Swat Equity

The small set of sentient beings that Lunghu has no compunction about killing may soon be reduced by one.  No, dark pool operators aren’t suddenly about to get a free pass.  Nor will ticks, black flies, green flies, house flies or leeches.  (Note the commonality?  All bloodsuckers.)

Which creature is it, then?  The pesky, whining mosquito –at least in its Aedes aegypti form.  That’s because researchers at UC Davis

… hit on the idea of [infecting mosquitos with] a naturally-occurring bacterial parasite called Wolbachia to shorten its lifespan so that [dengue fever] virus would not have enough time to develop.   The germ prevented the insect from becoming infected by the dengue virus … yet it was also [relatively] harmless. The mosquito’s ability to survive and reproduce was reduced only by about 10 to 20 percent.   After a few generations, the dengue-free mosquitoes eventually outnumber dengue-carrying counterparts.

According to Jason Rasgon at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute:

 “The advantage of population-replacement approaches is that, once established, they are self-propagating.  And because the mosquito population is simply changed rather than eliminated, effects on the ecosystem should be minimal.”

” … changed rather than eliminated.”  That has the ring of rehabilitation rather than punition and deterrence.  Not as emotionally satisfying as eradication, but perhaps more effective.  Probably wouldn’t work in the financial markets, though.

Elsewhere … change is[n’t always] good.

Sometimes it’s not enough to be happy.  You also have to be wet at all the right times.  Bhutan had hoped to harness the energy of Himalayan snowmelt by building 9000 megawatts of hydroelectric power capacity over the coming decade.

But Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley [warned]  the country was powerless to prevent changes in regional water supplies [caused by global warming].   “The glaciers are retreating very rapidly, some are even disappearing.  The flow of water in our river system is fluctuating in ways that are very worrying,” he said.    “The climate is changing, global warming is real and the impact on our hydrology is very severe.”

When change leaves you powerless, it can be hard to feel happy.

Karma Tshiteem, secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission, [observed that] “This is a stark example that climate change is not some theoretical thing that is still to be debated. We are facing it and having to do mitigation.”

He certainly doesn’t sound happy.  Nor should he be.  A billion coal-burning Chinese on the other side of the mountains aren’t about to go away anytime soon.  It can be difficult to maintain your cosmic equanimity in conditions like that.  It may not be enough to endlessly repeat the mantra “all is illusion.”

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