New tick menace has the potential to spread terrifying viruses

Thanks to climate change, folks living in regions that were once tick-free zones have had to begin getting used to the blood-thirsty little bastards. Just as these unfortunate souls were getting used to this new reality, it seems that the bugs, which up until now have been happy working solo, are ganging up for all new levels of blood-draining terror.

According to Ars Technica, a species of tick that’s been a massive pain in the ass in Asia has made its way to North America. Currently doing its thing on the United States' eastern seaboard, the Asian Longhorned Tick travels in swarms and has the potential to spread all sorts of ugly diseases to livestock, pets and humans alike.

From Ars Technica:

Key to the tick’s explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually, that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one US population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females.

Most troubling is the fact that the Asian Longhorned Tick is known to carry a recently discovered virus that causes SFTS: severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Those that contract SFTS can expect a wide range of terrifying symptoms including “fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging, and organ failure.” With a mortality rate of up to 30%, it’s definitely nothing to scoff at. Read the rest

Your Samsung smartphone is sharing photos without your permission

Do you own a Samsung smartphone? Do you take photos with said phone? Congratulations, there’s an excellent chance that your handset is randomly firing off those pictures you’ve snapped to folks on your contact list without your permission.

According to The Verge, the images are being pushed out by Samsung’s cleverly named default messaging app, Samsung Messages. If the fact that your phone might be sending out all of the images its got in storage for the world to see isn’t enough of a shit and giggle for you, try this one on for size: Samsung Messages reportedly doesn’t even bother to tell you that the operation has been completed. Unless the person who received the photos lets you know that it happened, you’ll be completely in the dark about the fact that the photos were uploaded.

From The Verge:

Some users are speculating that this issue has to do with the push of RCS messaging updates, including T-Mobile, which is the carrier for at least one of the affected phones. T-Mobile just issued its RCS update this week, starting with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The messaging standard is supposed to make texting look more like chatting in a modern messaging app, complete with read receipts and typing indicators. When reached for comment, a T-Mobile spokesperson told The Verge to “check in with Samsung on this, it’s not a T-Mobile issue.”

Until carriers and Samsung get this nightmare sorted out, the best way to keep your handset from sharing your photos with the world is to revoke Samsun Messenger’s access rights to your smartphone’s photos folder. Read the rest

Ladybugs will follow a random line as you draw it

YouTuber baileywhj and her friend figured out that a ladybug she calls Jerry would follow a line around a piece of paper it's being drawn, no matter how squiggly or irregular. Read the rest

Trippy and relaxing animated insects move to a hypnotic beat

Felix Colgrave animated this wonderful video for Nitai Hershkovits' Flyin' Bamboo. Read the rest

Watch 3,000 insect specimen photos turned into a stunning animation

In 2004, Paul Bush released When Darwin Sleeps, 3,000 digital stills of insects in the Walter Linsenmaier in the Lucerne Nature Museum. They flash by so quickly they feel animated, or as if evolution itself is happening on screen. Now he's released a better quality copy than has been previously available online. Read the rest

Behold this adorable weird bug

This portable mini cloud was posted to YouTube as a "scallop carrot," but I'm 99% certain there's no such bug. Is it a scale bug? A trashbug that got lucky? Read the rest

This orchid has at least 7 camouflaged predators on it

Imagine being a bug or small bird who spots a beautiful orchid, only to learn upon closer inspection that it's covered in bugs who want to eat you. Read the rest

Mantis squad activate! Watch praying mantises get aggressive in unison

InsecthausTV is a channel dedicated to all sorts of wonderful insects, and this collection of mantises all frozen in attack mode is no exception. Read the rest

Scientist finds shimmering blue moths last seen in 1887

A Polish entomologist has observed and recorded footage of a bee-like moth called the Oriental blue clearwing. Read the rest

Contraption to shoot mosquitos with laser beams

In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! From the company site:

One potential use of the Photonic Fence is to create a virtual fence that detects insects as they cross its plane. When an invading insect is detected, our software is able to estimate the insect’s size and measure its wing beat frequency. Using this method, not only can the system distinguish between mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female. This is important to know because only female mosquitos bite humans. Once the software establishes that the insect is a valid target, it tracks the mosquito in flight, runs a safety check to ensure no innocent bystanders are in view, and then activates a laser to zap the mosquito. The Photonic Fence could be set along the perimeter of clinics or other strategic areas to control mosquitoes without endangering humans or other animals.

From Wired UK:

When Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold came up with the idea of a bug-killing fence in 2010, the intention was to use it to improve public health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, however, the Photonic Fence has become a commercial project with a particular target: the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect invader has reduced citrus production in Florida by at least 70 per cent over the last 15 years.

Read the rest

Watch the President of Costa Rica swallow a wasp

At a recent press conference, a wasp flew into the mouth of Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solís.

"I ate it," he said in Spanish with a smile. "I ate the wasp."

As Weird Universe points out, it's similar to this memorable and unscripted moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark:

Read the rest

Starship Troopers may finally be getting the sequel we wanted

Starship Troopers, the 1997 disasterpiece, is one of the most fun bad Science Fiction films of all time! Until now, all the sequels were set up to fail.. behold Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars.

Original Johnny Rico, Casper Van Dien is voicing the character again in this animated adventure. If you have seen the Starship Troopers animated series, it was clearly the best adaptation of Heinlein's books and far more fun than any of the sequel motion pictures. Also returning is Dina Meyer as Dizzy Flores.

Get ready to hunt bugs! Read the rest

You have to send away for the bugs

When will I learn? After not having the butterfly larvae on hand last time, my daughter thinks I should have pre-ordered the lady bugs. Read the rest

A Spotify bug thrashed subscribers' drives for the past five months

The Mac/Win/Lin versions of Spotify wrote hundreds of gigabytes of bad data per day to their 40,000,000 users, thrashing their drives. Read the rest

Delicious Madagascar hissing cockroach cake

Artist and baker Katherine Dey made this creepy-as-hell but probably delicious cake that looks like a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Its innards oozes with Boston cream filling. Dey made a video how-to, below. Just make sure you clean up the crumbs or else the real roaches will come and then who knows what could happen if they realize what you just ate.

Read the rest

Pasta made from insects selling well in France!

Atelier a Pates, a small artisanal pasta shop in Thiefosse, France, has a booming business in radiatori, fusilli, spaghetti and penne made from seven percent pulverized crickets and grasshoppers. From CTV News:

Four years on with the addition of insect flour to the mix, "it's working so well that we will soon be able to hire a second person," (proprietor Stephanie) Richard says, proud of her weekly production now at some 400 kilos (880 pounds).

And she does not plan to stop there: she is working on a new recipe using Maroilles cheese from northern France, and plans to start making stuffed pastas.

At a little over six euros ($6.60) for a 250 gramme (about half a pound) package, insect flour pastas are more expensive than standard kinds, but Richard notes that they can replace meat for vegetarians -- or for people who prefer crickets.

"People with iron or magnesium deficiencies will also eat these products," she says.

"French pasta-maker struggling to keep up with demand for insect noodles" (CTV News) Read the rest

Why 1/1/1970 bricks your iPhone

Apple is warning people not to change the date on iPhones to May 1970 or earlier because it "can prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart." Apple has promised a software update that will prevent this from happening. In the meantime, don't try it on your late model (64 bit) iPhone, because it will likely brick it.

In the above video, Tom Scott explains why changing the date to 1/1/1970 breaks the phone.

If you can't resist setting the date back to see what happens, this video will show how to unbrick it. Be warned - you'll have to open your phone to fix it. Read the rest

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