Researchers used intense X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source to study how the bombardier beetle sprays hot and caustic chemicals from two rear glands when threatened. Image by Andrew WW via Creative Commons - We humans forbade it a long time ago, but there's one insect that uses chemical warfare of the sort we banned in the Geneva Conventions. That's the bombardier beetle, which creates a noxious, boiling hot stream of chemicals inside its body to spray at enemies when threatened. Researchers using the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy user facility at Argonne National Laboratory, have gotten the first-ever look inside the living beetle as it sprays. The results are published today in Science. Scientists and engineers have long been interested in the beetles' rapid-pulse firing--more than 600 times per second--with the intent of stealing the technology: it's been studied for everything from ways to design jet engines that re-start in midair to a deterrent to ATM vandals. "You could take high-speed photographs of the outside as the spray came out, and you could dissect it to look at the anatomy," said Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist and former Argonne scientist Wah-Keat Lee, who co-authored the study, "but you really couldn't see inside a living insect until we were able to do this study at the APS." "We were not only able to see how the gas and vapor react inside the beetle, but also quantify the reactions that happen," he said. "Synchotron X-rays allowed us to visualize the dynamics of explosions as they occurred within the reaction chambers inside of the beetle's bodies. Using this sophisticated, powerful technology, we could finally test previously untestable hypotheses generated by studying the anatomy of dead specimens," said University of Arizona entomologist Wendy Moore, who specializes on bombardier beetles and co-authored the study. The beetles store the chemicals in two separate compartments inside their bodies: a reservoir holding most of the chemicals and an armored chamber that contains enzymes to jump-start the reaction. When they're ready to fire, a valve between the two compartme - Argonne, Illinois, United States - Thursday 21st May 2015
Michael Keaton has revealed he had been in contact with Tim Burton about reprising his role as Beetlejuice in the sequel to the 1988 comedy.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle... For fans of the 1988 comedy, repeating the name of the mischievous bio-exorcist three times is not something one should take lightly. Especially if you're dead! Although Beetlejuice has been banished to the waiting room of death, he may be heading back to earth as Michael Keaton has revealed he is in contact with Tim Burton, the original film's director.
Keaton starred as Beetlejuice in the 1988 supernatural comedy, centred on a deceased couple who attempt to regain possession of their house once a living family move in. Geena Davies and Alec Baldwin play the ghostly couple who request Beetlejuice's help and after a number of complications, including Beetlejuice's attempted elopement with the family's daughter (Winona Ryder), successfully regain control of their home. Ryder is also rumoured to be reprising her role.
Keaton, speaking to MTV, discussed the possibility of a second film at the Robocop junket in Los Angeles on Thursday (13th February). Although rumours of a sequel have been circulating since 2012 when it was revealed Seth Grahame-Smith was working on a script for Beetlejuice 2, Keaton has not mentioned the possibility of his involvement before. In the interview he said "I've e-mailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff. I always said that's the one thing I'd like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another."