Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ah-Muzen-Cab - video game?? && Locusts

In some ways I apologize for posting this. But I'm very fascinated by how science blends into media and culture.

For instance, I thoroughly enjoyed attending May Berenbaum's Insects Film Fear Festival this year, despite driving for hours through a snow storm, it was well worth it. This year's feature film was Locusts: The 8th Plague, about a breeding experiment gone wrong as flesh-eating locusts were released into the cornfields of the US midwest. They were finally defeated by the main character, an entomologist and entrepreneur of "organic" pesticides, after he realized that the locusts found no interest in his flesh because he and his girlfriend ate strictly "organic" diets. He then killed them off by spraying clouds of organic pesticides over the towns, a distorted and hollow attempt to include something about environmentalism. Two parts of this film sparked some interest related to what we've been learning in class. First, the locusts in the film seemed to be greatly unaffected by the very toxic chemical pesticides, and, in fact, they seemed to become more invincible as they were exposed to the chemicals. Though it's an unrealistic portrayal, I think there's some (unintended) wisdom in the ineffective use of pesticides because, in real life, insects develop resistance over time and become harder to combat. Secondly, and not surprisingly, the producers of the film were absolutely incorrect about very basic biology about locusts. At one point the protagonists made their way to the breeding grounds of the insects in order to either destroy them or collect specimens. It appears that in altering the diet of the insects, the scientists that bred the special locusts were also able to completely change their lifecycle because the locusts were all going through holometabolous metamorphism. Come on, we learned in class that there's no such thing as locust larva or pupa.

Anyway, back to the item that I probably shouldn't post, but can't refrain from.. I've been interested in stingless bees, and it appears that in Mayan culture the bees are represented by a god named Ah-Muzen-Cab. As I was trying to look for more information, my searches were plagued with this very intriguing video game. I don't know what to think about it really, but I'm fascinated nonetheless. Especially by its the descriptions for his moves, kind of arbitrarily named, "stinger", "swarm", and "honey".


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