Archive for the ‘Bug’ Category

African Tick Smuggles Itself Into US Inside Scientist’s Nose!

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Shel Silverstein once had a poem about a snail that lived in your nose and would bite your finger off.

Maybe he was inspired by something that’s been going on in Africa that nobody’s ever paid much attention to…until now…

A US pathobiological science professor returned home from an excursion to Africa. Three days later he discovered he’d picked up a small hitchhiker. That small hitchhiker was a tick. It had hitched a ride inside his nose!

After removing the tick using forceps, a mirror and a small torch, the tick was hustled off to Georgia where its DNA was sequenced revealing that this little world traveler might possibly be an entirely new species.

Tony Goldberg, the professor harboring this tiny nightmare in his nose, is now rethinking his theories about how chimps and humans exchange pathogens. Upon further research, reports and high resolution photos turned up these same ticks hiding in chimps’ noses as well.

In a statement we can all relate to, Goldberg says, “”When you first realize you have a tick up your nose, it takes a lot of willpower not to claw your face off.”

We couldn’t agree more…and we don’t even have ticks in our noses.

[Web Pro News]

Crappy Little Beetle Helps Develop True-Color Nightvision!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

For two decades Eric Warrant has literally had a pretty crappy job. As a student who specializes in optics at the University of Lund in Sweden, he has been passionately studying the last creature on earth that you’d think of when it came to helping Toyota develop a true-color night-vision system…

The dung beetle.

Dung beetles have an uncanny ability to see clearly and navigate in even the darkest environment. Toyota is interested in developing a night-vision navigation system that allows for an optimal, full-color image in those conditions, we all want to avoid a car accident in the dark and Eric Warrant likes spending time with dung beetles. Everybody wins!

Using dung beetles’ abilities as the launching point and inspiration for this idea, Toyota is developing, in the simplest explanation we can give you, an advanced algorithym system that teaches the camera to look at every pixel in a single frame of video, look at the surrounding pixels, any movement in adjacent pixels and basically milk as much image information from the collected data in real-time to create a perfect, true-color image from nothing but a seemingly black image.

The team originally assumed they would have to design a special processor chip to run the algorithm and this would go inside a digital video camera, Malm says. In fact, the processing unit of a conventional PC graphics card was powerful enough to do the job, and they have managed to fine tune the algorithm to analyse images from the camera’s three colour channels – red, green and blue – simultaneously in real time. Three years after starting the project, the team finally have a way of capturing full-colour moving images shot in what to human eyes is almost total darkness.

Exactly how this technology will eventually be used is anyone’s guess.

But when that tech finally saves lives in the dark?

We can all stand up and applaud a crazy dude and his obsession with a crappy little bug.

[New Scientist]

Possible New Spider Makes DIY Decoy Version of Itself!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Spiders are a little creepy to most people, right?

Well that other percent that didn’t think they were creepy? You can come join the rest of us now.

You’re walking through the woods and notice an interesting looking spider in the middle of its web from a distance. You decide to go in for a closer look. You make that ‘quizzical dog face’ because it’s a pretty weird-looking spider.

As you get closer, something seems a little ‘off’ about the ‘interesting’ spider…which begins to throb and shake in the most un-spider-like movement you’ve ever seen.

That’s about the time when your fear meter begins to spike as you realize the ‘spider’ you’ve been staring at is actually comprised of dead insects, debris and leaves and is being puppeteered by the real spider hiding just out of sight.

The ‘decoy spider’ is being looked at to see whether or not it’s a new species of spider or, in a step leading to total nightmare material, if it’s an already known spider that’s taught itself this behavior.

While scientists continue to determine what’s going on with this horrifying development in the spider kingdom, we’ll just keep hoping that human flesh is completely unpleasant to their terrifying little tastebuds.


Soft, Creepy Worm-Like Robot Gets Hammered…Keeps Going!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Robotics design is continually making all those creepy robot-takeover concepts part of our future reality. Check this thing out. It’s a ‘robot’ that imitates the actions of a worm but has the uncanny creepy factor of a maggot when you continue to watch it move. As soon as someone attaches some kind of weird syringe-probe thing? We’re done.

From MIT:

Earthworms creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers also use this mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around, and our own gastrointestinal tracts operate by a similar action, squeezing muscles along the esophagus to push food to the stomach.
Now researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University have engineered a soft autonomous robot that moves via peristalsis, crawling across surfaces by contracting segments of its body, much like an earthworm. The robot, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient: Even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed.

Watch it again….it’s creepy little self gets stepped on and hit with a hammer! And it KEEPS GOING!


Meet The Beetles: New Law Requires Full Disclosure On Use Of Beetles In Food

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

A very specific kind of beetle is used as an edible red dye. It has been used in foods you’ve eaten your entire life. Now, you’ll be required by law to be aware that you’re munching on the remains of a bug.

[Live Science]