Bank crashes

Many distractions are happening. Some kickballing crisp salesman has apparently vanished from TV for something he did or said, I neither know nor care any more than that but it’s the talk of the internet. Then Mad Wanksock is getting all the blame for the Covid lockdown debacle. I have no sympathy for the weasel faced git, he deserves all he gets – but he is far from the only one to blame and the rest of them shouldn’t be allowed to get away with their parts in that mess.

In the background, but sliding into the limelight, a bank called Silicon Valley Bank went bust. Turns out this was a bank with a particular penchant for high risk investments. You’d think they’d have a risk assessment department keeping a close eye on things in that case, right?

Well they had no head of risk assessment for nine months, and when they appointed one, they chose a woke idiot who spent all her time arranging LGBT parades and Lesbian Awareness events. Not checking on the risks they took with investments. Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but as a straight man I have no reason to be aware of lesbians, nor they of me. We are of no interest to each other. And I’m afraid that whenever I hear ‘LGBT’ my mind defaults to G scale narrow gauge railways – LGB trains. I see no reason to have a parade about that.

So a bank that took big risks in investments while having no, followed by effectively no, oversight on the scale of the risks they took, went bust. That’s really not a surprise and shouldn’t alarm anyone who didn’t have their money in there. Incidentally, it turns out the Harry formerly known as Prince and his sidekick, Me-again, had a lot of their money in that bank.

However, it is being touted as ‘the first domino in a banking collapse’ There is no reason why it should be, but then there was no reason to panic buy toilet paper at the start of all this yet people did it anyway. There wasn’t a ‘real’ shortage of toilet paper. There were rumours of one, which caused the easily petrified to buy it all and thus cause the very shortage they were trying to avoid.

The same happened with rumours of petrol shortages, other shortages and lately fresh fruit and vegetable shortages. Although if anyone is daft enough to stockpile fresh fruits and vegetables, well your house is going to stink worse than the allotment compost heap in a week or so. Which, I suppose, will make it easy to identify the utterly gullible.

All it takes to create a shortage is to put out a rumour there’s going to be one. The impossibly stupid will do the rest for you, and they are legion. They’ll buy up and stockpile the thing you wanted a shortage of and cause that shortage themselves.

So… if you want to crash the banks, all you need do is install a useless head of risk management in a very high risk bank and let it inevitably crash. Even better if you have King Jug-ears’ grandson as a major account holder. That guarantees massive press coverage. Then all the gullible toilet roll hoarders will panic and cause a run on the banks – all of them – so they can take their money and stuff it into mattresses. That will then cause the massive bank crash you wanted. Even the most well run banks can’t pay out all the money in all their accounts. Most of it doesn’t actually exist. So, banking crash incoming.

It’s hard not to see the toilet roll, pasta, petrol and all the other shortages as practice runs for this event. Each of them was inconsequential and temporary on their own, but as a lead-in to crashing the financial system, a very good way to train the drones into doing what the WEF want them to do. Also, to find out how many gullible idiots are willing to help this crash along.

Seems there are a whole army of them. So, get ready for the financial crash – unless enough people wake up to the scam. I am not hopeful of that.

Looks like the plan for digital currency is working well so far. Well, best get planting… there won’t be too many veggies on this year’s food bills, and I’ll have to dust off the fishing and hunting gear too.

If you live in a city, you have my sympathy. If you can, get the hell out soon.

Which goes first, the chicken or the egg?

Lab grown chicken meat is now reality. Of course, hardly anyone wants it so in order to sell it they first need to… get rid of the real chickens. The same thing is happening with cows and sheep on the ridiculous premise that they cause ‘climate change’. Really it’s to sell the pretend meats hat nobody would otherwise be interested in.

The argument goes that if we get rid of cattle and sheep, we can use that land to grow crops. This ignores an important detail – much of the land used for grazing is incapable of growing much more than grass. Some because it’s just a thin layer of soil on bedrock, some because it’s regularly flooded and some, like one of the fields here, because it’s far too steep to plough.

There are sheep down beside the river here in summer, over winter they are moved to other pastures until the river’s finished making use of its flood plains. Then they’re back again. Put any kind of crops in there and you’ll just get a wet mess when you harvest it.

Get rid of the sheep and cattle and you just end up with unusable fields of long grass. You can’t digest that, its best use is to be converted into meat by animals that can digest it.

But back to the chickens. Lately we are being regaled with tales of bird flu once again, that wonderful excuse for wiping out entire flocks of birds. It only takes one bird testing positive and it’s a death sentence for all of them. But it doesn’t end there – there are claims that bird flu has jumped to mink, so now it’s moved from bird to mammal and it’s one step closer to humans.

Is it deadly? It’s flu. Flu has always killed a lot of people every year except when it took a year off during Covid. For most of us it’s unpleasant but survivable. It’s really not the doomsday plague it’s being hyped up to be.

It’s not the only approach being taken either. I’m hearing more and more reports of hens stopping laying – and it’s now being linked to the feeds sold to the farmers. Switch from the commercial feed to something else (one farmer used goat feed instead) and the hens start laying again.

You’ll never guess who has investments in both the lab grown meats and plant-based artificial egg. Yes, him again.

So eggs are back on the demon list. This time they are claimed to cause blood clots. That’s right, something humans have eaten since the dawn of humanity suddenly causes blood clots.

‘Choline can cause blood clots when consumed in high concentrations’. No doubt it can, but note there is no mention of the concentrations required.

You need choline. It’s important for a lot of things. Choline deficiency has many nasty effects on your body. How much do you need? Roughly the amount you’d get if you ate four chicken eggs. Daily. Fortunately it’s also in other foods so you don’t need to stuff down eggs – although they are also a good source of protein and vitamin D.

Each egg contains roughly 113 mg, giving you 452 mg of choline. Every day, remember, your body can’t make enough of this stuff on its own. So what constitutes an overdose?

The highest level that is unlikely to cause harm is 3,500 mg per day. You’d have to get over that – every day – to get toxic effects. That’s a lot of eggs. In fact it’s nearly impossible to get to that level with food, you’d need to also be overdoing it with supplements.

So the scary article isn’t actually lying. Choline is found in eggs. Eat far too much of it and you might have some health issues. What they don’t mention is that you’d have to hoover out a commercial henhouse every morning for breakfast in order to have those problems.

Eat far too little and you will definitely have serious health issues. Very serious issues.

Rubbish science reporting like this is going to make people terrified of choline. They’ll be trying desperately to exclude it from their diets. And then they’ll get very sick indeed – and then the Pharmers will sell them an expensive treatment. Not a cure, a treatment. Because if you have taken all the choline out of your diet you will need to be on those pills for the rest of your days. You’ll probably never find out that they are choline supplements.

All this is done for money. Forget any notion that any ‘health organisation’ gives the tiniest shit about your health. They just want your money.

Same goes for the fake food producers. Their products have absolutely nothing to do with health. They just want the money too.

Stick to real foods. They’ve kept humanity alive and healthy for millenia. The new crap won’t do that.

Vaximal Farm

The Billy Gates Gruff has come up with a cunning plan to overcome ‘vaccine hestitancy’. He wants to put it in food. Injecting animals and, by some botanical magic, get it into fruit and vegetables. Which really only demonstrates one thing.

He has no idea what he’s talking about.

Every cell in every living thing is loaded with mRNA and DNA. Every microscopic cell in that carrot, or steak, or even toasted spider, is absolutely laden with the stuff. We all eat mRNA at every meal, and if it’s salads it’s not even denatured by cooking.

So, if you’ve eaten beef, you’ve ingested a massive amount of beef mRNA. Did you grow horns and a tail? If you’ve eaten carrots, did you grow roots and a big green tuft on your head? Of course not. None of the ingested mRNA or DNA is expressed by your cells. It’s broken into its constituent parts and used to make new human DNA and RNA. This is not the same as when it’s injected and given a transport mechanism to get directly into your cells. The stuff you eat gets dismantled and reassembled into the right format for your cells to use.

Even if he managed to keep it in the lipid nanoparticles, as soon as those hit bile in the duodenum they will be wrecked. Even assuming they survive stomach acids. It’s unlikely he can inject it into any kind of food and have the lipid particles/mRNA stay inert and stable long enough to be eaten, and if he can, the digestive system will rip them apart. It really isn’t going to work.

Of course, there are some unscrupulous researchers out there who won’t tell him any of this. As long as he keeps giving them money, they’ll turn up at work every day and fiddle around, pretending to try to do the impossible. You can expect to hear about research being done, but my bet is that, as with many things, it’ll gradually go quiet and fade away.

He does intend to ‘vaccinate’ farm animals but the only ones at risk are the animals themselves. Any surviving ones will be quite safe to eat. As for the insanity of getting it into plants, well, I bet his scientific team haven’t told him about plant cell walls either.

The only possible effect of all this is to try to persuade people to eat that mushed up insect crap. Try to make them scared to eat the real food until there’s nothing left but the insects. That could indeed be the end game here – but getting mRNA through food is never going to work.

There’s really no danger of it happening.

Tinfoil overload

Author payment time is coming.It’ll be a day early this quarter since I can’t stay up late on the 31st to catch any last minute sales because I have to be up in the horrible earliness the next day. I’ll explain why after it’s over. So, any sales on the 31st will be paid next quarter. In September I’ll start assembling the Halloween anthology, and no writer can possibly claim they are short of horror story ideas this year! Just read the news.

Blogging has been light because this ‘hobby publishing’ idea of mine has become almost full time, because there have been issues with family getting sick, and that even includes the car which has suffered with ‘lockdown rot’ from not getting much use. Also, the dog is stoned again on multiple medications and seems to have become addicted to painkillers.

Another reason is that, rather than nothing to talk about, there is currently far too much to talk about. Many things happening at once, most, if not all of them, interconnected.

When they told us they wanted us to eat insects, I thought ‘pfft, I’ll hunt rabbits, pheasant, partridge and go fishing’. Well the rabbits have seen a sharp decline, the pheasants have gone quiet and I haven’t seen a deer around here since the early days of lockdown. At least there are still plenty of pigeons.

As for fishing, it turns out that those sewage outflows have killed thousands of fish in one of the Thames tributaries. Raw sewage dumping isn’t new, it’s long been part of our rubbish sewage system and exacerbated by the import of several million more people with absolutely zero improvement in infrastructure to support that extra population. It seems to be in the news now, not because it’s new, but because it’s scary. Who’s going to go fishing if they risk catching a botty-log instead of a brown trout?

So the ‘hunter-gatherer’ option is systematically being erased. What other options do we have?

Recently, a Swedish scientist (I suspect he was called Svenibbal Lektersson) stated that eating human flesh was the most sustainable option for meat. Well, that’s not going to go well. If we were to get a taste for it, ‘Eat the Rich’ won’t be just a slogan and visiting enforcement officers might never be seen again. It’s a very risky proposition. ‘The Hills have Eyes’ was supposed to be just a scary film. Maybe Ed Gein wasn’t a monster after all. Maybe he was just ahead of the curve.

Another scientist has claimed that burying corpses is bad for the environment. You know, putting our bodies back into the ecosystem just like every other form of life, to be recycled, is suddenly somehow bad for the world. Well, I guess they have that solution already – the big ovens at Auschwitz would have clued them in – but wait! Won’t that produce more CO2?

Ah, not if you use the ovens to cook rather than incinerate them. You can then slice and package it and call it lab-grown meat, which is something that will never work on a large scale but provides a perfect cover for the new Soylent Green.

Getting those Halloween story ideas yet? There is one more twist in the insect food story but I’m keeping that one for myself.

Then we have the whole ‘net zero’ nonsense. The ice caps are not melting, the polar bears are not going extinct, the current weather events are just that – weather. Although the usual mantra is ‘climate change’ when things get rough and when it’s normal, ‘weather is not climate’. It’s true. Weather is not climate. A drought in one place is not proof that humans are affecting the climate. As if we were even capable of such a thing.

I’ve seen a few people try to argue that carbon dioxide is ‘beneficial to plants’. It’s not. It’s absolutely essential to plants. It’s what they use to make every part of the plant, carbon dioxide and a nitrogen source (normally from the soil, they can’t use inert atmospheric nitrogen although legumes have made a deal whith Rhizobacterium, the plant feeds it sugars and the bacterium fixes atmospheric nitrogen – but I digress).

Carbon dioxide is very, very low at the moment. It’s been far higher in the past. It doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for years, most of it is absorbed by nearby plant life within hours, if not minutes. That’s why it doesn’t accumulate. You’ve seen how fast grass grows in summer, right? Every carbon atom in every blade of grass on every rolling hillside came from CO2. Including the sugars they metabolise. Remove CO2 from the atmosphere and all the plants die. Shortly after that, so does everything else.

Except the anaerobic bacteria. Once the oxygen is used up and there are no plants producing any more, the world belongs to the anaerobes once again. They’ll rebuild it but there won’t be a single one of the existing animal, plant or insect species in their new world. It’ll all be new, and we won’t be in it. Maybe a semi-intelligent species like ours will eventually arise again and fuck it all up again. The anaerobes will fix that too. Maybe it’s happened before.

We are supposed to embrace the electric car. It’s useless. There isn’t a power grid in the world that could charge them all, and when the battery dies in a few years a new one costs as much as a new car. The batteries won’t be recyclable and they’ll end up in massive toxic dumps while cars that should have lasted decades are scrapped in a few years. There won’t be any second hand sales either – the old ones will cost as much to fix as just buying a new one.

And what will you charge them with on a windless night?

If the lunacy persists, my ideas for a land yacht backed by a steam engine might make me the next Henry Ford. On a reasonably breezy day you can start it moving using the sails while you wait for the steam boiler to reach operating pressure. Just needs wood and water, and it’ll use a lot less of those things than ‘green’ Drax power station.

There is so much more, but I’ll just add the current influx of illegal immigration – yes, they are illegal. They are not fleeing war-torn France, are they? They have apparently walked from Africa, all across ‘war-torn’ Europe and scrounged a dinghy to cross to the UK. On the way they picked up fully charged cell phones, clean clothes and a smart haircut. Oh and they were so brave they left their wives and children to deal with the ‘war’ they ran away from.

If I tried that trip I’d be a hairy stinking skeleton by the end of it. Wouldn’t you?

They are not refugees. They are being well fed and cared for and causing nothing but trouble. So why is our government importing so many of them and refusing to send any back?

Well, the food shortage looms, we are being told we should eat human flesh and healthy fit flesh would be far better than stringy old Grandad, burial of bodies harms the environment, and there’s the nonviable ‘lab meat’ cover for…

I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Pleasant dreams.


Okay, let’s start this with ‘what the hell does this guy know about chitin’.

When I started my PhD on the metabolism of ciliate protozoa living in the rumen of cattle and sheep, it was a hot topic. Three years later, I finished, and science had moved on. Rumen protozoa had become a niche topic and there were no openings for a new scientist. So, I diversified. What transferable skills did I have?

Well, I knew a lot about microbiology by then, having gained two degrees in it, and especially about anaerobic metabolism – and I had no qualms about working with stinky things. So my first job after the PhD was a three year post doc on… well this should explain.

That wasn’t the only paper to come out of that project but it was the main one. Anyway, yes, I do know a good bit about chitin and it’s important to know about it because if the idiots in charge get their way, you’re going to be eating a hell of a lot of it.

Its biochemical name is poly-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, a homopolymer (no it’s not gay, it’s a polymer of one type of molecule repeated over and over). Rather like cellulose or starch, except those are just polymers of glucose.

You can digest starch, mostly, but it comes in two forms. Amylose is just straight chains of glucose and very easy to digest. Amylopectin is straight chains but with branches coming off the chain, like a tree. If you have amylase enzyme you can digest it back as far as the branch points but you need a different enzyme to break those branch points. If you don’t have it, you basically shit out pollarded starch molecules. You’ll still get some energy from it.

‘Oh, so smartass knows all about starches too’. Indeed I do, since I returned to gut microbiology after three years of delving into stinky mud and, a few years later, supervised a PhD working on retrograde starch and its effects on pig digestion.

Cellulose is also poly-glucose but the chains are cross-linked. Humans can’t digest it, in fact neither can cows and other ruminants even though they live on it. Bacteria and protozoa can, and this is what the first stomach of a cow is for. The rumen (actually reticulo-rumen in case a pedant arrives) doesn’t secrete any enzymes. It’s a big bag of bacteria, protozoa and even anaerobic fungi. They do all the work of turning indigestible grass into highly digestible microbial protein and organic acids. The cow absorbs the organic acids and its liver makes glucose from them since the cow gets little to no direct sugar from its diet. The microbes get it first.

Then, once the microbes have turned the lousy food into every known amino acid, the cow moves a batch of them into its omasum/abomasum where they are digested. You can feed a cow with newspapers soaked in piss (bacteria will make amino acids from urea) and it’ll survive on that.

You can’t digest the stuff a ruminant eats. You don’t have a rumen. There are certain amino acids and vitamins you cannot produce and you have to get them in your food. Sure, you can eat grass but almost all of it will come out of the other end. The bacteria in your colon can use some of it, although we don’t all have cellulose degrading bacteria, but it’s the colon. The end of the digestive system. You can’t digest those bacteria.

So, humans can digest amylose starch, partially digest amylopectin starch, can’t digest cellulose. What has this to do with chitin and why should you care?

Chitin is the animal world’s version of cellulose. It’s tough and very hard to digest. Human digestive systems won’t touch it, colon bacteria might get something out of it but like grass, it’s mostly going right through. It’s what the exoskeleton (hard shell) of insects is made of.

So when you hear that insects contain more nutrition than an equivalent weight of beef, that’s discounting the fact that you can’t actually access most of that nutrition. The exoskeleton is made of a sugar, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine which is basically glucose with an amine group and an acetyl group tagged on. But it’s in a form you simply can’t digest, like the glucose in cellulose. Everything in beef is digestible. A large proportion of an insect is not. If you put both in a calorimeter to measure caloric content, the insects would win – but it’s not about how many calories a food contains. It’s about how many are actually accessible.

The ‘eat ze bugs’ pushers don’t care about that. Just like the Pharmers, your health is none of their concern. They just want the money.

Nobody is set up to eat insects. Ruminants can possibly digest them, they don’t hunt them but they probably get a few from eating the grass. It doesn’t matter to a ruminant. They just need a carbohydrate and a nitrogen source and their rumen microbes will make all they need. Human digestion will not work that way.

There has been some indication that too much chitin in your diet can lead to some serious problems. That’s possible – I have a small bottle of pure amylose (starch) that is marked as a potential neurotoxin in its pure form.

‘Oh, but some cultures eat insects all the time’. Sure. They do that because they live where there’s bugger all else to eat. And they generally eat grubs which are soft bodied and don’t have a chitinous exoskeleton until after they pupate. No humans, anywhere, eat insects unless there is nothing else.

We have, over millenia, put a hell of a lot of effort into keeping insects out of grains and flour storage. Why didn’t we just let them eat the grains and flour and then eat the insects? Because that makes us ill. We have known this for thousands of years.

Suddenly, insects are the food of the future. If you really believe insect food is your future, there is one thing you really should understand.

You have no future.

Three wheels on my wagon…

Remember that song? I doubt many do.

Anyway. I have sent the PDF of the whole interior of UA17 to the authors, with instructions to check their parts very carefully indeed. The real world distractions here have come thick and fast and none of them good. If any UA17 author reading this hasn’t seen it, check your spam folder and if it’s not there, let me know.

The cover image is set. I purchased the rights to an image from a very nice Australian cobber and will suitably distort it to make the cover. The book, being so late, will be called ‘The Wrong Kind of Leaves’ which fits that cover in so many ways…

I am again behind, but trying to get this wagon rolling again even if it’s down to one wheel. It won’t be easy but then I’ve come back from worse.

The world truly has gone to Hell in a handcart, although it’s a handcart attached to a Jensen Interceptor with a brick on the accelerator. I once saw the remains of an Interceptor in a scrapyard. The engine was indeed a sight to behold. Unfortunately I was a student at the time, only there for a window winder for an Austin Princess, so could do no more than ogle that engine… but I digress.

The WHO, faced with what they pretend is a pandemic of monkeypox (there are countries whose annual tally of infections is four times the current global scare story and they just let it ride because it’s really not a big deal) have a priority.

Cure it? Find a cure? Isolate the infected?


Their priority is to rename it because it’s ‘racist’.

Monkeys are not a different race. They are a different species. This is exactly the same as calling chickenpox ‘racist’, Exactly the same. But nobody gives a shit about how poultry feel, it seems. And how about smallpox? I think the short people might have something to say here. Then we have Yellow Fever. The Chinese and Japanese *ahem* in the corner. And of course German Measles…

Oh come on, we all know why they want to change the name. It’s not scary enough. It has to be called Deathpox or RipYourFaceOffPox or FloppyWillyPox or YourPhoneBatteryDiesPox. Something to make the sheep shit pile higher. Something to scare people, since that’s the name of the game and always has been. Always will be.

The scare game has been silly for a long time but it has plumbed depths of silliness where the silly is under such pressure as to become almost a singularity of silly. A silly black hole from which no sense could ever escape.

Look at this. Just look.

I remember, a little under sixty years ago, we’d use a blade of grass to push aside the froth to reveal the insect beneath. This is nothing new.

The story is pure scare. So this froth-producing insect ‘could’ damage olive groves – how many olive groves are you personally cultivating? It ‘might’ damage your plants even though it never has before. It’s never been more than a curiosity and now it’s the greatest threat ever?

Report it, and your vegetable garden will be flame-sterilised ‘for everyone’s safety’.

China has been eradicating home vegetable gardens for ‘covid’. Australia has made it illegal to grow your own food. See it yet? You will have nothing but what those ‘in charge’ allow you to have. They have been making this very clear for years now.

I would say ‘get ready’ but I said it years ago and everyone laughed. It’s too late now.

But hey, keep laughing. I’m sure you’re going to love the punchline.

Farm Animals

CStM’s choice of book in the previous post seems almost prophetic. The Vaccinators are all set to force the experimental vaccine on children… and then pets.

Found here

My bet is that all of these will need ‘booster shots’. Someone is getting very rich indeed out of all this, and they don’t care at all how the experiment turns out. Well, some have an interest in how it turns out, and they don’t have our best interests at heart.

My bet is that their next target will be livestock. Farm animals. For their protection? Hell no. For profit and for another reason.

Remember the big scare about growth hormones in beef cattle? Then mad cow disease? It put a lot of people off beef. How do you think they’ll react when they find out the experimental vaccine is now in every single piece of meat on every shelf, everywhere? Remember, one of the primary objectives of this insane ‘great reset’ is to stop meat-eating. All meat.

Of course, the vaccine in meat is meaningless. Every living cell contains DNA and mRNA (except red blood cells so black pudding is totally safe). Every one. All animals – and all plants too. Ever hear of anyone suddenly being able to photosynthesise after eating a salad? Of course not. Your digestive system breaks all that DNA and RNA into bits. Your cells can use the bits – the basic blocks are the same – to build its own RNA and DNA. It doesn’t use the genes, just the bits.

The same is true of proteins. These are broken up into amino acids and reassembled into proteins your own body needs. If you are on a low-carb diet, some of that protein is burned for energy too. Eating a sheep does not turn you into a sheep. The education system does that.

As an aside, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Those fats are broken and mostly used for energy. The fats in your own cells are human fat, made in those cells, mostly from carbohydrates. You do not have a store of beef fat in you.

So I’m not going to be at all concerned about jabbed beef. If cooking doesn’t destroy the vaccine and its products, digestion will. I was never concerned about beef hormones for the same reason.

The mad cow disease was a bit more of a concern since the prions were shown to be heat resistant, but it turned out to be a very rare event with around ten cases a year. Still, all you had to do was avoid the main nervous tissue, brain and spine and although I have eaten cow brain in the past (being a broke student opens all kinds of interesting culinary options) I don’t need to eat that cheaply now. I still like liver though. Very good source of vitamin D and a very nice meal too.

If they can convince you that your pets have covid, it is a tiny step to convince you that farm animals have it. Then they can inject all the farm animals and once those side effects start to really get under way, many, many people will suddenly be too scared to eat meat.

There is a horrifying logic in this plan. It has to fail before they get to children, but then they are already running trials and have already ruined a few little lives before they really started. That won’t stop them. They don’t care.

The ‘vaccines’ are still experimental. They are still only allowed under emergency authorisation and that is in itself already illegal. Covid is not a highly lethal disease and there are effective treatments available. There is no need for these vaccines at all. The authorisation also only applies while there is an emergency. Stop the emergency and they can’t sell any more vaccines, and you know what that means.

Lockdowns are here to stay.

Monsters from the Id

Well, everything is running slow here. We had a heating boiler failure while the temperature dropped to -10C, now it’s fixed and the temperature barely gets below 5C. Still, it was good exercise for the wood burning stove. That’s now back in ‘supplemental’ mode but at least it’s been properly tested. The landlord has also provided a log-basket fireplace for the utility room (which has no heating of any kind) so that 18th century fireplace with the iron swing-arm pot holder should soon be back in use. It’s actually at least 100 years younger than the one in the living room…

We could indeed use it, and the living room wood burner, for cooking if it came down to it. Yes, we can party like it’s 1699. With rabbit, partridge, pheasant and possibly venison. The guy who runs the local deer cull is known to us – and before you start shedding Bambi tears, have you ever turned a corner in the road and faced a deer staring at you? If you hit one at speed it will die and there’s a very good chance you will too. Since there are no longer wolves in Scotland, the only predators deer get are ticks and the population can quickly get out of control. I’ve had quite a few near misses since they seem to find it funny to jump out in front of cars.

It could well become neccessary. There is currently a massive push to get us to live on locusts, mealworms and/or vegetables. You know, that green shit that grows in the dirt and the nasty crawly things that live in it. No meat. Not for us plebs anyway. Although if a few of the New Stasi go missing, who’d notice?

Anyway, we’re being pushed into a Brave New World. Aldous Huxley took the title from a line in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, you know, a line spoken by the deformed maniac Caliban. The title of this post comes from ‘Forbidden Planet’, a film based upon the same play. Sometimes the connections are obscure but I think this one was too easy for a competition.

The Monsters from the Id (subconscious) are all around us now, dragged from the shadows by the manipulations surrounding Covid. Manipulations that lead to a new world indeed, a world of misery and despair in which we will own nothing and be happy. Or dead. The Righteous Ones are fine with either outcome.

I recall when butter was demonised to make way for the New Spreadable Plastic Crap In A Tub, culminating in ‘I can’t believe anyone is daft enough to think this is butter’. Lard, too, was replaced by the various cooking oils. The old ways were deemed Bad even though obesity and other ailments were far less prevalent in those days. It was always about money of course. You can’t sell something new when a perfectly good alternative already exists so you have to make the alternative bad.

So it is today. Massive investment into edible insects means meat must be demonised. Nobody is going to swap a bacon sandwich for bread with wrigglies in it willingly. They have to be convinced that the meat is going to kill them. Incidentally, proper bread recipes include a bit of lard…

Well, the whole ‘cows cause climate change’ thing hasn’t worked, so cows have not yet been rendered extinct. We can still get a burger. Now of course you can get a burger made of massively processed plant material instead of actual meat. Well, not for me, thanks all the same.

So what’s next on the ‘meat is deadly’ agenda? Simple. Recycle something we’ve known about for many years as a new and terrifying development.

When I was at university, 1978-1981 for my first degree, we examined plasmid transfer in a practical class. I have since run such classes myself. Bacterial genomes are not like plant or animal genomes. They are made of the same stuff – DNA – but they are not organised into chromosomes. There’s no structure. A bacterium does not have a nucleus, its DNA is one long circle that just floats about in the cell.

It can also have little circles of DNA separate from its main DNA. These are plasmids and they can be transferred between bacteria. They send a copy of themselves along a tube called a pilus when two bacteria connect and if you break the connection at set times, you can work out the order of genes on the plasmid. But I don’t want to get into full lecture mode. Suffice to say, this is nothing new.

The non-structured circular DNA of a bacterium has another feature. Unlike the rigid-ish structure of plant or animal chromosomal DNA, it is very, very easy to insert an extra bit into the main DNA in a bacterium. They can pick up fragments from the environment, they might insert them, they might not. The scale of numbers we are talking about with bacteria means that the chance of a few insertions is actually pretty high.

There are viruses that infect bacteria. These are bacteriophages, and they only infect bacteria. Just like the ones we get, they are fussy about which bacteria they infect so one that bursts from an infected E. coli is hoping to find another E. coli nearby.

I’ve previously explained how viruses are mindless and inefficient copying machines. These are no different. The bacteriophage particles, when assembling inside the cell, don’t all get loaded with bacteriophage DNA. Sometimes they get loaded with bits of host DNA instead and when they ‘infect’ another cell, instead of making viruses they ‘gift’ the cell with some DNA from another cell. As a bonus, when one bacteriophage enters a cell it blocks all others from entering. So if it injects bacterial DNA, that bacterium is now immune to any real viruses.

As with DNA picked up from the environment, sometimes the bacterium inserts it into its own genome, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the new DNA forms a plasmid. Since we are always talking in billions with bacteria, it doesn’t have to happen very often to produce something new.

None of this entails new discoveries. We’ve known about all of it for a very long time. Sure, you can be scared of it if you want but it’s going to happen anyway. It’s been happening since long, long before we even knew DNA existed and there is nothing we can do about it.

Well, there is one thing. If meat is cleanly slaughtered it should not be coated with gut contents. Even if it is, cooking it thoroughly will kill any bacteria that might be on it. Chicken is a special case – nothing to do with gene transfer, it’s because Campylobacter can get into the muscle tissues. So chicken realy does need to be cooked through. You can get away with a rare steak, but rare chicken is taking a huge risk. Again, this is not one of my lectures (well, maybe a bit, old habits die hard).

I wonder if this is part of the Internet effect. When I did my first and second degree, the internet didn’t exist and computers were only just getting into homes. And I’m talking about Sinclair ZX-81’s and BBC’s for those who could afford them. A BBC computer with Cub monitor and Cumana disk drives was quite an outlay in those days. Some years later I bought three of them for a fiver each – they’re fun but the internet is way beyond them. But I digress.

When I did my degrees we had to go to the library to look things up, and often that involved going into The Stacks, in the basement, where the old stuff was stored. Once the internet took off, that changed rapidly. Now you can sit at your desk and search PubMed and other science databases – but certainly at first (and probably even now) the internet didn’t go very far back.

I started seeing papers published that made me look twice. Some Lactobacilli can grow in air? I had a reference to that from the early 1970s, it was not a new discovery in 1990. There were a lot more like this and I realised that the internet was only documenting research from around 1985. Earlier stuff was still on paper, in The Stacks, and nobody went there any more. If it wasn’t on the desktop and accessible online, it didn’t exist.

I have seen so much more of this since. An entirely unrelated one – when firing a bow, you don’t grip the bow because that will make your wrist twist when you fire and you’ll be off target. I’ve watched people fire bows and then slowly dip and raise them deliberately with a firm grip throughout. It’s wrong. It’s what it must look like in action but the ‘dip’ is because you weren’t holding the bow too tight. Not some little theatrical thing. It comes from an internet that doesn’t go back very far.

If I’m feeling generous I could accept that these researchers have only looked online for the past research and think they are onto something new. In fact this stuff stopped being publish-worthy a very, very long time ago. So it’s not in their searches because nobody has scanned those papers into the net yet. Or maybe they have, as PDFs, which won’t listen to a keyword search.

If I’m feeling cynical, as I usually am these days, I can see it as a deliberate attempt to scare people away from meats, by pretending we’ve only just found out how gut bacteria change while, naturally, ignoring one small detail.

Insects have gut bacteria too.

Double masks?

The lunacy around Covid is getting worse. You’d think the vaccine rollout would have calmed the rhetoric but no, it’s becoming even more insane.

The people who told us masks don’t work are now recommending we wear two. I guess they have to clear their stocks before the game is over. I’ve never bought the disposable surgical masks. You know, the ones that state on the box that they offer no protection at all from this specific virus. I have some fun ones to wear on my rare visits to local shop but they are wash and re-use ones (minimum 40oC, preferably 60 if they can take it, but as far as the virus is concerned it’s the soap that kills it not the temperature). I know they don’t do a damn thing but they give me an excuse to look scary while shopping. I’m actually going to miss the zipper mouth one and the Grinch.

If they want me masked up more I have a sugar skull, Bane, plague doctor and the little trike-riding puppet from Saw. As well as a few army surplus gas masks. Although the shop staff have trouble hearing me through the cloth masks as it is so I’d have to write down everything if I wear the gas masks.

Hmm. What if they insist I remove the plague doctor mask because it’s too scary, and I have the sugar skull on underneath? Look, the situation is ridiculous, I might as well have some fun with it.

Then there are the N95 masks. They won’t stop the virus either but they are better protection than the surgical or cloth masks. However, hospitals and other sites using these masks have technical staff to train people how to use them properly. You don’t just bung them on. They have to fit properly.

One of my nieces is a nurse. The shape of her face does not accommodate an N95. She cannot wear them effectively. Can you? How will you know? There is a way to test it, do you know what it is? Have any of those selling the masks mentioned it?

N95 masks are not re-useable. You can wear a properly fitted one for about two hours and then it’s done. Into the contaminated waste bin it goes and you can’t just put another one on right away. They really do restrict your breathing. Did the mask sellers tell you this? Did anyone tell you that used masks should be treated as contaminated material and not just put in a bin or worse – dumped in the street? It’s not just the virus. It’s been collecting bacteria and fungi while you’ve been breathing through it. It is now contaminated material.

Everything that left my lab went through an autoclave. Basically, a massive pressure cooker that uses high pressure steam to raise the temperature inside to 121oC for fifteen minutes. Nothing survives that. It’s then safe to put it in the trash. Not just bacterial cultures – absolutely anything that had the slightest risk of being contaminated, which was… everything. One accidental aerosol, without even realising it, could have contaminated everything. I took no chances.

Yet people are being sold these disposable masks which they wear, contaminate and throw away in the street. You can call them idiots but they aren’t. They simply haven’t been trained in the use of these things. They don’t know. Nobody is telling them. At the least, put them in boiling water for a minimum of ten minutes before putting them in the bin. That should kill everything apart from some bacterial spores. Oh, and don’t use that pot for anything else. Pick an old one.

Look. You are doing all this for a virus with a well over 99% survival rate and which is killed by soap. Its outer coat is made of fat with attachment proteins floating in it. Soap makes it fall apart. It really is that easy to kill. And now you have all these experimental vaccines and masks and anal swabs for a respiratory virus… you never had any of this for flu, and it’s killed many more than Covid. Although this year it seems to have disappeared. I”m sure you have your own theories as to why so I won’t bore you with mine.

Well, it seems the end of lockdown may be in sight, but it’s been in sight many times this year only to be snatched away again. It’s not going to end. We might get a couple of weeks in summer but it’ll be back next flu season, and those couple of weeks in summer will be blamed. It will have popular support too. All those selfish people who went so far out in the countryside the police had to send a drone to find them were spreading it through infected butterflies or something. It doesn’t matter how bizarre the reasoning is now. People will believe anything.

I’ve already seen Twitter folk saying that the proposed (but conspiracy theory even though the government has firms working on it) Covid passport should be used internally in shops and pubs. So far it’s only being discussed for foreign travel and the government denies it exists at all.

Anyway. What pubs? They’re doomed. There are stories that they will be allowed to open in April as long as they don’t sell alcohol. Now, maybe restaurants could survive this. Their primary business is food. They could allow customers to bring their own wine and charge corkage. Their profits will be hit hard but it’s possible they could struggle along.

Pubs though? Food is secondary and not all pubs are equipped for it. Their primary business is alcohol sales and if they can’t do that, there’s no point opening. Besides, what’s beer going to be like when filtered through two masks?

Sure, pubs could charge corkage but how well will that work? When you visit a restaurant you are mainly there for the food. If you have to pay a small fee to bring your own bottle of wine, no big deal. If you go to a pub you are mainly there for the beer. You have to bring your own, and you have to pay more to drink it. It’s in cans or bottles, no draught, so why would you do that? You can drink the supermarket cans at home.

Well, taxes are going to rise to pay for all this crap. Yes, we’ve been locked in under house arrest for a year and now we’re going to pay for it. Boris is also considering taxes on meat and cheese to atone for our sins against the Green God. We’re going to be taxed harder and food is about to be taxed too. Taxes on certain foods are the same as one compulsory vaccination. It’s a foot in the door. You accept one and there is no limit. Don’t believe me? ‘One nonsmoking area in restaurants, that’s all we want’. Remember that?

Note that the Covid passports are actually called vaccine passports. It is not ending with one. It is not ending at all.

It has occurred to me that I have already written most of this. In Panoptica, physical contact simply doesn’t happen. It’s not even a conscious choice, nobody even tries. In 23-David and 81-Mohammed, set before Panoptica, 23-David considers a handshake as an assault. Back in Panoptica, 10538’s home and everything in it is reallocated when he is arrested. He owned nothing. Medication is centralised and not optional. 10538 has no personal agency, it does not even occur to him to not do as he is told.

Now I have to write a way out of all this. First though, I have to defeat lockdown ennui and get some editing finished…

Cooking with Lard

A conversation with CStM about deep frying this evening. Mostly because we’ve just bought a deep fryer. It claims it should be filled with vegetable oil and not olive oil – apparently that’s unsuitable. Has to be corn oil or sunflower oil. Well it uses so much that olive oil would be prohibitive anyway, due to cost.

Then again, olive oil has been shown to have health benefits whereas corn oil definitely doesn’t. Still the fryer says it won’t work.

Anyone my age will remember the ‘chip pan’. A saucepan with a mesh basket for deep frying – mostly chips, but basically anything. When it was cold you couldn’t get the basket out because it was in a saucepan full of set lard. It was only washed when the lard needed to be changed.

It didn’t really need to be washed. There isn’t a living creature, microorganism or otherwise, that could survive in boiling lard. Once the heat was turned off, that damn thing was sterile.

Yes it was a high-risk cooking thing. There were many TV ads about what to do if it caught fire and that childhood indoctrination is why I insist on having a fire blanket near the cooker. Never needed to use one but it’s there just in case.

It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time. Is cooking with lard really as bad as they say? Or is it going to one day be scoffed at, like the ‘butter is evil, buy our plasticine substitute’ has been debunked? I’ve always preferred real butter. No substitute comes close.

I’ve fried meat in butter and it’s well worth it.

I think the clincher for me was fried bread. Some years back, the radio in Local Shop (while they were still allowed to use it in the back room before the ‘public access’ licencing became silly) had a talk show on. The DJ didn’t believe ‘fried bread’ was a real thing. Really. The youth have no idea what that is.

So what is it? In the old days, you’d have a lot of fat left in the frying pan and fat is food. You can scrape it into the bin or you can use it to fry something else or you can have it right now by frying some bread in it. If you were poor, as many people were, you could get that extra energy rather than waste it.

Fried bread, done properly, is gorgeous. If you have never experienced it you’ve really missed out. However, it does not work with modern cooking oils. It has to be in hard fat.

Maybe there’s a food scientist who can help with this. If you try to make fried bread in vegetable oil, you get a soggy mess. If you do it with lard or butter or bacon fat, you get a crispy result like a fried version of toast.

I have wondered if the hard fats have to be hotter so the surface of whatever is fried seals quickly and goes crispy. The vegetable oils are already liquid, they don’t need to melt, so they are cooking at a lower temperature. So they don’t seal the surface and have more time to soak into the food.

Which would mean that cooking with lard gives you less fat intake than cooking with vegetable oil. Most of the fat stays in the pan, not in the food.

Incidentally, these days, after frying up some bacon, we clean the frying pan. My grandmother didn’t. That bacon fat cooked tomorrow’s food. A friend of mine once described how, after he left home, he couldn’t get his baked beans to taste the way his mother made them. He was following the instructions on the tin – heat gently, don’t boil…

Then he visited his mother while she was cooking up some baked beans. In a frying pan. His words, as far as I can remember them –

‘The pan was bubbling like bloody Vesuvius. I said you’re not supposed to let them boil. She said fuck that, there’s two ounces of butter in there as well as yesterday’s bacon fat.’

Try that. You’ll be amazed.

We didn’t have an ‘obesity epidemic’. We didn’t have pompous arses telling us what we should eat (well yes we did, but we ignored them). We didn’t have things we couldn’t believe were not butter, we had butter. Not the processed plasticine that isn’t even margarine now. We didn’t have corn oil, we had melted lard. So why were we not all Weebles?

Well we also didn’t spend twelve hours a day sitting in front of computers playing at imaginary lives. We were outside playing real ones. That might have more of an effect than anything to do with food.

The fryer we have doesn’t mention lard in its instructions. Maybe it can’t handle that.

Maybe we have to get an old style chip pan to get the real deal.