back to article Dead cockroaches make excellent magnets – now what are we supposed to do with this info?

Fun Fact: Dead cockroaches stay magnetized far longer than their live brethren, according to real actual science. In a bizarre experiment, a team of international physicists gassed a group of roaches to death with nitrogen before rinsing them in an ultrasonic bath. The luckier ones were kept alive and fed an unlimited diet of …

  1. Mark 85

    Somehow, I don't think refrigerator roaches will replace refrigerator magnets.

    1. DocJames

      speak for yourself Mark. I want all my fridge notes to be still there after the nuclear war

      1. Chris King

        The Four Fridge Notes of the Apocalypse

        Cancel papers

        Build shelter

        Extra toilet rolls

        Be nice to our new Cockroach Overlords

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Four Fridge Notes of the Apocalypse

          5th Fridge Note

          Don't vote for Trump again in 2020.

  2. AndyFl

    Do I see an Ig Nobel prize coming their way?

    Definitely meets the essential criteria.

    "The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. Every year, in a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes. These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel laureates."

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Do I see an Ig Nobel prize coming their way?

      Definitely a contender.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Do I see an Ig Nobel prize coming their way?

        It's almost as if they had that in mind from the beginning

    2. Chemical Bob

      Re: Do I see an Ig Nobel prize coming their way?

      Maybe they simply had a roach problem...

  3. Black Rat

    Seems legit

    Phase two: cockroach in a railgun

    1. seven of five

      Re: Seems legit

      I see this coming to a farmhouse in Kentucky.

    2. brotherelf

      Re: Seems legit

      It's the secret Tyranid invasion force, I tell you. I for one welcome our purple many-limbed overlords.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Seems legit

        It's the secret Tyranid invasion force,

        That's OK - Trump is already in the process of creating the Inquisition and randomly-mutating to create the Adeptus Astartes..

    3. P. Lee

      Re: Seems legit

      Phase three: cockroach maglev trains

  4. MrT

    Shields up!

    "Polarise the hull plating"

    Maybe having cockroaches that can withstand even more punishment is an advantage? Of course, Rentokill will now have to start bringing phase cannons to clear out an infestation, and the collateral damage may be spectacular...

    1. Chris King

      Re: Shields up!

      Better that, than having spatial torpedoes bouncing off their shielding.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moar Research Needed

    Can we try this with accountants and estate agents?

    /No need to take measurements - just do the nitrogen and cooling stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Moar Research Needed

      Don't forget the lawyers. And the politicians.

      1. Number6

        Re: Moar Research Needed

        Lawyers have a temporary waiver against such things, at least in the US when they're prepared to turn up to airports to defend people in need.

  6. adrian lynch

    A pedant writes

    I think it's a few kinds of wasp that can survive extreme radiation. Not sure this is adding anything to the debate though.

    1. Chris King

      Re: A pedant writes

      I always thought it was ants.

      I'm hoping it's ants.

      A nuclear winter would be bad enough, without having to fend off radiation-hardy wasps.

      1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

        Re: A pedant writes

        I once watched a documentary where giant, fire-breathing ants roamed the Post-Apocalyptic land, preying on the ragged remains of mankind.

        The giant, radioactive cockroaches that also existed there were nothing in comparison.

        Wait... it wasn't a documentary, was it?

  7. Aqua Marina

    I for one welcome our future post-apocalyptic magnetic cockroach overlords!

    I'd love to know what transpired prior to the scientist getting the idea "I wonder how magnetic a dead cockroach is". It's just so random.

    1. Chris King

      In one of those strange pub conversations I tend to get dragged into, we all agreed that three things would survive a nuclear apocalypse:

      * Cockroaches

      * BBC Micros

      * Those big cans of industrial-grade sweet-and-sour sauce you find in takeaways

      We then tried to imagine what a post-nuclear winter would look like... A giant cockroach playing Chuckie Egg while another giant cockroach pedals an exercise bike to power the Beeb, with the rest of the tribe swigging from sweet-and-sour cans and egging Player 1 onto a new high score.

      We decided that the cockroaches probably wouldn't play Elite because (a) the whole Thargoid thing and (b) the poor bastard on the bike would be there for a while - "Keep pedalling, I haven't got a Docking Computer yet !"

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        What would survive a nuclear apocalypse?

        Don't forget Tardigrades (Water bears)

  8. jake Silver badge

    This kind of thing always starts down the pub.

    After a couple rounds, somebody points out the obvious:

    either a) We have money leftover from our grant, what to do?

    or b) We're skint, and rent's due ... we need grant money!

    Somebody swats at a roach, and science gets done.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: This kind of thing always starts down the pub.

      I just hope that there is a dissertation published as part of someone's post doctorate. I just want to know that somewhere out there some university big wig in a ridiculous robe has to read out the abstract.

      "A comparative study into the rate of decay of multi kilogauss strength magnetic fields at low temperatures between alive and deceased cockroaches."

      To be honest, the robes are weirder.

  9. Dabooka

    Now THIS is why I read the Reg

    Arms me nicely for the weekend beer chats.

    "What, you didn't know dead 'roaches are magnetic for two days after being exposed to a magnetic field strength of 3 kiloGauss?"

    1. Chris King
  10. Unicornpiss

    Phase IV

    Cockroach super collider.

  11. picturethis
    IT Angle

    Scared the crap out of me...

    So I see the title of this article and think that it's one of the weirder topics, I read it and then just as I finish reading it, a freakin' boxer bug crawls right between my hands on the keyboard - just now. It scared the living daylights out of me.. (And before anyone asks, no this is not a normal occurance - I don't see bugs in my flat very often).

  12. Chris King

    Phase V

    Cockroach Star Drive.

    (Hmm, sounds more like a band name)

  13. Sleep deprived

    Can you catch cockroaches with a magnet then?

    Like we did as kids for the squirrel, with a broom stick, a rope and a peanut? Replace the peanut by a magnet and fish cockroaches when they're running around?

  14. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Has no-one thought..

    .. of the obvious application of this?

    A real computer. With real bugs[1]. Live cockroaches as the RAM, dead ones as storage media. With the fringe benefit that, sooner or later, the RAM storage will auto-convert itself to long-term storage..

    [1] A-la PTerry.

    1. Steve Aubrey

      Re: Has no-one thought..


      I thought you said "fridge" benefit. And that led to the Internet Of (buggy) Things - and then it went downhill real quick.

  15. Stevie


    In other news, still no Rocketboots with an altimiter in the heel, no Universal Sniffle-Disease Beater, no flying car.

    Stupid "scientists".

  16. Bucky 2

    I like the maglev idea

    We've got plenty of cockroaches in the subway anyway. Might as well use them for something good.

  17. Conundrum1885

    Just the thing for

    The Internet of Stings.

    Or is putting RFID tags on 'roaches not a good idea?

    I mean they have them on bees, even to the extent that the 13.56 MHz tag can be read from 30cm away with better equipment.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just the thing for

      I thought bees were already bar-coded ?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No shit Sherlock

    Stationary atoms don't move as much as ones in motion (which disperses their aligned magnetic field)

  19. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Pase IV (movie)

    Not about roaches, but ants suddenly becoming intelligent. By the King of Title Sequences, Saul Bass.


    Writeup on Jimbopedia

    Writeup on IMDB

  20. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    An experiment ...

    Something serious comes of a silly story for a change -

    take two grapes and a cocktail stick (toothpick for the English impaired) and make a dumbbell. Suspend the dumbbell from its center with a fine thread so it's balanced and there are no twists in the thread. Now put a neodymium magnet near one 'weight' and see what happens. Then try marshmallows, satsumas, dried fruit, blu-tak, play-dough and anything else that's not "magnetic" you can find ... Hours of fun for the kids or anyone geeky in the physics department ...

    Safety Warning:- you need a mighty big and potentially dangerous magnet to do this with watermelons but it's fun!

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