Destroying malaria… with frickin’ LASERS

Malaria remains one of the great unsolved health problems of the developing world, with the disease stubbornly resisting all attempts at eradication. So why not focus on the vector instead: the blood-hungry mosquitoes that spread malaria around? And why not use an idea straight from the science fictional supervillain-hideout playbook: a photonic fence made of devices that detect mosquitoes by the frequency of their wing oscillations, and then blasts them with lasers? [via Hack A Day]

Why not indeed – Bill Gates obviously likes the angle, as he’s funding Intellectual Ventures Lab’s research efforts (though some of that will presumably be supporting the company’s other idea, namely a way of zapping the malaria parasite in situ within the human body, scrambling its DNA without harming its host). Observe the destruction of a much-hated pest in close-up high-def slo-mo video:

Shazam! (Compare and contrast with the (as yet) non-lethal anti-papparazzi defence screens found on the yachts of shady billionaires…)

Think what you like of his software empire, Ol’ Bill sure likes investing in potentially worldchanging ideas; he’s currently looking into throwing his weight behind a new design for small-scale nuclear reactors, suitable for use in cities or low-demand nations [via SlashDot]. But even that pales beside the blue-sky glory [also via SlashDot] of a fusion-fission hybrid that will safely burn up existing nuclear waste by bombarding it with neutrons

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