Friday, November 16, 2007

Robotic Roaches

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," ceaselessly longing for the twentieth century! Well, parts of it anyway.

In the twentieth century I spent six years living with these. You cannot avoid them if you take lodging in Baltimore, Maryland. Forget hard shell crabs. In the cold light of day ... emmm ... I should say in the bleak darkness of night ... the cockroach prevails. They reign supreme. Out of respect for your digestive system I will not bore you with details of my many personal experiences with Baltimore's legions of cockroaches.

Today on the snippet of news radio I got to hear, there was a story about scientists who created robotic cockroaches.

I'm not going to go all woozy over the century that produced the atomic bomb and the Final Solution, but give me a break. Someone just got paid good money to create a mechanical roach.

Because, you see, there just aren't enough roaches in the world. But wow! We can make them! Don't you love this century? Me neither.

Tonight I searched the story on the Gestapo Search Engine Which Will Not Be Named on This Site. But if you like to yodel, you'll find it under "Robotic Bugs Mingle with Cockroaches."

Here's the jist for my busy readers:

Scientists at the Free University of Belgium created little robot roaches and put them in dark corners of a student apartment. At first the real roaches said to each other, "Oh look! The latest invention to obliterate us. AS ... FUCKIN ... IF!"

Needless to say, the real roaches did not invite the robotic roaches to happy hour, which consists of the little drop of Budweiser you spilled on the floor when you popped the can.

Then the brilliant scientists in Belgium got the idea to paint the robot roaches with cockroach pheromone. Then, by golly, the real roaches got all swell with the newcomers.

Remember this information when Christmas comes and you're mulling the purchase of Paris Hilton cologne for your significant other.

The researchers discovered that roach society is leaderless. They move as a team, mostly.

Geez, give me that grant money. Once I left a slice of pizza on the apartment counter when I went to bed. News flash! Cockroaches move as a team. Until you turn the light on, and then it's every roach for him or herself. (Hey, that's not in the research! I want my MacArthur Foundation "genius fellowship" NOW!)

Here's the earth-shattering discovery of the savvy scientists who made robot roaches:

When given the choice of sheltering in a dark place or a light place, 75 percent of cockroaches will choose a dark place. The robotic cockroaches showed an 85 percent preference for the dark place.

When re-programmed to prefer the light place, the robotic cockroaches still wanted to cluster in the dark place (sue me if I misquote the stats, but I think it was around 40 percent of the robots programmed to prefer light.)

The real roaches were never fooled into sunbathing. These are not stupid creatures, reader. Perfect specimens of cockroach have been found in fossilized amber.

If there's any upside to this ground-breaking discovery, it is that the research was conducted in Belgium. We waste enough tax dollars in this stupid country. We don't need to be making robo-bugs.

If any foundation that doles out grant money happens to read this, please send me a stipend, and I will create several doctoral-length theses on cockroaches, without the trouble of making iddy biddy robots and painting them with roach stink.

I'm begging you.

Image: Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Anonymous said...

This was probably funded by the CIA.

yellowdoggranny said...

we have a program sort of like that here..except it's called Bush and his republican friends...they prefer dark places too...but they are more like lemmings..

yellowdoggranny said...

plus our waterbugs are so big, they come with saddles for the cockroaches to ride them from room to room...