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Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,23 days | from the lightly-sand-the-carapace dept.

Robotics 512

sciencehabit writes "A do-it-yourself neuroscience experiment that allows students to create their own 'cyborg' insects is sparking controversy amongst scienitsts and ethicists. RoboRoach #12 is a real cockroach that a company called BackyardBrains ships to school students. The students fit the insect with a tiny backpack, which contains electrodes that feed into its antennae and receive signals by remote control — via the Bluetooth signals emitted by smartphones. A simple swipe of an iPhone can turn the insect left or right. Though some scientists say the small cyborg is a good educational tool, others say it's turning kids into psychopaths." Fitting the backpack requires poking a hole in the roach's thorax and clipping its antennae to insert electrodes.

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Cockroach rights? (5, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064909)

People who have never killed a roach in their life are free to throw the first stone.

Anyone?

Anyone?

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45064937)

Yup, me. Never seen one in my entire life. Not too popular in suburban towns outside of London.

Re:Cockroach rights? (2, Funny)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064987)

So roaches live everywhere on Earth except suburban London? Interesting.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065011)

I'm sure they're around, but it doesn't mean there are enough for me to have seen one. All we ever get inside our houses are spiders. Roaches seem more prevalent in hotter countries.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065293)

The first time I saw a roach was when I joined the Navy and moved to San Diego (from Michigan). I've since heard they are around here in Michigan, but I've never seen one.

Re:Cockroach rights? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065409)

Yeah, a having a lot of Mexicans geographically close to you does that. Hell, you might even say the Mexicans themselves are the roaches!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065291)

There are no roaches in Alaska unless they get shipped up. Then they just die in the cold.

Re:Cockroach rights? (1)

squarefish (561836) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065339)

Not true- I've seen them on boats and those boats dock. It's the same way AK has giant Norwegian rats running the shipyards- they got there by boat. Much of AK has more pleasant weather than Chicago and they sure has hell don't freeze here, so I call bullshit! With the amount of air traffic, ships, and trucks, there is simply no way that AK doesn't have them.

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065583)

Ask people who live in Greenland. Short of the docks where ships bring them there are NO roaches.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065725)

There are probably lots and lots of species of vermin other than cockroaches there, such as silver fishes, sawtoothed grain beetles and bed bugs. Same thing here above the 60 decrees of latitude. The only place I have seen a cockroach is in the reruns of the Fear Factor.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45064991)

Never killed one in my entire life. Still think this "controversy" is stupid.

Re:Cockroach rights? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45064999)

You don't see a difference between killing it and doing this?

Re:Cockroach rights? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065393)

You don't see a difference between killing it and doing this?

This does seem a great deal more educational... If you need a humanities tie-in, you can always read "I have no mouth but I must scream" as you navigate your cockroach around, the pitiless god of its very sensory inputs!!!! Um, I mean, to learn about the invertebrate nervous system....

Re:Cockroach rights? (3, Interesting)

Gort65 (1464371) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065447)

Why's this post considered a troll? Seems a valid question to ask, even if one is fine with doing this to a roach. Personally, I can see some validity in doing this within reason, but I do think that the issue shouldn't be taken lightly. So, to me, the question above is well worth asking. Mind you, I have bad karma, so maybe it's natural that I missed the point of the score. ;)

Re:Cockroach rights? (4, Interesting)

unrtst (777550) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065597)

You don't see a difference between killing it and doing this?

I first took that to imply that killing it is obviously worse, then read Gort65's reply and realized the anonymous GP was probably implying that zapping the antennae of a roach is worse than smashing it to bits (which, if you have done often, you would know that parts of it keep moving for quite a while unles you keep smashing and grinding all of it).

So, my answer: yes, there is a big difference. IMO, this is more humane than smashing it.
If one were to attempt to stretch this analogy to testing things on animals, especially primates, not only would I find that silly (much too far a stretch), but I would also argue that the same comparison be made: what's worse: smashing a monkey with a large object repeatedly until all bits stop moving, or putting some electrodes on his head?

Please note, I'm not making a right or wrong judgement here, but the first post made a good point.

Re:Cockroach rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065645)

... what's worse: smashing a monkey with a large object repeatedly until all bits stop moving, or putting some electrodes on his head?

That's a great question, I know of more than a few folks in D.C. we could use as a test-bed.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065029)

Killing is one thing, torturing is another completely. You'll find many more countries allow killing criminals or enemy combatents than torturing them for the heck of it.

Re:Cockroach rights? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065211)

Agree. While I doubt this turns kids into psychopaths, I disapprove because it reinforces the notion that every other creature on the planet was put there to be our playthings and slaves.

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065251)

Mod parent up, please. I kill all kinds of insects that invade my personal space without compunction-- but living creatures of any kind are not toys.

There's plenty of grey area to go around, I guess-- would I feel the same about building a treehouse? Probably not.

Re:Cockroach rights? (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065299)

" but living creatures of any kind are not toys. "
and you base your stellar argument on..what, exactly?

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065415)

On the simple, rational thought that I don't want to live in a world where they are, because there are consequences? Seriously, that was all sorta implied from decades (centuries?) of literature, philosophy and law....

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065419)

Agree. While I doubt this turns kids into psychopaths, I disapprove because it reinforces the notion that every other creature on the planet was put there to be our playthings and slaves.

Ah, on the contrary! If every other creature on the planet was put there to be our playthings and slaves, we wouldn't need to learn all this 'science' and 'electronics' nonsense in order to bend them to our will. This is a valuable lesson in why you should bother learning: because it gives you hitherto-undreampt-of power over those who do not. A life lesson, no?

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Pseudonym (62607) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065279)

I would very much like to know who modded this one "Troll". This is spot on.

I've never killed a cockroach in my life. Having said that, I do kill plenty of pests, but I try very hard not to torture them. Given that torturing animals is one of the Macdonald triad [wikipedia.org] , this is a very relevant point.

Re:Cockroach rights? (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065433)

What about mosquitos? those fuckers deserve it. You suck my blood, I amputate your piercing mouthparts and humanely release you to go find other food sources, or starve, whichever comes first.

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

TheResilientFarter (3216187) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065325)

Does this make people psychopaths [wikipedia.org] ? After reading that article, apparently not. This word is thrown around so many times I can only think of the famous line spoken by the Inigo Montoya character in The Princess Bride.

Never killed one, we don't have them in Edmonton (3, Informative)

Phil Urich (841393) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065389)

Well, with the exception of the big indoor mall water park, since the ultra-rich owners of the mall greased things to get the palm trees in without inspections . . . which meant that nobody checked for cockroaches. So the only cockroaches in all of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada are in the West Edmonton Mall waterpark.

Best part, by the time the owners finally admitted they needed to do something about them, it was too late, because you know what exterminators use to kill cockroaches? Yup, you guessed it, chlorine-based insecticides. So at this point after so many generations living around chlorinated water and then a few attempts at extermination these are basically unkillable cockroaches. With the exception that the winters here are cold enough that they've never gotten out of the mall.

In retrospect, thank god the LRT (ie. subway or "underground", basically, although it is mostly above ground) never ended up going to WEM.

Re:Cockroach rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065429)

I've never even seen one in the wild. I live in Seattle. If I see a spider, I carefully take it outside.

Re:Cockroach rights? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065679)

Hey, mods!

Whoever modded this insightful should have their heads examined.

There's killing and there's killing (motivated versus just-for-fun).

Then there's torturing and worse yet, there's abuse like clipping parts -- to perform some kind of control, no less.

Now, I'm not a cockroach advocate (is this redundant? lol!), nor a cockroach, nor am I entitled to speak for them.

The whole thing seems hellish if you ask me... but with the internet and kids like those we have, how can one know whether they will turn into psychos? (I think hours and hours of internet time _per_day_ are already doing a superb job in that regard).

Re:Cockroach rights? (2)

PCM2 (4486) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065715)

Dammit! Until I read this, I had been proud of the inch-long cockroach corpse that had been lying on the ground near my desk for months. Biggest damn roach I'd ever seen in San Francisco, and I squashed it running right across the carpet. Only it didn't take much damage, other than dying; there it lay, legs folded up in death, antenna and all. But just now I turned around and it's GONE! Some bastard has stolen my gigantic dead cockroach, and I want answers.

Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064917)

If anyone is worried about these slight actions turning kids into psychopaths, they would be AGHAST at what kids normally do with insects when they catch or find them...

Fire, pliers, rocks, etc. All are involved.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (4, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065031)

I remember when I was 5, I used to make paper balloons and stick as many crickets as I could find in them, and then I would set it on fire just to watch the hoppy action.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065081)

Weird.
I never tortured insects.
I mean, I captured them and kept them in glass bottles without holes and wondered why they died.
But I never liked touching them.
And I enjoyed burning paper and wood more than burning insects.
Cockroaches usually just got hit with some flip flops.
Tennis rackets were for bats.
In hindsight my childhood was pretty sick too. Carry on.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065043)

My brothers and I used to love to use a magnifying glass on ants on my parents' patio. I don't think you would classify any of us as psychopaths 50 years later. Fortunately, we don't have any roaches where I live now, but I remember them in the apartment I first rented when I got married...took a month or so to exterminate them all.

I wouldn't buy anything that used roaches, not out of concern for roaches, but out of dislike for roaches.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065101)

So i saw a story earlier. Some troll posted this. Yeah yeah, just tryin to stir up shit, sure ok. But did you ever actually think about this? I want to believe the black man is the equal of the white man. I really do. I want some reason to believe that. But I won't believe it without a reason just like I won't believe anything else without a reason. "Somebody might get offended!" and "it's taboo not to!" are not valid reasons, sorry.

The usual excuses that racism set them back don't explain why other victims of racism such as the Jews or the Chinese have done so well for themselves. I can see a poor Native American without fearing for my safety and they were treated TERRIBLY in the past. Slavery doesn't explain it either because absolutely everybody is the descendent of a slave (look it up). Nor does any of this explain why the white man invented ships, intercontinental navigation, etc and sailed around the world to find the black man, and the black man had none of these things nor anything beyond primitive tribal subsistence conditions.

Racism doesn't explain why black men refuse to be a father to their children. You mean a racist thought a white person has, could make a black father not care about his black children? It just doesn't work. And if it did work why don't other victims of racism abandon their children at the same rate like Jews and Native Americans? Blacks are different any way you cut it.

What the troll posted is below. I just want to have a real adult conversation about it. This site has a egalitarian leftist sort of vibe to it, you all seem so sure of yourselves, maybe you can tell me what Im missing here. Tell me your beliefs are well founded. Show me the reasons. I really just don't see it. Honestly if blacks really are inferior then noticing it is not racism. The definition of racism is the belief that a race is inferior BECAUSE OF GENETICS. Look it up. I don't claim to know why they are inferior but I suspect it's this gangsta culture bullshit that says being a menace and a loser is cool. But they manifestly are. If they're not and there really is great progress and technology and cultural advancement coming from blacks, just point me in that direction. Should be no problem if they are equal right? I mean if I made a false claim about Linux someone would post a contradictory link in short order right?


A supposedly intelligent person claimed that blacks are at least as intelligent as whites because they are so ‘innovative.’ His example was that blacks would take an old steel oil-drum (which whites considered to be rubbish) and turn it into something useful – a steel drum. Leaving aside whether or not a steel-drum band of muds is, in any way, shape or form, ‘useful,’ let’s look at his argument.

The white man had made the steel oil-drum as a means of transporting oil around the world. This involved creating an industrial technology, and developing mining industry to a point where oil wells could be sunk in the North Sea (or Gulf of Mexico), and crude oil successfully removed. Then a world-wide trading network had to be established. Let us gloss over the need for international economic transactions, international credit and banking, electronic money transfers, telephonic and satellite communications, and the stable economies and governments needed to make this possible.

Instead, let’s look at the need to produce oil tankers to transport the oil. The need for computers to navigate the ships, the level of technology needed to produce the ships, the schools needed to educate those who will serve on the ships, the engineering skills and training for those making them.

Let us now think about the products kept going by the oil. The plastics, the chemicals, the cars, and so on. And all this on a world-wide scale, over generations. And we haven’t even touched on road and rail systems, intensive farming and refrigeration to feed those in the industrialised cities, the factories, the building trade, power generation, written and computerised record keeping, or a thousand and one other things, all associated with the world oil production and trade.

And of all this, the oil drum is a minor by-product, a practical but simple and fairly primitive form of storage whilst in temporary transit. And if, by some chance or accident, one of these oil drums washes up on the shore of dusky Africa, what do the native inhabitants do? Use it in their own oil industry? No. Use it as a spring-board towards future development? No. They turn it upside-down and hit it with sticks! Call me pedantic, but that doesn’t make them my equal. Not one of the dozens of items I listed above has appeared in Africa, ever. Not even writing. A continent surrounded by ocean, watered by massive lakes and rivers, and the black natives never dreamt a sail. Thousands of miles of flat grasslands, and they never fashioned a wheel, nor domesticated animals. Surrounded by stone, they never constructed a building better than a hut. Acres of diamonds and the world’s largest gold fields, and they never glanced at them until shown their beauty by white men. And all this for tens of thousands of years, thousands of generations living with no change, no progress. But they are our equal.

And what of the rest of the world? When the Negro has been moved he has made no progress. Educated by whites, perhaps trained woud be a better description, as whenever he is left to his own devices he immediately falls back into barbarism, and destroys everything he has been given. Take the island of Haiti, in the West Indies. Settled by the French, and mainly French Nordics. In the 1700’s they had a system of public sanitation in the capital, water-flushed toilets and excellent public hygiene. Then came the French Revolution, and a ship full of muskets, gunpowder and musket balls arrived (it is still not known where from), to be handed out to runaway slaves, and the majority of the whites were butchered. Today, 200 years later, there is no public sanitation in Haiti, no sewage system beyond emptying buckets into the road, and hasn’t been from the day the blacks took over.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065183)

When I was a little kid and pulled the legs off a daddy longlegs, my scoutmaster told me not to do that, that it was cruel. Now we're encouraging kids to inflict pain on animals for their own amusement. Can you really not see a problem with that?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065287)

IT's a cock roach.
You scoutmaster was a douche. Did he care to explain why it was cruel? oh right, no.

Pulling the legs off insects doesn't make you a psychopath.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065345)

It desensitises kids to unlawful actions is what it does.
Once this kind of thing starts, it can easily lead to much worse things.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (2)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065411)

So it's okay to torture cockroaches? What about other bugs?

Is it okay to torture fish? Lizards? Mice? Dogs?

What about people?

Where do you draw the line? On what basis did you make that determination?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (2)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065465)

Where do you draw the line? On what basis did you make that determination?

Vertebrates would seem to be a sensible line.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (4, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065521)

Why?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (2)

RealGene (1025017) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065523)

In bio class, we pithed frogs before dissection. If you blew out the cockroaches' neural ganglia and replaced them with a bluetooth controller, would that be torture?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (4, Insightful)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065647)

Yes. Roaches have survived billions of years, and would survive the nuclear zombie apocalypse. They have enough survival abilities.

Do you know what happens in nature? Every nasty bit of stuff eats these things, live without anesthetizing them. Sometimes they go down live and just get digested. Nature is cruel. And it hates you, and me, and roaches.

Should we be doing this in schools? That's the question here.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065461)

You scoutmaster was a douche. Did he care to explain why it was cruel? oh right, no.

Are you asking if my scoutmaster gave my ten year old self a lecture on consciousness and solipsism and morality?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (2)

bitt3n (941736) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065487)

Now we're encouraging kids to inflict pain on animals for their own amusement.

You're overstating your case, given that their intent is presumably to educate, not to amuse, and there is a long precedent for harming animals in the interests of educating humans, continuing to the present day.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (1)

quantaman (517394) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065681)

You're overstating your case, given that their intent is presumably to educate, not to amuse, and there is a long precedent for harming animals in the interests of educating humans, continuing to the present day.

Killing and dissecting for educational purposes yes, performing harmful experiments on living creatures? Not so much.

I can see the value, using technology to control the behaviour of a cockroach is cool and teaches you about how the creature works, I think this could be a valuable tool in a biology class. But take it outside the class and you're turning a living creature into a toy.

I think it overstates things to say it's turning kids into psychopaths, but you can't deny it isn't a bit creepy.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065509)

Yes, is the purpose of life to do as much as you can for yourself or to do as much as you can for others? Fundamentally, it's not clear that the concept of life having a purpose is even meaningful - plus, free will is most likely an illusion (everything that happens, happens because of some combination of random chance and the laws of physics).

But, if you could somehow alter random chance or the laws of physics such that people were more empathetic, then we would almost certainly have a more cooperative society with a much higher standard of living for most people. Imagine if rich people were to look at poor people and think "But for the laws of physics and random chance, that could be me - and how would I feel if that were me?" Imagine that rich people were to devote themselves less to acquiring frivolous luxury items and more to creating a society where it was easy rise up out of poverty to become a productive highly skilled member of the workforce. Imagine a society that focused on solving the big problems: disease, conflict, and poverty - rather than simply producing frivolous luxury item for rich people.

So, how do you make people more empathetic? Well, fundamentally, alter the laws of physics and random chance. But imagine that when parents talked to their children about cockroaches they talked about what the cockroach might be feeling. That they showed pity rather than fear. That is, they expanded the child's circle of empathy - not just to include people from the same social class and race, or even different social classes and races - but even to the lowest of the animals.

Of course, the laws of physics and random chance are a harsh mistress. So that it won't happen. And the sufferering will continue, as it has throughout history. But one can at least dream of a different world - a world of empathy and cooperation - without the inefficiencies of ignorance and competition.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065753)

"Imagine if rich people were to look at poor people and think "But for the laws of physics and random chance, that could be me..."

Yeah, laws of physics and random chance... Not determination and hard work...

Your kind make me sick. You have your head so far up.... in the sky and believe you are SO enlightened you don't even recognize reality even though you live in it like the rest of it. You have no standing ground to talk of physics let alone anything else. Go back to your drum circle and dream up alternate explanations for the world. You would better serve as one of these cockroaches rather than a thinking human.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065531)

Can you really not see a problem with that?

Antibiotics, antibacterial, antidepressants, shampoo, shaving cream, blood and heart medication, birth control... all of these are of great benefit to society as a whole and the majority of people reading these will have needed them at one point or another either to improve quality of life, or flat out save it. And they were tested on animals before people, because a human life is worth more than an animal life.

This may be ethically inconvenient for you, and if that's the case, please stop taking all of the medications listed above. Forever. In fact, skip the aspirin and just bear the pain of a headache. Skip the cold medication when you get sick, because you don't want to miss work. Forego all modern medicine, because the overwhelming majority of it came to market because it passed testing on animals. But I should warn you: Your average life expectancy after doing this will be about 15 years.

Now, if that's a trade you want to make, I applaud your steadfast devotion to your high ethical standards. I also applaud your rejection of over 20,000 years of human evolution that put us at the top of the food chain. We kill and eat them, and they're delicious and go good with ketchsup and rosemary. And if we're willing to do that, is using them for experiments really so bad?

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065545)

"Now we're encouraging kids to inflict pain on animals for their own amusement."

Give me a break, the average adult is more inhumane then any kid could ever be. Did you vote for a bunch of thugs that invaded a foreign country based on lies per chance? (aka you're an american?).

I just look at the politics of america and I know most american slashdotters are braindead.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065553)

We're okay with slaughtering dolphins and keeping orcas in captivity. And, I'm not sure that a daddy longleg has a nervous system complex enough to feel 'pain.' So I'm not sure that the moral high road starts with bugs.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (1)

TheResilientFarter (3216187) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065321)

My tool of preference was the magnifying glass.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065365)

I used to swat wasps out of the air, and then while they were on the ground dazed, pull out their wings. Sometimes I would rip their legs out too, and then drop them in spider webs. The spiders never seemed to take the bait though... I guess they were still afraid of the wasps.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065535)

"I guess they were still afraid of the wasps."

And fair enough: if you think humans are bad, 'parasitoids' are a class of organisms that would leave you crying for mommy. A class of organisms that a fair few wasp species belong to.

Oh how very subtle they are: the ones that parasitize caterpillars inject a venom that includes a specialized virus (found nowhere else but the wasp's oviduct, it's more part of the wasps' DNA than a free-living organism) that suppresses the caterpillar's immune response and increase the protein concentration in the hemolymph, perfect for the larvae.

Or the fascinating ones that prey on cockroaches. Those are too heavy to transport after paralysis, so they have specialized sensory capabilities on the tip of their stinger, ideally suited to locating the part of the cockroach brain to disable in order to halt voluntary movement, while leaving the victim otherwise functional and ready to be steered by its antennae back to the burrow where it will be devoured alive by wasp larvae.

And, finally, the ones that prey on spiders, the hunted become the hunter, using their impressive reflexes and even more impressive venom to paralyze spiders (nonlethally, to preserve freshness) so that their larvae can devour them, leaving the vital organs for last (again, to preserve freshness, the victim must live as long as possible while being eaten alive) and then emerge to hunt spiders for their own young.

Parasitoid wasps are badass motherfuckers. Not quite as badass as Cordyceps fungi (not that I'm biased); but pretty fucking badass.

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (3, Informative)

Twinbee (767046) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065733)

If you want really twisted. How about that sea creature (Cymothoa Exigua) who starts by eating the tongue of a fish, then actually BECOMES the tongue for the rest of the fish's life.

See number 6:
http://www.cracked.com/article_17199_the-7-most-horrifying-parasites-planet.html [cracked.com]

Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065719)

The fact that you describe this as "normal" is highly distressing.

It's a fucking cockroach (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45064943)

If you live anywhere cockroaches run rampant, you know the score. Kill them, or be infested.

Cruel (5, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064945)

I completely agree. It's completely unacceptable to force innocent students to used something as restricted and crippled as iOS. For once could someone actually think of the children.

Re:Cruel (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064993)

I'm hoping that parents can fill out a permission slip to use another phone based o/s; "it's for the children."

Re:Cruel (5, Funny)

Richy_T (111409) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065009)

Forget psychopaths. It might turn them into... hipsters.

Re:Cruel (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065201)

Anything non-iOS is about to become hipster in a worse way then anything Apple ever put out. So two years from now, have fun with your new non-cool iPhone.

Re:Cruel (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065745)

You do know that there is a difference between "than" and "then" don't you?

Re:Cruel (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065539)

I completely agree. It's completely unacceptable to force innocent students to used something as restricted and crippled as iOS. For once could someone actually think of the children.

In version 2, the system will prevent the cockroach from having thoughts that aren't cryptographically signed by Apple. True Facts.

I've stomped many a bug in my life but (0)

MXB2001 (3023413) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064955)

This is just gruesome and sick. I agree it will turn more people into psychos than occur naturally. Of course one could use this to ID these creeps and scoop them up into asylums.

Makes sense (5, Funny)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | 1 year,23 days | (#45064957)

IPhones have been turning humans into mindless drones for years, now its the insects turn.

Imagine (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45064971)

A beowulf cluster of those!

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065149)

multiboxed roaches?

Kill Glorious kill (1)

Anti Cheat (1749344) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065007)

But do you actually get to kill the cockroach at the end of the experiment?
Would be such a waste not too. Brouhaha!!!

I hate roaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065067)

I absolutely hate and despise roaches, far past a phobia.

I still felt sorry for the damn thing.

For one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065073)

I welcome our cyborg...whatever.

Inmates (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065095)

Using that on inmates instead would comply with the US philosophy and ethics. Or maybe on terrorists, so many of them are caught each day, we could do endless research virtually for free, fundings wouldn't even be necessary anymore.

for the first time in 15 years i can say (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065125)

i want to go back to school

Too buggy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065137)

I tried the app, but it was too buggy.

Libertarians (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065139)

You can always count on Libertarians to miss the point. The ethical issue has nothing to do with cockroaches themselves, but whether it's ethical for humans to forcibly subject other animals to being implanted with technology to manipulate their behavior. Funny how much Libertarians love the slippery slope argument unless it's against something which they personally do not mind.

Re:Libertarians (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065555)

Oh, come now, surely you can see that libertarians have a strong selfish interest in whether we are allowed to implant electrodes in subhuman animals or not...

We are not night elves (1)

zugedneb (601299) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065143)

who proctects the wild, are we?

It is not a matter of students making study. They do not know advanced anatomy and neural signal processing, so its a waste anyways.
With to much freedom at hand, it is a matter of ego, conquest, and humiliation of the loosers and the trash. To do what they can get away with.

In a low tech way, (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065147)

We do something similar to horses, They're called "reins".

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065195)

Sounds like harmless fun. What could possibly go wrong?

Cyborg cockroaches controlled by heartless immature humans turn on their cruel tormentors. . . . .

I for one welcome our new 'Techno-Blatterian' overlords. . . .

I certainly hope those protesting are vegetarians. (1, Informative)

Caspian (99221) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065209)

Because if you think it's okay to kill a pig or a cow, but not to cyborgify a cockroach, you have some serious double standards going on.

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065327)

Well, I am.

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065353)

I think it's okay to kill a pig or cow to eat it. I also think that intensive livestock farming is cruel to the animal, and therefore morally wrong.

Where I live, if a university scientist wanted to cyborgify a cockroach as part of a legitimate research project, it would require ethics approval.

Unless you want bestiality advocates to use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065459)

Don't use this argument.

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (4, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065471)

Killing a pig or a cow to eat is very different from killing a pig or cow for pleasure -- and very different from mutilating them while they're alive for our amusement.

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065691)

I thought that this was about education/research rather than amusement

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065525)

By that logic if you do eat meat (eg cows, pigs) then you must also be okay with attaching robotic controls to cows and pigs, forcing them to move by remote control.

Frankly, I think the logic is flawed, in either direction. Killing something for food (while unappealing to me as a vegetarian) is putting the animal to use. The death has purpose. Turning an insect into a cyborg does not strike me as having a purpose, at least not in this context. Why not send the students tiny robots that operate on their own? Why not create a tiny plastic cockroach and ship it with the robotics? Treating a living thing as a toy to be used solely for (apparently) amusement seems like morally shaky ground.

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065543)

You are right! And by the same reasoning, if you think it's ok to read a book, but not to stab someone with a fork, you also have some SERIOUS double standards going on. I mean really!

Re:I certainly hope those protesting are vegetaria (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065563)

I have a totally ethically consistent 'only torture delicious animals' policy in place!

SENDING them a cockroach? (1)

tannhaus (152710) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065225)

Have they ever been to a school? I'm sure any school in the country has a surplus of cockroaches they can send back to the company.

Frog? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065267)

Where was this outrage when I had to dissect a frog?

others say it's turning kids into psychopaths." (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065269)

and by others they mane people who ahe no clue what a psychopath is?

Re: others say it's turning kids into psychopaths. (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065387)

Maybe we could use it as part of a psych screening programme?

Re: others say it's turning kids into psychopaths. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065569)

and by others they mane people who ahe no clue what a psychopath is?

Is there even any consensus on whether you can manufacture psychopaths?

What does this have to do with science? (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065309)

I understand the value of doing experiments, and I understand the value of replicating experiments. But this doesn't sound like either. It just seems like something that you install on a roach and watch it go. What is to be learned from going through the motions? That it works? We already know that. Are the students practicing some valuable skill when they clip the antennae and attach the backpack? If so, then doing this might have some value. But if this is being done "just because" then yeah, they probably shouldn't be doing it.

Re:What does this have to do with science? (5, Interesting)

bitt3n (941736) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065507)

What's the point of dissecting a frog? We already know what's in the frog. We're not going to find anything new. It just seems like you cut the frog open and look at the organs. What is to be learned from going through the motions?

Some psychopath... (2)

namgge (777284) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065315)

... stabbed me earlier today and fitted me with bluetooth. A couple of hours practice, however, and I am spoofing his to keyboard connection.

Pwned by Roach 2.0...

Bwwahahaha!!!!

Wow! (2)

Tyler Durden (136036) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065319)

So cyborg cockroaches are smart enough to start up an ethics debate? These suckers are advanced!

Gokiburi Gijinka Manga (4, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065375)

FYI: If you've ever doubted the ability of Japanese manga artists to make anything cute, take a look at Gokiburi Gijinka [mangaupdates.com] , which features the adventures of adorable little Gokicha-chan and her misunderstood struggle to make friends with humans -- who for some inexplicable reason she can't understand -- keep trying to squash her.

...others say it's turning kids into psychopaths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,23 days | (#45065391)

They either are or they aren't. Manipulating a bug will not change them.

No way, totally wrong (5, Funny)

russotto (537200) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065395)

It's not ethical to force an animal to move left and right by attaching electrodes to its head. Not at all. The ethical way is to put a metal bar in its mouth and pull on THAT to force it to move left and right.
 

5th Element (3, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065585)

Please tell me they have a version that uses a rotating dish instead of a backpack.

After reading this thread... (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,23 days | (#45065619)

...and reading all the faux outrage (because it is) over the poor cockroaches...

I'm gonna go boil up some lobsters - just to piss you guys off - and I will savor every butter-dipped bite.

--
BMO

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