Saturday, April 18, 2009

Human Landing Catches

Did you know that scientists that study mosquitoes in the field use a method called Human Landing Catches to collect the small beasts? The illustration to the left gives you an idea of how that is done and what it involves. The heroes scientists literally feed their research with their own blood!

Is George a mosquito?

World Vision Report has succeeded to transform George into a mosquito! Listen to this scientific breakthrough:

Famous Malaria Victims

- Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus died of fever, probably malaria, in AD 81
- Alexander the Great is believed to have died of malaria in 323 BC, on the route to India beyond Mesopotamia
- Alaric, King of the Goths, died of malaria in fourth century AD
- St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, died after a 10 day febrile illness that could have been malaria
- Otto II, King of the Germans and Emperor of Rome died on malaria on 7 Dec., 983
- Pope Gregory V is thought to have died of malaria in 999
- Pope Damasus II died in 1048 after only about 3 weeks in office, probably of malaria
- Friedrich IV, Herzog von Schwaben died of malaria on 19 August 1167
- German King and Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich died of malaria in 1197
- Genghis Khan, the Mongol overlord of the 13th Century who set up the largest land empire ever known, is believed to have suffered from a malaria like illness in the spring of 1227, even as he was nursing his injuries. After several months of sickness, the Great Khan died. He was about sixty years old.
- Richard, Earl of Cornwall died on 2 April 1272 of having been bled for ague
- Henry of Luxemburg died at Siena of a fever, probably malaria, on 24 August 1313
- Dante, Italian poet died of malaria 1321
- Byzantine Emperor Andronicus III Palaeologus is thought to have died of malaria in 1341
- In 1351, the much feared and ruthless ruler, Sultan Muhammed bin Tughluk contracted malaria while on a military campaign against rebels and within a short time succumbed to the disease.
- King Edward IV died in 1483 of various complications, including malaria
- Pope Leo X died of malaria in 1521
- Pope Sixtus V died of malaria in 1590
- Giambattista Castana was elected Pope Urban VII in 1590, but died of malaria before his coronation
- In 1623, when the Sacred College of Cardinals was convened to choose a successor to Pope Gregory XV, malaria felled many of these clergymen.
- Roman Emperor Charles V supposedly died of malaria in 1558
- Ethiopian Emperor Minas became ill with malaria and then died in 1563
- Spanish Explorer Alvaro Mendana de Neira, discoverer of the Soloman Islands in 1568, died of malaria in 1595
- Caravaggio, Italian painter probably died of malaria in 1610
- Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, died of malaria in 1658
- Lord Byron died of malaria in Greece in 1824
- Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry supposedly contracted malaria in Venezuela and died of the disease in 1819
- Josef Ressel, inventor of the propeller, died in 1857 of malaria
- King Mongkut of Thailand died of malaria in 1868
- Rebka Chenashu (Ethiopian 200m and 400m bonze medalist) died of malaria in 2003 at age 17
- Amrish Puri (Indian Film Actor) died in January 2005 of a blood clot to the brain while being treated for malaria
- Francis Ona, the Bougainville secessionist leader of Papua New Guinea, died of malaria at the age of 52 on 24 July, 2005
- George Washington, (1st President, 1789-1797): Developed his first bout with malaria in Virginia in 1749 at age 17. He had periodic attacks, recorded in 1752, 1761, 1784, and 1798.
- James Monroe (5th President, 1817-1825) caught malaria while visiting a swampy area along the Mississippi in 1785. He continued to have bouts for many years
- Andrew Jackson (7th President, 1829-1837) is thought to have contracted malaria in Florida swamps during the Seminole campaigns of 1818-1821
- Abraham Lincoln (16th President, 1861-1865) had periodic bouts of malaria when growing up
- Ulysses S. Grant (18th President, 1869-1877) had malaria throughout the 1850's
- James A. Garfield (20th President, 1881) developed malaria in 1848 in Ohio at age 16
- Theodore Roosevelt (26th President, 1901-1909) acquired malaria during a visit to Brazil in 1914
- John F. Kennedy (35th President, 1961-1963) acquired malaria during World War II, about 1943
- Belisarius in Rome in 536
- Emperor Kangxi (Emperor of the Qing dynasty, 1661-1722) was cured of malaria by French Jesuit missionaries in about 1693
- Louisa Maria, Queen of Spain, was cured of malaria with quinine in 1678
- King Charles II had recorded bouts of malaria in 1678 and 1679 and was cured using quinine
- Hannibal's wife and son
- Emperor Isabel
- Felipe II
- Felipe IV
- Felipe V
- Fernando VI
- Carlos II
- Christopher Columbus (had to cut short his fourth voyage to the new world in 1503, again attempting to find a sea route to Asia, due (in part) to malaria)
- Cesare Borgia in 1503
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, surgeon and writer of Sherlock Holmes fame
- Alfred Russell Wallace, co-discoverer along with Charles Darwin of the concept of Natural Selection
- Meriwether Lewis, explorer
- Henry Morton Stanley and Dr. David Livingstone, famed explorers
- Jefferson Davis, Politician and Provisional President of the Confederate States of America
- Lucretia Garfield, first lady to President Garfield
- George B. McClellan, Civil war general
- Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam revolutionary leader
- Jesse James
- General John J. Pershing
- Mahatma Gandhi, Father of Indian nation
- Ernest Hemingway, celebrated author
- Lord Horatio Nelson
- Leon Trotsky
- Eugene O'Neill, Playwrite
- Sir Harry Secombe
- Ross Kemp (Former East Enders star)
- Santa Teresa de Jesús
- Hernán Cortés
- Don Adams (Actor and director)
- Errol Flynn (Actor)
- Peta Wilson (Actress)
- Carol Landis (Actress)
- Raymond Burr (Actor)
- Audie Murphy (Actor and war hero)
- Michael Caine (Actor)
- Christopher Lee (Actor)
- Michael Dudikoff (Actor)
- Jeremy Piven (Actor)
- Al Jolson
- Jane Goodall, naturalist
- Davy Crockett, outdoorsman and congressman
- Steve Reeves (Body builder)
- Chris Matthews (MSNBCs Hardball)
- Anderson Cooper (Former ABC news correspondent)
- Roberto Clemente (Baseball player)
- Wilson Kipeter (800m champion)
- Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Soccer star)
- Dikembe Mutombo (Star center for the New Jersey Nets)
- Ezekiel Kemboi (Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion of Kenya)
- Mother Teresa was hospitalized with malaria in 1993
- Leander Paes, Indian tennis star


Some General Mosquito facts

- A mosquito only weighs 1/25,000 of an ounce.
- Mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other living creature.
- There are over 2,500 species of mosquitoes scattered throughout the world.
- Hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes are born every day.
- Most adult mosquitoes live for about two weeks, while some species can live as long as 5 months.
- Only female mosquitoes bite—they need the protein for their eggs.
- Male mosquitoes survive by sucking on nectar and other plant juices.
- The welt that appears after a mosquito bites is an allergic reaction to the saliva that is injected into your skin to prevent your blood from clotting.
- Mosquitoes rarely travel farther than 300 feet from their birthplace.
- Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes than dark colors; thus, mosquitoes are more likely to choose a victim wearing darker colors.
- Mosquitoes are found all over the world, even in cold places like the Arctic.
- Arctic researchers uncovered their chests, arms, and legs and reported as many as 9,000 mosquito bites per person, per minute. At this rate, an unprotected human would lose one half of his or her blood supply in approximately 2 hours!
- Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. It is not clear why, but probably has something to do with the 300 odd chemicals produced by the skin.
- Mosquitoes prefer dark places like trees, grass and shrubs.
- Like humans, mosquitoes have food preferences—not all mosquito species bite humans, some prefer birds, horses, frogs or turtles.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Breaks and web-surfing makes better postdocs

Facebook, YouTube make better postdocs: study

Thu Apr 2, 2009 9:50am EDT

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It'll make you a better employee, according to an Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity.
The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.
Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped to sharpened workers' concentration.
"People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," Coker said on the university's website (
"Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days' work, and as a result, increased productivity," he said.
According to the study of 300 workers, 70 percent of people who use the Internet at work engage in WILB.
Among the most popular WILB activities are searching for information about products, reading online news sites, playing online games and watching videos on YouTube.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity," said Coker. "That's not always the case."
However, Coker said the study looked at people who browsed in moderation, or were on the Internet for less than 20 percent of their total time in the office. Continued...