What happens when you farm out your scientific illustrations to an AI?

Things get psychedelic. These are actual illustrations from a paper in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, Cellular functions of spermatogonial stem cells in relation to JAK/STAT signaling pathway. They had Midjourney do the illustrations, and they are spectacular! And confusing and uninformative.

Regulation of biological properties of spermatogonial stem cells by JAK/STAT signaling pathway. (A) The relationship between the JAK/STAT pathway and spermatogonial stem cell proliferation; (B) Relationship between the JAK/STAT signaling pathway and the microenvironment of spermatogonial stem cells; (C) Relationship between the JAK/STAT pathway and spermatogonial stem cell tissue differentiation; (D) Relationship between JAK/STAT pathway and homing migration of spermatogonial stem cells; (E) The JAK/STAT pathway and immune regulation in spermatogonial stem cells.

Look at the labels! AIs are terrible at reproducing text in images, and these make no sense…and most of the diagrams are random piles of throbbing circles. What do they mean? I don’t know.

But here’s my very favorite image. What have they done to that poor rat?

Spermatogonial stem cells, isolated, purified and cultured from rat testes.

The labels…they do nothing! The text of the paper makes sense and is a reasonable discussion of the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in spermatogonial differentiation, but then your eyes wander over to those bizarre illustrations and you get totally discombobulated.

I should print that last picture out in color, and place copies at floor level around my house as a rodent repellent. Except my cat already has a problem with frequent puking.

Johnson’s johnson

I’m sorry, but I was up at 5 putting the finishing touches on two exams I’m giving this afternoon, and which I have to get graded by tomorrow morning, because I’m giving a third exam tomorrow, which also has to be graded quickly. I’m in a bit of a haze right now, but I feel a need to comment on this:

Ultra-creepy millionaire Bryan Johnson has increased his creepiness score ten-fold by hooking up a machine to his penis every night to record its unconscious activity, and worst of all, is bragging about it on the internet. He’s spending $2 million per year to try and game aging, getting scores on arbitrary metrics that he can point to and brag that his body parts have different ages.

Now he wants to have the penis of an 18 year old.

He claims he now has the heart of a 37-year-old, the skin of a 28-year-old, and the fitness of an 18-year-old.

I know it’s an old joke, but where does he keep them? In jars on his mantelpiece?

I apologize again. My only excuse is that I’m addled with exhaustion and will be getting no respite until next week.

Hey, I’d look younger than my age if I could spend a few million dollars to hire people to write and grade these exams.

Now the spiders are leaving

Oh no. I was laughing at this very silly woman who claims the emergency phone alert system test the other day made everyone’s menstrual flow start. She has an n of 1, herself, and she admits that she doesn’t track her periods, so I don’t see the point. She doesn’t have any evidence at all for this claim, and I don’t see how a cell phone signal could trigger menstruation, so she lacks even a hypothetical mechanism.

And then we get to her chilling last line…

I checked the lab. No, they’re all there and are fine.

I’m also not menstruating.

Somebody has a filthy mind

Is it the French? See that image on the right? That’s a Phrygian cap, and it was the inspiration for the mascot for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s the symbol of liberty, and it’s also a very strong message linked to the revolution that we want for those games. We want those games (to be) a big success,” says three-time Olympic champion canoeist Tony Estanguet, who is the Paris 2024 president.

Silly, but cute. But wait. There’s a different interpretation.

Fair enough, Mr Estanguet, but on closer inspection, it’s also a very strong message linked to the female anatomy. Because the mascots – quite aside from looking like lunatic Smurf hats – unmistakably resemble gurning plush clitorises with the cold dead eyes of a killer, who could be right at home in a particularly traumatic Cronenbergian fever dream.

Huh? What? That’s a stretch. It only fits if you have an image of a vivisected, chopped out deep chunk of a woman’s genitalia in your head. I don’t. That’s not at all what I picture if I try to visualize a clitoris. Somebody has the gross mind of a serial killer.

But I was wrong. It’s not the French. The people responsible for bringing up this stupid comparison are the English at the Vagina Museum, a London-based exhibition. The English are trying to corrupt the innocent French!

The AIs and the plants have formed an alliance!

Face it, we’re doomed.

This installation enables a live plant to control a machete. plant machete has a control system that reads and utilizes the electrical noises found in a live philodendron. The system uses an open source micro-controller connected to the plant to read varying resistance signals across the plant’s leaves. Using custom software, these signals are mapped in real-time to the movements of the joints of the industrial robot holding a machete. In this way, the movements of the machete are determined based on input from the plant. Essentially the plant is the brain of the robot controlling the machete determining how it swings, jabs, slices and interacts in space.

Those are some pretty aggressive machete moves, I notice.


I’m sorry, but to me the most disturbing part of this story is the buckets.

APennsylvania man has been found with multiple buckets of stolen human body parts that he allegedly purchased off of Facebook, according to police.

East Pennsboro Township Police said that they arrested Jeremy Pauley, 40, of Enola on Thursday after making the discovery while searching his basement. Police said that Pauley is a self-described collector of “oddities” and was in possession of three full human skeletons and up to 20 human skulls, according to ABC affiliate WHTM. He was released soon after posting $50,000 bail.

The investigation began when police received a complaint on June 14 about human remains potentially being sold on Facebook. Suspicion of Pauley’s alleged involvement began after a person called police on July 8 to report finding multiple 5-gallon buckets containing “human organs” and “human skin” in his basement.

Why buckets? Is this a practical way to store your organs? Why? Can you do anything with them, or do you just go down to the basement to gloat over the random viscera floating in your buckets? I mean, I would at least want some classy glass jars, maybe a big vat with multiple organs so you can play with them and assemble them, but this guy’s process is just sloppy and pointless.

I am not at all surprised that Facebook is where you go to buy body parts.

Do you want vampires?

Because this is how you get vampires.

Officials were at first bewildered when they came upon a mysterious ghost ship with no captain or crew on board that had washed ashore on a secluded island off the coast of Cambodia during an intense storm this week.

Cambodian vampires are a little different from the European kind, though: they consist of a floating head with the viscera dangling down below. They are supposed to look like a young and beautiful woman, but an isolated head with a bunch of guts hanging from the neck is a little bit offputting.

What your turkey looks like to a vegetarian

Yuck, this abomination is making the rounds again.

I’m going to see my granddaughter tomorrow. Should I bring her one of these? I don’t really want to see her brought up as a serial killer or a Frankenstein…although it does suggest some cool experiments. If we hook it up to the wall socket, can we make it live?

Unfortunately, as vegetarians, neither I nor my daughter have the spare parts to craft one. We’ve got leeks, and onions, and carrots, and asparagus, and broccoli, and mushrooms, though, and I might be able to concoct a vegan nightmare out of all that.

Alas, the chicken teddy is fake news.

The raw chicken teddy bear, which went viral for the first time in 2013, is actually a piece of art by Russian artist Viktor Ivanov, who said at the time, “On the whole, it made me feel disgusted the entire time I was making it.”

He added: “One should not know what it’s like to sew through skin.”

What? I know what it’s like to sew through skin. I had no idea it was a forbidden art.