Next month, Backyard Brains will begin selling the Bluetooth RoboRoach, the first cyborg to be commercially available to the general public. Priced at $99.99, the product is cheap and simple to use. After a “brief surgery,” users attach an electronic backpack to a cockroach and then use their smartphones to overstimulate the cockroach, making the insect move to the left or to the right.
At a distance of a mile and a half, the Belmont is the most grueling of the three Triple Crown races. This race has brought glory and tragedy to men and horses alike for the last 144 years, even as fewer and fewer people care about the glory and tragedy. Back in the heyday of the Sport of Kings, no one was concerned that the jockeys were bulimic drunks, the horses were on steroids and routinely euthanized if they got injured, or that the tracks were run by corrupt state officials who stole money like crazy. Now that stuff is generally looked down upon, and people like me, who actually care about racing, are fringe characters like model-train enthusiasts or jazz record collectors. But I can’t help it—watching 115-pound athletes thundering down the stretch aboard 1200-pound organic running machines, with the outcome potentially turning poor men into rich men (or slightly poorer men)—is one of the greatest thrills on Earth.