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Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers
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Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers

Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers
Photo Credit: Ken-Yon Hardy
Two Madagascan hissing cockroaches sit on the hand of Kate Olukalns, coordinator for the Cincinnati Zoo's Wild Encounters. The two cockroaches were part of the "Africa" exhibit in July 2013.

Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers

Apparently cockroaches and New Yorkers aren't all that different, and no, that's not an insult. Bear with us.

According to a new study the creepy crawlers have a tendency to spend their lives in the neighborhood they grew up in, and segregate themselves into areas where similar cockroaches live. (Via National Geographic)

Which isn’t a far cry from human New Yorkers, many of which spend their lives in the Big Apple and divide themselves up by ethnicity and income. (Via New York Post.

According to a Senior Research Associate at Rockefeller University, and member of the National Cockroach Project: “Once they move in, they don't leave. This is a window into cockroach society and it is very much like our own.” (Via Wall Street Journal)

Now that’s not to say there’s a Puerto Rican cockroach neighborhood, or Little Italy for that matter, but the research did show different areas of New York come with genetically-different cockroaches.

Like 80% genetically-similar cockroaches on the Upper West Side, and 90% genetically-similar cockroaches on Roosevelt Island. (Via Google Maps)

Now, if you think the conclusions of this study are a little bit strange, how they got there is arguably even weirder.

Samples of the little pests were mailed into Rockefeller University, from mostly New York but also all over the world — even Australia.  (Via Wikimedia Commons / Zgori)

Then the now-dead, and often-squished, bugs were examined in a lab — sometimes by scientists who weren’t any more thrilled to be around the insects than the rest of us would be. (Via BBC)

One lab worker told LiveScience, “I am a little grossed out by roaches. Quite a bit, actually.” (Via LiveScience)

Disgust aside, the researchers found another similarity of the roaches to humans — how they got here. 

As WNBC reports “The smaller German cockroach is believed to have come to the U.S. with European immigrants, while the larger American roach is thought to have come from Africa aboard slave ships.” (Via WNBC)

And a different study found a way humans might want to be more like roaches — by laying off the sweets.

The University of North Carolina study found that some cockroaches have evolved to dislike the taste of sugar — a feature that helps them avoid sweet-tasting poison traps. 

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  • Latest updates, results, photo galleries and stories from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • A Florida woman was arrested on Thursday after deputies said she drove intoxicated with a child sitting above an open case of beer tucked in the back seat. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over Miami resident Stephanie Roque, 30, about 11 a.m. after she made a complete stop in her SUV in the center of a lane, the Palm Beach Post reported. The deputy said that Roque’s drivers license was suspended, and noticed she had a “strong smell of alcohol,” the arrest report states. >> Read more trending news  Roque told the deputy that she “just got out of rehab today for a drinking problem,” according to the report. The deputy found a child in the backseat of the car with an open 12-pack of beer sitting underneath the child’s feet, the Palm Beach Post reported. Only nine of the 12 beers were in the case, the report states. The deputy had Roque perform roadside sobriety tests, and then arrested her on charges of DUI and child neglect. Roque was booked into the Palm Beach County jail and released Thursday after posting a $4,000 bond, according to jail records.
  • A passenger in a vehicle that was fired upon outside the National Security Agency campus says the unlicensed teen driver made a wrong turn, panicked and hit the gas. Passenger Javonte Alhajie Brown told The Washington Post Friday that the 17-year-old driver was following GPS directions to reach a friend's house in a Maryland suburb, but he turned onto a restricted-access road that leads to the top-secret installation. 'I woke up with him slapping me in the face screaming, 'I'm going the wrong way. I don't know how I got here,'' Brown said. 'I was screaming at him,' Brown continued, ''How the hell did you do this? And why aren't you stopping?'' Brown, 24, told the newspaper that he had been too tired to drive Wednesday morning and handed the keys of the rented black sport utility vehicle to his teenage friend. They were heading to Brown's brother's house from Washington, D.C. Another passenger, who has not been publicly identified, was also in the car. Brown said he went to sleep. But he was jolted awake by police officers from the NSA shouting outside Fort Meade. Some of them banged on the vehicle's doors and windows. Others pointed guns as the SUV kept moving. At least one officer fired, striking the windshield several times. The occupants weren't hit by bullets, but the driver was left with an apparent shrapnel injury. Brown said he 'grabbed the driver's head and shoved it under the steering wheel.' Brown said shots were fired right before the SUV hit a concrete barrier next to a visitor's gate. The teen driver's mother, Sharron Brown, 37, was also interviewed by The Washington Post. She is not related to Javonte Brown. She and Brown said the driver had a gash on the top of his head that might have come from a fragment or shrapnel. She asked the newspaper not to identify her son because he's a minor. Authorities have not filed charges. The vehicle's three occupants were released from custody. The FBI is investigating the shooting. It has confirmed that one of the theories it's considering is that the driver turned in error and panicked. The FBI has not detailed the moments of the shooting or explained the police officer's decision to shoot. Javonte Brown said he takes responsibility for handing the keys over to his friend. But he and the teen's mother questioned the use of force. 'They could see the driver was young and was panicking,' Javonte Brown said. 'They could see the passengers were clearly asleep. They could tell we were not a threat.' ___ Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com
  • The Latest on the Russian response to U.S. indictments (all times local): 6:15 p.m. Russia's former ambassador to the United States is dismissing detailed allegations of attempted Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as 'fantasies' rooted in domestic politics. Former Ambassador Sergei Kislyak said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday: 'I'm not sure that I can trust American law enforcement to be the most precise and truthful source of information about what Russians do.' Kislyak's comments came as top Russian and American officials exchanged barbs over Friday's indictment of 13 Russians accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. Kislyak said: 'I have never done anything of this sort. None in my embassy did. So whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States in the fight between different sides of the political divide.' The senior diplomat's name has come up in the FBI and congressional investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak before Trump's inauguration. ___ 3:45 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser has told an international audience that the evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 American election is beyond dispute. H.R. McMaster was answering a question from a Russian delegate, shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left the same stage at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Referring to the indictment of 13 Russians announced Friday, McMaster says 'with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now incontrovertible' of Russia cyber-meddling. He also scoffed at any move to work with Russia on cybersecurity, saying 'we would love to have a cyber dialogue when Russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage.' Lavrov, just moments earlier, had dismissed the indictments as 'just blabber' through an interpreter. ___ 3:05 p.m. Russia's foreign minister says the U.S. indictment of a group of Russians accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election is 'just blabber.' Asked about the indictments Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, Sergey Lavrov replied: 'I have no response. You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying.' He argued that U.S. officials also have said no country influenced the U.S. election results. Lavrov added: 'Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber.' The federal indictment brought Friday by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller represents the most detailed allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling during the campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House. ___ 12:50 p.m. One of the 13 Russians indicted by the United States for interfering in the American presidential election says the U.S. justice system is unfair. Mikhail Burchik was quoted as saying by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that 'I am very surprised that, in the opinion of the Washington court, several Russian people interfered in the elections in the United States. I do not know how the Americans came to this decision.' Burchik was identified in the indictment as executive director of an organization that allegedly sowed propaganda on social media to try to interfere with the 2016 election. Burchik was quoted as saying Saturday that 'they have one-sided justice, and it turns out that you can hang the blame on anyone.' U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller brought the federal indictment Friday.
  • After Tnuza Jamal Hassan was stopped from flying to Afghanistan last September, she allegedly told FBI agents that she wanted to join al-Qaida and marry a fighter, and that she might even wear a suicide belt. She also said she was angry at U.S. military actions overseas and admitted that she tried to encourage others to 'join the jihad in fighting,' but she said she had no intention of carrying out an attack on U.S. soil, according to prosecutors. Despite her alleged admissions, she was allowed to go free. Four months later, the 19-year-old was arrested for allegedly setting small fires on her former college campus in St. Paul in what prosecutors say was a self-proclaimed act of jihad. No one was hurt by the Jan. 17 fires at St. Catherine University, but her case raises questions about why she wasn't arrested after speaking to the agents months earlier and shows the difficulty the authorities face in identifying real threats. 'She confessed to wanting to join al-Qaida and took action to do it by traveling overseas. Unless there are other circumstances that I'm not aware of, I would have expected that she would've been arrested,' said Jeffrey Ringel, a former FBI agent and Joint Terrorism Task Force supervisor who now works for a private security firm, the Soufan Group, and isn't involved in Hassan's case. 'I think she would've met the elements of a crime.' Authorities aren't talking about the case and it's not clear how closely Hassan was monitored before the fires, if at all. When asked if law enforcement should have intervened earlier, FBI spokesman Jeff Van Nest and U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Tasha Zerna both said they couldn't discuss the case. Counterterrorism experts, though, say it seems she wasn't watched closely after the FBI interview, as she disappeared for days before the fires. But the public record in a case doesn't always reveal what agents and prosecutors were doing behind the scenes. Authorities are often second-guessed when someone on their radar carries out a violent act. Some cases, including Wednesday's mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people, reveal missed signs of trouble. The FBI has admitted it made a mistake by failing to investigate a warning last month that the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, could be plotting an attack. U.S. officials were also warned about Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years before his 2013 attack, though a review found it was impossible to know if anything could've been done differently to prevent it. And the FBI extensively investigated Omar Mateen, the gunman in the June 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. As part of an internal audit, then-FBI Director James Comey reviewed the case and determined it was handled well. Hassan, who was born in the U.S., has pleaded not guilty to federal counts of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida, lying to the FBI and arson. She also faces a state arson charge. One fire was set in a dormitory that has a day care where 33 children were present. Although her attempts to set fires largely failed, Hassan told investigators she had expected the buildings to burn down and 'she hoped people would get killed,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter said in court. He added that she was 'self-radicalized' and became more stringent in her beliefs and focused on jihad. Hassan's attorney, Robert Sicoli, declined to talk about whether the family saw warnings. Her mother and sister declined to speak to The Associated Press. According to prosecutors, Hassan tried to travel to Afghanistan on Sept. 19, making it as far as Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before she was stopped because she lacked a visa. Prosecutors say that when the agents interviewed Hassan on Sept. 22, she admitted she tried to join al-Qaida, saying she thought she'd probably get married, but not fight. When pressed, she allegedly told investigators she guessed she would carry out a suicide bombing if she had to do it but she wouldn't do anything in the U.S. because she didn't know whom to target. Hassan admitted that she wrote a letter to her roommates in March encouraging the women to 'join the jihad in fighting,' prosecutors allege. The letter was initially reported to campus security, and it's unclear when it was given to the FBI or if the agency made contact with Hassan before the September interview. It's also unknown how closely U.S. authorities were monitoring Hassan between the interview and Dec. 29, when she was barred from traveling to Ethiopia with her mother. Prosecutors say at the time, Hassan had her sister's identification and her luggage contained a coat and boots, which she wouldn't have needed in Ethiopia's warm climate. Hassan later ran away from home and her family reported her missing Jan. 10. Her whereabouts were unknown until the Jan. 17 fires. Ron Hosko, a retired assistant director of the FBI's criminal division who has no link to Hassan's case, said that based on an AP reporter's description of it, 'I would certainly look at this person, not knowing more, as somebody who would be of interest to the FBI.' However he cautioned that the public doesn't know the extent of the agency's efforts to monitor Hassan, including whether she was under surveillance, what sort of background investigation was done and how agents might have assessed her capacity to follow through on a threat. He also said the FBI might have made decisions based on her mental capacity. 'Not every subject requires 24/7 FBI surveillance,' he said. The reality is that hard decisions on resources are being made constantly, with the biggest perceived threats receiving the most attention. 'I'm sure there are plenty of days where they hope they are right and they are keeping their fingers crossed,' he added. Stephen Vladeck, professor of law at the University of Texas, said monitoring possible threats is a delicate balance, and law enforcement can't trample civil rights while trying to prevent violence. 'This is a circle that can't be squared,' he said. 'We are never going to keep tabs on every single person who might one day pose a threat.' ___ Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work at: https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti
  • A woman in Texas has been arrested after she was caught on camera tossing her small dog named Pumpkin out of a moving vehicle. The Chihuahua-mixed breed survived the incident and was found Thursday roaming a family's rural property in Weatherford, WFAA reported. Surveillance cameras on the property provided clear identification of the vehicle. The dog's microchip further confirmed the owner's identity.  >> Read more trending news  When questioned by Sgt. Ricky Montgomery, Janet Byas, 43, initially denied tossing the dog out of the vehicle. When the evidence of her involvement was presented to her, Montgomery said she admitted that she threw the dog out of the car because she was frustrated with it. She said Pumpkin would not stay on her property and she 'couldn't handle it anymore,' WFAA reported. When WFAA asked for Montgomery's reaction to Byas' reasoning for throwing the dog out of the car, Montgomery said, 'Grow up.' Byas was arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. Pumpkin is recovering from the ordeal and will eventually be available for adoption, Parker County Animal Control said.