"Sometimes offbeat, quirky-sounding science is the best science, paving the way for discoveries years down the road which can revolutionize medicine, physics, biology, technology and how we view the world," said US Republican Representative Randy Hultgren from Illinois.
About 80 years ago, two entomological researchers, Edward F. Knipling and Raymond C. Bushland, figured out a technique to eradicate the screwworm fly, which was wreaking havoc with livestock across America and costing ranchers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in losses and pest management.
To stop the zombie-like insect from continuing to thrive, Knipling and Bushland devised an insect-sterilization technique that's still in use today. The pair postulated that if they could sterilize the male screwworms through radiation, they'd be unable to reproduce and the population would eventually dwindle. And that's exactly what they did, even though they were often mocked and told by colleagues that they could never "castrate enough flies."
By 1982 their technique had wiped out the screwworm all the way down to Panama and, according to The Golden Goose Award website, that has saved farmers and ranchers billions of dollars over the past 50-plus years, plus it has given US consumers an estimated five percent reduction in the cost of beef at the supermarket.
Not a bad return for an initial investment of just US$250,000 by the US Department of Agriculture!
Full story: gizmag.com/golden-goose-awa...
Photo: Inch, bull or bulldog ant inspecting my bicycle tyre. I had a couple of these climbing over me when I sat down at a picnic table and failed to notice the well disguised ant nest between my feet. You can imaging my surprise when one fell off me onto the book I was reading! Thankfully they weren't in an aggressive, biting mood...