Backyard Brains: The newest d-bags in science let you control a live cockroach with your iphone! »
Good god, people are unbelievable. Backyard Brains, some sort of think tank that does “neuroscience for everyone!” has come up with a super way to torture cockroaches. Enter the RoboRoach! A “fun” kit that allows you to turn a living cockroach into a cyborg you can control with your iPhone. I’m not kidding. Ecorazzi breaks down the delightful process for you:
The instructions for the procedure including “anesthetizing” the roaches by placing them in ice water for 2-5 minutes or “until they stop moving,” then using sandpaper to remove waxy coating on the pronotoum or the shell of their head. An electrode connector and electrodes are then superglued on. It gets worse…their instructions continue with placing the roach back into ice water, then sanding the shell on their head with sandpaper to allow electrodes to be superglued on, and then using a needle to poke a hole in their thorax and inserting a wire. Their antennae are then cut, and electrodes are inserted. A circuit is attached to their backs, and signals are received via an app, allowing users to control the roaches’ left and right movements.
Who in their right mind would ever think this was acceptable? But don’t worry guys, Backyard Brains totally recognizes that this might upset people. Let’s travel to a wonderful world of non-answers and scientific tap dancing known as their ethics page:
The use of animals for human benefit is a complex philosophical field, with some feeling we can do whatever we will with animals and others feeling that even having animals as pets is inhumane. While biology demonstrations “for fun” should obviously not be done, given that our demonstrations are to teach science/physiology in an interactive way, we believe the animal experiment is of benefit. We acknowledge this is a controversial claim.
Thanks scientists, I’m so glad you have condescended to acknowledge that this is a controversial claim. What a superfluous non-statement. It’s like the classic “I’m sorry if you’re upset because you don’t understand.” And they aren’t actually making much of an ethical argument. Here, let me try!:
Some people think women should be subservient slaves and some amazon warriors think we should keep all the men in breeding pens. We also have an opinion. You might not like it.
I’m so good at science!
To be clear: I dislike cockroaches. They scare the heck out of me. But I also dislike republicans and they also scare the heck out of me. So can we make RoboRepublicans?! RoboRepublicans would be way more beneficial to society than cyborg cockroaches! It’s ok, I totally acknowledge that this is a controversial claim.
The most eco-friendly meat is bugs. Go crazy, locavores! »
Don’t bugs outnumber humans something like 200 million to one*? What supply! Now, where’s the demand? If these locavores were really into creating a sustainable meat-eating future, they’d be looking at alternate sources of meat, and I’m not talking foie gras. I bet Philpott (the leader of the VOAFF revolution**) could just go digging in his backyard right now and come up with a feast for a king! Imagine how many billions of cockroaches he could raise on his farm! What was only room for hundreds of cows, pigs, or chickens, is now space for BILLIONS of locusts. The amount of sustainable nutrition that could be gotten out of limited amounts of space is truly mind-blowing.
If these conscientious omnivores are truly interested in environmentally-conscious meals, while eating locally and getting their meat on, they need to DO IT UP. Put your money where your mouth is (read: get in the kitchen and start baking up a delicious locust and wild rice terrine). Plus, I’ve heard it said that you’re never more than six feet from a spider. Can’t get much more local than that!
* On THIS earth. OMG, I bet there’s some planets where it’s the opposite and also bugs are hella big and humans are bug servants. I CALL DIBS ON THAT SCRIPT IDEA!
**Of which there has been one post on Grist about. Philpotamus, what’s up? When’s our first meet up? Is this happening or not, homeboy?!