Mosquitoes like my bloodWritten by Khalil A. Cassimally
Here in Mauritius, mosquitoes are in paradise. The male mosquitoes have all fruits they’ll ever dream of – god knows whether they actually dream – all year long while female mosquitoes can choose from a numerous number of tourists to feed on.
It is of no surprise that tourists get bitten more than we, locals do. And reaction which occurs on tourists’ skin is quiet unusual to me. A large red swelling develops. It is about twice size that one which would have formed on my skin if I was to get bitten. Apparently bite that a tourist receives is also more irritant. In my opinion, this is because foreigners are not as used to get mosquito bites than Mauritians do. But one thing is for sire though: some people do get bitten more than others.
Why is this so? Or rather, why are some people bitten less? James Logan, a research student at Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has found that some people give off ‘masking’ odours that prevent
Staying Safe When There's Lightning AroundWritten by Graham McClung
Lightning is great to watch, and makes a superb subject for videos or photographs - from a distance. But it's pretty scary when it strikes nearby, and every year there are news reports of lightning fatalities.
So what are your chances of being struck by lightning?
Fortunately they are pretty slim. But that's probably what hundred or so people killed by lightning in an average year probably thought.
So while you or I are most unlikely to be struck, consequences are so severe that it's worthwhile taking every precaution to make sure that we don't end up a lightning statistic.
A Few Lightning Facts
- Although lightning is known from volcanic eruptions and in smoke from very large fires, it is always present in thunderstorms, and thunderstorms can occur anywhere and at any time of year. In US they are most common in Florida and nearby states, and overall are most frequent from April to July. Lightning fatalities are most common in July, probably because more people are out of doors at that time of year.
- Lightning is a very high voltage electrical discharge, with its source in a thunder cloud. Most lightning moves between clouds, or from cloud to air. The cloud to ground strikes are rarer, but are ones to worry about.
- Apart from floods, lightning causes more deaths than any other severe weather event, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Figures are not precise, but around 100 deaths occur in an average year, while injuries are at least ten times that number.
- Lightning injuries are most common before and after storm has passed over - before and after rain, winds and hail have caused people to take shelter. Another reason is that lightning bolts can travel distances of over 10 miles (16km) from cloud before hitting ground.These "bolts from blue" may arrive before any thunder from storm can be heard, and even before storm clouds have been noticed.
- Deaths and injuries occur most commonly to outdoor workers, hikers, campers, and people involved in outdoor sport or picnics, including sporting teams. Quite often, victims have delayed finding shelter until last minute.
More information on lightning can be found at my website, http://www.home-weather-stations-guide.com/lightning.html
Deaths and Injuries
A lightning strike is a very short lived, high voltage electrical current, but has different effects to a home or industrial electric shock. Most lightning fatalities are instantaneous through failure of heart or breathing, or severe nervous damage.
Lightning deaths and injuries can occur in two ways - by a direct strike, or indirectly from being within about 50 yards of strike. A short-lived electric current can travel through damp soil, wet grass, water, and along fence wires, plumbing or underground cables. This explains deaths or injuries to people who are indoors but in contact with telephones, electrical appliances or plumbing fixtures.