This Week in the New Normal #69

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Government-backed house sharing

The Provincial Government of Nova Scotia is investing 1.3 million dollars in “Happipad”, a house sharing app.

The public-private partnership is the latest effort to deal the province’s housing crisis, by subsidizing rent for people

The more worrying aspect is Nova Scotia’s housing minister talking about the “130,000 spare bedrooms” and encouraging people let strangers live in their houses:

Housing Minister John Lohr said the partnership is a call to action to those who have extra space in their homes. Lohr said there are 130,000 vacant bedrooms across Nova Scotia that could be used on a short-term basis by students, health-care workers, tradespeople and others seeking a safe, affordable and comfortable place to live.

The article goes on to say that “rents paid through Happipad are generally lower”, without mentioning that’s almost certainly due to government subsidies.

Essentially, what you have here is the provincial government attempting to guilt people into using their chosen app to help solve the housing crisis.

For now it’s just persuasion and guilting, but you have to wonder how voluntary this scheme will be, and for how long.

It’ll probably never be forced, but it’s not hard to see possible benefits and subsidies handed out to those who let strangers live in their spare bedrooms, while empty bedrooms are subject to some new “waste of space” tax or something similar.

2. Selling your Irises for 60 dollars

Newly-launched non-profit Worldcoin, which “aims to create both a new form of digital identification and a new financial network”, is paying people to have their irises scanned into their database.

Worldcoin is the brainchild of Sam Altman, founder of OpenAI and ChatGPT, is busily harvesting all the eye scans they can get their hands on all over the world, offering 25 worldcoin tokens as payment (valued at roughly 60 US dollars).

Much like fingerprints, the pattern of the iris is unique to every individual and has been considered the futuristic way of proving your identity for decades. Worldcoin claims they intend to use the database of eye-prints to enable them to solve the “proof of personhood” problem (we published a great in-depth piece on this by Karen Hunt yesterday), but you’d be incredibly naive to believe that’s the only reason they want the data.

Bear in mind also that Worldcoin has already said they will allow governments and corporations access to their system.

Really, as others have said, this is a test – will people mortgage their identity and security for convenience and a handful of potentially worthless “tokens”?

So far the answer seems to be “yes, they will”.

3. First lab-grown meat applies for FSA approval

The first company has officially applied to the UK’s Food Standards Agency for approval to sell lab-grown meat.

Reported in the Daily Mail yesterday:

Steaks from laboratories could be heading on to restaurant menus. Israeli firm Aleph Farms is believed to have become the first to apply to the Food Standards Agency for the go-ahead to serve up lab-grown cuts to diners.

Lab-grown meat is still unavailable in the UK but it is expected to make up a quarter of global meat consumption by 2035.

The production process requires a one-time collection of a cow’s fertilised eggs to grow what are claimed to be ‘high-quality, tasty, and nutritious’ steaks. Growing the cuts takes around four weeks and, once at scale, the firm expects to grow thousands of tons of beef from the single collection of cells.

Couple this with the US FDA’s finding that lab-grown meat is “safe” from last month, and we can expect a LOT of pro-fake meat news coverage coming soon.

BONUS: Hilarious weather coverage of the week

It’s been a July full of climate change coverage, each segment more outlandish and panic-stricken than the last, but none quite so feable as this clip from Sky News…

Yes, they really tried to sell a damp, chilly July in England as “extreme weather”, “odd weather patterns” and a “hallmark of climate change”. The good news is that nobody is buying it.

It’s not all bad…

A friend sent this video to me, and while I won’t say that Morgan’s summary is good news exactly, it’s hard to say how she’s wrong…

@itsmorganfr God is love. Let me know your thoughts ! #godislove #spirituality #spiritualawakening #corruption #pyramidscheme #poisoned #savethechildren ♬ Ambient-style emotional piano – MoppySound

…and the more people that see it, the more likely we are to win.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention the White House plans for blocking out the sun or the latest Covid variant.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For other ways to donate, including direct-transfer bank details click HERE.