Monday, February 28, 2011

Mosquitoes have a place in the scheme of things. Really.

A friend asked on FB the other day, and I quote “These bloody mosquitoes, what use are they? What part do they play in the scheme of things?”

Quick as a flash, the responses came:
“Food for spiders”.
“To provide researchers something to study”.

Good replies all, but it got me thinking, and being of a literal frame of mind I consulted that well known academic powerhouse “Google” with "what are mosquitoes good for" and promptly came across some informative articles. None checked for authenticity, timeliness or a myriad of other things I’d insist on with students! but all with similar information.

from Wikimedia Commons
I had no idea they were so important to our survival, really those small annoying blood suckers simply seemed like, well, just plain irritating. Bzzzt, swat, bzzzt, swat, neeeeooooooow, swat, ouch, (as you whack your nose or ear) particularly when you’re trying to get off to sleep, you eventually turn the light on to try to find the little sucker, of course never can, turn the light off, and the bzzzt, swat act goes on 'till you eventually sink, exhausted into a fitful, twitchy sleep.

Mosquitoes ensure our survival
It seems however, that they’re essential to our survival on earth. I had no idea that the males, being nectar feeders, help pollinate a large variety of plants, helping out the bees in times of plenty. And yes, they do provide food, but not only for spiders, but for many other creatures as well. Bats, fish and dragonflies find them particularly tasty and their existence adds to the glorious variety and intricate web of life of which we are but a small ego centred part.

But they're nectar feeders! I think that's amazing. It's a bit like discovering that Vlad the Impaler was a sweety pie,  and had somehow just got bad press and was a bit misunderstood.

Interestingly mosquitoes have hit the news recently with reported cases of Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus soaring since the flooding up in Northern Victoria. Stagnant water is the problem, and with the flood waters taking their time to recede, their numbers will only get worse over the coming months.

There have been news reports that these illnesses are also spreading further south. The female mosquito is the culprit. But given what I’ve just discovered, it seems the best thing is to get rid of stagnant water in the garden. Admittedly this is impossible in flooded areas, but important in suburbia.

In the northern areas of Australia malaria is on the rise, and we’re encouraged to tip out as much pooling water as possible from odds and ends lying around in the garden. Easier said than done with the constant rain, but good advice nonetheless.

As one writer said, there could be no flowers, fruits or songbirds without the mosquito. We just need to learn to keep ourselves safe from their bite and take precautions to discourage their spread.

So while my friend may still curse the little vampires, she’ll do it knowing how essential they are in the scheme of things.

I've written a Drabble about mosquitoes at jumpingaground.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The misfit

Kids at school laughed at me with derision
Called me weird
A no hoper
A loser

Socially inept, I kept to myself, content and apart, not comprehending their need for togetherness. Touching made me withdraw physically, left me cold and shrinking from the grasp. It felt distasteful, alien, intrusive.

I enjoy numbers and graphs, their lack of ambiguity. Working alone using logic clean and clear is safe. This graph, showing heart rate and age, the result of time well spent.
I’m working on an iPad app for it next.

Those same kids will use it; they won’t laugh this time.

Terry J. DuBose
from Wikipedia Commons

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

This Drabble first appeared in  The Burrow Valentine's Feature 2011, hosted by Burrowers, Books & Bladerdash. Thanks for hosting.

Just to clarify, this Drabble doesn't refer to me. I was inspired by observing the difficulties many young people experience in school.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

on young workers

Predatory employers suck the life out of the young and vulnerable, secure in the supreme right of their greed and avarice.
Say it’s for the good of society. That it represents progress and the might of the free world.
Democracy in action!
But really they love the feeling of power and all that that means.
Betray the trust of the innocent; exploit and manipulate vulnerable employees.

Desperate for work, children will take anything,
even washing bloated hearts in a pool, wearing ill fitting uniforms and inadequate wings.
Fixed smiles belie inner sadness.

They unwittingly support
the rampant commercialism


This Drabble first appeared in The Burrow Valentine's feature 17 Feb 2011. Have a look at the feature for a Drabble a day throughout February! Thanks to Burrower's, Books & Balderdash for hosting.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Picture from Wikimedia commons.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Workplace relations - a child's eye view

Mummy said that Daddy can’t come home yet ‘cos the naughty men are arguing and being mean to each other, and Daddy has to stay behind and sort it all out so they’re friends again and can do their jobs properly like they should be doing instead of arguing all the time.

Daddy goes away a lot to other countries to work. I don’t like him being away. I want him to come guarding with me like he promised.

I hope Daddy can make them be nice to each other soon. I love my Mummy, but I miss my Daddy.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Video included with parental permission.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The performance bonus.

"We don't need you any more, you're surplus to requirements, we're letting you go."

"You're what!?"
"What went wrong?"
"Wasn't I good enough?"

"Oh, no, nothing like that. Nothing personal. You understand?
With the budget cuts something had to give, and unfortunately
it was your job."

"But what'll happen to the program I was working on? Who will care?"

“I don't know."

"Not my problem."

"That's the way it is."

"Not my decision."

"My hands are tied."

"The performance bonus? Yes I get a bonus for cutting costs, it doesn't matter how it's done,

it’s the bottom line that counts."


A drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more. no less.

This isn't a personal story, but unfortunately I suspect this attitude is commonplace in many Government  departments. Shortsightedness about valuable programmes takes second place to cost cutting without regard for long term implications. My role is to assist people to get back on their feet.