Skip navigation

Category Archives: Geeky

Nerdy and weird articles and ideas.

Zombie Cockroach

Apparently, nature thought of Night of the Living Dead long before humans. The ampulex compressa wasp has the ability to control a cockroach by surgically cutting and injecting venom into the insect’s brain. From Corante:

The wasp slips her stinger through the roach’s exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She apparently use sensors along the sides of the stinger to guide it through the brain, a bit like a surgeon snaking his way to an appendix with a laparoscope. She continues to probe the roach’s brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She injects a second venom that influences these neurons in such a way that the escape reflex disappears.

From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach’s antennae and leads it–in the words of Israeli scientists who study Ampulex–like a dog on a leash.

The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp’s burrow. The roach creeps obediently into the burrow and sits there quietly, while the wasp plugs up the burrow with pebbles. Now the wasp turns to the roach once more and lays an egg on its underside. The roach does not resist. The egg hatches, and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach. In it goes.

The larva grows inside the roach, devouring the organs of its host, for about eight days. It is then ready to weave itself a cocoon–which it makes within the roach as well. After four more weeks, the wasp grows to an adult. It breaks out of its cocoon, and out of the roach as well. Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative.

Maybe you should think twice before you help take out that wasp hive behind Aunt Bettie’s shed….


No, we are not talking about the Iditarod and its inspirational dog sled stories. The Idiotarod is considered a celebration of all things idiot. Beginning in 2004, hundreds of drunken idiots race from Brooklyn to Manhattan. This occurred again last Friday. From CBS:

Teams of five (four runners and one musher) per cart must make it to two checkpoints and the finish line with their cart. Inebriation is allowed, and even encouraged. The cart must be intact, and four rubber wheels must be used. Teams can choose any route they want to make it to the checkpoints.

Sabotage is not only allowed, but officially encouraged by a prize.

If you are interested in getting drunk, running around New York City, and acting like an idiot next year, check out the Idiotarod’s Official Website.

Giant Octopus Attacks Submarine

This video is amazing.

Last November, Salmon researchers working on the Brooks Peninsula were using their remote-controlled mini-sub when it was attacked by a giant octopus. The $200,000, uninsured, piece of equipment was very sensitive and marine biologist, Mike Wood, knew right away the damage an octopus bite could cause. Thus, he reacted instantly with the only defensive weapon their sub had: thrusters. By kicking up seabed particles at the octopus, it finally let go and disappeared.


When Matt brought me the first season of Firefly on DVD, I thought it was just going to be another crazy sci-fi series. After the first two episodes, to my surprise, I fell in love. I have not seen a sci-fi series this good since Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate: SG-1. I watched the whole first season in two and a half days. Again, to my surprise, I was heartbroken when I heard that Fox cancelled it. Originally, they said it was due to bad ratings. It turns out that they ran it in a horrible time slot and gave the show 1/10th of the marketing funding they promised. This is not the first time Fox has let go of a great show. Let’s not forget Family Guy, which they were lucky to get back. Of course, they require all the show’s producer’s to sign contracts stating that no one else will air new episodes of their series for at least ten years. In other words, there seems to be no chance of the Sci-Fi channel picking it up.

Firefly still has an incredibly strong fan base and their new attempt to bring it back is the Firefly Season 2 Project: On Demand. From their site:

We are looking to push the envelope of episodic television by offering Season Two of Firefly in a groundbreaking new format. Each episode (or the entire season) would be made available for purchase in Standard or Hi-Definition.

It’s possible that subscribers may choose one of three playback options; monthly DVD deliveries, TV On-Demand using your cable or satellite provider, or computer viewing via Streaming Download.

If you loved Firefly and want to see new seasons, take 30 seconds to fill out their quick survey. You do not need to put down any personal info. It will help them determine the direction for the series.

Ever stranded on a volcanic island with nothing to eat but game hen and no way to cook it? Me neither. But if it ever did happen, you could create your very own lava oven! The Dolphin Bay Hotel has a series of instructions on how to create your own lava oven and cook in it.

Man Lifting Lava

Lava Oven

They also have an incredible set of lava photographs.

Man Photographing Lava

Now, this is my kind of sport. From the website:

The World Pyro Olympics is an annual international competition amongst the most prestigious fireworks companies in the world. Nine international participants will showcase the best of classical pyrotechnic displays. On the final eve of the event, the sky will be illuminated by the La Mancha Fellowship of Fire pyrotechnic display -a joint fireworks display from the nine countries and the organizer, La Mancha Pyro Productions.

Pyro Olympics

Pyro Olympics

Fish with Two Mouths

From the great state of Nebraska comes Bob, the fish with two mouths! His name really isn’t Bob, but no one else named him and I felt like he needed a name. It is unknown whether the Simpson-like fish gained its two maws from genetic mutation or an injury, but it did get him into Harvard.

Here’s your eye candy for the day. These are shots from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory take of the East Lae apuki lava delta collapse. You can find more stunning pictures on their website.

Lava Flow Lava Flow

CashI hate sounding like I’m advertising something, but this service seems pretty cool. I know I get tired of paying $1 every time I need to find a phone number. And it’s nearly impossible to find a phone book in public anymore. Now, you can just call 1-800-FREE411.

By listening to a 12 second advertisement, you can use the directory assistance for free. If calling a business number, the system offers you an advertisement targeting that business’ market and then asks if you would to connect to the business in the advertisement or the one you requested.

I hate using 411 because of how expensive it has gotten. It used to be twenty-five cents when it started on our LAN line in Omaha. Now it’s usually at least a buck, especially if calling from a cell phone. I hate commercials (sorry Dad), but I’d listen to the ad to save a dollar or two. Not too shabby for a free service.

(via Boing Boing)

Juicio has graciously invited me to post whatever I wanted on his site. He was quick to add that I could not post anything about Texas, so sadly if you want to see a cool Don’t mess With Texas picture you have to click here. Since I am somewhat indecisive and could not choose just one thing to share I have a few links to some of my favorite organizations (FYI, I just graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education). Enjoy!

Happen Inc. is a non-profit organization that allows adults and children the opportunity to grow and explore the ways of art together.

Project Connect is designed to assist families experiencing homelessness in receiving the quality education that they deserve.

Madame Esmé is best experienced by read her book, Educating Esmé, but this site gives you a good introduction to this amazing woman.