Zapping Mosquitoes With Frick’en Lasers!

We live in amazing times.

…If Microsoft founder Bill Gates unleashes more mosquitoes at this year’s Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, Nathan Myhrvold will be ready for him. Myhrvold demonstrated a “Death Star” laser gun designed to track and kill mosquitoes in flight. The device was crafted from parts purchased on eBay by scientists at Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. As Myhrvold explained, a child dies every 43 seconds from malaria. Current methods for eradicating the disease aren’t working very well. There’s no viable vaccine yet, and although mosquito nets work, people don’t always use them. When given free nets by public health organizations, many people in the developing world use the nets for fishing instead. So until the time comes when malaria can be controlled, Intellectual Ventures thought it might be a good idea to try to control mosquitoes. Myhrvold’s team demonstrated the system onstage using a green laser light rather than a real laser for safety reasons. They let loose mosquitoes in a glass box rigged with a camera on one side of the stage, then pointed the laser device at the box. The laser lights quickly located the mosquitoes in flight. After the live demo, Myhrvold showed a video depicting mosquitoes being zapped for real in flight. They’re currently examining how cost effective it would be to deploy the device in places like Africa.

[via Wired: Epicenter ]
Intellectual Ventures Laboratory

Space Wallpaper Direct From NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Brighten up your desktop with stunning shot of science imagery. Over 80 to choose from at various dimensions to fit even the most ’embiggened’ of monitors. There are even instructions on how to apply this as a desktop to your computer if you were wondering how that sort of thing was done. Space craft, planets, satellite pictures of Earth, there are enough pretty pictures to make most everyone happy.

Space Wallpaper, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Moon, Stars and Galaxies – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

How To Spot Chain E-mail FUD

Warning!Everyone gets email these days. Most of the time it’s stuff you want, confirmation of an order made online, notes from a friend, amusing photos from a coworker. Stuff you want and know that it’s on the level. But what about the chain emails that some people think are just so important they have an overwhelming need to share it with everyone in their address book? Generally it will be a message of some dire predicament that the government is going to put everyone in if they vote a certain way or some message of warning that some food will kill you faster than life normally would or even that our country is going to hell in an express hand basket because our cities don’t look as clean and neon lit as someone else’s city.  It’s filled with FUD. What is FUD? It’s a catch all term for ‘Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt’. It’s the monosodium glutamate of today’s information, sad to say… I personally don’t make a point of correcting the enormous fallacies the chain emails promote, but in the past I have done just that. It takes time and eventually I realize that I’m just shouting in the wind, it’s going to to little good to whomever sent me the rant. I now realize that a much better plan is to attempt to educate the general population as to how best to avoid bogus email in the first place.
In looking around the interwebs I found this gem from These are the folks that go to the trouble to verifying that what politicians say is how it actually is. It matters little what your political affiliation is because this place is an equal opportunity offender. They call it like it is saying yep or nope to the points in question. Handy site to refer to in these days of amazingly polarized opinion.

If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it. We at ask the public to be skeptical about politicians’ claims. With these e-mails, outright cynicism is justified. Assume all such messages are wrong, and you’ll be right most of the time.

I like their style. ‘Question and verify’, words to live by if you read anything on the Internet or hear anything on the news. Even more so with chain emails. So have a nice sit down and read their how-to guide over a strong cup of tea and maybe you will think twice before you forward a chain email message.

That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is Likely Bogus. Seriously. |

Steel ‘Velcro’

Need to keep something heavy stuck to a wall? Fire proof Velcro sneakers for Iron Man? Maybe you just want a better way to hang your solid rocket boosters off your space ship. Super industrial strength steel hook and loop to the rescue!

Hook and loop fasteners have become commonplace features of both industry and households. However, they have one snag: they are too weak for many applications. Hook and loop fasteners made of spring steel have now been developed at the Institute of Metal Forming and Casting of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen. These fasteners are resistant to chemicals and can withstand a tensile load of up to 35 tonnes per square meter at temperatures as high as 800°C.

It’s called “Metaklett” if you want to try and find some.

Extreme steel ‘Velcro’ – Physorg

Home page (translated from German by Google)

Pass the bread, I want healthy arteries

Yeah, I know the title of this post is misleading but you have to admit it’s funny. I’m all for eating a well balanced diet, all this no-carb high veg diet stuff has never sounded healthy to me. Sure, you shouldn’t be eating a pound of pretzels followed but 2 liters of diet soda every night. You do that and you had better ring up the funeral home of your choice and reserve a spot. Moderation must be the key to all this ‘food is good/bad for you’ nonsense. Have a hand full of pretzels and few gulps of soda and go find something else to do to distract you from your zombie like mouth stuffing habits. I suggest taking up juggling or learning card tricks. The world needs more juggling prestidigitators.

BBC NEWS | Health | Low-carb diets ‘damage arteries’.