The Random Griffith

Yep, that’s disgusting, but what the hey

Posted in bugs are cool by Jackson Griffith on 30/09/2010

Occasionally I stumble across some weird stuff, like this article about how mashed-up cockroach brains kill E. coli bacteria, which of course is great news for the troubled fast-food industry. I have to admit that I became greatly excited when I read this piece of news, because as a forward-thinking person, I could see some pretty cool applications for the business world.

Now, let’s just say that it’s reasonably academic that right now, as you read this, scientists at some of our better chemical and convenience-food conglomerates are busy isolating whatever molecular construct in the cockroach brain that’s vanquishing E. coli and other germs, and is synthesizing it so they’re not dependent upon a bunch of bugs for a steady supply. Kind of like the music business when they figured out that polyvinyl chloride would do just as good a job as shellac, but more specific.

Of course, some of the fast-food companies are going to say, “Y’know, why should we pay good money to Dow or DuPont or BASF when we can hire some kids to catch the roaches that already are infesting our kitchens, and then just dump them directly into the grinder with the hamburger meat?” Hey, makes perfect sense to me. You get rid of your roach problem, and you’ve also got a high-protein meat extender that saves the company money on expensive beef products. And not only that; the free-range roaches have to be hardier and more germ resistant than the more germane bugs that researchers are growing in controlled laboratory settings. Or, one might think.

But then there’s the law of unintended consequences, or at least unintended weirdness, to think about. For example, people eating certain hamburgers who all of a sudden get an uncontrollable urge to go crawling through Dumpsters, or maybe they start pulling random manhole covers off and climbing in, just to see “what’s down there.” Or people start sprouting weird antennae from the space above their eyebrows or, even better, unwanted new cerci begin growing from their gluteus maximus muscles — which is a nice way to say they’ll be dealing with tentacles protruding from their butt cheeks.

Disclosure: I’m a vegetarian, so I’m not too worried. And you? —Jackson Griffith

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