Insect Ears Inspire Superefficient Microphones 

Insect ears are inspiring the design of tiny 3D-printed microphones that could pinpoint a sound’s direction, replacing the much bulkier, energy-hungry gear currently needed for such purposes, researchers say.

The insect ear possesses a thin sheet of tissue, known as the tympanum, that is much like the human eardrum. Sound waves make this membrane vibrate, and the sensory apparatus within the ear converts these vibrations into nerve signals.

Although an insect’s tympanum is typically a millimeter or so wide, insects are capable of feats of hearing that currently require devices much larger in size. For instance, to pinpoint which direction a gunshot came from, the vehicle-mounted Boomerang system from Raytheon depends on a microphone array roughly a half-meter wide. In comparison, the nocturnal moth Achroia grisella can also identify which direction sounds are coming from, and can do so with just one tympanum only about half a millimeter wide. (The moth likely evolved this skill for both detecting predatory bats and ultrasonic mating calls.)

In order to mimic what insect ears can accomplish, scientists at first attempted to copy insect structures with silicon microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). However, the resulting devices lacked the flexibility and the microscopic 3D structural variations seen in real insect ears that help them hear so well, says Andrew Reid, an electrical engineer of the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow.

Now Reid and his colleagues are experimenting with 3D printing to more faithfully copy insect ears. He detailed his team’s research at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America on 10 May in Chicago. The research builds upon the team’s earlier work to understand how insects have such stellar directional hearing.

The researchers have 3D printed a variety of membranes to copy a range of insect tympana. The base material for these membranes is typically a flexible hydrogel such as polyethylene glycol diacrylate. The membranes also often include a piezoelectric material such as the perovskite oxide crystal known as PMN-PT, which can convert acoustic energy to electric signals, and electrically conductive silver-based compounds, Reid says.

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How Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health

Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids, or neonics, and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development.

Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases.

The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions — from sensed to movement.

However, mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system.

The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhoodpregnancy).

Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other effects on cognitive function.

Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier.

Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis.

The study explores whether the presence of neonics and their metabolites in CSF is an indicator of adverse CNS effects.

From April 2019 to January 2021, researchers gathered 314 CSF samples from patients aged one month to 89 years in the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University, Shantou, China using a clinical lumbar puncture.

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Crushed Bug ‘Additive’ is Now Included in Pizza, Pasta & Cereals Across the EU

As of yesterday, a food additive made out of powdered crickets began appearing in foods from pizza, to pasta to cereals across the European Union.

Yes, really.

Defatted house crickets are on the menu for Europeans across the continent, without the vast majority of them knowing it is now in their food.

“This comes thanks to a European Commission ruling passed earlier this month,” reports RT.

“As per the decision, which cited the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority, the additive is safe to use in a whole range of products, including but not limited to cereal bars, biscuits, pizza, pasta-based products, and whey powder.”

But don’t worry, because the crickets first have to be checked to make sure they “discard their bowel content” before being frozen.

Lovely stuff.

Critics suggested that once bugs become widely accepted as a food additive, their consumption will become normalized across the board.

“The Liberal World Order has decided that the little people must eat bugs to prevent the climate from fluctuating, in accordance with ruling class ideology,” writes Dave Blount.

“Yet rather than mindlessly obey The Experts as most did with Covid policy, people have resisted. So our moonbat overlords are furtively sneaking insects into food.”

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It Begins: TMZ Promotes Cricket Protein Powder

The globalists and the left-wing media will not stop convincing people to eat bugs.

“If you’re sick of that post-protein-shake bloat or tired of heavy powders and supplements that leave you feeling overly full and sluggish, try this out instead!” This is the very first line that you come across on TMZ’s website in their advertisement for a protein powder alternative made from crickets.

TMZ is now advertising protein supplements produced by Human Improvement that are made with cricket powders.

Human Improvement tried a variety of protein combinations before settling on one cricket powder. They tried on a blend of organic pumpkin protein, pea protein, and brown rice protein.

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‘Racist Trope’: Woke U.S. Scientist Changes Name Of ‘Asian Giant Hornet’ To Be Less Offensive To China

A woke American scientist got the name of the Asian giant hornet, commonly referred to as a “murder hornet,” changed this week in an apparent attempt to be less offensive to China.

The giant insects can decimate entire populations of honeybees, literally ripping their heads off, and their painful stings can be potentially be fatal to humans if they are allergic.

Asian giant hornets have recently been spotted in small numbers in the Pacific Northwest, where officials have rushed to exterminate them before they become a permanent fixture of local habitats in the U.S.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) now demands that the insect be called the “Northern giant hornet” to avoid stigmas amid anti-Asian sentiment due to the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.

Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, admitted in his proposal to rename the Asian giant hornet that the invasive species is “native to parts of Asia” and that the name is “accurate.”

While Looney cited three different reasons for wanting to rename the insect, his top listed reason was stigma associated the name.

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Scientists Hijack Fruit Fly Brains to Remote Control Their Wings

Are we one step closer to remote controlling human brains?

According to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature Materials, we just might. A team of researchers at Rice University have officially been able to hack into the brains of fruit flies and successfully command them to make a specific movement — with just a click of a wireless remote control.

The team — an assemblage of experts in genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and electrical engineering — first created genetically modified flies bred to express a specific heat-sensitive ion channel which, when activated, caused the insects to spread their wings.

They then injected the gene-hacked buggos’ brains with a heat trigger: magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which quickly heat up in the presence of a magnetic charge.

Then, by switching on a magnetic field, the scientists were able to warm those iron oxide nanoparticles — and in turn, those heat-sensitive, wing-specific ions.

In other words, the study showed that within half a second of a human clicking a button, the bugs would spread their wings. It’s a crude hack, but an intriguing proof of concept for altered animals controlled by technology.

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Popular weed killer impairs insect immune systems, raising malaria risk

Unexpected new findings from researchers at Johns Hopkins University are indicating the world’s most commonly used herbicide appears to weaken the immune systems of insects. One experiment with mosquitos known to spread malaria suggests the chemical can increase the insect’s susceptibility to parasitic infection, possibly increasing risk of human disease transmission.

Glyphosate is a weed-killer that has been in wide agricultural use since the 1970s. It kills plants by disrupting a crucial metabolic process called the shikimate pathway. The pathway is only present in plants, so for many years glyphosate was thought to be an ideal herbicide – harmless to everything but plants.

Over recent years, however, concerns have been raised over the chemical’s effect on the surrounding environment and humans. Austria and Vietnam were two of the first countries to outright ban the herbicide, while several others are undergoing a staged phase-out of its use over the coming years.

The effects of glyphosate on insects is still a source of much debate. Studies have found the herbicide can disrupt gut bacteria in insects, and this can lead to behavioral or physiological changes. A new study is suggesting glyphosate could impair immunity in insects, and this may lead to damaging consequences for human health.

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Mobile Phone Radiation Causes Decline of Insect Population, Says Study

Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) collaborated with two non-government organizations (NGO) and a group from Germany and Luxembourg to analyze 190 scientific studies. Only 83 studies were deemed scientifically relevant, and 72 of these showed that radiation has a negative effect on flies, bees, and wasps.

Electromagnetic radiation has caused a reduction in the ability of insects to navigate because radiation causes a disturbance on the magnetic fields and damage to the genetic material of larvae.

Radiation from mobile phones and Wi-Fi has also made insects absorb more calcium ions because it has opened the calcium channels in certain cells. According to the study, this triggers a biochemical chain reaction on the insects, disrupting their circadian rhythms and immune system function.

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The Pentagon is training an army of bomb-sniffing cyborg locusts.

Tired: a plague of locusts

Wired: a legion of cybernetically-enhanced locusts trained by the US military to sniff bombs

That’s the new goal, according to Stars & Stripes magazine:

Navy-funded researchers have discovered that a locust’s sensitive “horns” can distinguish between the scents of TNT and other explosives — a development that one day could herald the deployment of bomb-sniffing, electronically augmented bug swarms.

The research by a team from Washington University in St. Louis, published this month in the science journal “Biosensors and Biolectronics: X,” is the first proof of concept for a system that aims to tap into the antennae and brainpower of garden-variety bugs to create an advanced bomb-detection sensor.

The work is funded by two Office of Naval Research grants totaling more than $1.1 million, and biomedical engineering professor Barani Raman believes it has the potential to produce a biorobotic sniffer that would be leaps ahead of entirely man-made “electronic noses.”

In the Washington University study, which is available to read online, the locusts were able to distinguish between the smells of common explosive chemicals such as TNT, DNT, RDX, PETN and ammonium nitrate — all in less than a second. Which is, admittedly, pretty impressive.

Insects like locusts also offer benefits over, say, bomb-sniffing dogs, in that they already tend to swarm together, and don’t require a lot of food and care. There’s also less of an ethical concern — no one cares if you attach sensors and cameras to a bug, but even military dogs still inspire a certain protective instinct in their human companions that could discourage such technological enhancements (or the experimentation required to figure out how to use them best).

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