Archive for the ‘Bugs’ Category

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.

[PeruNature.Com]

New York Banquet Features a Menu From The Temple of Doom!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Every year at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the annual meeting of the Explorers’ Club takes place. One of the highlights of the event is the gala dinner and its infamous cocktail party which is like the more sophisticated and classy version of the dinner scene from Temple of Doom but with the same menu.

What’s the weirdest thing YOU’VE ever eaten? We’re curious to see just how weird the palettes of WeirdThings’ fans are.

[NatGeo YouTube Channel]

Mother Nature Creates Giger-Inspired Wasp!

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Let’s imagine Mother Nature wanted to create a wasp to remind us that she’s still very much in charge of things. Let’s say she’s been looking at a lot of HR Giger’s work for inspiration. Now let’s say that she’s already finished it and released it into the wild.

That horrifying looking thing pictured above is actually real….and it’s called a couple of equally terrifying things; “King of Wasps”, “Horror Wasp” and “Warrior Wasp”. It’s also one more piece of evidence that suggests Mother Nature is getting ready to maybe shake off all the helpless human beings that keep putting up strip malls.

Discovered only as recently as 2011 by Lynn Kimsey of UC Davis in California, the wasp has been dubbed Garuda, the name of a mythical figure that is part-human, part eagle. Garuda is not the biggest known wasp in the world (that award goes to another wasp commonly referred to a the ‘Tarantula Hawk’) but it is the most intimidating-looking wasp out there.

Kimsey discovered the wasp in the Mekongga Mountains of Indonesia and says that they weren’t very common.

That’s great news. We’re sure TSA’s meticulous searches (read that with oozing sarcasm, folks) found any that might’ve stowed away in her luggage, right?

[New Scientist]

Horrifying Video Of A Botfly Maggot Ripping From The Flesh Of Delighted Professor

Monday, December 13th, 2010

No words.