Parasites Brainwash Grasshoppers Into Death Dive

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Unbelievable!

A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by chemically influencing its brain, a study of the insects’ proteins reveal.

The parasitic Nematomorph hairworm (Spinochordodes tellinii) develops inside land-dwelling grasshoppers and crickets until the time comes for the worm to transform into an aquatic adult. Somehow mature hairworms brainwash their hosts into behaving in way they never usually would – causing them to seek out and plunge into water.

And here is a video clip of a grasshopper throwing itself into a pool as the hairworm emerges from its host.

Waiting for the Talking Points

Where is the neo-con spin-machine?

WASHINGTON — A deafening silence haunts the American conservative echo chamber.

It has now been four days since the levees in New Orleans broke, and yet, not a word of comment on the disaster from either George Will or Robert Novak, the doyens of conservative opinion making here in the United States. Will’s two op-eds since the day after Katrina have been, “The role of judges cuts both ways” and “Questions for Sen. Schumer” (Sep. 4), while Robert Novak wrote an obituary column about his friend Jude Wanniski (“Father of supply-side,” Sept.1) and a column on the estate tax (“Estate tax politics,” Sept. 3).

Something is terribly amiss.

(via Robot Wisdom)

Maximilian’s Schell

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The new vortex-shaped, outdoor installation by architects Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues warps the flow of space with a featherweight rendition of a celestial black hole; “the deadliest force in the Universe.” Hovering over M&A’s courtyard “Maximilian’s Schell” is a spectacle the size of an apartment building that has been stopping traffic along Silver Lake Boulevard since its unveiling in June. Constructed with tinted Mylar resembling stained glass, the vortex functions as a shade structure, swirling above the outdoor gallery.

(via Eyebeam reBlog)