Wednesday, May 26, 2010

not your father's bug zapper

Morino Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska
June 14, 2004

I started this morning cleaning out one of my throw-away e-mail accounts. What a lot of rubbish! Well, at least the e-versions are way better than tossing out tons of paper mailers into the recycling bin. (Do you hear this Utne?)

Then, I came across this post from TED - Nathan Myhrvold: Could this laser zap malaria? Hmm? To skip the oft-repeated standard malaria talk and get to the goods of the video, click to the 11:00 minute mark. Interesting. Of course, they haven't marketed it yet, because it's too expensive. The way they presented it at the TED conference reminded me of the 1980's asteroid video game my father got sucked into, after I convinced my 6th grade teacher to allow me to bring the classroom's donated Apple 2e home for several weekends. My pop ended up hogging the computer!

I'm still skeptical. For a better blog post about the kind of wackery marketed towards mosquito-fearing folk, check out Chris Grinter's commentary. As shown above, I used to and still prefer the simple, low-tech barrier method over gadgets, chemical repellents, and pills. The malaria medicine I took while going to India had the nasty side-effect of pit-low depression for several months - not a good solution in my opinion.

I have a cursory interest in malaria research and keep an eye out for it in the news. From a world-as-one perspective, an unsettling question remains with me...

If we are able to finally eradicate malaria, how are we going to support booming human populations in areas where malaria hits hardest, with enough food and clean H2O, not to mention AIDS care?

For more information, check out