XKCD only occasionally fails to amuse me.Here’s today’s. TED was the conference Bill Gates released mosquitoes at. It’s a gathering of the “best and brightest” minds in America.

Lies, dam lies, and statistics

The mighty Ross River is filled to bursting and the dam gates are being opened to reduce pressure on the dam wall. 

This presents a sticky situation for the Townsville City Council – flood the streets or risk the structual integrity of the dam. Tough call. Not what I’m writing about though.

When I moved here I was really excited to be living life on the edge. Crocodiles, stingers, etc – you know the drill. And the dreaded Ross River Fever – named for Townsville’s iconic waterway. Or so I thought. Until a couple of old, wise, boaties in Hinchinbrook “set me straight.”  They laughed at me. To my face. They told me that Ross River Fever was named after a Ross River in Darwin. I was adamant they were wrong.  But they swore black and blue that the it were true… and I believed them. Any time it came up in conversation at future points I spouted this fallacy fed to me by two wizened fishermen. I staked my reputation on it. I scoffed at those ignorami perpetuating the viscious slur on Townsville’s reputation. I apologise. Ross River Fever is in fact named after the river in Townsville. For that we can be truly thankful. 

I’ve learned a lesson here. Never believe a fisherman, and if something sounds dodgy you should look it up on wikipedia. 

Perhaps Bill Gates needs to visit Townsville to release a swarm of mosquitoes on those paid to promote the city, who clearly know so little about the local landscape.

Open the bloodgates

Mosquitoes are nasty little bloodsuckers. Not to mention carriers of dangerous disease. So how should we educate the public on the danger? Cartoon infomercials? How bout unleashing a swarm on unsuspecting conference delegates?

The Queensland Government is spending a bit of money educating the general public on the perils of Dengue fever. The longer TV ads feature warnings not to wear dark clothes. Apparently dark clothes attrack the little Aussie mozzie.  Who’d have thought. Perhaps a resurrection of Don Spencer’s “Little Aussie Mozzie” song would have been an appropriate piece of educational propaganda:

What may not be the most politically correct piece of anti-mozzie propaganda – but was no doubt more effective – was a decision by Bill Gates to release a swarm of mosquitoes on an unsuspecting audience at a Technology and Design conference in California.

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