“The lord in his wisdom made the fly. Then forgot to tell us why.” ~ Ogden Nash
The reproductive capacity of flies is tremendous. Thankfully for us they can never be fully realized. If you took just a pair of flies in April and they were all progenitors (originator or direct ancestor), and they all survived (flies typically only live 30 days) until August you would have 191,010,000,000,000,000,000 flies!!!! That is in just four months!
To give you a visual idea of how many flies that is, it is enough flies to cover the entire earth 2.5 feet deep!
Unfortunately flies are downplayed in society ala “Waiter there is a fly in my soup. What’s he doing? I believe the backstroke!” The hard fact is that flies transmit over 25 diseases and are VERY serious pests especially in food handling facilities. The risk of bacterial transmission is enormous. Call EHS at 877-507.0698 to protect your brand!
General Manager - Staff Entomologist
The U.S. air force is studying fruit flies to mimic swarming behavior for military needs.
The US Air Force is engaged in wacky research on fruit flies maneuvering within a heavily instrumented "simulation tunnel" in order to develop tiny, potentially murderous insect-sized flying robots.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), research underway at in Californian labs will teach military designers how to build tiny robot aircraft which can fly around indoors or in built-up areas the way flies do.
"This work investigates sensory-motor feedback mechanisms in the insect brain that could inspire new approaches to flight stabilization and navigation in future insect-sized vehicles for the military," said Dr Willard Larkin of AFOSR.
Dr Andrew Straw of Caltech, leading the project for the Air Force, has built a special arena for his test flies to aviate around in, with video walls allowing a simulated environment to be presented to the fly. The insect test subject is tracked using a cunning multi-camera system.
"We developed a 3D fly tracking system which was our most significant technical challenge: localizing a fly in 3D nearly instantaneously," says Straw. "Next, we developed visual stimulus software capable of making use of this information to project virtual edges and textured floors in which we could modify the fly's sensory-motor feedback mechanism."
According to the AFOSR:
"The scientists have found that, counter to earlier studies suggesting that insects adjust their height by measuring the motion beneath them as they fly, flies in fact follow horizontal edges of objects to regulate altitude. Remarkably, this edge following behavior is very similar to a rule they use for steering left and right and always turning towards vertical edges."
If Straw and his colleagues can work out the rules the flies use to navigate - thought to be primarily visually based - it could be possible to design control systems for so-called Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs, small robot aircraft already in development) which would let them maneuver in places where there is no GPS signal.
Then the dark/exciting future shown in the vid above could become reality, with tiny military swarm droids scattering across towns or cities to locate or spy on persons of interest to the US authorities. They might even, as shown in the vid at around three minutes, be able to land on the back of your neck and blow your head off using some kind of tiny warhead.
Amazing what they can do nowadays.
By Lewis Page
Posted in Rise of the Machines, 8th December 2010 17:00 GMT
A week or so ago, Abbott Laboratories recalled its powdered form of Similac because of the presence of small beetles in the baby formula. I don’t blame Abbott from recalling the product. It was necessary, if not from a health standpoint, at the very least for a public relations position.
That being said, we Americans unintentionally consume over a pound of insects each year, possibly as much as two pounds. Insects are so prevalent in our food supply that the Food and Drug Administration has pretty much given up on trying to exclude them completely from our diet. Guidelines by the FDA allow various amounts of insects(and insect parts) in our food because it would be next to impossible to keep them out. However, once these limits are exceeded, the FDA will respond and take legal action.
It may well be that in the not-too-distant future, insects may become part of the American diet.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is currently determining the causes of the salmonella outbreak in a U.S. egg supply that caused 1,519 people to become sick in 14 states. These totals are expected to rise until the eggs supplies are exhausted in the food chain. They traced the salmonella back to a poultry farm in Iowa. The USDA and CDC found rat, mouse, fly, and bird infestations. All of these pests have the ability to transmit salmonella along with various other diseases. It goes to show you how vital pest protection is in food production facilities. In this case it was illness but it can easily cause death. Certainly you have to put the blame on the facility who carelessly risked public safety by under-valuing pest management.
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