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Directed Energy Weapon Downs Mosquitos 428

wisebabo writes "Nathan Myhrvol demonstrated at TED a laser, built from parts scrounged from eBay, capable of shooting down not one but 50 to 100 mosquitos a second. The system is 'so precise that it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted.' Currently, for the sake of efficiency, it leaves the males alone because only females are bloodsuckers. Best of all the system could cost as little as $50. Maybe that's too expensive for use in preventing malaria in Africa but I'd buy one in a second!" We ran a story about this last year. It looks like the company has added a bit more polish, and burning mosquito footage to their marketing.

Comment Re:The obvious solution (Score 1) 979

Wrong. I bet you did not really mean that, but you've been modded "interesting". I guess I'm arguing more with the mods than with you...

In fact, a mechanical copy of yourself would exist after your suicide. But YOU would not be there. YOU would be gone with your meatbag. You cannot escape your body and become a machine.

You may live the illusion of doing so, you may have a machine that replicates what you are, you may dream or believe in whatever you like to -- but in the end, you're just stuck in there, in that meatbag. And that conscious You will leave along with the pile of flesh that made it happen.

Comment Re:It's not breeding. (Score 1) 472

No they wouldn't.

Or if you're patient and breed them by selecting only the more gentle, the more docile and the more intelligent, and if you do that for, oh, maybe 10 thousand years, then maybe, maybe the "wild" variety you end up with will do just as well as a domesticated dog.

Look at wolves or hybrids that are kept as pets. You don't and can't treat them like you would a domestic dog. They need to be properly managed and they will never act in the way you expect a dog to act. They're different animals -- they're not just Canis Lupus living in different environments.

Comment Re:Summary is Wrong (Score 1) 472

"Who cares how smart a person they'd make? What matters is how smart a dog they are"

In fact, what really matters is if the owner can cope with that kind of dog.

The Border Collies are often glorified for their intelligence and abilities. However, there are very few people who would be able to keep one in a house. Intelligent dogs need to work (or play, or exercise, which is pretty much the same for a dog). And most of the time, intelligent dogs will end up with behavior problems and then in a shelter.

Trust me, owning a Collie or a Retriever can be a nightmare.

For some people, a "dumb" Pekignese is just what they need. It won't change a thing how smart they are.

But it's true that we can't exactly compare human intelligence to dog intelligence. Tests are designed for either, but not for both. Dogs are dogs. Are they've been bred to stick with us and act in a way that we like.

Comment Re:As a beagle owner (Score 1) 472

"I think you would have to keep one to appreciate the difference."

That is so true! I own seven dogs (they're pet dogs, I don't have a kennel -- yes, I'm crazy).

I've read a lot about the breeds I own (and about almost every breed, in fact). But you just don't know what the difference is between this and that breed until you live with them.

If you have only one dog or one breed of dog, you will most likely think of them in a positive way and find them far more intelligent and smart than other dogs you see on the street or at a friend's house.

However, when you own -- or have owned over the years -- more than one breed, you can see what we mean when we say that Border Collies are more intelligent, that Great Danes ar lazy, that Newfs are gentle, that Shih Tzus are ... uhm... not as intelligent. Et cetera, et cetera.

Besides the dogs I live with (Border Collie, Dane, Newfoundlands, Berneses, Dobermann, St-Bernard), I also happen to work with dogs every day. I see different breeds and different owners all the time.

Yes, a Pekignese living with a nice person can look far more intelligent and pleasant than a Border Collie stuck in a cage for 20 hours every day. But still, you can see some attitudes, some behaviours that tend to show more in certain breeds.

And yes, I think it's fair to say that some breeds outperform other breeds in certain (or all) type of activities. And it is clear some breeds are more intelligent that other breeds, will learn faster, will learn more, will work harder, etc. However, these breeds REQUIRE work and activity. In the wrong hands, they will look just as dumb as any other dog...

It's just VERY hard to see and admit these differences when you own a single dog, or when you prefer a breed over an other.

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