Bug eating in the Wall Street Journal

 Pds 1 201102 12 36 E0059036 17551489
The Wall Street Journal gets on the bug-eating bandwagon with an article titled “The Six-Legged Meat of the Future.” Edible insects are becoming trendy, with London’s Archipelago restaurant topping their creme brulee with a bee and Manhattan’s Tolache offering grasshopper-stuffed tacos. The image above is from the blog of Japanese bug sushi maker, Shoichi Uchiyama. The WSJ article includes sample recipes from “The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon:

 Files 2008 07 Eat-A-Bug-Cookbook Recipe: Crispy Crickets Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Strip the antennae, limbs and wings (if any) from 20 to 30 clean, frozen adult crickets, or 40 to 60 cricket nymphs. Spread the stripped crickets on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until crickets are crisp, around 20 minutes. Yield: one cup.

Sprinkle these on salads or put them through a coffee grinder to turn them into bug “flour.” You could even combine the crickets with Chex Mix for a protein-rich snack.

The Six-Legged Meat of the Future(WSJ, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

Eat-a-bug Cookbook (Amazon)

The Price of Everything

price-title.jpg

“According to Eduardo Porter of The New York Times editorial board, prices are more interesting than most of us realize. And the prices that never appear on a price tag are the most fascinating of all. In his new book The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do (2010, Portfolio), Porter explores the surprising ways prices affect every aspect of our lives, including where we live, who we marry, how many kids we have, and even how religious we are.”

Here is the introduction to Porter’s book.

PRICES ARE EVERYWHERE

Anybody who has visited a garbage dump in the developing world knows that value is an ambiguous concept. To most people in the developed world, household waste is worthless, of course. That’s why we throw it away. Apparently, Norwegians are willing to pay about $114 a ton for somebody else to sort their recyclables from the general garbage. A survey of families in the Carter community of Tennessee several years ago found they were willing to pay $363 a year, in today’s money, to avoid having a landfill nearby.

But slightly beyond our immediate experience, waste becomes a valuable commodity. In Kamboins√©, outside Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, farmers pay municipal trash haulers to dump unsorted solid waste on their sorghum and millet fields as fertilizer — bits of plastic included. The going rate in 2003 was 400 francs per ton. In New Delhi, a study in 2002 found that waste pickers earned two rupees per kilo of PET soda bottles and seven rupees per kilo of hard plastic shampoo bottles. A child working on foot on Delhi’s dumps could make twenty to thirty rupees per day.

Waste, in fact, confronts us with the same value proposition as anything else. The price we put on it — what we will trade to have it, or have it go away — is a function of its attendant benefits or costs. A bagful of two-rupee PET bottles is more valuable to an Indian child who hasn’t eaten today than to me, a well-fed journalist in New York. What she must do to get it — spend a day scavenging among the detritus of India’s capital, putting her life and health at risk — is, to her, not too high a price to pay because life is pretty much the only thing she has. She has little choice but to risk it for food, clothing, shelter, and whatever else she needs. I, by contrast, have many things. I have a reasonable income. If there’s one thing I have too little of, it is free time. The five cents I could get for an empty PET bottle at the supermarket’s recycling kiosk are not worth the trouble of redeeming it.

Continue reading “The Price of Everything”

Dirty debt collectors frightened victims with fake “sheriffs,” “courtroom,” “judges”

The Pennsylvania Attorney General has brought suit against the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie, PA. According to the suit, Unicredit dressed its employees in fake sheriff’s deputies uniforms to lure debtors out of their homes with unenforceable orders, and took them to a fake courtroom where another employee pretending to be a judge told them they could go to jail if they didn’t pay up.

“Can I look at your fake courtroom?” Parsons asked.

“First of all, that’s an allegation that supposedly someone said, so talk to the attorneys,” Covatto said. “You guys have a nice day. That’s all I got to say.”

The Attorney General’s Office told Team 4 that Unicredit lured debtors to the building by sending employees who appeared to be sheriff’s deputies to their homes, implying that they would be taken into custody if they failed to appear at the phony court hearings.

“It really galls me that someone would stoop that low,” Erie County Sheriff Robert Merski said. “This certainly seems to be a scam, and it upsets me that they are trying to play on the integrity of this office, the office of sheriff. We’ve been here since the beginning of the United States.”

The lawsuit accuses Unicredit of intimidating debtors into revealing their bank account numbers, even turning over the titles to their cars once they got them inside the building.

Team 4: Debt Collectors Accused Of Fake Courtroom, Judge

Erie debt collection company sued; accused of using bogus “hearings” and fake “courtroom” to collect from consumers (PA Attorney General)

(Thanks, Anthony I!)