Mosquitos, Science, Distractions, and Rock N’ Roll
By Jim Schuh
Science is amazing, especially now as we experience so many new discoveries and breakthroughs.
With just a little effort, we can find daily reports detailing new scientific developments. There are so many that we sometimes don’t even give a second thought to them. It’s almost as if we expect them.
I saw that the Chinese are using newly-developed radar that can find colonies of mosquitoes from a mile-and-a-half away. They hope to use the radar to help save lives. We sure could use the invention here this summer.
The Chinese call mosquitoes “the deadliest creature on earth.” The World Health Organization says mosquitoes have claimed more lives than all wars combined and the insects’ infectious bites are responsible for more than a million deaths each year. Two of the maladies mosquitoes spread are malaria and the Zika virus.
The new Chinese radar, which uses advanced military radar technology, can pick up echoes of mosquitoes’ buzzing wings from up to 6,500 feet away. Plans call for testing it soon to detect mosquito species, gender, speed and direction of flight. They hope to pinpoint the location of colonies and warn neighborhoods ahead of time if the insects are migrating toward them and issue warnings. The radar also may help develop new ways to battle against the spread of diseases from mosquitoes which are prevalent in parts of China and Africa.
Lest you think the Chinese are more advanced, the U.S. has radar than can detect tiny objects from far-off distances, such as a sea-based unit that can spot a three-inch round baseball from 2,500 miles away.
China is very much in the news these days as that country and the United States battle over tariffs on traded goods. But below the radar is a race of different sorts – the two nations are in a battle to control the next big discovery in computing.
Bloomberg reports that American technology companies and Chinese universities are hard at work developing super-powerful quantum computers, which use movements of subatomic particles to process data. And the machines do so in quantities that today’s computers are unable to handle.
Advances in such things as data encryption are in the offing. There’s lots of work ahead, but the outcome may have large implications on national security.
I noticed some disquieting news – especially for diners who like things “hot.”
The seas have been biting into Avery Island – the Louisiana home of Tabasco Sauce. Salt water has been encroaching on the marshes where the peppers for Tabasco Sauce grow.
The McIlhenny Company, which produces Tabasco, has been fighting back, spending millions to keep the salty seas away. The firm insists pepper production isn’t at risk and that its ancestral home is safe. Hurricanes and climate change have caused problems, but there’s hope things will change in the region where Hurricane Katrina caused devastation not that long ago.
Meanwhile, McInhenny produces 750,000 little bottles of Tabasco Sauce every day for world-wide distribution.
What happens to old Rock ‘n Roll performers?
Some of the hit artists of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are dead. But others are still around. Some appear in retro TV specials during fund-raising weeks on public television. Still others tour smaller venues, pulling in just a fraction of the income they made when they were “hot.” You’ll find a few of them as headliners at area casinos from time to time. And some have taken to the seas, entertaining guests aboard cruise ships.
Singers like Freddie Cannon and Gary Puckett headline performances for guests on week-long Caribbean cruises. Vacationers aboard the ships also will find members of groups like Sha-na-na and the Tokens ready to entertain.
The Triple-A highlights a few upcoming cruises with old Rock ‘n’ Rollers. The auto club says it’s the only agency on which members can book a “Rockin’ the Caribbean” cruise.
If you like to rock and roll, you might consider signing up for one of the cruises to experience a possible “double.” You’ll not only rock and roll to the music; you also may rock and roll with the waves if your ship hits heavy seas.
I remember the good nuns in grade school teaching us that it was sinful to waste time. The sisters had no idea of what things would be like today, when nearly all of us waste time on cellphones. By the sisters’ measure, we’re all headed to hell.
Pointsource, which deals with digital transformation in the business world, has quantified how much time senior decision-makers in business waste organizing and sharing digital information with others. Mind you, this study doesn’t measure lower-ranking employees.
The results are somewhat startling – and expensive. 46 percent of senior executives said they waste and hour or more per day on data sharing, and the average annual cost of that wasted time is nearly $7,800.
An article I saw detailed how leaders waste time: distractions, second-guessing decisions, paying attention to nay-sayers, trying to please everyone, worrying about mistakes, being disorganized and refusing to delegate.
These reports are just a small window into time-wasting. Each of us has 1.440 minutes every day. Try to imagine how much time the rest of the world wastes each day. Start in your own sphere – you’re likely to come up with at least an hour or two of wasted, unproductive time daily.
When we look at how much time we waste, it’s scary since we have only a limited amount of time during our lives. Even if we knew ahead of time how many hours and minutes we will live, I wonder if we’d do things differently.
Excuse me, my cellphone is ringing.