WMD: Weapon of Mosquito Destruction.

I have been known to grumble that mosquitoes are a creature I would not be too worried about if they appeared on the endangered species list. Mosquitoes and gnats are more than just a pest. They spread diseases such as dengue fever, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, West Nile virus, and yellow fever.
Understandably I have high hopes that this invention becomes widespread.
The comment about power supply is rather daft. This technology could easily be combined with solar power. Mosquitoes are a problem in urban areas too. I recall the unpleasant sight of a whole ferry bulkhead covered in mosquitoes in Venice. Hopefully mosquito lasers will become a common item of street furniture in tropical towns and cities. They would be a welcome feature of hotel rooms and bedrooms. And if they could also be programmed to zap ugly buzzing house flies too, so much the better!


Chalk and Ziplocks

Recently I have been encouraging my girlfriend to put together a small medical kit for her use.
In a previous blog I mentioned that I came across a first aid pouch in the local 99p store.
I would have paid that for just the pouch, but it also came with a number of medical items. Not enough to constitute a full medical kit, but a useful start.
I looked on line for something similar for my lady and came across a pouch that claimed to hold 23 medical items. The contents include 15 plasters of three different sizes and even a small set of scissors.
Not a full medical kit, but a good starting point. I presented this to her with a handful of additional alcohol wipes and the suggestion that she add some painkillers.
At the same time, I presented her with a bundle of ziplock bags. Many of the contents of this pouch are loose and would be vulnerable to water. Hence, ziplock bags.
A stock of such bags is recommended since many items of your travelling or emergency kit will need their additional protection.
It is also a good idea to include some spare bags in your kit.
Suppose, for an example, that you need to change location and need to leave a message for anyone that might come looking for you. A piece of paper from your notebook will not last long in the rain and the ink will run. A spare bag will solve this problem.
Of course, wet ink is not a problem if your kit includes a pencil.
In similar vein I will pass on a tip that I encountered decades ago but that I do not often see repeated. This is to include some chalk in your kit.
Chalk can be used to leave messages, mark locations and indicate routes. Ideally have a piece of light chalk and also a darker colour for contrast when writing on lighter surfaces.
Keep your pieces of chalk in a ziplock bag, but wrap them individually in clingfilm or the different colours will contaminate each other.

Pipe Firing Ports.

Being a Friday, today's post will be a little more abstract.
A friend of mine recently showed me a book of photos from the First World War. One image in particular caught my interest. Unfortunately it is not practical to scan the image. Instead I have found another photo showing the same points of interest. From the uniforms it is from the same time period and may even be the same trench section. Here is the photo.
What I find interesting is how firing ports have been created by simply burying a pipe in the rampart. Further along you can see that a rectangular firing slot has been created using planks, probably from shipping boxes.
In most trenches troops fire over the parapet or cut crenels to fire through. Some trenches do use firing slots but constructed in a parapet of sandbags. The approach seen in this photo is much simpler. There are no sandbags to reveal the exact position of the trench. No heads have to be raised above the parapet. There are no crenels that are obvious targets for suppressive fire. The outer ends of the pipes and slots are probably hard to discern.
A pipe would only provide a narrow field of fire but this is not a problem if they are arranged for mutually supporting interlocking fields of fire. At Iwo Jima may of the highly effective Japanese positions were constructed with a narrow field of fire. The only way they could be engaged was to attack head on, which put you within the firearc of many other positions.
One wonders what sort of sight picture firing down a pipe provides. Certainly light glinting off the sights would not be a problem!
Modern troops still use earthworks and I wonder how few use techniques as simple but effective as those shown above? If you have a hide from which you hunt sharp-eyed game the buried pipe(s) idea might be worth considering.