Thursday, June 9, 2016
Can LED Technology Control The Spread Of Zika Virus?
A new weapon proposed to combat the spread of the Zika virus is light-emitting diode (LED) technology. This emerged by way of an article in FORTUNE (June 1, p.. 44, 'Into the Light') by Corinne Iozzio. In respect of the techno proposal at hand, let us concede - as she points out - that "blanketing our population centers in toxic bug spray isn't exactly a comforting solution". Indeed, basically you are exchanging a short term, high impact condition like microcephaly or Guillen Barre syndrome for long term cancers, including of the breast, liver, prostate.
Lest anyone believe or think the latter is more of a 'cakewalk' kindly google "salvage therapy" for prostate cancer recurrence. If you can read through the horrific side effects of all those treatments, well, all I can say is you've got more moxie than me. (I will posting on the MRI biopsy in a few days).
Anyway, LED provides a way of escaping the toxic chemical morass as a solution to everything, from controlling insect pests and weeds, to cleaning showers, tubs, toilets and sinks. How or where did this solution emerge? We are informed that Travis Longcore, "an assistant professor at the University of Southern California who studies the effect of light on insects" has the needed insights.
Quoted in the piece, he says:
"With LEDS, the great promise is control. It's control on illumination, on timing, on spectrum"
The key, essentially, about finding the perfect light to attract - and distract- insects. In fact, LEDs are already being used to disinfect water, and steer sea turtles away from highways so they don't become reptile road kill.
The principle followed by all LED traps or devices is simple: different species (including bugs) are attracted to different wavelengths of light. Find the right wavelength and you can therefore control the critters, get them to avert a planned destination (like sea turtles) or - fly into an attracting trap, ni the case of mosquitoes. (Though even here, different mosquito species are attracted t different wavelengths)
The company out front on this now is Lighting Science Group, a Florida company specializing in the application of light -emitting diode technology. LSG is also part of a growing number of companies that seeks to control pests using light.
How is the research going, and how soon can we expect LED technology in our homes to keep out the pesky varmint Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes? Well, as Iozzio notes, LSG "began testing it bug traps this spring" but we're informed (by USDA entymologist Daniel Kline) "there is room for improvement".
We are assured in the piece that "traps with LED-tuned for certain species (e.g. Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes) will eventually be field tested" and "a consumer version will follow within a year". Well, it can't happen soon enough for me, as I hate the fuckin' bug sprays, including that vomit-inducing shit called DEET.
The sooner this new weapon against pests comes into practical use the better, since as the FORTUNE author observes "warmer temperatures around the globe are helping tropical insects survive in temperate zones".
Those like the insufferable Kort Patterson (and others) can argue all they want that "there is no normal temperature for Earth", but one thing we do know is that biospheric balance exists only within certain parameters. Hence, so long as a relative temperature differential exists (e.g. between temperate zone and tropics) pests like dengue fever, Zika mosquitoes and bilharzia snails (as well as parasitic brain worms) will stay where they belong - in the tropics. But once temperature increases lead to thermal equilibrium worldwide, thereby disrupting those geographical barriers, all bets are off. It is one thing to be a T-Rex in Jurassic times with much higher temperatures and adapting to slightly different vegetation, It's quite another for arrogant humans facing a "new normal" for which any long term adaptation may be impossible, short of converting humans to cyborgs, especially if the runaway greenhouse kicks in.
Let's hope the LED solution for effective tropical pest control is ready long before then!