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New Laser System Targets Mosquitoes

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the excessive-force dept.

Science 354

An anonymous reader writes "In the Cold War the so-called 'Star Wars defense system' proposed using lasers to destroy incoming Soviet missiles. In a 2007 brainstorming session aimed at combating malaria, Dr. Lowell Wood, the architect of that system, proposed modifying his original idea to kill mosquitoes. The cover of today's Wall Street Journal contains an article that highlights this initiative as well as a few others, like using a giant flashlight to disrupt mosquitoes' vision and using the insects to vaccinate, in the war against malaria. The system is intelligent enough to avoid noncombatants like humans and butterflies and can even tell the difference between females, the blood-drinkers, and males. My favorite quote: 'We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power.'"

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First post? (4, Funny)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214347)

Everyone else got hit by lasers?

Re:First post? (5, Funny)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214903)

Caution ... do not look into mosquito killing device with remaining eye.

Interesting system... (4, Funny)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214361)

...but where are you supposed to keep the sharks?

Re:Interesting system... (4, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214433)

Your moat. It isn't an evil lair if you don't have a moat. You are the kind of guy who tells the hero your plans after capturing him aren't you?

Re:Interesting system... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214621)

What if your moat is filled with liquid hot magma!? Uh hahahaha... muah HAHAHA... etc...

Re:Interesting system... (3, Funny)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214667)

Then you have to genetically engineer lava-sharks to put your lasers on.

Breeding Mosquitoes (5, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214887)

Of course surrounding your lair with a water filled moat might not be the best idea if you are wanting to get rid of mosquitoes.

Re:Interesting system... tsarkon on islam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214457)

Tales from the Koran How The Profit Muhammad met his end.

We shove Jimmy Dean Homestyle Pork Sausage up The Profit Muhammad's ass. Then while the Giver strokes me off I shoot my wad in The Profit Muhammad's face after which we force The Profit Muhammad to fellate an 800 pound Chester White. Simultaneously two Hasidic rabbis open their kosher bowels unleashing torrents of gefilte shit on The Profit Muhammad's head and back while The Giver pumps The Profit Muhammad from behind. After the hog shoots its wad in The Profit Muhammad's mouth The Giver shoots his load up The Profit Muhammad's rectum. Then unexpectedly the Chester White roots out The Profit Muhammad's penis and testicles hungrily biting them off gobbling them down with full porcine fury. We bury the newly castrated The Profit Muhammad up to his nose in pig manure. Two AIDS infected Bowery whores stuff their used condoms and clotted tampon down The Profit Muhammad's throat and crack a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 over his skull.

We then leave him for the hogs to munch on. The Profit Muhammad is swine feed and by tomorrow he will be swine manure.

GOAT KORAN

For it is written in Mine book that goats are PLEASING and HOLY in Mine eyes. I have told the Prophet Muhammad peace on him! that he should try a goat but he is an ass-infidel and pursues young Muslims. For this is pleasing in Mine eyes as well! I hereby issue a Fatwah: May the asses of the infidels be reamed by the Prophet peace on him! until they look like the goatse.cx man who is of the devil.

M______The [balder.org]
o____Prophet [balder.org]
h____Muhammad [balder.org]
a___./___o\ [balder.org]
m___I______| [balder.org]
m___I____\== [balder.org]
a___\______/ [balder.org]
d______|| [balder.org]
.______:; [balder.org]
F______:;\________________________Muslims [balder.org]
u______:;\\_______________________/______\ [balder.org]
c______:;_\\_____________________/________\ [balder.org]
k______:;__\\____________________/__o__o__\ [balder.org]
s______:;___&&___:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;|____>___/ [balder.org]
.|\\___:;8=KORAN=*O_________:;____\__\_/_/ [balder.org]
A|_\\__:;________:;_________:;_____\----/ [balder.org]
s|__\\_:;_______:;___________:;_ [balder.org]
s|___\\:;:;:;:;:;_____________:;:; [balder.org]

ISLAM

Kill all Muslims. Kill all Muhammadans. Kill all Arabs. Kill all Towel Heads. Kill all Camel Jockeys. Kill all Sand Niggers. Kill all Dune Coons. Kill all Islam. Nuke their countries to hell. Nuke them again. Death to Islam. I piss on Mecca. I spit on the Koran. I shit on The Profit Muhammad. I call on the Destruction of Mecca and Medina, the most unholy shit dumps on earth. You don't have to be a Kreskin to predict Osama bin Laden's future. And to all you Abdul The Profit Muhammad Al-Jaraazi Abdullah Mustafuh Atta Quadaphi Fuck-Head Al-Towel-Rag - Your "God" is our "Satan," have fun burning you scum. You disgusting animals, you will be a fresh farm of much needed organs for people who need livers and hearts, but I personally would rather die than receive a heart or liver from your satanic self. Hey, Ayatollah towel heads, you will be sent to heaven to meet your maker. (That would be Satan). I have no ability to stop my hatred towards you Ayatollahs, you better not peep out like a mushroom in a festering swamp lest I shoot your vile head off and harvest your organs for people who need them and cremate your vile self for crop fertilizer.

Islam Towel Song:

99 Towel Heads Up On The Wall, 99 Sheep fucking twits, You shoot one down, You kick it around, 98 Rag Heads left on the Wall.

98 Cumlicking Chickenshits on the Wall, 98 Camel sucking penis stuffers, You shoot one down, You kick it around, 97 slimy turds left on the wall.

97 Raghead Swine on the wall, 97 Shit Encrusted pukes, You shoot one down, You kick it around, 96 flea harbors left on the wall.

96 Moronic idol polishers on the wall , 96 pink skirted sphincter tasters, You shoot one down, You kick it around, 95 pillow biters left on the wall.

95 pustuled penis suckers on the wall, 95 useless festering maggots, You shoot one down, You kick it around, 94 brainwashed puddle scum left on the wall.

The Prophet Mohammad Harbinger of the Arab Plague and inventor of Arab Anal Surveyor

Re:Interesting system... (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214913)

Thanks for ruining it. Before I read your post I was thinking "Man, that is awesome!" Now I'm just thinking "Boooring: no sharks."

I would be delighted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214367)

I would be delighted if this wasn't the best thing we got out of yet another multibillion dollar Republican boondoggle.

Next time you guys want to bitch about the defecit, just look at what your military boondoggles contribute to it.

Re:I would be delighted... tsarkon on budget (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214637)

A shitload less than "social contracts", welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, medicare and medicaid.
2007 high level pie chart, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]
2009 Pie chart, detailed, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]

Fools and "useful idiots" twist the pie charts by leaving welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, medicare and medicaid out and focusing only on non-whole "discretionary" pie charts.

Clinton appointed David Walker of the GAO, he quit, the unfunded debt obligations have rendered the USA insolvent according to accounting standards.
Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion - USATODAY.com [usatoday.com]
US Public Debt Unfunded Debt Obligations [wikipedia.org]

As bad as Bush was, Chairman Obama is drastically increasing spending and creating more entitlements that will make the US less competitive (especially against China, India, East Europe/Russia). This will be a huge disaster and change you can believe in will strap you and your grandkids with more debt. No taxation without representation ? HA! Obama is spending money for the next two-three generations and they can't even vote yet, or even have been born.

Re:I would be delighted... tsarkon on budget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214865)

Your charts don't distinguish between debt accrued by super-bloated military spending and other programs. By your standards, debt accrued in Vietnam, debt accured by building military boondoggles, and other debt is all considered non-military.

Also, social security is a trust fund. Look at your paycheck. Social Security is taken out separately - that's why it is counted separately. We all pay in until we are old and it saves us from dying in abject poverty.

Every other industrialized nation provides affordable healthcare for its citizens. Until we can do the same, we are at a massive competitive disadvantage.

I'm glad that our taxes are finally being used to benefit tax payers. It's about time.

Re:I would be delighted... tsarkon on budget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27215139)

Your charts don't distinguish between debt accrued by super-bloated military spending and other programs. By your standards, debt accrued in Vietnam, debt accured[sic] by building military boondoggles, and other debt is all considered non-military.

The spending going on now vastly eclipses previous spending. In fact, the massive trillion plus debts is a thing of the 80's onwards. Congress signs the checks, remember that. I can show you year after yea, as egregious as the pentagon spending is, that the social spending is completely a waste of money and its unfunded over the long term. Eisenhower built the interstates, we scould build a new power infrastructure with this money but instead is being pissed into creating more of an entitlement system that is STILL unfunded, and without massive poll-taxes and far more aggressive progressive taxes, could NEVER be funded.

Also, social security is a trust fund. Look at your paycheck. Social Security is taken out separately - that's why it is counted separately. We all pay in until we are old and it saves us from dying in abject poverty.

That's a simple lie. They rob social security for general spending all the time. And a debt is a debt, whether its from Social Security or any other spending. The idea that it is separate is basically a fraud. Also, its going to cost 59T, care to explain where its coming from if most of the budget is already for servicing this obligation today?

I never said that there should be NO welfare, but warren buffet doesn't need a social security check (he gets one). Welfare is different than government has to wipe my butt from cradle to grave. Also, forgive me, but I care only if my family members live and die in squalor, I could really give a rat's ass about you. If everyone simply took responsibility for their own problems, there wouldn't be many. Your system creates people like OCTO-MOM, where there is simply an implied safety net.

Every other industrialized nation provides affordable healthcare for its citizens. Until we can do the same, we are at a massive competitive disadvantage. I'm glad that our taxes are finally being used to benefit tax payers. It's about time.

Most of the world population gets NOTHING from their governments, or a very very bare minimum or services that benefit only the upper echelons of society.

If you think 60% tax rates end to end will make the US competitive, along with compulsory programs to provide everyone with health care is going to make the US competitive in the age of India and China, you are a joke.

Also, as the US nationalizes (read: rations healthcare) to the least common denominator of affordability without regard to efficacy, people with money will simply look into medical tourism so I can go to medical parks in India and get real health care. I've lived in Canada in the UK, and if you think "free" healthcare is a panacea, you are again, a useful idiot.

Sorry to bus your bubble, but your support of these types of policies will simply lower the standard of living here, particularly for the middle class. At least at the end of the Eisenhower projects we got roads, and we could have built power plants that get us out of the middle east with the new spending, but the age of government for the sake of government is upon us, and the useful idiots line up and believe empty promises.

Sure I think the pentagon could get less than half of what they get today, but that will fix nothing fundamental in terms of government spending. Its simply not enough, and if you need to learn you should watch more David Walker.

YouTube - US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy [youtube.com]

Re:I would be delighted... tsarkon on budget (0, Offtopic)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215239)

Google for "national debt". Compare the Republican years with the Democratic years. (For those who are too lazy, US national debt decreased yearly from WW II until Reagan hit in 1980. He doubled it, Bush I increased it some more, and it leveled off under Clinton. Bush II doubled or tripled it. Obama is going to increase it, but mostly to repair the damage done by Bush II.)

If social contracts level off the national debt and Star Wars and Iraq (twice) increase it, I'm all in favor of social contract spending.

And then? (5, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214369)

I'm a little concerned by this. Suppose you disrupt the vision of mosquitoes. If it turns out to have permanent effects on the mosquitoes, they'll be easy prey for predators. Fewer mosquitoes... but then perhaps fewer predators, or more pressure on other potential prey. Suddenly other species go unchecked or apex predators have less food because that ecological niche filled by mosquitoes is empty. Am I the only one who thinks that humans need to stop fucking around the with the order of things and deal with it? Finding a cure for malaria (in our own bodies, which we're at liberty to fuck with) makes a lot more sense than disrupting ecosystems that were doing perfectly fine before we came along.

Re:And then? (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214483)

You've obviously never been kept awake all night by a mosquito that, every time you start nodding off, buzzes past your ear! I have. Even if there were no threat of malaria, I'd still be saying "Die you annoying little buzzing mother-fuckers! Die! Die! Die!" How 'bout if we set the lasers up over water to fry the little 6-legged bastards and then let fish eat them... don't you think the fish would appreciate a freshly cooked meal for a change?

Re:And then? (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214635)

Well, instead of just disrupting her vision with a laser, I divorced her...

Re:And then? (5, Insightful)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214491)

Indeed, we were much better off when rats roamed the streets unchecked. Think of the poor snakes!

Re:And then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214813)

Hawks are endangered...

I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm much happier without the plague.

Re:And then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27215131)

If this system got wide spread adoption in farms and towns etc.. then it could bias and so reduced pollinator insects (e.g. Bees etc...), then it would be a major problem for disrupting the food chain which would affect plants and many animals, including us. (Plus for it to be sufficient to reduce mosquitoes, then it would be sufficient to badly affect pollinator insects). Bees for example, are in enough trouble surviving as it is now, without adding another system of engineering the environment without considering the wider implications for other forms of life like bees etc..

Re:And then? (1)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215249)

Yes, think of the snakes! What will they eat now [dailymail.co.uk] ?

Rats do roam the streets unchecked. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215263)

You don't live in a big city,do you...

Think of the foxes, barn owls and red kites.

 

Re:And then? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214515)

You need to try to imagine more mosquitoes. A hell of a lot more.

Re:And then? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214607)

Am I the only one who thinks that humans need to stop fucking around the with the order of things and deal with it?

Nope, but then again we're part of that ecosystem and our goal is to thrive within it often at the expense of other species. I'm not saying we shouldn't ask the questions you're asking in an effort to avoid unintended consequences but to automatically assume that we shouldn't shape the ecosystem to our needs is a bit silly. What we want to avoid is damaging ourselves through damaging the ecosystem.

Re:And then? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214641)

Although bats and Purple Martins can be prodigious consumers of insects, many of which are pests, less than 1% of their diet typically consists of mosquitoes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito [wikipedia.org]

There are no known mosquito predators that eat only mosquitoes.

Re:And then? (2, Informative)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214893)

Which is why I say we wipe em out.

Re:And then? (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214697)

I understand what you're saying, -- seriously, we would probably agree on a lot of things -- but where mosquitoes are a real health hazard, there tend not to be adequate predators. The two issues kind-of go hand in hand.

It's much easier to have these concerns in a first world country where the issue has been controlled. I hope you appreciate that someone living in the Sahel may feel differently.

I'm a little concerned that we'll reach a point where we tell a third world country, where significant numbers of people are dying of malaria, "We have this technology that will make a profound difference in the mosquito vector, but we're not going to allow you to use it because we're concerned about potential, but as-yet unspecified damage to your environment. Hope the fever gets better."

Re:And then? (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214885)

I'm a little concerned that we'll reach a point where we tell a third world country, where significant numbers of people are dying of malaria, "We have this technology that will make a profound difference in the mosquito vector, but we're not going to allow you to use it because we're concerned about potential, but as-yet unspecified damage to your environment. Hope the fever gets better"

For a good time, search and replace cute and cuddly mosquitoes with civilian nuclear power.

Re:And then? (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214705)

> Am I the only one who thinks that humans need to stop fucking around the with the order
> of things and deal with it?

Unfortunately, no.

> Finding a cure for malaria (in our own bodies, which we're at liberty to fuck with)

But then we won't be able to transmit it to mosquitos, which are also negatively affected by it. More mosquitos... but then pressure on other prey. Suddenly other species go extinct or apex predators populations explode because that of the oversupply of mosquitos.

The same argument can be applied to many diseases. Obviously, we must stop trying to control disease and just learn to deal with it.

Get this through your head: there is no "order of things." God/Gaia/Mother Nature does not exist and never did. Eden never happened.

Re:And then? (0, Offtopic)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214961)

Get this through your head: there is no "order of things." God/Gaia/Mother Nature does not exist and never did. Eden never happened.

Amazing logic :) Whether or not God exists is not necessarily the question here; however, "Gaia" or "Mother Nature" certainly does not. While there are definitely laws of "nature" and natural this or that, there is definitely not some conscious "mother nature" sort of thing.

And for the record, as far as this as it relates to the concept of God (assuming a Christian/Biblical concept of God), I don't think many monotheistic religions (and certainly not Biblical Christianity) will assert that the way things are now is "perfect" and humans should not touch it lest we disturb the perfect balance of nature. That seems to be more of a pagan, pantheistic or eastern religion sort of idea... or, I suppose, can vaguely come out of an atheistic evolutionary idea, but IMO that's also not being ideologically honest (it seems to me that an atheistic evolutionist would believe that humans are just part of the evolutionary chain and thus can't "disrupt" nature, they ARE nature, just like monkeys, rabbits, and fish.. and mosquitoes..). You seem inclined to that ideological position, though, so feel free to correct me on the worldview consistency there.

Anyways. Main point: assuming there is some perfect/balanced natural order that humans are disrupting seems like it would require a strange syncretism of "god" and paganism... i.e., that there is some impersonal force behind "nature" that keeps it running/balanced and disrupting it is dangerous. That's definitely not a traditional concept of "God," hence my disagreement with you associating it, there. Actually, the mother nature/gaia sorts of ideas seem to coincide more with RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights more than anything else I can think of (Druids and their 'deities,' the whole "true neutral" idea, the "balance," yin-yang eastern ideas, etc). Which as influenced the new-age movements, I suppose.

Re:And then? (4, Insightful)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214731)

Permanent effects? I hope this system has permanent effects on the mosquitos, and that permanent effect is they fucking die. There are TRILLIONS of the goddamn things on this planet. Carving out a bunch of yard sized pockets where the little bloodsuckers can't go without meeting hot laser death is not going to make even the slightest dent in their overall population. Even if these systems blanketed every urban area on the planet, we'd probably still only nail 2% of them. Species wise, that's a rounding error on a census.

Re:And then? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214733)

Would someone think of the bats! Think of the poor little cut cuddly starving bats!

Re:And then? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214811)

I don't normally advocate genocide (after the first cup of coffee), but when it comes to mosquitos I find it hard to come up with compelling arguments against.

Re:And then? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215015)

I don't normally advocate genocide (after the first cup of coffee), but when it comes to mosquitos I find it hard to come up with compelling arguments against.

How bout the genocide of the cute and cuddly smallpox virus? Poor defenseless mother earth once again at the mercy of evil scientists, especially those horrible exploiting capitalists.

I'm sure we can keep some mosquitoes in a liquid nitrogen freezer just in case... until they escape, anyway...

Re:And then? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214825)

Aren't there cases where we need to sometimes give nature a 'helping hand'. Can't think of any atm, but I'm sure I remember something.

Re:And then? (5, Funny)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214891)

You've obviously never been to Maine. I am willing to take the risk so that I can go camping in the summer time!
Now that I've moved out to California- whenever I hear "It's buggy"- I just have to laugh.
You don't know "buggy" until you've seen a giant mosquito eat a small child... in fact...

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Re:And then? (4, Insightful)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214959)

You have no idea about the scale of the problem if you have not lived in Tropical areas. There are way more mosquitoes in the swamps/forests and preying on animals than are there in homes. We can install one of these laser doohickeys in every home and we still will have killed only a fraction of all mosquitoes in the world.

Re:And then? (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214979)

Is that you, Pleakly ?

Re:And then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27215209)

Let's drop you off in the Northwest Territories for a week in July and see if you feel the same way afterwards

Cost/Benefit? (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214393)

TFA is a bit thin on details, I wonder how the performance of this system compares to one of the numerous CO2+odor attractant trapping systems already in use. Frickin lasers(pew pew pew) are certainly cooler; but the whole exercise is rather silly if a simple mechanical system that runs on propane and pheromones is more efficient.

Re:Cost/Benefit? (2, Interesting)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214531)

I would think you'd need quite a jolt to kill a mosquito too, especially in laser form. What would the electricity bill be on this thing just to shoot down some mosquitoes? Hell, screw that, give me a laser system to kill carpenter bees and you have yourself a sale.

Re:Cost/Benefit? (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214899)

Hell, screw that, give me a laser system to kill carpenter bees and you have yourself a sale.

s/carpenter bees/door-to-door (salesmen|evangelists)/;

or more immediately practical

s/carpenter bees/the SWAT team about to kick in my door/;

Re:Cost/Benefit? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214973)

What would the electricity bill be on this thing just to shoot down some mosquitoes?

I believe it's part of the stimulus package. Either that or this will be used as an excuse to keep the sales tax increase in California.

Re:Cost/Benefit? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215181)

> I would think you'd need quite a jolt to kill a mosquito too...

I would think that you'd need quite a small jolt to kill a mosquito. The idea is just to kill it, not vaporize it.

Re:Cost/Benefit? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214625)

Especially bearing in mind the kind of places that need malaria prevention. Developing an anti-mosquito laser system would be prohibitively expensive for the few countries who could actually really need it, and that's before you think about purchasing and maintaining the damn things.

Re:Cost/Benefit? (2, Informative)

raijinsetsu (1148625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214629)

Propane is a limited quantity and produces waste. Electricity for the device could be generated by solar power, thereby lessening the environmental impact.
The propane and pheromone methods are also limited in that they are harshly affected by weather, and may not be at all available in the areas where their needed most. These methods are prominent in the US only because of our abundance of propane and pheromone production.

Save a life, if you can. (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214703)

It's always good to eradicate mosquitoes where people live. Pumping more CO2 into the air might not be the best way to do it. Draining swamps has been damaging in unintended ways too. Sterile male techniques [wikipedia.org] show promise. Never forget that less than a hundred years ago, mosquitoes used to kill tens of thousands of people at a time in cities like New Orleans.

Warning: Known sockpuppet/troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214945)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1161575&cid=27207227 [slashdot.org]

I like being called "twitter" by you idiots. It's almost as dumb as your asserting that building public roads and bridges on M$'s private property is something done for the public good. Most private landowners have to pay someone to improve their land with roads and bridges. Having them owned by the public is even better than having the public build them, if you are into that kind of corruption, because it means the public will continue to pay to maintain them. You M$ defenders like to play the public ownership up as some kind of justification for yet more public money being spent for M$'s benefit.

You M$ defenders really have no shame do you? We're talking about business friendly Bloomberg here. Even a M$ contractor is quoted saying there are better uses for public money. Yet all you tools are here pretending some great public good is being done. Sheesh. Here's something better and cheaper: Get M$'s network and OS up to spec so that people don't have to waste time commuting every day. Good luck doing that without bringing more free software onto your campus. Ha!

http://slashdot.org/~SockDisclosure/journal/214377 [slashdot.org]

they're next to worthless (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214809)

I wonder how the performance of this system compares to one of the numerous CO2+odor attractant trapping systems already in use.

My folks have two- and despite that, they still have tons of mosquitoes and the traps take weeks to fill up.

They have $$$ odor cartridges that last barely a week or two, the traps are really gross to empty (and usually full of really angry, hungry mosquitoes), you have to go to the hardware store often to fill the tanks, people steal the machines (they're expensive), the traps are ridiculously unreliable (they don't like getting wet...the idiots used exposed circuit boards and freakin' PC COMPUTER FANS). Nevermind they're burning LNG/propane 24x7 and use at least 30W-40W of electricity; not exactly enlightened from a climate/environmental perspective these days.

If you don't like mosquitoes, build/buy some bird and bat shelters and put 'em up.

One problem with the propane systems... (4, Interesting)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215003)

I know a guy who owns property in rural Alaska (a very swampy area), and in summer the mosquitos are terrible. He has been experimenting with the propane powered mosquito traps, and has found that he can't leave them out overnight. The problem? They catch so many mosquitos that the trap fills up and causes the whole thing to burn up.

His solution so far has been to run 3 of them at once for short periods of time during the day when he can periodically empty them.

I'm not sure how much propane they use, but he has also complained about that. Since he has to fly it all in, and propane bottles aren't the most efficient use of weight/space in a plane. I also wonder about the environmental effects of using those on a large scale. How much C02 do they actually produce?

Re:Cost/Benefit? (2, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215229)

The article talks about disrupting their vision. I'm sorry but anything less than little puffs of smoke from mosquitoes being zapped out of the air is unacceptable.

We'd probably just end up breeding a race of laser resistant mosquitoes anyway.

What! lasers and no sharks! (0)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214415)

I saw lasers and thought they were going to affix lasers to the heads of small mouth bass. Then the bass kill the mosquitoes that are on top of the water and flying over it.

They say it only hits mosquitoes, can the laser b used to also hit those little nats that also bite? And what if the software has a bug (not intended pun) and targets every flying insect? Are the cooked insects safe for insect eating animals to eat?

Re:What! lasers and no sharks! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214597)

Well, that'd depend on whether the lasers follow the "golden rule". If they're overcooked, the acrylamide could lead to an increased cancer risk in small rodents. Field mice might prefer the crispy taste of flame-grilled grasshopper though.

When do they go on sale? (1)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214419)

And where can I get one?!

Re:When do they go on sale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214881)

This way this thing sells is for them to make it reprogrammable so hackers can crack it, increase the powersupply and create their own homemade antipersonnel system.

solution in search of a problem (3, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214467)

Talk about a solution in search of a problem. So let me understand this. We are going to go into 3rd world countries and install autonomous flying drones that zap bugs with on board lasers? Isn't there perhaps a cheaper solution?

When did they get good enough to hit the warheads? Did the press stop covering the testing when they started showing some success? I just haven't heard of a big "star wars" defense system test that succeeded.

Re:solution in search of a problem (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214565)

Talk about a solution in search of a problem.

Dude, it doesn't matter what the problem is. Lasers are always the solution!

Re:solution in search of a problem (2, Insightful)

grommit (97148) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214599)

Well, the other solution is to distribute anti-malaria drugs to millions and millions of people across these third world countries from now until.. well, forever.

Also, while you may not personally have to deal with malaria on a regular basis, lots of people do have to worry about it. Thousands, if not millions of people die from it. That certainly qualifies as a "problem" to me. There is no search necessary as long as you look somewhere other than your backyard.

Re:solution in search of a problem (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214877)

Malaria isn't the only fatal illness carried by mosquitos, just the one that gets the most attention, so don't stop your cost assessment with just malaria.

Mosquitos kill more humans every year than any other animal. Of course, introducing mosquito controls into regions where religion or ignorance (but I repeat myself) prohibits birth control is likely to cause even more problems, but at least they're self-inflicted problems for the population in question.

Re:solution in search of a problem (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214623)

Strictly speaking, what we have here is "an inadequate solution in search of an easier problem".

Star Wars never worked, and still doesn't, because intercepting reasonably modern ICBMs is really difficult. Hitting small, distinctly subsonic, wholly unarmored, non-countermeasure-deploying, organisms that spend most of their time hovering is orders of magnitude easier.

Re:solution in search of a problem (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214909)

No, we will install a box on a back wall of my house overlooking the backyard and with a LoS t most windows and then turn it on.

After that we will continually upgrade the software until I can keep my windows open in the hot summer nights without becoming big and red from the damn bites.

After that we sell millions of those compact boxes to other people in the US with an option to send another of those boxes over to a malaria infested village in the 3rd world.

???

Profit!

Coincidence? (2, Funny)

PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214473)

Standing water in your backyard can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so we advise installing at least a few sharks.

Oh yes... (0)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214481)

I look forward to meeting our newly evolved laser resistant mosquito overlords.

Now, that's a bug zapper (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214513)

I want one in my back yard. Could be really entertaining.

Seriously, in my area we have bats, and mosquitoes aren't much of a problem.

Re:Now, that's a bug zapper (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214835)

I have bats under my roof, but mosquitoes are still a problem. Installing this around all standing bodies of water might be a problem, because it would kill all mosquitoes and some species which eat them could die, but installing it so it makes impenetrable barriers around houses could be a good idea.

Need bigger Laser here in NH (1)

klwood911 (731463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214533)

Remember the movie Real Genius? We in NH, would need something that size to unload our Mosquitos. They get big enough up here to carry you off.

Very cool, but Zaphod said it best: (3, Funny)

zindorsky (710179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214543)

"So, ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, huh?"

Is this new??? (4, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214571)

Is this new?? I've seen this movie here the first time in 2005 or something!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSIWpFPkYrk [youtube.com]

Re:Is this new??? (2, Funny)

spartacus_prime (861925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214817)

I've seen it before that...here [youtube.com] .

I saw this before... (5, Interesting)

raijinsetsu (1148625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214585)

If you read David Brin's "Earth", you will note that there is an explanation of how "Star Wars" technology was modified to control infestations of africanized bees(killer bees) in local apiaries. The book was published in May of 1991.
The premise was that honey bees flapped their wings at a lower frequency. Targeting the higher frequency enabled the device to precisely target only the invading killer bees.

Re:I saw this before... (3, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214779)

to control infestations of africanized bees

The slang term is "Biggers". Kind of like "Wiggers" only it's in regards to bees.

Re:I saw this before... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214969)

I read Earth last week, and thought the summary looked familiar. Thanks for reminding me. I played with this idea a while ago (although a good decade after David Brin) and eventually decided that high-pressure water jets made more sense than lasers. I wonder why they went with lasers in the end.

pests (1)

wlt (1367531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214639)

y'know....

generally, every life form slots in somewhere in the ecosystem "in balance" - it either keeps something else from overrunning the place (rabbits becoming a pest in Australia due to lack of predators), or is, say, a food supply for something else (rabbits in places where there ARE predators)

what I want to know is, is there such a slot for the mosquito? what "purpose" do they serve? are they a food supply for anybody, or do they just make life miserable for everything else? would there be problems for the ecosystem if the mosquito becomes extinct? because if there isn't, I can't think of a better candidate for extermination than the mosquito. if we could get rid of them, would they be the first species humanity exterminated AND made the world a better place by doing so?

(yes, i know, it's gonna take a LOT of laser-shooting robot drones to rid the planet of 'em... hrm, maybe that's how skynet REALLY comes about :-)

Re:pests (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214671)

generally, every life form slots in somewhere in the ecosystem "in balance"

      I suggest you review the definition of "parasite".

Re:pests (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214935)

It seems mosquitoes are one of those rare creatures that provides very little benefit to the ecosystem they belong to. They don't kill their prey, so they don't limit the population of any other animals. Also, they make up a relatively small proportion of food for the animals that they are prey to (even bats, well known for keeping bug populations down, only get about 1% of their diet from mosquitoes).

Even so, I would be reluctant to wipe them off the face of the Earth completely. We simply don't know enough about how everything fits together in all the ecosystems of the world. I'd be more interested in finding ways to kill them off where they spread disease and limit their population in other areas. After all, the last time we tried to kill them off completely in the US we destroyed the raptor population almost to the point of extinction just because we didn't realize how harmful the chemical of choice was.

Re:pests (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215055)

If we could get rid of them, would they be the first species humanity exterminated AND made the world a better place by doing so?

Clearly, you did not google or wikipedia "smallpox virus" before your post.

Re:pests (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215267)

> what I want to know is, is there such a slot for the mosquito? what "purpose" do they
> serve?

They help control the human population.

> would there be problems for the ecosystem if the mosquito becomes extinct?

The planet would soon be overrun with people.

i'll buy one (2, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214643)

With my Zimbabwen $1000000000 bill. I think that puts the price scale about in line with SDI

Re:i'll buy one (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215127)

By order of Bobby Mugabe, Zimbabwe currency will now use exponential notation.
Please queue up for the new 1E12 bill (terabuck for a clusterfuck).

non-combatant? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214647)

Since when were the humans non-combatant in this?

Sounds like a very American attitude...

Dual Purpose Laser System (3, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214649)

As I see it this could serve two purposes at once. The first one has already been stated in taking care of mosquitoes. The other would be if this system were deployed in key locations, we could turn every marsh and swamp in the world into techno/rave hot-spots, thus taking care of another issue I currently have! Brilliant!

Also this one from Not Necessarily the News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214655)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki4JKy4XkC4

Cockin' Big Dennace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27214685)

As much as I can't stand mosquitos, I can't help but think that this is an overengineered solution. Instead, they should built mosquito traps which rely on the mosquito's attraction to carbon dioxide and warmth.

They might be cheaper and easier to develop.

bats and birds, anyone? (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214711)

Seriously, the populace would be far better served by figuring out what indigenous creatures prey on the mosquitoes, and encouraging their habitat. If there aren't any, carefully try an introduction of bats / birds. Careful meaning "find out if they like to eat anything else that doesn't spread malaria."

Around here in the US, you can actually buy "bat boxes" that come with instructions on finding the best location. You have to leave it up for a couple months, but eventually, bam, you've got your own personal furry little mosquito vacuum...and they are damned efficient at it.

That would be the smart solution, but instead, we have local/city/state governments spewing chemicals into the air...

Re:bats and birds, anyone? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215235)

...try an introduction of bats

We have bats in Austin, and still way too many mosquitos.
The most practical solution I have found is to cower indoors with the AC on playing Call of Duty.

full quote was actually a bit fuzzy... (4, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214729)

"We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power. Yes gentlemen, we're on the way in and no one can bring us back. For the sake of our country and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of our sharks in after them, otherwise we will be totally destroyed by mosquito retaliation. My boys will give you the best kind of start, fourteen hundred megawatts worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now. So let's get going. There's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all."

Then he hung up. We're still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase.

There is an easier way (2, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214739)

Raise more dragonflies. Dragonflies eat mosquitoes.

Of course, if we would drain all the pools at foreclosed homes [medheadlines.com] , that would have a significant impact as well.

Granted, if you're in the south where there are thousands of acres of swamp land, you might have a problem breeding enough dragonflies to make a dent in the mosquito population.

Then again, bats are wonderful eaters of mosquitoes [ufl.edu] . For those who have the room, bat boxes [batcon.org] will provide an invitation for bats to do their work. As most bats don't come out until sundown, there will be no interference with your enjoyment of your yard during the day while at night, you can watch and cheer them on as they devour those annoying mosquitoes.

What The Fuck? (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214763)

In a 2007 brainstorming session aimed at combating malaria, Dr. Lowell Wood, the architect of that system, proposed modifying his original idea to kill mosquitoes.

There are 2 morals to this little story:

1: Who the fuck invites anti ballistic missile system developers to brainstorming sessions on how to fight malaria?
2: If the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

 

Re:What The Fuck? (2, Funny)

overzero (1358049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215251)

If the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Yah, but if the only tool you know how to use is a laser and every problem looks like a space alien, then fuck it, man, I'm on board.

/o/ /o/ (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214837)

I personally welcome our new intelligent laser wielding overlords.

You realize, this means laser resistant mosquitoes (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27214869)

Given their high breeding rate, anything short of 100% extermination will mean mosquitoes that are immune to lasers within 10-20 years.

Re:You realize, this means laser resistant mosquit (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215191)

I could see it being taken as a joke- but I'm serious.

Anything with a high breeding rate will suffer 99.9% losses- the remaining .1% will be partially resistant to the problem and replace itself in a single breeding season. Even within days for bacteria.

If you cant' get 100%, it's better to pass.

Extinction 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27215023)

1. Capture.
2. Sterilize.
3. Release.
4. Repeat as necessary until population has crashed.

All we need to do (2, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215027)

is invent a violent video game for mosquitoes, then they'll wipe themselves out in knife fights.

Like the Star Wars system (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215099)

It works about 50% of the time if you know exactly when and where the mosquitoes are at the time of the attack.

AIG bonus-receiving-executive version . . . ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215101)

How come I associate blood-sucking insects with that pitifully poor insurers' executives?

Methinks I would like to also be a Darth Vader of this product lasers having, and get Medieval with them.

... being there, done that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27215121)

Insects to vaccinate? (3, Interesting)

prometx42 (1107413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27215245)

Mark my dark, cynical, Orwellian words... You do not, n o t, want Pharmaceutical companies, NGO's and the "unnamed whomever else", to broach the technology of using insects to deliver vaccines. It takes little imagination to envision, how swarms of biological creatures carrying, already dubious, chemical formulations for "wet injection" into human beings, could go terribly, terribly wrong. Let's focus on the happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care, flying cars and 50% efficient solar; and leave the technologies of the technocrat-demon-overlords, in the adjacent Blade Runner-like dimensions, mmmmmkay?
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