This Self-Cloning Tick is Terrorizing More States

iStock
iStock

Few arachnids are as demonized in the summer months as ticks, the parasitic little nuisances that can spread disease in humans and pets. That's not likely to change now that there's a exotic new species that can not only self-replicate, but is also poised to attack animals like a colony of swarming fire ants.

This super-tick is Haemaphysalis longicornis, or the longhorned tick, native to East Asia and imported to the U.S. by unknown means. The first North American sighting took place in August 2017 in New Jersey when a farmer walked into a county health office covered in nearly 1000 ticks after shearing a pet sheep that had been infested. The insect was then spotted in Virginia, West Virginia, and Arkansas, with caution advised in Maryland. As of this week, it’s now a confirmed resident of North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reports.

H. longicornis invites more dread than a conventional tick for several reasons. It can “clone” itself, with females laying up to 2000 genetically identical eggs without any assistance from a male, a process called parthenogenesis. Reproduction is faster, with offspring appearing in just six months compared to two years for common deer ticks. It’s also an aggressive biter, nibbling on any animal flesh it can latch on to, and is able to transfer a host of diseases in the process—some of them fatal. In addition to Lyme, longhorned ticks can transmit the flu-like ehrlichiosis bacteria and the rare Powassan virus, which can cause brain inflammation.

The news isn’t much better for livestock. Given enough opportunity, the ticks can siphon enough blood from an animal to kill it, a process known as exsanguination. The attack can become so concentrated that pets have been spotted with ticks hanging from them like bunches of grapes.

New Jersey officials have confirmed the tick has survived the winter by burrowing underground, a somewhat ominous sign that the invasive species might be durable enough to become a widespread problem. Experts recommend taking all the regular precautions, including wearing long pants when outdoors, using repellent, and examining yourself and your pets for ticks. While the longhorned tick hadn’t yet displayed a taste for human flesh, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As for the sheep: following a chemical treatment, she made a full recovery.

[h/t Charlotte Observer]

The "World's Cleanest Garbage Can" Won't Stink Up Your Kitchen

Canbi
Canbi

Modern living has removed a lot of the sights and smells that people find unpleasant. Exhaust fans sweep away cooking odors. Toilets make waste vanish in seconds. But there's still the dreaded plume of stinking garbage that wafts up every time you open the kitchen trash can.

Enter Canbi, a sharp-looking and cleverly engineered kitchen garbage can designed to both reduce odors and improve the entire waste disposal process. The product, which is currently being funded on Kickstarter, uses an environmentally-friendly deodorizer that utilizes baking soda and activated charcoal to reduce smells coming from the can. It also features a "nesting" liner system that keeps bags from collapsing into the opening and eliminates the chore of fumbling with new bags. Pull one out for disposal, and another is already lining the can. The latex liners are also biodegradable, reducing your reliance on plastic bags that clog landfills.

The large and small sizes of the Canbi garbage can are pictured
Canbi

Canbi is designed to be flaunted, not hidden. Unlike most trash receptacles that are made to be stuffed under the sink or behind a cupboard, the sleek can, which comes in two different sizes, is made to be proudly displayed in your kitchen. The customizable accent rings come in three styles—gold, platinum, and rose gold—so that you can match your can to your favored kitchen aesthetic.

Buy it on Kickstarter. The 3-gallon can is available at the $29 donation level, while the 12-gallon version starts at $52. A 25-pack of replacement liners will be available on Canbi's website for roughly $7.49. Replacement deodorizers, which last three months, will run about $3.75. The trash cans are expected to ship in July.

Oscar Isaac Responds to Rumors He's Being Considered for Next Batman

Noam Galai, Getty Images
Noam Galai, Getty Images

Ever since Ben Affleck officially vacated the role of Batman, fans have been desperate to find out who will next be handed the keys to the Batmobile. The Caped Crusader has been rebooted many times and reincarnated by eight different actors in the past 75-plus years. Now it’s about to happen again with Matt Reeves’s new film, The Batman. Ever since Armie Hammer denied that he had any involvement with the project, fans have made Oscar Isaac their next superhero target.

Instead of beating around the bush, Isaac has responded to the rumors directly in a new interview with Metro, where he shut down all the current talk. "I have only read it online like everyone else," he said of the persistent headlines. "I haven’t had any conversations about Batman, unfortunately, but I am sure it is going to be great. Matt Reeves is such a great director."

While Isaac was presumably being honest in saying he hasn’t had any talks about taking over the superhero role, he also seemed to hint that he wouldn't be opposed to the idea when he added that, "Yeah, [Reeves] can get my number.”

Even if Isaac did want to become the next Dark Knight, it's difficult to see how he could make the time for such a massive commitment in his already jam-packed schedule. His biggest project this year is, of course, Star Wars: Episode IX, which is followed by an animated version of The Addams Family, out later this year, and Dune, which is currently filming.

The Batman is believed to explore a younger version of Batman and will reportedly be set during the 1990s. Filming is scheduled to begin in December, so it shouldn't be long until we hear who'll be taking on the role of Bruce Wayne next.

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