever heard one.

Skiriki
Skiriki
7 months ago

@moregeekthan:

IDK, but insects/spiders/worms/grubs are legit source of protein in many cultures around the world and I for one would not want to snub what they have to offer us. Getting to know how other people live and prepare food is an opportunity to understand each other. It is not “exotic” — it is everyday reality to them and so is raising/harvesting them for food.

Likewise, I cannot eat red beans (or lentils, or other beans, peas and a host of other plants) due to IBS which goes completely berserk and leaves me seriously weakened (prior to strict periodical FODMAP diet) — I don’t want to rest/sleep/coma 16 to 20 hours after such episode, which was typical back then. And when it isn’t IBS messing up my guts, then it is allergies, sensitivity to various greens and diabetes.

I absolutely wish I could go vegetarian, but this is unfortunately not a realistic option to me; I’m already paying today the decision of using dried onions in cooking, and the bathroom was a Bristol Scale 7 catastrophe all day long. I have tried and there has been lots of mopping in bathroom as a result of those experiments.

Dalillama
Dalillama
7 months ago

@Seth S
Just like Spirulina algae, cultured yeast, and farmed plankton, right?

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
7 months ago

@Lumipuna

There was notable business hype about this in Finland a couple years ago, which then promptly fizzled out, causing at least one pioneering cricket farm to fail.

I remember the hype. It seemed weird to me at the time that insect farming was made out to be the way of the future, the best chance of feeding the masses their much-needed protein… and then most of the actual product examples were either some sort of fine dining curiosities or insect flour to be used in highly processed stuff like protein bars. Might just have been the sources I was following at the time, but it didn’t really seem like a revolution in the making.

Seth S
Seth S
7 months ago

@Dalillama

I’m not sure how you mean? Those are all “food additive” type cultured protein sources. The growth methods used would probably be mostly the same, I imagine. The thing is, spirulina, plankton and yeasts don’t have enough substance to stand on their own as a meat replacement. Their final pure form is as powders or flakes and IIRC most people use them more like they’d use a condiment, rather than as a food item. It’s surely possible to get enough protein with them if you add them to everything through the day, but if you want to use them as a meat replacement in a recipe and take the role of replacing chicken breast, you’re out of luck.

But Fy is meant to be used as a food by itself with comparatively minimal processing. Just get out the excess water so that you have a soft mushy thin slab of “microbe meat”, season it up, and cook it as desired. Even with the (actually very closely related/same genus) fungus they use to make Quorn vegetarian and vegan products, they still dry the fungal culture out and then use either an egg or potato based binder with it to make, for instance, their “chicken” nuggets, so that stuff is really just as processed as any conventional chicken nuggets you get from the frozen food section. Processed food is still not great for you, even when it’s vegan.

So it’s a different niche than those other cultured proteins, I guess? If you want a cultured meat replacement that isn’t meat but acts a lot like meat and can be used in a similar way to meat on its own without a lot of extra processing, Fy is a better option by far.

Of course, if you’re just talking about hype, maybe, maybe not. Time will tell. I just kind of hope it’ll catch on because the “relatively unprocessed cultured meat replacement” niche is essentially unfilled. Yes, it’s a stupid thing for me to be excited about, but I don’t care.

I’ve seen the articles about “lab grown meat” that actually is cultured from animal cells, and while that’s definitely intriguing from an ethical standpoint, I think it’s ultimately probably not going to be worth how much it would likely cost in both time and money to grow steaks in petri dishes on the scale that would be needed to eliminate the beef farming industry.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
7 months ago

Masse_Mysteria:

I remember the hype. It seemed weird to me at the time that insect farming was made out to be the way of the future, the best chance of feeding the masses their much-needed protein… and then most of the actual product examples were either some sort of fine dining curiosities or insect flour to be used in highly processed stuff like protein bars.

There was also the concurrent brief fad of high-protein diet, and food companies seemed to be testing the waters by launching products such as protein enhanced bread etc. I think the protein sources were usually either soy or milk based. There was also rapid development of new plant based meat substitutes (and even some milk based ones, because dairy industry was hoping consumers would miss the whole point of the meat substitute fad, I guess).

The weirdest thing was the “cricket bread”, which actually contained very little cricket, presumably because adding a substantial amount would make the bread expensive and probably not very much like conventional bread. I think it was basically about selling the fashionable image of insect protein added in the sort of product the company in question already had expertise in making. If that concept had proved successful, you could then try selling a product with a substantial amount of cricket in it.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
7 months ago

@Seth S

Yes, it’s a stupid thing for me to be excited about, but I don’t care.

Why is it a stupid thing for you to be excited about, precisely? I’m really curious. It seems to me from what you have described that it’s intended to eventually be a cost-effective and viable way to replace quite a lot of animal suffering. Why is that stupid?

Dalillama
Dalillama
7 months ago

@Seth S

But Fy is meant to be used as a food by itself with comparatively minimal processing

Yes, that’s what they said about the other things back when. It turned out that they weren’t so great as all that, and that there were more scaling difficulties than anticipated, etc. There’s not a single product, however derived, that will be a magic bullet to fix all the problems in our food systems, or replace meat. (Indeed, I rather suspect that nothing will ever completely replace meat, but the ways it’s acquired may change, as well as the proportion of it iin the general diet)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
7 months ago

@ longest time lurker

Hi! Lovely to meet you. I do feel for you with the food intolerance thing. So many places just pin people as ‘fussy eater’. One mate was so annoyed they almost decided to go into anaphylaxis just to make the point. But I’m glad the restaurant got you sorted!

@ skiriki & lumipuna

There was a place in Spitalfields market that sold insect based food. Chocolate covered ants, scorpions in toffee. That sort of thing. They seemed to do a pretty storming business.

@ threp

It’s weird people will happily eat prawns but turn their noses up at insects. I mean, prawns are basically just cockroaches that can hold their breath.

@ general

If insect protein becomes a thing I suspect it will be used as a bulking agent in stuff like ready meals. Like they did with horsemeat before the scandal.

The story behind mycoprotein is quite interesting. It was originally intended as cattle feed. Then they decided to make fake mince just to see if anyone would buy it. And the rest is history.

Oh, and if people are wondering about the name, it’s because the guys behind it used an abandoned fermenter on a farm in this village.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorn,_Leicestershire

Of course, if you want to cause ructions in the vegan community about fungi based food, just bring this up 😀

comment image?ezimgfmt=rs:0x0/rscb3/ng:webp/ngcb3

Last edited 7 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
7 months ago

Do any of you know what a bitlocker recover key is?

Dalillama
Dalillama
7 months ago

@Alan
I’m consistent; can’t abide the taste of those things, sea or land

@Elaine
It appears that bitlocker is Microsoft’s file encryption program, so a recovery key would presumably allow you yo decrypt a file.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
7 months ago

@Elaine

Yes. It’s a password Windows requires to access an encrypted drive. Should be a copy in your microsoft account if your local copy got trashed. Try https://account.microsoft.com/devices/recoverykey

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
7 months ago

@Skiriki: I have a friend with the exact same problems who lives in a high-vegan area. Maybe you and she can hire a vegan to clean the bathroom after trying their ways.

She really misses fruit the most.

@Seth S: I like the sound of Fy, particularly the fibrous part. I’ve never had a mushroom that didn’t make me gag from the (lack of) texture.

Also found in Yellowstone geothermal springs: an organism that led to many of our current means of forensics. So I guess you could eat Fy while watching CSI thanks to our microscopic friends.

Oooh, Fy foods are now on sale in Berkeley.

Last edited 7 months ago by GSS ex-noob
Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
7 months ago

@ Lumipuna
I remember the milk-based meat substitute thing. I was kind of surprised when so many vegans seemed to think that it was a scam of some sort. My diet is vegetarian, but I try to mostly eat vegan, and it’s seemed to me that for a lot of sandwiches, the “no meat” option is something and cheese, so I thought substituting meat with something milk-based was just the done thing.

@Alan
The first time I ever talked to a vegan, I asked if vegans ate yeast, which got me a very nonplussed reaction. When asked to clarify why I thought they wouldn’t, I said I thought it was a fungus or something. It took a while before it turned out that I’d always thought of veganism meaning you only eat plants, even though I knew it meant no animal products. Thought processes are funny things.

Now I think maybe the vegan I was talking to had had lip from someone before because of that cladogram and was suspected I was trying to trick them…

David J
David J
7 months ago

As Watson is a noted liar and projector, he’s probably already eating bugs. Just call him Renfield.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
7 months ago

@ masse mysteria

Yeah; there’s quite a thing now about terminology. Like there’s a push to use ‘plant based’ in relation to food. To highlight veganism is not a diet; it’s a moral stance. Like lots of athletes are now ‘vegan’. But that’s often just for performance rather than ethics.

But as you rightly point out, fungi aren’t actually plants.

I guess though it’s a bit like how tomatoes are fruits; but you generally don’t put them in a fruit cocktail.

ETA: There’s a gazzilion definitions of veganism, from all sorts of cultural viewpoints; and of course the word vegan is itself a 1950s invention. The Vegan Society definition is:  “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” 

Note the qualifications there; which is why vaccination, even though it can involve animal exploitation, is acceptable to most vegans. And no mention of plants! (or fungi).

I find that Ahimsa fits best with my own take on it all.

Last edited 7 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
Lumipuna
Lumipuna
7 months ago

Masse_Mysteria:

I remember the milk-based meat substitute thing. I was kind of surprised when so many vegans seemed to think that it was a scam of some sort. My diet is vegetarian, but I try to mostly eat vegan, and it’s seemed to me that for a lot of sandwiches, the “no meat” option is something and cheese, so I thought substituting meat with something milk-based was just the done thing.

To be clear, I don’t consider it a scam exactly; just an odd way to use milk. Maybe it’s better in (some people’s) culinary terms than plant based meat substitutes. IDK if it’s better environmentally or ethically than, say, chicken, or even beef. I know the Finnish dairy-beef industry is constantly working to improve its environmental efficiency

I gather that lactovegetarian eaters generally have a fairly low consumption of animal produce, and I respect that. I don’t personally understand systematic refusal to eat only certain kinds of animal produce (that aren’t considered necessarily super problematic), but since I’m not a vegan either, I can’t call it hypocrisy. personally I try to think different food sources from the standpoint of moderation and harm reduction, if possible on case by case basis. Hence, there’s no special name for my diet.

Alan:

To highlight veganism is not a diet; it’s a moral stance.

Cue aliens from Vega: “It’s a whole culture, not just a cuisine”

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
7 months ago

@ lumipuna

Cue aliens from Vega: “It’s a whole culture, not just a cuisine”

I’ll only be concerned if the aliens announce they’re humanitarians.

numerobis
numerobis
7 months ago

I’ve had pasta made with 20% crickets. It was OK. Kind of had an aftertaste reminiscent of an odour I associate with the wood shed, which made me realize what that smell was.

The whole personal carbon budget thing is nonsense though. The idea that individuals must take personal choices for climate is a way for companies to avoid taking responsibility for what options individuals have.

numerobis
numerobis
7 months ago

Masse_Mysteria: Yeast granules aren’t pure yeast, they’ve got other stuff keeping it together. Some brands use (or used) animal products.

White sugar is also sometimes not universally considered vegan; the sugar is filtered through some kind of char. Bone char is one option for that. Since it’s not an ingredient it’s not disclosed what kind of char they used to whiten your sugar.

There’s a bunch of things like that which depend exactly how serious you are whether you care or not.

One of the things that bothers me with veganism is the preference for plastic over leather or wool. It indicates that indirect killing through environmental destruction is fine by them, it’s just direct killing they have an issue with.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
7 months ago

@ numerobis

One of the things that bothers me with veganism is the preference for plastic over leather or wool.

You raise a valid point. But it is a topic that is of concern in vegan communities.

Firstly, most vegans accept that it’s better to keep using ‘legacy’ items until they wear out. So if you have an old leather belt from your carnist days, it’s ok to use it til the end of its natural life rather than unnecessarily buy a replacement; with all the environmental impact of manufacturing a new product.

Also, a lot of vegans are big into plastic alternatives like hemp.

On balance though a vegan lifestyle probably does reduce plastic use. Like there’s all that fuss about plastic straws; when 46% of ocean plastic is just detritus from the fishing industry.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/great-pacific-garbage-patch-plastics-environment

And just generally, we seem to prefer avoiding direct harm as opposed to indirect. Trolly car problems and the distaste for utilitarianism and all that.

I also suspect that most animals would prefer a bit of extra waste than being eaten. I know I would!

Sheila Crosby
Sheila Crosby
7 months ago

I have a friend from Rhodesia (that is, it was still Rhodesia when she was growing up.) She used to enjoy a certain kind of caterpillar as a delicacy. When she first came to the UK the thought of eating prawns and shrimp made her shudder, the way I shudder at the thought of eating insects. Then she was invited to the house of someone she didn’t know well with a group of friends, and given a prawn cocktail.

Politeness and gag-reflex fought it out, and politeness won, and she’s loved prawns ever since.

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