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Utterly appalled


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They say that one of the warning signs of psychopathic personality disorder is a history of torturing pets and small animals. Yet soon to be released ($99 at all reputable toy shops) is a 'cockroach backpack' that allows you to drive a cockroach with a phone app - getting it to turn left and right.

I'm not overly fond of Cockroaches, but:

For the "electronic backpack" to work the cockroaches have to be placed in icy water to subdue them before sandpaper is used to remove the waxy coating on the shell of the insect's head.

An electrode connector and electrodes are then glued on to the insect's body and a needle is used to poke a hole in their thorax in order to insert a wire.

Their antennae are then cut and electrodes are inserted. A circuit is attached to their backs, and signals are received through a mobile phone app allowing users to control the cockroaches' movements to the left and to the right.

Oh, big fun! But wait. There's a serious side:

A company spokeswoman told the BBC that the backpack had been developed solely to encourage children to take an interest in neuroscience which, she said, needed to be better taught in American schools.

"At the moment this crucially important subject is woefully under-taught," she said, "with many schools teaching neuroscience within the biology syllabus when it should be a subject in its own right.

"That is especially the case when diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's take a heavier toll within society."

The spokeswoman insisted that the insects are treated humanely and that the backpack - first developed in 2011 - does not harm them.

"I can't find a roach," wailed Jimmy, his lower lip wobbling as he clutched his new roach backpack and dad's electric sander.

"Don't worry," Booby said, smiling. "Gramma won't mind. All she does is snooze on the porch."



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"The spokeswoman insisted that the insects are treated humanely and that the backpack - first developed in 2011 - does not harm them."


The human race never fails to astonish me.

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Yeah, by all means let's turn the kids loose on neuroscience experimentation. Why stop at cockroaches? I'm sure there are some electroshock devices in storage that could be dusted off and made available to school systems.

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