Malaria, TED, lasers, and exploitation

Sonia Shah (no relation, check out her blog though) does not mince words. The author of a malaria history book, The Fever, wrote a scathing critique on the ridiculous anti-mosquito laser system and those who promote it  (thanks Russell/Sanjay).

I did see the ‘mosquito death ray’ invention a few months ago when it hit the web echo chamber – and did not write about it because it obviously had no realistic implication for malaria control. Why would someone build this? I assumed it was the too-much-free time creation of some garage hobbyist or, at best, a proof of concept for some other application, maybe the defense industry. Why the creator went to TED (or why they accepted) is beyond me. I’m glad someone is calling both groups out.

Addendum: Bart Knols, at our friend MalariaWorld, actually took pains to criticize the laser a month back

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2 Responses to “Malaria, TED, lasers, and exploitation”


  1. 1 Alanna March 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    From what I have read, the malaria laser was meant mainly as a ploy to get attention for malaria. Even in his TED talk he talked about the need for solutions more practical than lasers.

    • 2 naman March 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      thanks Alanna. I agree this was not malicious, but it seems it may be a better ploy to get attention for the inventor and his toy rather than malaria. It also strengthens the culture of looking for, and celebrating, technological fixes for problems rather than sustained hard work.


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