California hip-hop group Cypress Hill is known for many things, including the nasally stylings of lead vocalist B-Real and its annual and self-explanatory Smokeout Music Festival event.
But a wacky new science experiment involving neural control and a Longfin Inshore squid is bringing new meaning to the group's hit 1993 crossover track "Insane in the Brain," or in this case, the membrane.
Backyard Brains, a group of neuroscience-obsessed educators and innovators, posted a video of its latest mad scientist experiment, in which members stimulate a squid's ultra-sensitive pigment cells in time to the hit song.
According to The Verge, the brainy team was inspired by a paper published in the Royal Society journal , in which researchers studied the neural control of tuneable skin iridescence in the ancient cephalopods. Using an iPhone and a suction electrode, the team jerry-rigged a device that sent audio, in the form of electrical signals, pulsing into the squid's dorsal fin. As the voltage changed, so did the pigment cells.
Joe Hanson, the mind behind science blog It's Okay To Be Smart, explained: "When an audio signal is converted to an electric signal, basically what happens inside a microphone, that electric voltage can be applied to tissues."
A squid's pigment cells, or chromatophores, have tiny muscles that contract to expose the pigment underneath. In nature, the cells of the squid adjust their pigmentation to dramatically and rapidly absorb or reflect light, according to Discovery News. The innovative music video created as a result of the experiment records the amazing kaleidoscope effect of the musically induced cell contractions, at an 8x magnification rate.
The experimentations took place at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. This is not the first time the Backyard team have found neuroscience inspiration in American pop music. In one example, a cockroach leg is stimulated by the Beastie Boys.
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Feast For The Eyes
Peeling back layers of the ocean would reveal a feast for the eyes, with brilliant colors and dazzling body forms. These visual delights come to life in the annual underwater photography contest hosted by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. In 2012, their panel of experts chose winners from more than 700 entries, with this dashing headshield sea slug photo taken by Ximena Olds (Florida) taking home the "best overall" award. Olds photographed the creature in St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Phillip Gillette of Florida won second place in the "best student entry" category with his shot of this harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta, hiding out in the Similan Islands, Thailand.
Though this animal doesn't look like a tot, indeed the behemoth is just a babe, a juvenile sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). The photo, taken in Dominica by Douglas Kahle of Florida took home first place in the animal portrait category.
Davide Lopresti of Spain captured this porcelain crab hanging out on a feathery sea pen in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. The photo won second place in the macro category.
Who you lookin' at? This overdressed scorpionfish, the paddle flap Rhinopias (Rhinopias eschmeyeri) stole the show with its good looks, snagging second place in the "fish or marine animal portrait" category. Rockford Draper of Texas shot the portrait in Bali, Indonesia.
This nudibranch ( Cratena peregrina) won third place in the animal portrait category. It was taken by Nicholas Samaras of Greece in Chalkidiki, Greece. This species is distinguished by two bright-orange marks at the base and tip of each of its tentacle-like structures called rhinophores. C. peregrina is argued to be hermaphrodite.
Matt Potenski of New Jersey took home second place in the wide angle category for his photo of a school of fish swimming in their home of red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) in South Bimini, Bahamas.
Snagging third place in the Macro category: an Emperor shrimp, Periclimenes imperator taken by Marcello DiFrancesco (Italy) in Ambon, Indonesia.
First place in the Wide Angle category went to this Lionfish, a species in the genus Pterois, in the Red sea, taken by Mark Fuller from Israel.
This amazing jellyfish photograph received nearly half of the 1,221 online votes in the underwater photography contest. The photo was taken by Todd Aki from Florida.
Taking home first place in the Macro category, Canadian Todd Mintz's photo of these cute-as-can-be yellownose gobies, Elacatinus randalli, peering out from bolder brain coral in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean.