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.
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
You guys, Dance Moms! How was I even alive before this show? There is nothing more awesome than coming home after a long day of work and watching some ladies yell at each other while their daughters cringe in fear. It gets even better when the dance teacher rolls in and yells at everyone so hard that her vocal chords break and she can’t even talk. This is also usually the time that Allen gets annoyed and takes the computer into the other room so he doesn’t have to hear me giggling. He tried to watch second season with me, but was frustrated and dismayed when he learned that no one on the show had learned anything from season 1, and everyone was still screaming, shouting, and whining about dance lessons. I tried to discuss this with him, but he was already in the other room, battling zombies with his army of adorable plants.
Allen doesn’t think there is anything more disgusting than Dance Moms, but I think that a giant hissing cockroach giving birth could be considered a little grosser. I mean, in reality, birth is a beautiful thing and a miracle of nature, but in photos it is often both frightening and pornographic. Since I have already suffered through the photos, I thought I would let you (possibly) lose your lunch over a sight even more frightening than A Serbian Film. Obviously the photos are safe for work, but probably not for your fragile mind.
You ever think about octopuses? I do, sometimes. Generally not on a pleasant way because as a child I had a fear that an octopus would strangle me. I also had fears about being pushed underwater in the Dead Sea and being eaten by a shark. I thought octopuses were both mean and scary and saw them as completely unrelatable creatures. Except now I learn that these evil sea-dwellers—whose dreams consist only of inking me in the face and dragging me to a watery grave—also like HDTV. You know who else likes HDTV? I DO! And Allen won’t buy me one! Octopus: 1, Allen: -2,084.
You’re still freaking out about those roaches, aren’t you? Or have you started watching an entire season of Dance Moms? Either way, you’re going to need some of this virtual eyewash to wipe your trauma away! Enjoy! Polar bears!
That’s all for this week! Please send me links for next week and have a non-traumatic Wednesday!
[Photo by Steve Dunleavy via Flickr]