Research Risks

The latest comic from Randall Munroe at xkcd is a graph, a scatter plot indicating the danger of research subjects. If you think hard enough, you can come up with a movie or some kind of story for each one. I thought of Frankenstein and The Andromeda Strain for the upper right, Sharktopus and The Birds for the lower right, Doctor Octopus and various Bond villains for the upper left, and Darth Vader at the top. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes would be close to the middle. The further you go to the right, the more 1960s B-movies you'll find. Molasses storage? Well, there was that flood, but I don't know if they've ever made a movie about it. Too unbelievable.  


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This is yours truly in the chamber where we had beetles breeding. Each jar contained a male and female, a sugar maple log for oviposition and twigs for food. They were changed weekly and extracted larvae were raised in cups of artificial diet until pupation. One of the grad students was working on his PhD developed a way to control them using fungus.
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Yeah, in the movies we had to worry about nuclear radiation turning bugs into mutant giants. In real life, we have to worry about invasive species wrecking the environment.
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