Tuesday, January 26, 2016

As conspiracies go, it’s a stinker

Any one of us could count off a handful of conspiracy theories we’ve heard over past years, and it can be hard to keep them all straight. You know, like the myriad accusations of who put the Baab in the Al Shabaab Shabaab. With, of course, the related query of who put the Ram in the Ramadan-a-ding-dong.

I try not to give people who conjure up such fanciful notions very much encouragement. Other suspicions make much more sense—take, for example, the one about how the NSA won’t listen to your phone conversations if you imitate an accent sounding vaguely Mideastern. That’s why Elena and I have been careful about what we say aloud in our own home. It’s from the occasional visit of something resembling halyomorpha halys, a critter better known as the brown marmorated stink bug.

The real ones come from the vicinity of China, and they’re said to be a menace out in the garden. Their ugly little faces are outfitted with a natural straw they stick into fruits, vegetables and ornamentals to slurp up everything they’ve got. Indoors, though, they have no real purpose. They don’t bite, eat or reproduce. We don’t find many in the house, but when we do, they’re nearby— for instance, on the wall or curtain as we sit in the living room. Now and then one will take flight, buzzing around my head like a baby June bug, which is when it really gets annoying.

When we get one too many on a given day, I reassure Elena with the prospect that back in the Cretaceous Period, stink bugs were probably about six feet long and perhaps stood on their hind legs. Strangely, she doesn’t find this comforting.

That they have no reason whatsoever to be indoors, yet they occasionally come in, is all the evidence I need to attribute their entry to some entity with nefarious purposes, a.k.a. the government. Suppose the stink bugs that mysteriously make it inside the house only resemble those outside but are actually mobile listening devices? That deep buzz when one is flying could be its little motor, and the smell when you crush one is…need I say more?

I could have been convinced that I’ve been letting my imagination run away with me. That is, until I read about the Ehang 184 drone, which the Chinese (see?) manufacturer was showing at this month’s Consumer Electronic Show. Ehang calls it the world’s first autonomous flying taxi, large enough to carry one passenger, but I know better. It’s actually the Queen Stink Bug, which wirelessly issues orders to every presumptive halyomorpha halys that lands on your shoulder.

The company says the Ehang 184 runs on batteries. Still, I want a closer look, for every conspiracy requires the sniff test. Electric power or not, this giant drone has an exhaust somewhere.

You already know how it smells.

1 comment :

  1. My favorite episode to date Ed. You know, the timing was funny too as I had just "disposed" of one of the little critters earlier in the day. Then I read your blog. I thought it looked funny too...Must have been because it had on an Apple watch, Google glasses, and ear buds. Yeah, it all makes sense now!