As if honeybees weren’t distressed enough with pesticides hastening their extinction, now they are being asked to risk life and proboscis to pick up the scent of land mines, a job dogs no longer want. Croatian researchers give the sacrificial nectar nippers a sugar water reward for finding buried explosives. Buzzed on TNT, the bomb sniffing bees barely notice the danger. Meanwhile the mosquito, brethren of the bees, is having it’s taste buds genetically altered so that it will demure when offered juicy butt cheeks sagging out of spandex swimming togs and will hunger instead for guinea pigs. I’m picturing guinea pigs running around at outdoor barbecues replacing perhaps the citronella candle.
Scientists are puttering with pests in some fascinating ways which should be fuel for the Science Fiction genre for years to come. What if the mosquito research mentioned above led to the re-programing of human tastes? Instead of a desire to finger lick a can of cinnabon frosting we would crave a sprig of cilantro on a bed of garbanzos. This would eradicate the lucrative diet pill/book/plan business and mark the end of Jenny Craig as we know it. Could Hollywood resist a movie plot where an army of morbidly thin clones who look like Steve Buscemi and pledge allegiance to Mayor Bloomberg try to hunt down girth challenged everyman John Goodman to inoculate him with Skinny Serum? The animation department would generate zillions of brainwashed bees flying around snuffling out Molotov cocktails made of the sister solutions Slim Fast and napalm.
The deadly Diazona angulata or sea squirt which resembles a bouquet of translucent prophylactics is now apparently squirting out a cancer cure. This could spawn a western style Sci-Fi with some serious translucent prophylactic rustling. Don’t squirt with your spurs on, pal. You got three seconds, Wiggly Jiggly before I pump you full of pollution. Slap some bacon on a biscuit and saddle up your jet skis, we gotta get to wet gulch before our anemones. Yes, and I’m sure George Orwell’s contemporaries also made the cuckoo sign with a twirling finger at the notion of Big Brother aka the NSA.
I recently read about a plan to use mice in exploring the phenomenon called False Memory. In humans, False Memory can cause bogus testimony in trials and in alien abduction recollections. Mice do not stress about being abducted by aliens and are therefore more evolved and ripe for study. Scientists have already successfully altered the fond electro-shocked remembrances of mice and since mice share 90% of our DNA, we could also be the recipient of a laboratory concocted past. If you suddenly recall pooping dark pellets into kitchen drawers or gnawing on carpet threads your brain may have been neuro–nudged by evil researchers in the Messing with Meeses department of MIT and the subject of the next future-filled blockbuster. Those seed hording flashbacks could be your 15 minutes of fame.