Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Virtual Infestation

Just like they say that you can't have one mouse, apparently you can't have just one cockroach story either. There was a story about cockroaches in today's Anchorage Daily News. Note, that's "Your Good Morning Newspaper," not "Your Appetizing at Breakfast Newspaper".
This invites the question, just how filthy are American laboratories that they always seem to have rats and cockroaches around to experiment on? Today's article explored nature vs nurture, well sort of; cockroaches are social, I'm not sure how nurturing they are. The scientists wanted to know if they could use peer pressure to get cockroaches to do things like hang out in well lighted areas that they normally wouldn't do. It turns out that using tiny robots dressed as cockroaches (or at least smelling like cockroaches) they could influence them. About 40% of the time, though, the robots themselves succumbed to cockroach peer pressure. That's unsettling, but it does explain why our Roomba scuttles under the couch when we turn on the lights.
If I can just mention one other cockroach fact, the researchers in the first article said that not only could cockroaches live without heads, their heads could live without bodies. They said that normally cockroaches have good memories, but that without their bodies they couldn't learn anything. I don't know how they could tell, but it does make sense. If nothing else, they might be a little distracted. I mean, you don't see many people in the ICU learning Latin declensions, do you?


  1. Wow, the horror continues.

    Although I laughed bubbles in my coffee about the Roomba.

  2. christina & Robert's roomba was hiding under the couch the other day when it had messed up a rug and Christina had called it unacceptable behavior. There's a new dinosaur at the sharper image that takes the robots/living to another level. for $349 you can raise your own pet dino with it's own personality.

  3. Sorry, I've declared this a pet free zone. Well, that was about 3 dogs ago, but still, I don't want the responsibility. As far as I'm concerned, dinosaurs went extinct, and they can stay that way.