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April 12, 2005

Just What We Need: Scientists Invent Remote-Controlled Flies

Next up: remote-controlled chiggers, remote-controlled deer-ticks, and remote-controlled Amazonian fish that swim up your penis and lodge somewhere in the northern end of your urethra.

Yale University researchers say their study that used lasers to create remote-controlled fruit flies could lead to a better understanding of overeating and violence in humans.

Uh-huh. I see how laser-lobotomized remote-controlled flies are perfectly analgous to humans.

Using the lasers to stimulate specific brain cells, researchers say they were able to make the flies jump, walk, flap their wings and fly.

Questions to be answered: What makes humans fly? And also, what makes humans buzz in a window for an hour or two without ever realizing, "Shit, there seems to be some sort of transparent, glass-like barrier preventing me from getting outside to feast on those lovely dog turds"?

Even headless flies took flight when researchers stimulated the correct neurons, according to the study, published in the April 7 issue of the journal Cell.

Further avenues of research: How f'n' scary would it be to have a headless humanoid robot greeting kids at the doorstep on Halloween? Oh, man, the fun. Those li'l bastards would be in psychotherapy for years over that.

Scientists say the study could ultimately help identify the cells associated with psychiatric disorders, overeating and aggressiveness.

Scientists say a lot of things when applying for grants. No one's going to give you money simply because you describe your research as "Wicked-sick and funny as shit."


"Ultimately, that could be important to understanding human psychiatric disorders," Miesenbock said. "That's really futuristic stuff."

Yeah. Really futuristic. Brundlefly-level futuristic. In the year 2253, this research could possibly lead to... well, some sort of novelty toy you buy at Spencer Gifts when you want to infest a buddy's home with mutant flies and make them do all sorts of crazy tricks, like fly around, bite people on the back, spread pandemic tropical diseases, etc.

You know. Pranks like that. Good stuff.

I'm not an anti-intellectual, at least not when it comes to science. I'm big on science, baby. But I gotta tell ya, this entire "experiment" seems less likely to advance understanding of human psychiatric disorders and more likely to be the consequence of a losing bar-bet.

Thanks to LauraW.

Nanotech Update! Instapundit, take note. This involves both technology and flies, which are quite small. It is therefore "nanotech," the miracle science of the future... and maybe the present.

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posted by Ace at 10:42 AM

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