Due to their nauseating inclination for scurrying through all manner of foul refuse and dining on rancid food and carrion, cockroaches are walking incubators of disease, their exoskeletons nearly bursting with a multitude of harmful microbes. Despite this, many animals see the lowly roach as a tasty source of food, regardless of the fact that eating one is pretty much tantamount to licking the pole on a subway train. However, not all of Earth's creatures are content to chow down on these disease-carrying morsels without taking proper measures to ensure they won't be walking away with a wicked case of food poisoning. Scientists in Germany -- the land of chocolate and now, apparently, a mecca for roach studies -- have discovered that the larva of emerald cockroach wasps go above and beyond to disinfect their roach dinners from the inside out, and we mean that quite literally.
If someone wins a contest, but dies in the process, it's still counted as a win. At least, that's the position held by Ben Siegel Reptiles in Florida. On Friday night, the store hosted a bug-eating competition where the person that ate the most worms and discoid roaches in under 4 minutes -- without vomiting -- would win an ivory ball python valued at $700. Edward Archbold, the winner of their contest, promptly collapsed and died once it was over, but his estate gets to keep the python.
Because roaches aren't gross enough, researchers at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have developed CLASH, a robot that can climb vertically up cloth. For years, we thought that the robotic hordes would be held at bay by our loose fabric and upholstered funiture. No more. What gives CLASH its climbing power are the tiny spikes on its feet, which grip into loose fabric and let the bot climb upward. Though its motions are decidedly roach-like, and give me the heaves, it is the cleverest aspect of this little robot. Each leg is connected to the single motor through a series of linkages, meaning that it is simple, durable, and efficient. The onboard electronics and battery are also configured into a "tail," giving CLASH some added balance. If you're not easily repulsed by skittering robots, check out the video below.