The Phoenix

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Maggot Convention

Over 70 scientists from the U.S., Japan, South America, and throughout Europe are in Manchester, UK right now discussing maggots.

Yup. Maggots.

They aren't discussing a cure for cancer, the avian flu, or the origins of the universe. They're discussing little squirmy, nasty, smelly, maggots. Little larvae that become fruit flies. Those little bugs associated with decomposition and death.

Why?

Because maggots are very important to science.

Dr. Matthew Cobb of the University of Machester said: "Scientists have been studying fruit flies for 100 years and they have proven a very powerful tool in our current understanding of how genetics works. The first genes involved in biological clocks that help us know what time of day it is were discovered in fruit flies, as were the genes involved in the biological processes of learning and how organisms grow and develop from that initial single cell. The same basic genes that make a fly also make a human baby...so there are huge practical applications here for understanding how humans work."

Huh...who would've thunk it.

They will be discussing how nerves and genes interact within maggots to gain a better understanding of human behavior, activity, and several sensory feats like smell. In addition, they will share vital information concerning how a maggot's nervous system develops as it becomes a pupae. These fascinating topics will hopefully help scientists relate their findings to human studies. Makes you just want to hop on a plaine and head to this convention right now, doesn't it?

"Holding an international conference on fruit-fly maggots might seem like a strange idea but there are major scientific benefits to be had from studying these organisms," said Dr Cobb.

A little strange?

Perhaps in order to gain more mainstream interest and attendance to the Maggot Convention, Dr. Cobb and his associates should adopt education, yet more entertaining events. I'd be more likely to attend this summit if:

They allowed amateur and semi-professional filmmakers to produce great movies with a maggot theme. In the evening, the scientitsts could sit around and enjoy these wonderful and entertaining films. It'd be a great way to portray maggots in many different ways, not just as the nasty flesh eating creatures that they are.

They had merchandising. What's a convention without buying stuff? Maggot hats, maggot shirts, maggot key chains, maggot hoagies, maggot french fries, maggot stir fry, maggot earings (pictured right), maggot corn dogs, maggot ninja costumes. The possibilities are endless.

They had a skit night. Remember skits in boy/girl scout camp? You could divide the scientists into groups, have them draw out several fascinating maggot storylines, and then have them act out their skits. Nothing can be more fun and educational than an impromptu skit competition.

They had an art festival. You think among scientists there are no painters, musicians, or sculptors? The Maggot Convention would be an ideal outlet for these budding artists to show off their love of maggots AND their artistic talents. Imagine maggot paintings, rock songs, and ice sculptures.

There's so much they could do to "jazz up" their Maggot Convention. The popularity would spread like wildfire. I'm thinking in the very near future, there could very well be a Maggotcon near you!

46 Comments:

Blogger Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Nice tribute to that loveable larve, who eats the dead flesh that other bugs turn their noses up at. Where would we be without them? Sitting amongst a mass of decaying flesh, that's where.

4/12/2006 7:26 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

Christ that is crazy!

4/12/2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart said...

EW!

I don't think I'd go to a Maggotcon.

but if you are into that stuff, and they added the stuff you suggest, it would be cool for bug/maggot enthusiasts!

4/12/2006 8:51 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

We used fruit flies in biology class to show us genetic mutations. It was an interesting lab activity.
I also saw one of those autopsy shows where they couldn't find a reason for death since the body was so badly decomposed. They ended up using the maggots and found that it was a drug overdose--the drug components were still in the maggots.

4/12/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Did they show that movie "Lair of the White Worm"? Oh, and did they have a cook off? You know, all of those great maggot recipies.

4/12/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

A maggot convention? LOL.. that's over the top!

We use them at the hosptial to help heal wounds - and they are amazing in that capacity. But still, it feels really weird to go to the pharmacy and get maggots.

4/12/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Maggots...kinda like meal worms? I use them to catch trout ;)

Phoenix, where DO you find this stuff?? lol

4/12/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger KC said...

I'm sure MaggotCon would be tons of fun what with all the LARP'ers who would attend dressed as Maggots from outer space. I wonder if there are original series Star Trek maggots and maybe even Enterprise maggots? Think of the merchandising from that, Phoenix!

4/12/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

The pics here have made me decide to skip lunch-yuck!

4/12/2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

Wow -- there really is a convention for everything...

Dung Beetle Derby, here I come!

4/12/2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Shamus, Maggots are the garbage disposals of Nature.

Cari, I know. I wonder if there's a toad convention somewhere.

Cissa, I'm not a bug lover myself...and I just can't see how a person could be a maggot enthusiast.

Angel Jr., Thanks for that. I will be skipping lunch today.

Ozy, Funny thing is - I've actually seen a bunch of maggot recipies. That's mad crazy.

Laurie, I've seen how maggots are used to heal wounds. They are amazing creatures, and using maggots is ancient medicine. Leeches are used quite a bit too.

dabich, I learned about this convention from the Maggot Fairy.

KC, I think every sci-fi show has at one time features maggots and/or worms. Star Trek maggots...we should patent that.

mimi, Just don't read Angel Jr's comment, or else you'll be skipping dinner.

kay, Dung Beetle Derby actually sounds more fun to me.

4/12/2006 12:05 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

"Maggot ninja costumes" - ROFL!

4/12/2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I had no idea maggots were so important to science, but it makes total sense. Yes, entertaining events would help draw people who would otherwise be turned off by a maggot convention.

4/12/2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

laughing at mimi!

that's what i thought when i saw them... nauseous, that's it!

4/12/2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger mrshife said...

I don't think there is anyway they could spruce up a Maggetcon to get me to attend. And RYC, very cool that you own a basset or should I say you are owned by a basset. I will not be jumping out of plane anytime soon but I might consider it. I think I would bungee jump first.

4/12/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

This sounds like something the lead character of one of the few TV shows I do watch -- CSI -- would go to.

I think I saw some flesh-eating, squirmy maggots in D.C. recently. Or maybe they were Congressmen ... hard to tell the difference.

-- david

4/12/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger PDD said...

Maggot dildo. Yes, the possiblities are endless.

I never heard of maggots help heal wounds, but I am not surprised. There are some strange ways to help heal wounds, urine being one of them.

This is going to sound WAY out there but I will say it anyway. A long time ago, out of nowhere I had the thought that something within a certain insect was the cure for AIDS. I don't know what this something is nor the type of insect. The only other thing I could tell you is that this certain insect possibly dwells in dry climate. I don't know why this thought came to me. I have no idea why, but for some reason I can recall it as if it was yesterday that I randomly had this thought.

What's up with that?

4/12/2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

That is a very interesting post. I didn't know that they were that important - or that they had conventions. Great job and cool blog.

4/12/2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Some days there are more maggots out than others. Don't know if I would like to go to a whole Convention of them.

4/12/2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger Reiki said...

one time I saw a fly on the counter of my kitchen and didn't have anything to kill it with, so I turned over my drinking glass on top of it & forgot. the next morning, the apparently pregnant fly gave birth to a bunch of maggots and they were crawling all over the glass. Gruesome, but kinda cool.

So glad you enjoyed viewing the McPassion! I guess you will be joining me in the fires of hell for laughing at it.

4/12/2006 4:18 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I'm glad I read this post AFTER I ate rice pudding for lunch.
---------------------
You've inspired me to compose a Maggot Haiku:

Maggots, cornerstones.
Human baby or fruit fly?
Similarities.

-------------------
Now, I'm off to do a maggot mime.

4/12/2006 4:27 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

oh, I misunderstood, the pictures really helped, I thought they were studying politicians

4/12/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

I do believe I saw some of those maggot wares being hawked on one of the home shopping networks.

The Maggot Ninja costume sold out in 5 minutes flat!

I can't wait until my Maggot-Husk pillow arrives. It should really help me sleep better at night.

4/12/2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

WG, yeah...they're a very popular item. This year, watch out for "sumo maggot."

will, honestly, it's amazing how scientists use fruit flies and maggots to learn more about human behavior and conditions. Doesn't say much about humans, though.

karen, yeah...the sight of squirmy maggots makes my stomach lurch.

Mr. Shife, come 'on...maggots aren't THAT bad. Bungee jumping? I don't know. Your post has inspired me to maybe write more, though.

David, Feeding off others? Politicians? Naw!

PDD, Maggot dildo??? Hmmm. I need to look up that stuff on the cure for AIDS now.

Commentor, Thanks for your compliments.

Fuzz, Maggots come out when there's prey to be eaten. They are the final predators.

Dear Jane, I think I have a get out of hell card somewhere. I hope I didn't leave it in my pants when I washed them.

JD, that is a wonderful haiku! I knew someone was going to do one for me. How wonderful! I can't wait to see your maggot mime.

jim, maggots - politicians, it's not a far leap at all.

perplexio, maggot husk pillows are wonderful. Not only do they conform to the shape of your head, their wiggling actually massages your neck.

4/12/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

Whats this world short of now? Maggots?

MAGGOT-O-RAMA - way to go!
lol funny one Phoenix!

Keshi.

4/12/2006 9:22 PM  
Blogger Anhoni Patel said...

I once ate a half bowl full of maggots thinking it was actually Grape Nuts. good times.

4/13/2006 1:48 AM  
Blogger Grafs said...

I remember mention of the use of "medicinal maggots" in an article I read once. They feel that maggots can treat diabetic ulcers and prevent infection. Interesting, but definitely not appealing!

4/13/2006 5:17 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

As Laurie and Grafs commented, I did read, some time ago, that some doctors were using "Maggot therapy" on people. According to the article, this basically consistrf of growing "sterile" (not in not able to have babies, but rather "clean") maggots, putting them on a festering wound, and then letting them eat the necrotic tissue. It apparently saved many diabetic's lives.

All I could think was...GROSS.

4/13/2006 6:15 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

well crap... now I find out about the convention! geez.

4/13/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

well crap... now I find out about the convention! geez.

4/13/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Well, I guess I should thank you for giving my diet a jump start. After a year in Africa, I'm not grossed out by much, but this is just nasty.

4/13/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

The maggot mime did not work out so well.
I slathered my face with white makeup and had a very nasty skin reaction.
How quickly my admiration for maggots changed.

Curse those maggots!

Currently, I'm making posters that say stuff like, Maggot Lovers Must Die!, and I'm planning to protest by picketing all future maggot conferences.

4/13/2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

keshi, Maggot-o-rama. I like it.

anhoni, OK. That is nasty. So when will I be plugging YOUR novel on my podcast?

curare, that's exactly what doctors are using them for. I think that if faced with foot amputation or letting maggots crawl inside my flesh, eating the rotting tissue...I'd have to start picking out what kind of peg to have implanted. Ahoy me maties!

denny, we could easily apply my ideas to a thong-a-con.

lisa, a year in Africa? Cool. Have you blogged about that experience? I'll have to visit your blog soon.

JD, I'd sue the white make-up manufacturer while you're at it.

4/13/2006 1:25 PM  
Blogger grrrbear said...

I wonder if they had a movie marathon at the convention. They could show the wite worm movie previously mentioned plus Dune, Wrath of Khan (maggot cameo), and Tremors!

4/13/2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

maggots?? interesting! kind of gross, but interesting none the less.

4/13/2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

4/13/2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Maggot hoagies?

*urp*

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth....


Ewwww!

4/13/2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hopefully the Easter Bunny will be hopping along soon to get rid of the pesky maggots!

4/13/2006 3:11 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I wonder if, as a 6 year old, you know you want to study maggots when you grow up?

4/13/2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger Anhoni Patel said...

at this rate - never.

4/13/2006 4:46 PM  
Blogger Yawn said...

I wouldn't mind making love to a woman on a bed of maggots and feel them squiggling through crevices and netheregions. Kind of a turn on.

4/13/2006 5:23 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

grrrbear, Tremors is one of my all time favorites!

fated, I'm with you there. It's fascinatingly disgusting.

sherri, Would you get your foot cut off instead of having maggots eat your diseased tissue?

stacy, ooops...sorry about that your heiness.

karen, I've heard rabbit carry all kinds of worms and such in their guts.

miss jay, I think a few of the real wierdos do. Like the one kid that plays with matches eventually becomes a pyrotechnics guy.

anhoni, sorry to hear that. Just gotta keep plugging away when you can.

yawn, For me, I think the smell would be a turn off, though.

4/13/2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

"There are some strange ways to help heal wounds, urine being one of them."???????

Really PDD? Ouch ouch, I have a severe wound... could you rush right over? Oh, and drink lots of water!

4/14/2006 8:59 AM  
Anonymous amber said...

All I can say is...

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

4/14/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

Wow Phoenix - that was probably one of the most disturbing yet I-can't-stop-reading-it blog entries you have written yet. Sorry it took so long to comment, but I did read it awhile ago.

Disturbing yet intriguing, and I'm sticking with that. ;-)

4/14/2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

The images are disturbing but the information is priceless. Where else am I going to get my fix of maggot news but on the phoenix!

Interstingly I had heard once that the U.S. Government spent millions studying the sexual activites of fruit flies. Now I know why. We're competing with Japan!

4/25/2006 3:30 PM  

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by blazingtalons.com...where science is always stranger than fiction







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