Monster machines, serial killers and bugs

I haven’t written anything on my blog in almost a week which is a long time for me. But I’ve been really busy this past week and this is going to continue for about another month or so. It’s a very enjoyable and challenging busy though, so I’m not complaining.

This morning we overheard Elizabeth, who is four, reading her older brother a book called Monster Machines. I’m not sure how we got this book but it’s a picture book of monster vehicles – things like hot rod, hummer, stock car, rally car, rescue rig, dirt bike, snow mobile, dune buggy and lots more – and not at all girly. But she loves it and I’ve read it to her so many times that she knows the names of all of them by heart. She didn’t so much read it to Daniel, it was more a quiz to see whether he could name each one, and for most of them he could not, so Elizabeth got very indignant and corrected him.

Following on from my blog posts about people being mean on the internet and making defamatory statements about others, I got quite an amazing one this week. Someone said of me and the author of the AndThenTheresPhysics blog which I help to moderate that we remind him of  “Fred West, Fritzl, all the other capture torturers”. For those who don’t know, Fred West was an English serial killer who tortured, raped and murdered young girls and then buried them in his backyard. He hung himself in prison. Josef Fritzl is an Austrian who kidnapped his daughter, imprisoned her in his basement for 24 years where she was repeatedly raped and gave birth to seven of his children. And so for trying to do our best at moderating blog comments, which is not so easy, we get compared to these delightful humans.

I’ve always been very interested in food and why we eat the things we do and have recently become excited by the emerging entomophagy (eating bugs) industry. I found this beetlemania info graphic from the Girl Meets Bug blog:

Beetlemania
source: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/picture/2013/sep/13/eating-insects-infographic-flies-entomophagy

If there aren’t enough good reasons for us to consider adding insects to our diet then here are some more in this video from Little Herds:

24 thoughts on “Monster machines, serial killers and bugs

  1. Like you, I’m amazed that people can make those kind of comparisons and expect anyone to take them seriously. Of course, we are dealing with someone who’s illustrated their hypocrisy in the past, so shouldn’t really be surprised. It almost seems, however, that some people think that if they believe something strongly they can say whatever they like, while everyone else has to maintain some level of civility.

    1. Yes, this person has tweeted things in the past which were similarly amazing for the same reasons. Although this particular tweet was probably the most extreme. I should probably block him as you have done. I don’t think you saw the last tweet he made about us.

      I would not have posted it to your blog, because it’s almost certainly defamatory, except that it’s about you and you’re not going to sue yourself for libel 🙂

  2. I like reading the comments to articles in various newspapers and blogs. I’ve found that the trolls are particularly active whenever articles are about politics, climate change and other environmental issues. If it’s any comfort, I don’t think you’re anything like Fred West or Fritzl. Unfortunately, this kind of trollery occurs just about every day in Parliament.

    That’s funny about Elizabeth! She might grow up to be a rev-head.

    Can’t stand the thought of eating insects even if it would be good for the world. I’ll just stick to plants thank you!

    1. Bronwyn ,

      “Can’t stand the thought of eating insects even if it would be good for the world.”

      What about these cricket bars? I think they look really delicious. The crickets are ground up into a powder so there are no visible body parts.

  3. Interesting infographic, bug bread, sorry, doesn’t do it for me. Perhaps if I was raised in Ghana winged termite bread my have been interesting, but as I wasn’t, it isn’t. Even if the bugs were processed, is there still not the possibility of scandal? Cricket bars being adulterated with other less beneficial insects similar to the horsemeat scandal. I’m sorry, but even a processed cricket would have me heaving.

    AV

    1. Honesty! I’m shocked by all these anti-bug comments. You people are fussier than my children!

      AV: see my reply to Helenof marlowe below. You already eat bugs!

      1. Interesting, I already knew about the inadvertent 500gr annual consumption. But I still would knowingly put a bug in my mouth, call me fussy. The allowable bug limits in food is one of the reasons I avoid most processed foods.

        AV

  4. I’m really sorry you’re getting mean comments. That can be so discouraging. As for eating bugs, I won’t, except inadvertently as we all do, but I can see that it makes sense. Certainly if it saves even a small part of the rain forest it will be a good thing. That’s the main reason I am a vegetarian and have been for many many years — we need to start taking much better care of our planet than we do now. I’m sorry to say that most Americans (where I write from) are still debating whether climate change is even happening.
    Thanks for good information, as usual, Rachel, and enjoy your busy month.
    Helen

      1. If your grandfather were alive, he could tell you how he ate maggot-invested food while in the army and bit into a cockroach that had invaded his breakfast cornflakes many years later when at home. He apparently didn’t notice the maggots until a few guys complained. He well and truly noticed the cockroach. Apparently, it tasted bloody awful. 🙂

  5. Sorry that the trolls are giving you a problem. Those who make reference to Nazis and serial killers should be treated as you treat the followers of Watts. Warn them, delete their comments, and then ban them if they persist. You’d be doing all other readers a favor.

    Some of my friends in grade school ate worms to impress the girls, but it didn’t work well. I’ve tried roasted and chocolate covered grasshoppers, a natural for Oklahoma, and the chocolate covered ones were not bad. Can you be a bugatarian and still be considered a vegetarian? I think being a straight vegetarian would be preferable.

    1. JC Moore,

      Yes, of course I could delete such comments if they were made on my blog but this was said on Twitter. I can’t delete someone else’s tweets.

      I imagine that by definition an insect-eating vegetarian is probably not strictly a vegetarian. I’m not too bothered by the eating insects though. What is important to me is sentience – the animal’s capacity for pain and suffering and self-consciousness. There’s a good page here which divides animals into three groups: sentient organisms that a self-aware, sentient organisms that are not self-aware and inanimate objects and insentient organisms. Insects fall under the third category. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights/moralstatus_1.shtml

  6. I think it’s one of those polarising things though – like prawns. Some people can’t stand the idea of them, but many think they are a delicacy. I would try bugs in the hope that they were just like prawns.

  7. Love Elizabeth getting indignant with Daniel. Reminds me so much of my kids. Really made me smile this! 🙂
    As for comparing you to those monsters I’m just incredulous…truly am…
    Finally, I’m afraid Rachel that I will never, ever eat bugs. I am deathly terrified of them, I have a complete and utter aversion to them. I just couldn’t do it. I would be the first to go if it ever got to that, I really would…

      1. HaHa! Well, you are very persuasive Rachel!! I give you that, this way would help but if I knew what they were made of I just think I would throw up! I suppose if I was absolutely starving and there was nothing else I would have to eat them…if they looked like this…at a huge push… 😉

  8. I don’t think I could stomach bugs… Michael Palin had a plate of live larvae in one of his around the world travel series. blech… Of course we’re eating bugs now;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Food_Defect_Action_Levels

    Also, there’s a local company making grain ripening sensors. What to they measure? They count bugs leaving grain silos. The number of bugs leaving tapers off as the grain gets ripe.

    Dark Roasted Blend is an excellent site for odd interesting factoids;
    Here’s some big machines for you.
    http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2012/11/monster-machinery-update.html

    A friend of mine used to drive those monster mining trucks.

  9. Wow, that really is a monster machine! Thanks, OilMan.

    As for eating bugs already, it’s true! One thing I read somewhere, it might have been in the FAO paper on Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security, is that there are some risks to eating insects directly from the wild, even though we already consume these. They could be contaminated with harmful pollutants and/or diseased. The FAO paper has a chapter on farming insects: http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e08.pdf

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